Mbalula: We did what was right for SA

Durban – Financial disagreements with the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) led to SA losing the bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, Mbalula said that one of the main reasons for SA losing the Games was because the CGF were not happy with SA's financial bid.

"Our bidding was very cautious, unlike with soccer where we built many stadiums that we did not plan for and had cost overruns we have experience. We cannot be duped, manipulated or threatened. We know what we want and it is within our means," Mbalula said.

Mbalula said cabinet had approved a budged of R4.32 billion for the Games. However, CGF felt that SA and government needed to bring more to the table, the Minister said.

Mbalula added that when the Games were awarded, SA did not sign a host city agreement.

The reason for this, he said, was because clauses in the agreement would have compromised SA and government was not prepared to sign an open-ended financial guarantee.

Mbalula said the clause asked that government meet any potential shortfall in the budget of the organising committee that arouse from preparations for the hosting of the Games.

In giving the CGF a financial guarantee, in July last year Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan signed an operational budget guarantee budget of R2.6 billion with a contingency budget of 18% of the full budget amounting to R479 million.

Mbalula said the financial guarantee was also subject to the willingness of the CGF to constructively engage with SA and Durban on all possible revenue sharing streams related to the games including ticketing, merchandising and broadcast rights.

Mbalula indicated that these matters could not be agreed upon.

"Having learnt lessons from other events, the SA government had no appetite to issue an open ended guarantee…the expectation that the SA government will have to provide more than what cabinet had approved could not be sustained in the current economic environment," he said.

Mbalula added that in the need for fiscal discipline, government believed it acted in the best interest of SA.

"We thank all political principals and officials from all spheres of government who worked tirelessly on these games," he said.

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