Stadium mismanagement described
MBDA tells committee it is taking time to turn around the chaos which reigned at city’s iconic sports facility
The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) inherited an institution that was characterised by chaos which included irregular payments, unauthorised expenditure and deviations when the agency took over the management of the iconic Mandela Bay Stadium in 2017.Computers were hacked and people’s phones, e-mails, electricity and air conditioners were sabotaged while DStv cards were damaged.This was the grim picture painted by agency CEO Ashraf Adam during a municipal public accounts m committee (MPAC) member oversight visit to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.The oversight visit took place two months after an Mpac meeting at which a call was made to take back the stadium and hand it over to a facilities management agency due to alleged poor management by the MBDA.Before the MBDA took control of the stadium, it was managed by Access Facilities and Leisure Management – with the contract ending in June 2016.The municipality’s contract with Access has been mired in controversy amid allegations that the facility management company was used as a vehicle to launder money siphoned from the city’s beleaguered Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS).Five people, including former Access CEO Stephan Pretorius, are standing trial in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court in a multimillionrand fraud case linked to the alleged siphoning off of funds given to the municipality by National Treasury for the IPTS.Adam, who was addressing councillors and other stakeholders at the stadium, said they had found evidence of several frivolous decisions allegedly taken by officials who were there prior to their tenure.“What we found when we came here was unauthorised and irregular expenditure.“A number of deviations had to be put in place and as accounting officer I allowed that [to go on] until the end of the June financial year,” he said.The following month, Adam said, he had put his foot down when it came to unauthorised or irregular expenditure.“It was at that point that I instituted a forensic investigation. There was deviation to the amount of R7.2m found.“We need to understand what was going on. Unfortunately people left before action could be taken against them,” he said.The committee had expressed serious concern about the performance of the MBDA in the achievement of its key performance indicators for the 2017/2018 financial year.One area of this was the management of the stadium, where indications of a poor governance environment were identified. This was evidenced by a lack of policies and procedures being implemented.Adam said he and his team had to put in place mechanisms and processes for sound governance.Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium manager Mpho Mokonyama outlined the successes they have had to date, highlighting the hosting of rugby games and music events. He said plans were at an advanced stage to turn the institution around and make the stadium viable.He said they were also looking at having a permanent restaurant at the stadium which would be open for public patronage on any day.“The business of sport is unique. You require unique skills to keep up with new trends for people to come to the stadium,” Mokonyama said.