By Patrick Cull
NELSON Mandela Bay has ended up shelling out close to R1-billion for the privilege of being a host city for the 2010 Fifa World Cup as both national and provincial government have defaulted on funding commitments.
This after the city should only have had to pay R340-million.
Local politicians and ratepayers have slammed the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) for allowing the staggering costs – R878-million – to get so out of hand, saying it is yet another example of the metro making “impulsive” decisions that could end up crippling the city financially.
They also fear the forthcoming Afcon 2013 tournament – of which Port Elizabeth is a host city – could see the municipality follow the same devastating path.
Chairman of the Nelson Mandela Bay Ratepayers’ Association, Kobus Gerber, said it showed the municipality was “making impulsive decisions and putting ratepayers at risk”.
Gerber added the municipality had “yet again got itself in a financial mess” with ratepayers having to pay to “get them out of it”.
“With Afcon 2013 we are bound to walk the same path again. Who gives the municipality the right to take our money and push it into events like this?
“They sould ask us before they just spend money like this, because we are the ones who have to help them out of trouble when everything flops.”
The current cash crisis, DA caucus leader Leon de Villiers said, was “largely due to the cost of hosting the World Cup” and the reason why the metro’s Capital Replacement Reserve was now depleted.
De Villiers said Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile and the ANC “have made the same mistake by committing this metro to host Afcon 2013 without first obtaining a firm funding commitment from national and provincial governments”.
“No details have as yet been released on the extent to which national and provincial government will assist in terms of the R30-million required to stage the tournament,” De Villiers said.
“The mayor and ANC have their priorities wrong as they are unable to provide basic services to a vast number of residents who are still using the bucket system, without proper housing, water and electricity.”
De Villiers said the failure to appoint a permanent municipal manager and spending R11.8-million to sponsor nine PSL soccer matches at the stadium earlier this year indicated the mayor and the ANC were “failing the residents of this metro”.
This is a shortened version of an article that first appeared in the print edition of Weekend Post on Saturday June 16 2012.