The sad and embarrassing debacle that hit the Metro last week with the fiasco surrounding the SA Swimming Nationals can only be blamed on the ruling party in this Metro, the ANC. They must take full responsibility for the mismanagement of this wonderful sporting facility, as they decide on cadre deployment, budgets, priorities and planning.
It is all very well to say no person is to blame, and “we will do everything to ensure that this does not happen again”, but the sad reality is that the ANC has no regard for the people or the assets of this Metro. There is no logic, no planning, no maintenance, and especially no planned maintenance that can be noted. In fact, what happened at Newton Park is indicative of what is happening throughout the Metro. Everything that is working is being run into the ground, and if it is not broken, it soon will be!!
A senior Metro tourism official even said that this debacle will not damage our tourism image. Does he even know what tourism is? Does he not realise the knock-on effect of events not coming to our friendly city, for fear of similar occurrences? Many will sadly adopt the ostrich approach.
Millions was spent on enclosing the Newton Park pool in phase one of the revamp, and it has already attracted many National events, such as the Schools Waterpolo, Masters Nationals, Currie Cup Waterpolo and the recent Swimming Nationals. These events attracted millions into the coffers of our tourism industry, and boosted our “Watersport Capital” image. Will these events return in the future?
Phase two of the pool revamp has never been implemented, and the change-rooms are still outside the enclosed pool area, and there is no proper warm-up pool. Why only do half the job is one question that needs to be asked? Another question is what maintenance has been done to the actual filtration system over the past five years? We know that no budgets exist for the next two years! Look at the forlorn state of the actual car-parks and surrounds. Where are the flower gardens? Why has this area been allowed to become so neglected? Pool visitors see all the neglect, now they know the bigger picture.
Surely Metro officials know that running a pool complex is similar to running a motor vehicle… it needs regular maintenance and regular servicing, and after certain time periods, items need to be replaced, before they break. What records have been kept of any work done at Newton Park, and on whose authority has nothing been done? Will executive and senior management be held accountable?
There are many examples of similar neglect and mismanagement throughout the Metro, but I will mention just four. Bayworld, need I say more. Wonderful boardwalks were constructed along our southern beachfront just two years ago, and they became a wonderful facility. Some have already had to be demolished due to the total lack of management and maintenance. The Swartkops River is heavily polluted and filthy, and a danger to swim in, because of no controls and mis-management. The Donkin Reserve has been transformed into a wonderful facility, but look at the neglect and woeful state of the actual area, not to mention the filthy condition of Fort Frederick and the Donkin Heritage Trial. What will be next, closure of the Shark Rock Pier?
We have just endured the Splash Festival debacle, where this Metro was hugely embarrassed by the actions of a few officials. It is the same Directorate that looks after the Newton Park Pool, but will any corrective action be taken? I doubt it.
Wake up voters, the ANC has lost the plot and this Metro is financially, ethically and morally bankrupt.
DA Cllr Stanford Slabbert