Sports dept to negotiate hotel rates for school sporting events

2013-11-04 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Sports and Recreation Department is considering meeting with hotel groups in the province to negotiate rates for the accommodation of pupils attending school sporting events.

“I have undertaken to meet with some of the big groups in the province to look at what rates we can engage with in terms of accommodating young people and learners,” head of department Rohini Naidoo said, appearing before the standing committee on public accounts last week.

Her statements came following the recent provincial Top Schools Tournament that saw 6 500 pupils accommodated in Durban hotels.

Weekend Witness reported two weeks ago that the department picked up the bill for 1 000 pupils at the Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani Hotel, and 200 technical and sports officials at the five-star Hilton Hotel.

At the time it was reported that the department claimed the accommodation was at a discounted price, but refused to disclose how much it had cost.

However, Weekend Witness established that some of the hotels charged between R1 450 and R1 710 for one room or a double room per night, including breakfast. One of the hotels was quoted as having offered a discount of R360 per room a night.

Speaking to Scopa, Naidoo said the department had had to accommodate 6 500 people due to the growth of the school sport programme.

“We were forced to use Durban as a venue because of the facilities that were required,” she said.

She blamed the timing of the event for the use of five-star hotels to accommodate pupils.

“We planned for this event for September, because the national event is in December. We then had to review that event in KwaZulu-Natal because it is holiday time here and accommodation is really exorbitant,” Naidoo said.

She said the other options the department had were the July and December holidays, when universities were closed and hostels available.

“We have had to review again in terms of how events are scheduled. This has to meet the national event timeline.”

Naidoo added that when the provincial event was set to be hosted in September, the period was deemed suitable in terms of accommodation, but it was not to be as the department competed with the AmaShova cycle race for accommodation.

Naidoo said the five-day event was reduced to a day and a half to save costs.

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