NMB’s Bayworld red-herring plan won’t revive tourist attraction

BY Athol Trollip, DA Mayoral Candidate: Nelson Mandela Bay

The newly-appointed Bayworld Director, Luvuyo Mini, has unknowingly exposed a web of neglect and ineptitude in the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SRAC) regarding Bayworld.

The DA has for years been pushing for an urgent revamp and upgrade of the dilapidated Bayworld facility since it went to rack and ruin some years ago, with many sections now totally closed.

The DA believes that NMB can become South Africa's next tourism Mecca attracting unprecedented numbers of visitors and creating thousands of jobs. With over 60 000 children visiting Bayworld every year, it should be a thriving education centre, and should attract tens of thousands of people from all over the Bay. More than ever we need tourist attractions that work, and that are well maintained.

This week the NMBM tabled yet another red herring item on Bayworld in the Economic Development, Tourism and Arts committee, confirming the extent of neglect and chaos within the management of the facility. The item refers to an existing and outdated revamp plan from 2004, fails to set down timeframes and once again alludes to the signing of a service-level agreement between the municipality and the province which has been the legal recommendation since 2009.
To date, and in an abandonment of due process, this “signed” service-level agreement has not been tabled in the EDTA committee, nor has it been seen by any DA representative in the provincial legislature. The DA will therefore make a PAIA application to have this signed document made public, if it exists.

Having exhausted numerous avenues in an attempt to resolve this ongoing issue, last week the DA approached Director Mini to ask for an urgent meeting. This was abruptly and negligently blocked citing the existence of a tabled provincial report, which “should have been received” by the DA.

This report was supposedly compiled after provincial legislature oversight was conducted in June 2015, which Mini falsely claimed “included representatives” from the DA.

Investigations reveal that the report has in fact not been tabled and remains in draft format on a desk in some forgotten corner of a Bhisho office. Furthermore, Ross Purdon MPL, the DA’s spokesperson and only representative on SRAC, was blocked from joining the Bayworld oversight committee last year and instead conveniently deployed to visit libraries in Kokstad.

Worse still, the MEC has failed to reconstitute a new board of trustees after the last Board’s term recently expired, leaving the facility flailing without public representation.

The DA is committed to winning Nelson Mandela Bay at this year’s municipal election so that the ANC’s reign of dishonesty can be cut short. It is time for a government of integrity; one that delivers better services, cuts corruption and creates jobs.

 March 17, 2016
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