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Trevor Noah to Receive R33 Million for Five-Minute SA Promotion

Comedian and former US TV show host, Trevor Noah, won’t be paid with public money to promote South Africa as a top tourism destination, should the deal go through.

News24 reported that the superstar is expected to be paid R33 million to promote the country following remarks made by the chairperson of Parliament’s tourism committee, Tandi Mahambehlala.

During a committee meeting this week, and confirmed in a media statement, Mahambehlala said one of the issues she questioned Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille about was Trevor Noah costing South Africans R33 million for a five minutes promotional video advert.

Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhenga vehemently denied any government involvement.

“I am the owner of the project and it has nothing to do with government or portfolio committee. If we do the project, it will be a private sector initiative and we don’t report to government or Parliament,” he said.

De Lille also made it clear that the bill would be footed by the TBCSA, and that no government money would be spent on the venture.

However, a whistleblower apparently informed the committee that public money was indeed being spent.

But De Lille said: “I am not mocking anyone. Anything that a whistleblower says must be looked at further or investigated. In this instance, I can tell you that the whistleblower did not give you the full story.

“It was on 21 July that I made the comment. The whistleblower did not tell you that I informed everybody that this was done by the private sector.

Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille briefs media
Gallo Images Gallo Images/OJ Koloti

De Lille added:

We were consulting tourism stakeholders, and they were all there. There is something wrong with the ears of the whistleblower, but I did say that this is being done by the private sector.

“I can tell you that in my last engagement, when I met with the chair of the tourism council… if you want anything on the matter with Trevor Noah, please contact them.”

Mahambehlala also likened the Noah promo video to the controversial Tottenham Hotspur marketing deal that was eventually cancelled.

SA Tourism came under fire in February when Daily Maverick reported on a proposed a three-year deal, worth £42.5 million (nearly R1 billion), with Spurs.

Mahambehlala warned SA Tourism that Tourism Marketing South Africa levies, paid by the TBCSA to the entity, should not be used as a slush fund to commit financial malfeasance.