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Tea for two: Sisulu says she met Emirates head to chat about rooibos

24 March 2022 - 08:51 By TimesLIVE
Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu meets Emirates Group chair Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum in Dubai on December 15 2021.
Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu meets Emirates Group chair Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum in Dubai on December 15 2021.
Image: Twitter/Lindiwe Sisulu

Tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu says one of the reasons she met the Emirates Airlines boss in Dubai in December was to ask him to reintroduce rooibos tea on flights.

Sisulu’s visit to the United Arab Emirates, ostensibly to visit the SA stand at the Dubai World Expo, also included a meeting with Emirates Group chair Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

Replying to a written parliamentary question about the purpose of the meeting from DA MP Hannah Winkler on Wednesday, Sisulu said: “It was ... proposed that Emirates Airlines should consider reintroducing rooibos tea on their airline.”

In several statements about her trip to Dubai, which attracted media attention due to her meeting with Gupta ally Hamza Farooqui, Sisulu has not previously mentioned rooibos.

But in her reply to Winkler she said it is “very popular in SA as an indigenous product of the country due to its health benefits”.

Her discussions with Sheikh Al Maktoum focused on “opportunities to be explored by both countries including investments, tourism and knowledge-sharing around hosting of big events i.e. 2010 Fifa World Cup in SA and World Expo Dubai 2020 as well as to intensify airlift collaborations”, she said.

“Both sides agreed that it is important to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Emirates Airlines and SA Tourism. Emirates indicated that with the MoU signed, they can drive demand to SA.

“The process to finalise the MoU is now in progress and due to be signed soon.”

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