/ 10 February 2023

Like Tottenham’s title challenges and attempts to resurrect the dead, the Spurs sponsorship deal has flopped

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Bishop Mzilikazi Themba Khumalo. Photo: Supplied


Like the majority of my fellow South Africans, I’m rather pleased to hear that Bishop Mzilikazi Themba Khumalo has had as much success with giving almost R1 billion of taxpayers finest to Tottenham Hotspur – and others –  as he did with selling snake oil with Alleluia Ministries International.

Granted, the South African Tourism acting chief executive and his team were – very much like Tottenham every season since 1961 – almost there.

Thankfully  – like Tottenham – almost there is as far as they got.

Like Tottenham’s challenges for the league title since the sun was setting on the British empire and Khumalo’s former boss’s attempts to make dead men walk, the Spurs sponsorship appears to have been shot down in flames, thanks to interventions by whistleblowers within the entity’s ranks.

God is great.

Parliament’s tourism portfolio committee red carded the entire scheme this week, handing tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu a yellow herself after she breezed in – fashionably late – and informed the honourable members they had no powers to tell her what to do.

Sisulu – like Tottenham – didn’t stick around for long and trundled off in a bit of a huff.

It’s neither a surprise nor a shock that the leadership of South African Tourism  has decided to investigate who tipped off the media over the agency’s plan, rather than who put a person whose last employer falsely claimed to be able to raise the dead in charge of our national tourism budget and why they did it.

They appointed him after all.

It would have been preferable if the entity’s board –  and Sisulu – had instead focused their energy on finding out why Tourism gave interim chief financial officer Johan van der Walt’s company a cut in the deal, moments after he was in the door – and how he got through it in the first place.

One also wonders how Khumalo got the tourism gig, given his links with Lukau, whose handiwork ended up all over the Internet a short four years ago when Alleluia made the headlines. 

Did Khumalo turn up on Tourism’s  doorstep and offer his services, like some kind of Godsend, or did our tourism authorities – in their wisdom – go looking for him?

If he was headhunted, who referred Khumalo for the job?

Did our man come from some high flying employment agency – Resurrections Incorporated, perhaps –  or via the evangelical circles in which so many of those who lead us move?

Pastor Shepherd Bushiri. Photo: Supplied

Was it Shepherd Bushiri, or some other conman of the cloth, who recommended that Tourism make Khumalo acting chief executive, or was this a political, rather than a spiritual deployment?

Did Khumalo have any of those who Alleluia allegedly raised from the dead during his last day job as references on his CV?

Did the job specifications stipulate that only miracle workers need apply for the post?

God only knows.

I’d love to have seen the BIshop’s Key Performance Assessment (KPA) from Alleluia – especially how many resurrections he was meant to have performed a month.  

Did Khumalo inform the Tourism interview panel that he was a wonder worker and that selling Mzansi abroad was thus a walk in the park for someone who once worked for a resurrectionist – or is that resurrector – despite the lack of roads, electricity, swimmable beaches and running water?

MIracles R Us.

The questions don’t stop.

Did Mashobane show the tourism team footage of  Alph Lukau at work, raising the dead, in a PowerPoint presentation at his interview before they employed him in August 2019, or was his appointment made on the basis of belief alone?

Was there a scientific process, with grading and interviews and stuff, or was it an act of divine intervention – ordered from on high, with the board and the minister doing God’s work by giving the BIshop the keys to the till at Tourism?

Who vetted Khumalo and Van der Walt and allowed them to even set foot in Bojanala House, let alone almost allowing them to smash nearly a billion in tax rands?

The fashion police?

The three blind mice?

Harry Kane?

The head of state, Cyril Ramaphosa, didn’t appear to be too impressed by the whole affair – or at least that’s what his spokesperson says.

For sure the last thing that Ramaphosa wanted – or needed – was another high profile financial scandal involving one of his ministers making headlines internationally on the eve of his State of the Nation Address.

Word has it that Sisulu won’t be in cabinet much longer, but whether or not the president actually follows through remains  – as always –  to be seen.