Maritzburg United’s great last-minute escape from relegation has prompted the outgoing Msunduzi local municipality to call on those who take office following the upcoming local government elections to keep up the municipality’s sponsorship of the team.
Mayor Chris Ndlela, who may not be mayor following the elections on August 3, said that be believed that the municipality’s three-year R36 million sponsorship of the team was worth every penny.
“We have seen huge benefits out of the relationship with the Team of Choice and this has been felt mainly by emerging entrepreneurs from the city,” he said.
Last week the municipality’s opposition parties slammed the municipality’s decision to sponsor two buses of Maritzburg United supporters to go to the match that saw the team come from behind to down Jomo Cosmos 3-1 in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
Ndlela said hosting the big teams, such as Kaizer Chief, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, had raised the profile of KwaZulu-Natal’s capital city Pietermaritzburg.
“The hospitality industry receives a major boost when these teams are here, when the stadium is packed it is good for vendors and the local economy,” he said.
In the past the African National Congress-controlled Msunduzi Municipality has come under severe criticism over the R12 million-a-year sponsorship, with opposition parties labelling it irregular expenditure.
“Regardless of what some may say, that sponsorship was money well spent, and if I had my way, the arrangement would be renewed,” said Ndlela.
– African News Agency (ANA)