/ 6 November 2023

Tourism and heritage sectors throw weight behind initiatives to boost Bay economy

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The Mandela Bay Development Agency’s new CEO Anele Qaba continues to engage with key sectors in his quest to build partnerships and collaborations as the entity looks forward to kicking off the new financial year and commemoration of its 20 years in existence.

On Wednesday, 28 June, Qaba met with representatives of the Historical Society of Port Elizabeth (HSPE) led by Chairperson Graham Taylor. “We discussed several initiatives that we will soon be working closely on, and these include the removal of high-risk landmark plaques for the purposes of replacement with composite material, and the safekeeping of those materials,” said Qaba.

“I am glad to announce that we have already secured the services required to remove these threatened items and replace them with the international blue composite alternatives, and the society will play a pivotal role in that. Other areas of collaboration include the need to do detailed feasibility studies on the potential of the marine heritage and the establishment of a hub that can display and promote this unique history of Algoa Bay.”

On Thursday, 29 June, Qaba met with the tourism body, Discover Nelson Mandela Bay. Emphasising the importance of strong collaborations, those at the meeting agreed to pursue several projects that could have a major impact on the Bay’s economy. Top of the list is the long outstanding development of an International Convention Centre (ICC) and Exhibitions facility.

“The MBDA has a standing council resolution to establish an ICC at the old Boet Erasmus (Telkom Park), and not much has happened since the demolition in 2017. The ICC project is a quick win and one that already has a significant portion of work completed in terms of spatial plans and urban design. A follow-up detailed working meeting will be set with technical teams to look at scenarios and draw up an action plan.”

The MBDA Board recently approved a new five-year plan, and Qaba is determined to take this plan to stakeholders and build collaborations because the window of opportunity for the Bay is closing. “The city has many plans, but now is the time to get on with it,” Qaba concluded.

Earlier in the week, Qaba met with wards 1 and 5 councillors, Renaldo Gouws and Terry Stander. The two wards are central to the original mandate of the MBDA, and the ward offices are a key gateway to stakeholders and communities in those areas.

Meetings are set with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber (NMBC) and Central Special Ratings Area (SRA) to build a coalition of like-minded bodies to bring change.