Trevor Noah on Tuesday reacted to news of being allegedly involved in a deal with South Africa’s Tourism where he was reported to have charged the government R33 million.
Th comedian refuted claims he was being paid R33 million to be part of the tourism campaign. “First and foremost, can we stop saying R33 million. It’s not R33 million, it’s not even close to R33 million.
“I do not take money from government, there’s no tender. But I do believe we need to push this country, we need to get people visiting it, otherwise we’ll go further and further down a spiral where there is no money in this country.”
“mean this from the bottom of my heart, I wish I had all the money that newspapers and tabloids say I have”
“I woke up one morning and I read ‘Trevor Noah SA Tourism’ it’s like guys, first of all I’m not doing anything with SA Tourism,” Trevor Noah said.
A number of South Africans were not happy about the campaign, assuming that taxpayers’ money would be used. However, Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille told The Citizen government funds would not be spent on the ad.
“Government is not paying for it. It is a private sector initiative,” said De Lille. The campaign is being sponsored by the Tourism Business Council of SA [TBCSA].
Trevor Noah is in South Africa for his comedy tour which will see him perform at the SunBet Arena on Tuesday night. He has already performed in Cape Town and Durban.
He was a guest on Clement Manyathela’s mid-morning show on Radio 702 on Tuesday.
He said he was approached to be part of the campaign by the private group of hotels, who are desperate to attract tourists to South Africa.
“I said ‘ja, I’d like to be the face’. I mean, I helped Swiss tourism, so I was like how can I not help my own country?”
I’m dealing with a private body of hotels and Airbnbs because you know that coming out of Covid, South Africa has had the lowest rebound rate of any nation in the world that needs tourism as a big part of its GDP,” said Noah.
“We cannot afford to not have tourists in this country and so when you look at other countries that have bounced back to 90% of their previous capacity before Covid, South Africa I think we’re sitting at like 50 or 60%, that is terrible for us.”
South Africans on the other hand, have expressed skepticism but the comedian said he understands why South Africans raised the alarm about the deal.
“South Africans are so traumatized by corruption … [that] everyone thinks everything is connected to corruption somewhere, somehow even something that has nothing to do with the government.”
Noah said some people had even asked if he is part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ‘Thuma Mina’ campaign, his response was “I can’t work for the government because I also want to talk about government. So when you come to my comedy shows now all of a sudden I can’t speak my mind because I’m worried about losing a tender, never that.”