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School sports tournament to bring cash injection for city

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The Absa Wildeklawer Sport 2023 tournament is projected to generate over R100,000 in economic spin-offs and attract an expected 10,000 visitors to Kimberley from April 23 to May 1.

File picture: Dave Alexander

THE ABSA Wildeklawer Sport 2023 tournament is projected to generate over R100,000 in economic spin-offs and attract an expected 10,000 visitors to Kimberley from April 23 to May 1.

Absa Wildeklawer sport manager Cassie Carstens said that 182 teams from 102 schools in the Northern Cape and 4,439 participants and officials would be participating in the event.

Rugby, netball and soccer matches will be hosted at Diamantveld High School, Newton Primary School, Sol Plaatje University and Kimberley Boys’ High School.

Carstens indicated that Sol Plaatje Municipality had agreed to postpone the scheduled water shutdown this weekend for the duration of the sports event.

“However, we would not have postponed the tournament even if the water cut went ahead because it is such a huge event. We would have had contingency plans in place such as providing water tanks and other provisions.”

Carstens added that the flagship event would have a “gigantic impact” on the economy and tourism of the city.

“All guest houses, lodges and restaurants will be filled to capacity and tourist attractions such as the Big Hole will be frequented by many visitors.”

Carstens stated that the economic injection into Kimberley and surrounding towns in 2022 was in excess of R120,000.

“We have estimated that the event will attract an investment of R100,000 into the city this year.”

He added that the sports event provided top and local schools an equal opportunity to participate in one of the biggest school sports tournaments in the country and to promote social cohesion, friendship and sportsmanship.

“Every year it is getting bigger and better. This year we have 16 soccer teams that will be competing. Our partnership with Absa will broaden our vision to expand and opportunities for the sporting fraternity,” Carstens stated.

The CEO of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharon Steyn, said local businesses were preparing for an influx of 10,000 visitors to Kimberley.

“All hotels and guest houses in the city as well as surrounding towns such as Hartswater are fully booked. It will also benefit restaurants, retailers, petrol stations, coffee shops and malls. We have appealed to business owners to extend their trading hours, especially on Freedom Day as it will tremendously benefit the economy. This is one of the biggest sporting events that attracts visitors to the city and we encourage local communities to also support this event,” said Steyn.

She thanked the Sol Plaatje municipal manager and the executive mayor for accommodating their request to move the scheduled water shutdown from April 21-23 to May 5-7 for the Absa Wildeklawer sports tournament and Eid ul Fitr celebrations this weekend.

“It would have been a disaster if tens of thousands of visitors were left without water during the sports event as well as during the religious Eid holiday. There is also a clay pigeon event next week that attracts international visitors.”

Steyn added that requests to clean the city and entry points ahead of the sports tournament had fallen on deaf ears.

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Thoko Riet was not aware of any intended clean-up programmes.

“We have not received any requests yet,” she said.

File picture: Danie van der Lith
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