ID slams SA’s ‘wasted’ R11m Olympic publicity drive

The Independent Democrats (ID) on Sunday slammed the ”completely unnecessary wastage” of R11-million on a failed publicity project to showcase South Africa at the Beijing Olympics.

”We need to take a serious look at the kind of wasteful expenditure that has gone on around the Olympic Games,” said ID spokesperson Lance Greyling.

”Now Makhenkesi Stofile, the Minister of Sport [and Recreation], seems to have wasted R11-million of taxpayers’ money on a publicity expo for South Africa,” he said,

According to reports, the R11-million government project staged in a plush Beijing hotel hasn’t been doing well. It opened a week late, and invitations to dignitaries in the city went out late.

On Saturday, officials from the Department of Sport and Recreation were reportedly ”scurrying” to rescue the publicity drive, amid the dismal performance of South Africa’s Olympic team, who have not won a single medal.

Athletes and administrators reportedly blamed the latter on a lack of resources, saying the money spent on the publicity drive could have been better used to fund the ”neglected” Olympic team.

”The organisation of the expo has been a shambles [sic]. [We] urge the portfolio committee on sport to summon the department to explain why so much money has been squandered on an opportunity to market our country,” said Greyling.

He said it was important to entrench accountability in order to avoid ”these kinds of incidents” also happening at the 2010 Soccer World Cup. — Sapa

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