Our city was not ready – Nocci

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - News - BOIPELO MERE STAFF RE­PORTER

THE ECO­NOMIC im­pact of the ANC’S 108th An­niver­sary Cel­e­bra­tions hosted in Kim­ber­ley has left lo­cal busi­nesses hot un­der the col­lar.

The CEO of the North­ern Cape Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (Nocci), Sharon Steyn, asked why Kim­ber­ley had been cho­sen to host an event of such a mag­ni­tude when it was clearly not ready and lacked the ca­pac­ity.

Steyn added that she was dis­ap­pointed that the ANC boasted about its readi­ness around host­ing the an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions be­fore clean­ing its own house, and be­fore bring­ing peo­ple from other prov­inces to wit­ness its weak­nesses.

She fur­ther stated that Nocci, as the for­mal busi­ness sec­tor, had not been en­gaged prop­erly, de­spite the fact that this sec­tor is the big­gest con­trib­u­tor to the North­ern Cape econ­omy.

It has been re­ported that the ANC spent more than R50 mil­lion on the cel­e­bra­tions with the cake alone cost­ing R127 000.

It has also been al­leged that ser­vice providers for the event de­manded that they be paid up front as they feared that they would not re­ceive their money.

Nocci ac­cused the ANC govern­ment of call­ing the world and ex­pos­ing how they had failed to main­tain the city, which was dubbed as the clean­est city 14 years ago.

“Now we are re­garded as a dis­gust­ing city by am­bas­sadors and lead­ers from other coun­tries.

“We love our city and are proud of it, but we were em­bar­rassed and ex­posed to the world.”

Steyn pointed out, how­ever, that it was fan­tas­tic that guests houses and ho­tels were fully booked, but added that the city did not get half of the boost that it had ex­pected from the week-long ex­trav­a­ganza.

She said that it was sad that the ANC had spent so much money on a cel­e­bra­tion, while the host­ing com­mu­nity was suf­fer­ing and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity had no money to clean its own town.

“It is a fact that we did not have the ca­pac­ity to host the event and were just em­bar­rassed as a town. We even had a tongue-lash­ing from the pres­i­dent, where the premier and the mayor seem­ingly did not know how to re­spond.

Busy

“The guest houses were fully booked, garages were busy and so were the shop­ping malls, which was good . . . an ap­plause for that. But it also showed the lack of en­gage­ment from the event or­gan­is­ers which would have en­abled us to in­crease our re­sources in that re­gard.”

She added that lo­cal SMMES were also not taken into con­sid­er­a­tion as “friends were con­sid­ered while lo­cal ex­per­tees were over­looked”.

“The set-up was so in­for­mal that SMMES did not get a plat­form to show­case their busi­nesses. Some of the vis­i­tors also headed straight to the malls and bot­tle stores be­fore making their way into the Tafel Lager Park sta­dium for the rally.”

Stein said that no com­plaints were re­ceived from busi­ness own­ers re­gard­ing mis­be­haviour as the pa­trons were well be­haved.

She also raised con­cerns re­gard­ing the bud­get for bring­ing in the po­lice and mem­bers of the de­fence force for se­cu­rity pur­poses.

“Where did that money come from? How much was spent on ac­com­mo­da­tion for the se­cu­rity of­fi­cers?”

Ac­cord­ing to Steyn that money could have been spent con­struc­tively, like clean­ing the city in­stead.

“Those se­cu­rity guards were reck­less and put the lives of other road users at risk.

“Many peo­ple also had to drive through­out the night to at­tend the cel­e­bra­tion due to a lack of ac­com­mo­da­tion.”

Fingers were also pointed at govern­ment de­part­ments for their role in the lack of ser­vice de­liv­ery from the Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“The pres­i­dent be­rated the Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity for the poor roads and the lack of refuse re­moval. How­ever, he did not say any­thing about the fact that govern­ment de­part­ments owed the mu­nic­i­pal­ity R800 mil­lion in ar­rears. Imag­ine what can be done with R800 mil­lion?

“The Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity is on the brink of bankruptcy and the govern­ment is point­ing fingers at ev­ery­one ex­cept them­selves for not pay­ing for ser­vices,” one res­i­dent pointed out.

“When schools re­open, ev­ery­one ex­pects ev­ery school to have wa­ter and elec­tric­ity, but how much does the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works owe the mu­nic­i­pal­ity,” he asked.

All at­tempts to get com­ment from the ANC in the Prov­ince were fu­tile.

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