Cash-strapped Msunduzi wants to renew R18m Maritzburg United sponsorship
Durban - OPPOSITION parties in Msunduzi Municipality have rejected the council’s recommendation that a multimillion-rand sponsorship of the football club Maritzburg United be renewed for another three years.
The report was scheduled to be discussed during yesterday’s full council meeting, but was withdrawn for further deliberations.
The municipality’s contract with the club, valued at R15million, expired this year, and a new contract, if approved, would start in the current financial year for the next three seasons.
The value of the new deal is close to R18m over three years, as the documents state that in terms of the draft sponsorship agreement, an additional R1m per season was being requested over and above the sponsorship amount.
The additional R1m was to drive social welfare initiatives in partnership with the municipality in and around Pietermaritzburg.
Opposition parties shot down the proposal, saying the cash-strapped municipality was in financial difficulty and should be focusing on its service delivery priorities. It was reported recently that the municipality had insufficient financial reserves and was struggling to meet financial commitments.
However, in its report tabled before the full council yesterday, the municipality said it was recommending the contract between the municipality and the football club be renewed for another three years, commencing on the 2020-21 financial year.
“The city’s relationship with the club was beneficial in terms of the branding of the city. In terms of marketing and branding, the expired contract boasted gross multimedia exposure to the value of R55.2 million per season,” read the report.
African Christian Democratic Party councillor Rienus Niemand said: “Currently, the municipality is financially on its knees. It’s not possible to focus on soccer, as important as it is, while the city is struggling.”
DA councillor Sibongiseni Majola said while it supported the club, the city could ill-afford to provide another sponsorship, and it was time the club found a sponsor.