City to splurge on celebs

2018-08-06 16:34

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The City is planning to spend more than R2 million on international celebrities invited to grace the much-anticipated opening of the Msunduzi Athletics Track later this month.

The track was initially expected to open in February but due to delays will now host the African Athletics League (AAL) for its launch on August 25. This competition will be the first of its kind on the African continent.

According to a report tabled at a special council meeting last week, the event could end up costing the municipality R3,9 million. On top of the R2 million in appearance fees, the City plans to spend R700 000 on plane tickets and R210 000 on accommodation for the international stars.

Invited guests include American track and field athletes Inika McPherson, Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin.

The AAL management has indicated that council also needs to contribute 30% of the event budget, which is R1,2 million, to host such an event.

General manager for community services Boniwe Zulu said the municipality will be seeking some of the funding required from the Department of Sport and Recreation, Department of Arts and Culture as well as the office of Premier Willies Mchunu.

The ANC councillors indicated that they are in support of the staging of the competition as it will put Pietermaritzburg on the world stage. They said it will also drum up hype for the Mandela Marathon, which will be held on August 26.

But councillors from the IFP, DA and ACDP recorded their objections saying council is going against its own cost containment strategy.

They said too much money is budgeted for celebrity athletes.

They proposed that the organising team should instead look into inviting South African record holders Wayde van Niekerk and Caster Semenya.

Zulu said both have been invited but they have not indicated if they will be coming.

DA’s Shawn Adkins said he also did not understand why they had to invite someone like Gatlin, who has previously been embroiled in several doping scandals.

“This council doesn’t have money. They don’t have money to fix the fire engines, they don’t have money to employ firemen ... because of finance,” said the DA’s Glenn McArthur.

ANC councillor Siphamandla Khumalo said the athletics track is a revenue enhancement entity because it will generate an income once it is opened.

“The report states clearly that departments will be approached to request funding so that we can mitigate the amount that we will be paying,” he said.

DA veteran councillor Bill Lambert said he supported the improvement of sporting facilities in the city but was also concerned about the money budgeted for the international stars.

KZN Athletics will host a trial event on August 18 to sort out any teething problems ahead of the AAL competition.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.