THE report in The Herald on September 27 states "Bay officially launches 2013 Afcon ticket sales".
Firstly, I wish to highlight that the cost of hosting Afcon 2013 has already risen from the original amount of R30-million to R43-million. Secondly, there is no provision in our current budget to host Afcon, so all expenditure incurred thus far is unauthorised and totally illegal.
Andrew Dipela states the launch confirmed that Nelson Mandela Bay would be one of the host cities for Afcon. Deputy mayor Nancy Sihlwayi attended the launch knowing full well we have not been informed where the R43-million is going to come from and as such it has not been approved by council.
She has also made it clear that we are hosting this event when it has not even been approved by council.
This clearly shows that the ruling party has no respect for council and the public purse. Not that this is surprising as we have witnessed this over the past two years or so.
What is somewhat surprising is that it comes at a time when service delivery protests are virtually a daily occurrence and the inability to fund even the most basic services is being challenged. We hear from officials that they cannot service the bucket toilets nor eradicate them, that they cannot keep our libraries open six days a week, that they cannot cut grass in the public open spaces, repair potholes, maintain roads, water and electrical infrastructure, etc, because of the lack of funding.
However, mayor Zanoxolo Wayile can find funds to host Afcon irrespective of the consequences thereof. Let us not forget we spent R 878-million to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup after we budgeted to spend only R340-million, an over-expenditure of R538-million which has now plunged this metro into a financial crisis.
The main contributor to this was undoubtedly the provincial Treasury, that underpaid this metro R459-million. It has now pledged R15.4-million to assist the metro, but are we sure we will receive the funds, when we consider what it did to us after the World Cup?
We are also informed national Treasury has made R24-million available to all five Afcon host cities, so we can at best expect to receive R4.8-million from it and R15.4-million from Bhisho, a total of R20.2-million.
This still leaves us with a shortfall of R22.8-million, which we simply cannot afford.
The DA understands the agreement that the metro has signed with Safa has an escape clause, which states that our commitment is based on the availability of funds.
We clearly do not have sufficient funds to balance our current budget, which only has R500000 in it to eradicate the bucket system and yet we remain committed to host Afcon.
Wayile and the ANC are quite prepared to make the same mistake again by spending on soccer when service delivery to the residents of this metro is at an all-time low.
The mayor and the ANC are actually telling the residents of Walmer Township and the other 38000 households who still use the bucket system that they will be able to enjoy the Afcon matches, if they can afford the tickets, but they will have to continue to use their buckets.
Soccer is far more important than the needs of our communities.
The DA calls on the media and all the residents of this metro to put pressure on the mayor to use the escape clause in the Afcon agreement as we simply cannot afford another financial disaster.
DA caucus leader Leon de Villiers, Port Elizabeth