Durban - Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla says they are willing to defend the decision to sponsor Royal AM on any platform as the move was not driven by politics but informed by economics as having a Premier Soccer League (PSL) team yields massive spinoffs for the KwaZulu-Natal capital.
He said they would continue bidding for other tournaments and teams to play in Pietermaritzburg.
Thebolla was speaking at a media briefing aimed at highlighting the progress made since the start of the 2023/24 financial year.
He said while the Royal AM matter was in court, he felt the need to clarify some points of the sponsorship deal, which he insisted was a collective council decision. He spoke of how the decision had been prompted by the relegation of Maritzburg United from the PSL and council saw the need to have another professional outfit use Harry Gwala Stadium as its home ground.
“This was not an entertainment or political move, but was an economic decision. We were very conscious when we took the decision and have no regrets in taking it because of the impact it has had on local businesses,” said Thebolla.
He said when the local team was playing big teams such as Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates, local accommodation outlets and petrol stations experienced a huge demand for their services.
According to the mayor, the municipality was doing what other major cities were doing in attracting renowned sporting teams across the codes as this was known to have a positive impact on their economies.
Regarding improvements in the city, he said the municipality had rolled out the urban renewal project that involved clearing blocked drains and ensuring all buildings subscribed to the regulatory standards. He also alluded to how the municipality dealt with illegal dumping hot spots, ensuring proper accommodation and rehabilitation for vagrants.