Nelspruit - Guesthouses and residential households in Mbombela (Nelspruit) have been urged to open their doors to the approximately 100 000 people expected to attend the ANC's election manifesto launch this weekend.
“Information we got from the ANC indicated that we can expect more than 100 000 people to attend the event,” Mbombela local municipality rural development and human settlements manager Dumisani Mabuza said.
“The municipality has been inundated with requests for accommodation, so we have cordially requested that we furnish potential visitors with contact details.”
The city’s population was expected to temporarily increase as President Jacob Zuma presented the manifesto to the public at Mbombela Stadium.
Mabuza, who circulated a letter to accommodation establishments and residents asking for permission to provide their contact details to potential visitors, said the event was unprecedented.
“This is bigger than the scale of major events, such as the African Cup of Nations tournament and Innibos, and has necessitated that a number of plans be activated to ensure maximum economic development for the city,” he said.
Jantie van Zyl, owner of La Villa Vita Guesthouse in Mbombela, said the establishment was fully booked for the weekend.
“We are glad that such important events are taking place in Nelspruit, as it will definitely give the province's economy a boost. Bookings for the weekend's preliminaries have been filled long in advance,” Van Zyl said.
Municipal spokesman Joseph Ngala said the municipality was comfortable hosting big events.
“We haven't had any problems in the past and our bed space is around 25 000, so we are confident that this particular event will run without any hitches,” he said.
Ngala explained that the provincial joint operation committee (JOC), operating from the Ehlanzeni Disaster Management Centre, would be activated to boost safety and security.
“This includes members of the emergency medical services and police. JOC has worked wonderfully in the past,” said Ngala.
The city was looking to boost township tourism.
“It should not be the already well-established names which receive an economic spin-off from tourism. Up-and-coming establishments need more exposure,” he said.