Row over Tourism SA’s R33m 5-minute promo advert featuring Trevor Noah

Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille. Picture: Bongani Mbatha: African News Agency /ANA

Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille. Picture: Bongani Mbatha: African News Agency /ANA

Published Sep 8, 2023


The Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) has slammed critics over the alleged R33 million paid for a five-minute promotional video advert that would feature A-list comedian Trevor Noah.

This is after the Portfolio Committee on Tourism chairperson Tandi Mahambehlala likened the video promo to the controversial R1 billion Tottenham Hotspur marketing strategy.

She has since called for the deal to be terminated and a review in the marketing strategy.

The committee was briefed at a physical meeting on Tuesday by Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille and other officials about South African Tourism’s performance in Q3 and Q4 of the 2022/23 financial year.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Mahambehlala said De Lille made the announcement of the advertisement.

“The minister clarified that the R33 million was a contribution from the Tourism Business Council of Southern Africa.

However the R33m, 5-minute video promo by Trevor Noah was likened to the recent controversial Tottenham Hotspur marketing strategy, and called on the entity to stop it. She warned South African Tourism that the Tourism Levy South Africa levies contributed by TBCSA to the entity should not be used as a slush fund to commit financial maleficence,” the statement read.

Mahambehlala also said the committee discovered that there was no consultation between De Lille and rugby player Siya Kolisi for the promotion on international platforms, although the contract was not fraudulent.

Kolisi is the new Global Brand Advocate for South African Tourism.

Furious TBCSA chief executive Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said they had requested that Mahambehlala’s statement be taken down.

“The committee should stick to its mandate. We are a private sector and do not report or account to them; their statement is destructive and full of lies. If we want to spend more money we will.

“They must produce evidence of this contract.

“This is just click bait and we don’t know what they are trying to achieve,” said Tshivhengwa.

De Lille said the matter was being led and paid for by the private sector.

“Therefore, no announcement was made on this as this is not being led by or paid for by the department or its entity, SA Tourism.”

On the Kolisi matter she said the executive management of SA Tourism “simply failed” to inform her as the minister, in any manner.

“I have addressed this with the executive management of SAT, but the manner in which this was handled was extremely unfortunate with the executive authority not being briefed, consulted, or informed.

“I must state that I am concerned with the lack of decorum, the lack of respect, and the rude manner in which people are insulted when they appear before the portfolio committee to do their duties professionally. There is certainly a better way to address black professional women than to shout and be rude towards them,” said De Lille.

Cape Times