The Democratic Alliance welcomes the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture’s (DSRAC) move to raise R500 million to repair and upgrade the Bayworld facility to regain its place as a pride of the bay area. Sadly it comes a bit late after the huge public outcry and the numerous calls for action by myself in the Provincial Legislature. (“New drive to revive R500m Bayworld Plan”, The Herald, 19 May).
I, like the other MPLs, find myself in the unfortunate position to know that none of the departments in the province, especially those mentioned in the article, do not have the required funding to give towards the project. Departments and entities have already presented their budgets to the portfolio committees and the budgets are to be finalised in next week’s sitting of the legislature. The Education Department, that is mooted to give R120 million, is already sitting with a deficit of around R1 billion. The other departments mentioned are in no way sitting in better financial positions to do so.
But on a more positive note, the following should be considered: The only way to save Bayworld without completely bankrupting other departments requires a three faceted approach. Firstly, the MEC needs to urgently approach the National Ministries of Sport and Recreation or Tourism for immediate funding to make essential repairs before the Soccer World Cup that kicks off in three weeks. Secondly, a public, private partnership (PPP) needs to be created between Provincial and Local governments and the private sector to maintain the facility at acceptable standards. Finally, the same or a similar PPP needs to work on the long-term goal to expand Bayworld to be a world class facility, similar to that of uShaka in Durban.
There is consistent proof that properly managed PPP have been the only way to resurrect embattled public facilities such as Bayworld.
I will remain persistent in asking the right questions in the legislature and place pressure where is need to restore Bayworld to at least its former glory.