East Lon­don fully booked as cel­e­bra­tions be­gin

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BON­GANI HANS

EAST Lon­don’s econ­omy has re­ceived an early bo­nanza for 2018.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion in the Eastern Cape city is fully booked as hun­dreds of ANC lead­ers and sup­port­ers have de­scended on it for the party’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tions on Satur­day.

Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency ex­ec­u­tive mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Nopasika Mx­un­yelwa said ho­tels and B&Bs had been the big­gest ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the ANC event.

“Peo­ple who I have spo­ken to are say­ing that they are fully booked. We have also been con­tacted by some in­di­vid­u­als who were look­ing for ac­com­mo­da­tion, and we told them that if the es­tab­lish­ments are say­ing they are full, it means they are full, and we don’t have al­ter­na­tive places. The sit­u­a­tion is that the city is fully booked,” said Mx­un­yelwa.

In­de­pen­dent Me­dia vis­ited sev­eral restau­rants and night­clubs on Tues­day night, all of which were packed with peo­ple clad in ANC cloth­ing.

Ac­tiv­i­ties at some of the es­tab­lish­ments con­tin­ued un­til the early hours of yes­ter­day, with pa­trons in­dulging in a broad range of liquor.

Hawk­ers trad­ing in ANC re­galia hogged Ox­ford Street be­tween North and Stephen­son streets, where the ANC’s Dr WB Rubu­sana re­gional of­fice is sit­u­ated, sell­ing any­thing from shoes, hats and blouses, all in ANC colours.

Some used speed points to col­lect pay­ments, say­ing they were do­ing this to avoid rob­beries as well as as­sist­ing cus­tomers who did not carry cash.

Buf­falo City mu­nic­i­pal­ity mayor Xola Pakati said: “(Of­fi­cials) have ticked all the boxes and want to de­liver an in­ci­dent-free event. Our safety and se­cu­rity agen­cies are ready... we are on standby for any even­tu­al­i­ties.”

Pakati said the eco­nomic spinoffs of the events were touch­ing all sec­tors of the econ­omy.

“In terms of tourism, we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a big boost, which comes af­ter a bumper fes­tive sea­son.

“Ac­com­mo­da­tion, ren­tal and other es­tab­lish­ments are fully booked and even ordinary peo­ple are taking ad­van­tage of this event and rent­ing out their houses.”

Pakati said vis­i­tors who failed to se­cure ac­com­mo­da­tion in the city were redi­rected to the nearby Great Kei and Nd­lambe mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“Var­i­ous streets around the venues (be­ing used for the event) will be closed on Satur­day in order to man­age the traf­fic.

“Thou­sands of peo­ple who will be trav­el­ling from all over the coun­try will be greeted with friendly faces, a stern po­lice force and an at­mos­phere that re­flects both the mag­ni­tude and spirit of the event,” said Pakati.

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