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DA wants emergency Bay council meeting 'to save British and Irish Lions game'

Nov 18, 2019
DA wants emergency Bay council meeting 'to save British and Irish Lions game'

Port Elizabeth - The inability of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to sign an agreement to host the British and Irish Lions in 2021 can have a massive negative impact on the economy of and job creation in the City, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.

"In the past hosting Springbok test matches at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has led to an influx of hundreds of millions of rand in the coffers of the Metro," said DA Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga.

"But the inability of the current coalition of corruption government to convene council meetings over the past four months has led to council not being able to discuss and approve sign-off of the venue-use agreement with SA Rugby Event Services (Sares)."

He said that an independent economic impact study conducted by an international auditing firm, released by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, estimated that the direct, indirect and induced economic impact of a test match is valued at R155 million.

"The study found that of the R155 million contribution to GDP, around R32.2 million flows to low income households and the total number of temporary jobs created or permanent jobs sustained with just one test match in Nelson Mandela Bay is estimated to be 447," Bhanga described.

"The direct spend portion of the total impact (estimated at R71 million) is predominantly made up of spend by foreign tourists visiting South Africa for the test, followed by domestic visitors travelling to and staying in the city, who mainly originate from Gauteng."

He further said that the Lions only tour South Africa once every 12 years, and a capacity crowd with international and local tourists following the team, which, combined with the South Africa’s current standing as world champions, could easily have the same, if not greater, economic impact for the City.

"What is disheartening is that the venue-use agreement has been passed from one acting City Manager to the next since January 2019 and the fact that council has not been convened over the past four months cannot be used as an excuse by NMB Executive Mayor, Cllr Mongameli Bobani, and his ANC-led coalition of corruption," Bhanga said.

"The DA will now request the Speaker of Council, Cllr Buyelwa Mafaya, to immediately call an emergency council meeting to discuss this issue before Wednesday, when the British and Irish Lions fixtures will be announced and for council to approve and sign-off on the venue agreement.

"The people of Nelson Mandela Bay must be given the opportunity to take advantage of this possible economic boost to tourism and job creation."

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