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Spotlight on city for cricket cup

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An international event of this magnitude attracted millions of viewers “to cast their eyes on Kimberley as the spotlight”.

THE NORTHERN Cape Province, and specifically the city of Kimberley, is set to host this year’s ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup, which kicks off on Friday with the first match between South Africa and Afghanistan.

Monwabisi Nkompela, head of communication in the Office of the Premier, said yesterday that the city was expecting an influx of guests from surrounding areas as well as international cricket enthusiasts.

“People from around the world will be gracing the Province for the duration of the matches set to take place at the Diamond Oval. The rich melting pot of cultural diversity and beautiful landscapes makes the Province an ideal choice destination for various sporting tournaments.”

Nkompela added that an international event of this magnitude attracted millions of viewers “to cast their eyes on Kimberley as the spotlight”.

“The planning phase has been successfully completed with preparatory meetings and collaboration between the Northern Cape provincial government, the International Cricket Council (ICC), Northern Cape Cricket as well as the Northern Cape Tourism Authority,” Nkompela said.

“A team of volunteers will be on the ground assisting all task teams with their needs while a comprehensive security cluster team has made sure that it will be a smooth-running event without any unfavourable incidents.”

He added that the Sol Plaatje Municipality and the Department of Roads and Public Works were on track to ensure that the areas surrounding the oval were clean and accessible without any barriers to access.

“The Province is on a positive trajectory to becoming modern, growing and successful and this vision includes all communities and the sporting fraternity. We wish to remind everyone that this is a free event and we are looking forward to the attendance of local communities in their numbers.”

The spotlight fell on Kimberley recently with the ANC anniversary celebrations with some residents feeling that the city was not ready to be the focus of the international eye, with municipal services severely lacking. During several of his walkarounds, President Cyril Ramphosa criticised the state of the city’s roads, the lack of refuse removal and poor housing.

The CEO of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sharon Steyn, accused the provincial government of calling the world and exposing how the city had not been maintained.

“Now we are regarded as a disgusting city by ambassadors and leaders from other countries. We love our city and are proud of it but we were just embarrassed and exposed to the world,” she stated.

The role of the Sol Plaatje Municipality (SPM) has also come under scrutiny, with a local businessman, Marcus Banga, recently posting on Facebook that the municipality needed to “stop this nonsense of having executive directors on permanent employment contracts”.

“How do you allow an executive to work in the same municipality in the same position for 20 years or more,” he asked. “How do you stop mediocrity and complacency if someone knows that no matter what they do, there will be no adverse consequences – as is the case right now at SPM? How are you going to afford executives as their salaries rise to the extent that they even earn more than the premier? Can current executives hold their heads up high and declare that they deserve to work for SPM because their departments are delivering and the evidence can be seen all around the city?

“We cannot beg people to do the work that we pay them for. They must either shape up or ship out. Ons is moeg vir stront (We are tired of rubbish).”

Dipuo Peters, a former premier of the Province and now a Member of Parliament, said in response: “You hit the nail right on the head. Twenty years of doing what? They might have reached the end of their usefulness. They have reached the pinnacle of their creativity and just go with the flow. Mayors are roasted for their incompetence whilst they sit and laugh and claim to know what and where the problems are. Why have they not factored the solutions into their annual plans. I pray for mayor Patrick Mabilo, he is working in a very hostile environment with people who seem not to desire to be associated with good, excellent and positive outcomes. When people complain about lack of or poor service delivery where do these long-term workers place themselves. Our city leaves much to be desired because we have some cheque drawers and not performers of excellence. Cry our beloved city.”

Banga replied that “even our dead are not spared from this indignity”.

“Our cemeteries are a disgrace. Let us pray that the president seen publicly admonishing the mayor will help jerk them all up, especially the executives and their subordinates.”