Eco­nomic agency takes con­trol of con­ven­tion cen­tre

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - SANDI KWON HOO CHIEF REPORTER

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL Con­ven­tion So­lu­tions (ICS) has va­cated the Mit­tah Seperepere Con­ven­tion Cen­tre (MSCC) and re­moved all their as­sets, fol­low­ing a court or­der that in­structed that they should leave the premises last month.

The court, on Au­gust 7, dis­missed an ap­peal by Um­fana Busi­ness En­ter­prises CC and Sil­ver So­lu­tions CC joint ven­ture trad­ing as ICS in an at­tempt to pre­vent their evic­tion from the premises.

The North­ern Cape High Court found that the agree­ment be­tween the De­part­ment of Fi­nance, Eco­nomic Af­fairs and Tourism and ICS had been validly can­celled in 2012.

The com­pany was or­dered to hand in its fi­nan­cial state­ments as well as pro­vide a break­down of all in­come gen­er­ated through the hir­ing out of the venue, within 30 days of the court or­der.

ICS man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Clarissa Carstens in­di­cated that they would not be tak­ing their ap­peal on re­view.

She stated that ICS ceased venue man­age­ment of the MSCC as from Septem­ber 7, fol­low­ing a two-year court bat­tle.

“The North­ern Cape Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Trade and In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion Agency (Nceda) took full con­trol of venue man­age­ment of this fa­cil­ity as from Septem­ber 8.”

Carstens said an agree­ment was reached where they would or­gan­ise all the events at MSCC that had been booked with their com­pany un­til the end of the year. “De­posits paid for events to ICS were ne­go­ti­ated with Nceda to be ex­e­cuted as quoted and agreed upon. This is to en­sure a smooth tran­si­tion and com­mit­ment to our clients.”

She added that they had been in­un­dated with calls from mem­bers of the pub­lic want­ing to make book­ings, where they said there was no one to as­sist them at MSCC.

“They com­plained that af­ter we left the doors were locked and there are no staff on site.”

The CEO of Nceda, Tho­bela Dikeni, said that the MSCC was op­er­a­tional.

“We held a suc­cess­ful func­tion last week and will host the Pol­musca mu­sic fes­ti­val as well as the her­itage awards cer­e­mony this month. There is no book­ing that we failed to hon­our,” said Dikeni.

“We only legally took over the man­age­ment of the cen­tre last week. We will need time to es­tab­lish our­selves and there are bound to be some teething prob­lems. Bud­getary pro­cesses must un­fold and we are as­sess­ing if there are any losses, theft or dam­ages and are check­ing the as­set reg­is­ter.”

He stated that a per­son had been ap­pointed to make book­ings for the fa­cil­ity and to han­dle en­quiries.

“We have put to­gether a team from Nceda for cor­po­rate ser­vices and risk man­age­ment and have ap­pointed se­cu­rity.”

Dikeni in­di­cated that they did not in­tend ap­point­ing an events man­age­ment com­pany to run the MSCC.

“At the mo­ment Nceda staff are op­er­at­ing the cen­tre. We will out­source the cater­ing so as to boost lo­cal busi­nesses, where pref­er­ence will be given to black eco­nomic em­pow­ered busi­nesses along with women and youth en­trepreneurs. We will still de­cide on whether other ser­vices such as clean­ing will be out­sourced.”

Dikeni said they had met with ICS and re­minded them to com­ply with the court or­der to hand over their out­stand­ing fi­nan­cial state­ments, de­tail­ing their ex­penses and in­come.

“I un­for­tu­nately can­not con­firm whether this in­for­ma­tion has been handed in. It is only af­ter the au­di­tor-gen­eral has scru­ti­nised the books, that cal­cu­la­tions can be made as to what ICS must pay back to pro­vin­cial govern­ment. If they refuse to hand over their fi­nan­cials, the law will have to take its course.”

He added that he was not aware of the R9 mil­lion rates and taxes debt in­curred by ICS.

“We have not seen any mu­nic­i­pal ac­count ei­ther for Nceda or for ICS. If the debt was in­curred by ICS they will be li­able to pay for it.”

Dikeni stated that no staff em­ployed at MSCC by ICS would be ab­sorbed by Nceda.

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