NMB Stadium ball kicked into MBDA’s court

Nelson Mandela Bay’s development arm, the MBDA, will manage the city’s R2-billion stadium from next year, metro leaders decided yesterday.

The decision, made at a mayoral committee meeting, is subject to approval by the full council, which is expected to sit today. It is unlikely to change as the DA-led coalition holds the majority of seats in council.

The move is a complete reversal of the previous government’s decision to outsource the management of the stadium to a company.

The Green Point Stadium in Cape Town and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban are managed by their metros.

The municipality’s contract with Access Management, which has managed the stadium in Port Elizabeth for seven years, ends in December.

The new move dashes the hopes of a number of companies, including Access, which were bidding to win the lucrative contract.

“We will not be awarding that tender, primarily because we don’t believe that we can afford the costs,” mayor Athol Trollip said at the meeting .

“We will have to look for alternative stadium management proposals.”

In a presentation to the committee, MBDA head Pierre Voges gave the metro three options to operate the stadium and the precinct around it.

One would be for the MBDA to manage the stadium and the precinct.

A second would be for the metro’s sports recreation, arts and culture department to manage the stadium and the MBDA to manage the precinct.

A third option would be for the municipality to manage the entire facility internally.

“The MBDA has no stadium or sports management experience,” Voges said.

“A division will have to be formed, procuring suitably experienced and qualified staff.”

He proposed that the MBDA establish a unit to manage the stadium, with some of the 72 Access Management employees being asked to form part of it.

The metro’s contract with Access was renewed on a month-to-month basis from July. Access Management chief executive Chantal du Pisani said: “The staff know that the contract ends on December 31.

“We are hoping the new operator will take the junior staff, but everyone was advised to look for other jobs.” Du Pisani declined to say how many staff members would be affected.

Voges told the committee that although the options he presented were possibly not the best, choosing one of the three was better than having a company managing the stadium.

He said the MBDA was in a better position to run the stadium but lacked the internal capacity at present to manage such a facility.

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