Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium af­fected by an­chor ten­ant im­passe

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Front Page - Rochelle de Kock dekockr@ti­soblack­star.co.za

The bosses of the Isuzu South­ern Kings and the Man­dela Bay Devel­op­ment Agency, who have clashed over the sign­ing of a new an­chor ten­ant agree­ment, have 30 days to iron out their dif­fer­ences and fi­nalise the con­tract.

Un­til then, the Kings will con­tinue to play their games at al­ter­na­tive venues away from Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium.

The im­passe, which has dragged on for weeks, is what led to the Kings play­ing their last three matches at Nel­son Man­dela Univer­sity’s Madibaz Sta­dium. The team is sched­uled to play its next match on No­vem­ber 25, also at the Madibaz Sta­dium.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity this week stepped in to try to get the par­ties to reach an agree­ment as it was ul­ti­mately a coun­cil deci- sion to have an­chor ten­ants at the sta­dium to en­sure it does not be­come an un­der-utilised white ele­phant.

Act­ing city man­ager Nox­olo Nqwazi, who is also the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of sports, re­cre­ation, arts and cul­ture, met rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the devel­op­ment agency, sta­dium man­age­ment, the EP Rugby Union and Kings on Thurs­day, when it was agreed that games would re­turn to the sta­dium as soon as an agree­ment was signed.

Nqwazi said an­chor ten­ants were im­por­tant for the fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity of the sta­dium and to achieve the city’s sport tourism ob­jec­tives.

While it costs the mu­nic­i­pal­ity for se­cu­rity, traf­fic and emer­gency ser­vices ev­ery time a match is hosted at the sta­dium, there are prof­its to be made for the sta­dium.

“The de­ci­sion of [rent­ing out suites] is based on the games played at the sta­dium. Ad­ver­tis­ing by var­i­ous com­pa­nies as well is based on the games.

“The sta­dium also makes prof­its when the sta­dium is in use [if] an­chor ten­ants play all their games at the sta­dium. “There­fore, the mat­ters of con­flict must be re­solved and the Kings must re­main as an­chor ten­ants,” Nqwazi said.

“The meet­ing ac­knowl­edged the risk is­sues, as raised by the MBDA, which needed to be mit­i­gated. There will be a meet­ing of all stake­hold­ers to look into the an­chor ten­ant agree­ment to fi­nalise the mat­ter,” she said.

It is un­clear ex­actly which clauses in the con­tract the Kings and the agency are strug­gling to agree on, with Nqwazi say­ing it was around event costs, tick­et­ing and dis­agree­ments over who would be re­spon­si­ble for which costs.

The agency, which took over the man­age­ment of the sta­dium in Jan­uary 2017, has been ne­go­ti­at­ing new an­chor agree­ments with the Kings and EPRU as the Kings re­cently un­der­went a change of own­er­ship.

A con­sor­tium of pre­dom­i­nantly black busi­ness­men bought the ma­jor­ity stake in the fran­chise.

A joint state­ment from the agency’s CEO, Ashraf Adam, sta­dium man­ager Mpho Mokonyama, EPRU pres­i­dent An­dre Rade­man and Nqwazi, said the agency had been ne­go­ti­at­ing a new an­chor ten­ant agree­ment with the Kings for

MBDA spokesper­son LUVUYO BANGAZI

the 2018-19 sea­son.

“There has been dis­agree­ment on some terms and con­di­tions, hence the par­ties agreed to a one-match agree­ment (Au­gust 2018), pend­ing the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of a new an­chor ten­ant agree­ment.

“All mat­ters re­lat­ing to EPRU have been fi­nalised and an agree­ment will be signed soon.

“As far as an Isuzu South­ern Kings agree­ment is con­cerned, the act­ing city man­ager [Nqwazi] has man­dated the par­ties to a round-ta­ble dis­cus- sion to iron out the var­i­ous is­sues in con­tention.

“A dead­line of 30 days has been agreed to by both par­ties for an an­chor ten­ant agree­ment to be fi­nalised.”

They added that all were in agree­ment that the Kings would con­tinue to play matches at al­ter­na­tive venues un­til a new agree­ment was in place.

“It is im­por­tant to note that all par­ties are com­mit­ted and en­gaged to en­sure that rugby re­turns to its right­ful place at the iconic Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium,” they said.

MBDA spokesper­son Luvuyo Bangazi said on Fri­day: “We are do­ing all we can to re­tain foot­ball and rugby as a core com­po­nent of the sta­dium

We are do­ing all we can to re­tain foot­ball and rugby as a core com­po­nent of the sta­dium busi­ness

busi­ness.

“We do not fore­see a fu­ture with­out our ten­ants, which is why we are con­tin­u­ously en­gag­ing with them to find win­win sce­nar­ios.

“The sta­dium needs to gen­er­ate rev­enue and lessen its bur­den on ratepay­ers. That’s the man­date to the MBDA.”

Early last year, the coun­cil agreed to a R15m bailout of EP Rugby to help with its fi­nan­cial woes – a move it said would help save pro­fes­sional rugby in the prov­ince.

The money was to be paid in tranches of R5m over three years.

Nqwazi said this week that the city could not back out of its fund­ing agree­ment with EP Rugby, re­gard­less of whether or not an an­chor con­tract would be signed.

She said the fund­ing agree- ment was in its last year, but the city had not yet paid the money for the 2018-19 fi­nan­cial year.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult one. We have an agree­ment in place.

“The fund­ing agree­ment is in place be­cause we want to sup­port rugby lo­cally at a de­vel­op­men­tal level but also to sup­port the rugby academy at the univer­sity be­cause it then feeds into pro­fes­sional rugby.

“And to sup­port the Kings as well,” she said.

NO KINGS HERE: A ten­ant clash has ren­dered the iconic Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium tem­po­rar­ily off lim­its to the South­ern Kings

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