More South African Tourism shenanigans

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SAT Board appoints new acting CEO despite knowledge of bribery allegations.

By Manny de Freitas MP. DA Shadow Minister of Tourism 

It is clear that South African Tourism (SAT) is in serious trouble as it encounters one crisis after another. Within days of being appointed as the SAT acting CEO, Nomasonto Ndlovu has been implicated in bribery. Information provided to me indicates that a whistle-blower called the SAT hotline with claims that Ndlovu, on 6 and 7 December 2022, had allegedly accepted a R100 000 bribe from an airline for business class flights, accommodation and World Cup tickets.

Our understanding is that the SAT Interim Board members were aware of these allegations yet despite this still appointed Ndlovu as SAT Acting CEO.

The SAT Interim board accepted the resignation of the SAT previous acting CEO, Themba Khumalo on 6 May 2023, after which the Board appointed Ndlovu. Despite Khumalo having a 3-month notice period, the Board chose to accept Khumalo’s request to leave immediately without working in his notice period; all at the expense of the taxpayer.

The latest Tourism Portfolio Committee meeting, which ran for almost 6 hours, exposed more questions than answers. Presently, most of the top SAT leadership are now all in acting capacities. Ndlovu is acting CEO as well as Chief Operations Officer, while the Chief Quality Assurance Officer, Bronwen Auret is now doubling up as Acting Chief Marketing Officer.

All this not only appears to indicate that SAT is in shambles but that the SAT Board are making irresponsible decisions despite allegations presented to them.

I will be writing to the Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille in this regard, and will be requesting the following:

1. That she suspends Nomasonto Ndlovu pending the outcome of investigations into the allegations against her;

2. That she ensures that SAT has a full complement of permanent top management urgently;

3. That she advertises for a proper SAT Board comprising of at least 9 members, as prescribed in clause 13 of the Tourism Act. Considering that the Act is silent on interim Boards, this is particularly urgent and appears that the interim Board is illegal; and

4. That she accedes to our request on information pertaining to the Tottenham Hotspur deal as per a PAIA application and appeal, so that we can get to the bottom of how this deal got as far as it did and ensure that there was no illegal activities attached to it.

As things stand, SAT is doing very little to engender confidence within the already vulnerable tourism and travel sector in South Africa. These issues must be speedily resolved so that SAT is back on track and fulfill their mandate so that jobs can be created in this sector.

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