Iron­man race in jeop­ardy af­ter an­other bud­get de­lay

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS - Odette Parfitt parfitto@ti­soblack­star.co.za

A DE­CI­SION that could make or break Nel­son Man­dela Bay’s sta­tus as the 2018 host city for the Iron­man 70.3 World Cham­pi­onship was post­poned again yes­ter­day by the city’s bud­get and trea­sury com­mit­tee.

The Her­ald had pre­vi­ously re­ported the city was at risk of los­ing the event if they could not se­cure R200-mil­lion in fund­ing for the resur­fac­ing of roads.

A pro­posal was made in coun­cil pre­vi­ously to use R13-mil­lion that was set aside for road resur­fac­ing in sev­eral wards to­wards up­grades for the Iron­man route.

How­ever, this was deferred for fur­ther dis­cus­sion in the com­mit­tee as coun­cil­lors were adamant that the bud­get for tar­ring town­ship roads should not be slashed for the event.

It is not yet clear where the bal­ance of the re­quired R200-mil­lion will come from, but bud­get and trea­sury head Retief Oden­daal as­sured the com­mit­tee that mayor Athol Trol­lip was hard at work on this is­sue.

Oden­daal also as­sured coun­cil­lors that the R13-mil­lion would be re­in­stated to the wards in the ad­just­ments bud­get, but to no avail.

Coun­cil­lors ques­tioned whether the event, which is ex­pected to draw about 16 000 vis­i­tors, would bring in enough economic ben­e­fits to war­rant such ex­pen­di­ture.

“We plainly can’t spend R200-mil­lion on one sport­ing event,” ANC coun­cil­lor Rory Riordan said. “We need an­swers about the pos­si­ble in­come from the event.”

United Front coun­cil­lor Mkhuseli Mt­sila said the pro­posed spend­ing did not ap­peal to the party.

“The resur­fac­ing will be done in well-de­vel­oped ar­eas. I don’t see the poor com­mu­ni­ties ben­e­fit­ing.”

Oden­daal said an es­ti­mated in­vest­ment of R500-mil­lion would be brought to the city through the event, while ANC coun­cil­lor Bicks Ndoni ques­tioned whether there were ways to mit­i­gate the huge spend­ing and find more cost-ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tives.

The com­mit­tee would meet again be­fore the next coun­cil meet­ing to fur­ther dis­cuss the is­sue, Oden­daal said.

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