/ 6 November 2023

MBDA’s 20th anniversary programme aims to reflect, engage, entertain

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The Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) is marking its 20th anniversary in August with a programme of events showcasing its impact in regenerating urban spaces across the metro – an investment of over R1 billion over two decades.

The events in the MBDA’s key mandate areas of Central and the CBD, Kings Beach, the NMB Stadium and New Brighton aim to highlight the potential of urban renewal to “bring people back into public spaces that attract investment and business activity, and provide clean, safe places to live, work and play,” said MBDA CEO Anele Qaba.

He noted the programme of events to celebrate the MBDA’s 20th anniversary would take place in the agency’s various mandate areas across the metro, highlighting sustainable development successes and challenges, by engaging communities who live and work in the areas.

“The anniversary programme aims to visibly demonstrate why the MBDA was established 20 years ago, to celebrate what has been achieved and what is possible in these renewed spaces, and to look to the future of what we will be doing through our new strategic plan and a return to our core mandate of people-centred urban renewal,” he said.

The programme includes popular, family-friendly events, including the Urban Run obstacle course through the city centre and Baakens precinct, taking in historic landmarks and public art developed by the MBDA, on Sunday, 20 August.

The Baakens Food Truck Festival, in abeyance since the COVID-19 pandemic, returns to the valley in a new venue in nearby Produce Street on Saturday, 26 August, organised by founder Grant Foong in partnership with the MBDA, and featuring some of the Bay’s favourite food vendors and live entertainment.

The NMB Stadium, managed by the MBDA, will hold an open day on 8 August for corporates, event organisers and the public, to showcase business opportunities and the versatility of the multi-purpose facility for a variety of events, conferences and meetings in addition to its calendar of sports fixtures.

The programme moves to New Brighton on 17 August for a community imbizo in partnership with Nedbank, to engage stakeholders on the impact of the Singaphi Street upgrade.

The MBDA’s work to revitalise the lower Baakens Valley will come under the spotlight on 22 August with the release of the Baakens Economic Impact Study reviewing the catalytic effect of the agency’s investment in the area on private sector investment, economic activity, jobs, quality of life and the natural environment.

Highlighting the revamp of Kings Beach into a tourist-friendly urban recreational park, a public skateboarding event for the young and young-at-heart will be held at the skate park this Saturday, 5 August.

The 2011/12 Kings Beach upgrade, focused on safety, cleaning and upgrading infrastructure, was inspired by businesswoman Andy Kawa, who was brutally assaulted and raped over several hours at the then unkept and unsafe beachfront area.

Continuing their long-standing connection with Kawa, the MBDA is partnering with her on a Women’s Month panel discussion this week, on Thursday, 3 August, to celebrate the strides made by women in fighting for justice for victims of rape and gender-based violence. The breakfast session at the PE St George’s Club will particularly highlight the implications of Kawa’s victory in the Constitutional Court, which found that the SA Police Services were negligent in their handling of her case and had failed in their constitutional duty.

The anniversary programme closes out with a CBD-focused property investment conference with the Central property sector, focused on the enabling environment to attract and retain investors to the area, on 28 August. This will follow on from the signing of a memorandum of understanding to partner on reclaiming the CBD with the Central SRA and tourism and heritage stakeholders, on 8 August.

On 30 August, the MBDA will look into the past and future with the Reflections Lecture and panel discussion, considering the agency’s original mandate, impact, challenges and journey forward. Speakers will include some of the role players who originally envisioned and developed the MBDA.

The MBDA 20th Anniversary Golf Day on 31 August is open to the public and will gather key stakeholders together while raising funds for charity.

The MBDA is currently embarking on the first year of a five-year strategic plan that refines and refocuses its core mandate of stimulating economic activity and social development through urban renewal.

“We acknowledge that the past five years have been challenging for the MBDA, with instability at both board and management level reducing the agency’s ability to deliver and tarnishing what was considered the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the metro.

“However, with a committed board and permanent executive leadership in place, we are revising our organisational structure in order to deliver to our new strategic plan. I am excited by the energy and enthusiasm within the MBDA team and confident that we are now well-positioned to deliver to our urban renewal mandate that stimulates economic activity, attracts investment and creates safe spaces for people to live, work and play,” MBDA Board chair Glenda Perumal said.

The MBDA’s track record of successful, sustainable projects over the past two decades has showed how public sector investment in the basics of security and cleaning, along with public infrastructure upgrades translate into improved private sector confidence, investment and economic activity, as well as positive social impact in improved spaces to live, work and play.

The agency was founded in 2003 as a pilot partnership between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM). It operates as a non-profit company, a wholly owned entity of the NMBM.

Please click here to view the anniversary plan.

MBDA Strategic Plan 2023 – 2028 for download.