Letter | Ports Regulator will decide issue

In the meantime ABYC continues to pay R50 000 per month in rent;

  • The writer calls for the firing of the yacht club decision makers.
This may be an acceptable course of action for a private business or stateowned enterprise (SOE).

The ABYC is run by a dedicated band of volunteers who follow a strict democratic process which refers major decisions to members for a vote when required;

  • The writer wonders how many black members there are in the club?
We operate in a climate of dwindling membership and ABYC’s tenuous security of tenure has negatively impacted on our ability to introduce more people to our fantastic sport.

We do have members willing to once again contribute to a resumption of our development and training programme once our tenure issue has been solved;

  • The writer wonders how much fresh drinking water is used to wash down our “elite status symbols”?
The marina (ABSM) is a separate legal entity from ABYC, drawing water from the club and still subject to the municipal by-laws like everyone else in the city.

A ban on the use of hose pipes is reinforced and many use sea water for hosing down;

  • The writer doesn’t agree that a yacht club is needed to attract big sailing events to our city.
ABYC as a volunteer body is the right vehicle and, as its constitution says, only exists to “foster an interest in sailing”.

Of course the port facility can offer the infrastructure to host big sailing events.

Sailors rely on volunteers to provide safety, course laying, committee boats and personnel, regatta support personnel and assistance to sailors – skills that state-owned enterprises such as the TNPA lack and would have to buy in;

  • Regarding the restaurant, ABYC was hit by a fire in 2006 that destroyed the club and it was rebuilt at members’ expense.
In 2009 a storm destroyed the marina, which was rebuilt at members’ expense.

Couple the 2006 and 2009 disasters with huge questionable rental increases, loss of members and the “offer” by TNPA to allow the commercial activities by a restaurant to “help pay the rent” – although ABYC followed the terms of the lease by not collecting a rental for the area occupied by the restaurant – and applying the increased liquor sales to paying the increased rent.

As a sporting body within the land controlled by an SOE, we have been refused the same benefits that other sporting bodies on municipal land enjoy – no or little rental, no or discounted rates, lights and water.

The TNPA applies rental in a haphazard fashion across all of its properties.

Some clubs currently enjoy a 75% discount on the determined commercial rate for land while others such as ABYC and Mossel Bay Yacht Club have rentals of R50 0000 and R128 000 per month respectively.

As voluntary sporting bodies yacht clubs have to balance their service aspects with commercial aspects being forced upon them by an SOE increasingly hungry for money;

  • The “privileges” spoken about by the writer came at a price – historic and ongoing – that ABYC is well aware of its obligation to.
Those “privileges” all came out of the after-tax money of members who paid for the clubhouse, reclaiming of 60% of the land, the building of the hard standing (on which the smaller yachts receive maintenance), the slipway and contributed hundreds of thousands of hours (for no compensation).