Row over Nelson Mandela Bay municipality's R15m EP Rugby bailout

13 April 2017 - 16:48 By Rochelle De Kock

In a spectacular clash of wills‚ the Nelson Mandela Bay coalition government members are at loggerheads over plans by the municipality to bail out the cash-strapped Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) with R15-million.

Deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani (UDM) is vehemently opposed to the idea‚ saying ratepayers should not have to pay for EPRU’s mismanagement of funds.

He accused the SA Rugby Union (Saru) of holding a gun to the city’s head by dangling three test matches over three years – including the one against Argentina in August – in exchange for the money.

At a highly charged mayoral committee meeting on Wednesday‚ Bobani argued that paying out the R15-million over three years was setting a bad precedent as other sporting codes could also come knocking.

The municipality would need the support of the majority in council‚ and without Bobani’s support‚ the DA and remaining coalition partners would have to lobby the opposition parties.

The proposal from the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) said if the city did not help EP Rugby with its R15-million debt‚ it could lose the tests and potential revenue for the city.

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