Can’t af­ford to pay for van­ity projects

The Herald (South Africa) - - Opinion & Analysis -

It can­not be dis­puted that top-flight sport, in par­tic­u­lar that of pop­u­lar codes, is a po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive source of tourism rev­enue for any city. This is why cities in­vest in and com­pete to host suc­cess­ful sport­ing out­fits. How­ever, such de­ci­sions can­not be made on a whim, nor can they be in­flu­enced by pol­i­tics or any fac­tors other than solid eco­nomic re­turns. This is why we sup­port the sen­si­ble stance by Nel­son Man­dela Bay act­ing city man­ager Nox­olo Nqwazi in her de­mand to care­fully scru­ti­nise the pro­posal by Free State foot­ball out­fit Bloem­fontein Celtic, who are seek­ing to be hosted in our city.

On Thurs­day we re­ported that Celtic chair­man Max Tsha­bal­ala had met some of the metro’s politi­cians in Septem­ber, when they dis­cussed a pos­si­ble deal that would ei­ther see the team play some of its games in the Bay or be an­chored in the city.

There are many ques­tions that arise from th­ese talks. The first is the fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity of hav­ing a sec­ond PSL team hosted in Man­dela Bay, cur­rently the home of Chippa United.

Most im­por­tant is the fi­nan­cial health of Tsha­bal­ala’s team.

For months, Celtic had strug­gled to keep it­self afloat and at times bat­tled to hon­our pay­ments to its play­ers.

In its talks with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the team man­age­ment has so far not been trans­par­ent about its trou­bled fi­nan­cial sta­tus, nor has it made a con­vinc­ing case for why the metro should even con­sider look­ing in its di­rec­tion.

For this rea­son, we be­lieve there is no sen­si­ble rea­son to even con­sider the pro­posal.

The dire eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion in our city and else­where de­mands a cul­ture of fru­gal­ity.

It also de­mands a stricter process of scru­tiny of all those who want to do busi­ness with the city.

We can­not af­ford to spend money on van­ity projects that ap­peal to a group of politi­cians, yet bring no solid re­turns to the broader pay­ing pub­lic.

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