The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has cancelled all major events – including the popular Iron Man SA triathlon and the Splash Festival – until further notice, as an attempt to clamp down on a potential spread of the coronavirus.
Acting Executive Mayor, Thsonono Buyeye said the municipality met with event stakeholders to inform them of this decision, which was taken in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to limit large gatherings.
“In our case, our prestigious crowd pullers in the city – the annual Iron Man and Splash Festival – are the hardest hit by these developments,” Buyeye said.
Despite major water challenges, the municipality has also called on residents to be proactive in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
Big political events affected
Two political events have also been affected.
A memorial lecture in honour of Raymond Mhlaba, the first premier of the Eastern Cape, has been cancelled.
“It was scheduled for 20 March. We are told former president Thabo Mbeki was going to be the keynote speaker,” said Buyeye.
A Uitenhage rally commemorating the fallen victims of the 21 March 1985 KwaLanga massacre will also be affected. Around 3 000 people were expected to attend the rally.
Buyeye added the other challenge was the fast-approaching Easter holiday.
“We all know how numbers are a key factor in church activities, especially around the holy weekend.”
The Easter and Christmas seasons are the strongest crowd pullers in Nelson Mandela Bay when locals return home to be with their families and enjoy the events.
“Unfortunately, we have to disappoint our regular visitors this time around.”
Buyeye said people, who were supposed to attend the events, would have brought in a much-needed cash injection.
“We are saying this doesn’t even need to be a debate, we are just postponing events until we get clear confirmation to continue with business as usual.
“An economy can always recover, but the lives of the people, we cannot put a monetary value on.”
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