THE Black Business Forum in Nelson Mandela Bay has threatened to destabilise the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in the city if the organisers of the soccer spectacle do not reconsider giving its members tenders to secure the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.
The forum is livid that black- owned small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) did not receive a "meaningful share" of the contracts to provide services for the event, which will kick off in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
The Bay forum was established in November 2011 and represents businesses from the Spaza Forum, the Bay Liquor Traders' Association and the Contractors' Association. Leaders of the forum say it has more than 300 members, which include security firms.
Forum spokesman Litemba Singapi said: "To avoid unnecessary conflict, the metro must engage the Afcon organisers and respectfully ask them to review their decisions regarding procurement practices.
"We demand that our people receive a meaningful share of the services to be provided during this showpiece. If our pleas are not heeded, we are ready to destabilise the whole Afcon programme in our city.
"Enough is enough. We are tired of city officials colluding with unscrupulous white businesses at our expense. We demand equitable distribution of business opportunities," he said.
"... if forced to do so, we are ready to unleash an unprecedented rolling mass action that will bring this metro to its knees."
Singapi claimed the firm Nationwide Security always benefited from security contracts for big events at the Bay stadium. It would be securing the stadium for the duration of the tournament.
Singapi wants the municipality to intervene and tell the organisers to include smaller, black- owned businesses.
Afcon national LOC spokesman Sipho Sithole said they were not involved in the procurement of services for the tournament as they handed the money over to the municipality to implement the plans.
Municipal spokeswoman Marthie Nel had not responded to questions at the time of going to print.
Singapi said many had their fingers burnt during the 2010 Fifa World Cup when they took loansand used their houses as collateral with the promise they would reap financial rewards.
"Many poor people incurred huge debts converting their residential premises to bed-and- breakfast facilities, in vain. Needless to say many ultimately had their houses repossessed as they were used as collateral.
"It is deeply disgusting that every time there is a sporting activity in our metro, downstream opportunities, as a matter of principled intention, bypass black business owners," Singapi said.