The Algoa Bay Yacht Club is a voluntary sporting body based within the Port of Port Elizabeth. Established in 1959 the sole reason for ABYC’s existence is to ‘Foster an Interest in Sailing’.
Run by volunteers the club has hosted many regattas and visiting yachtsmen in support of Nelson Mandela Bay’s quest to become the Watersport Capital.
On Saturday 17 February at 12:58 the TNPA released a press statement on the “impending eviction of the Algoa Bay Yacht Club” (see below for the verbatim release).
In negotiations stretching back many years ABYC has always contended that they need to pay a fair rental based on their status as a voluntary sporting body, in line with internal TNPA directives and accepted treatment of sporting bodies under the jurisdiction of municipalities.
ABYC contends that the notice of settlement between the two parties is quite clear and does not need to be played out in an open forum, but reluctantly concedes that the TNPA’s premature statement does need clarity and answers from the perspective of the ‘other side’.
In essence ABYC’s position can be summarised as follows:
- In 2009 ABYC exercised it’s right to extend an expiring lease with TNPA by another three years. TNPA then determined that the new rental would be R37 000.00 per month – a 61% increase in rental. The determination in new rental was made by TNPA’s internal valuator and not an external professional valuator as provided for in the 2006 lease renewal.
- ABYC declared and registered a Rental Dispute complaint with the Port Regulator – RC 2009/11/0016 – https://www.portsregulator.org/images/documents/register-for-complaints-and-appeals-14-07-2014-update.pdf
- The pre-hearing for RC 2009/11/0016 was held in 2011 and was stalled up until 29 August 2017 after being ‘resurrected’ on 19 July 2016.
- In 2014 ABYC was the only tenderer for the land and the tender was not awarded.
- ABYC received a notice of eviction in 2015 which matter was initially retracted.
- A revised eviction notice in August 2016 was then set down for hearing 23 August 2017.
- This high court eviction hearing was set aside on 23 August 2017 in a settlement agreement.
- The settlement cancelled the lease agreement/s entered into between the parties and provided for ABYC to vacate TNPA’s premises on 28 February 2018, provided that if the TNPA procures another Tenant for the property prior thereto, TNPA will afford ABYC two (2) calendar months notice to vacate, provided further that the ABYC may, during this period, give two (2) calendar months notice to vacate prior to 28th February 2018. Should no tenant be found then the yacht club will be allowed to continue operations on a month to month basis.
- ABYC was one of the parties that tendered for the land and has not been given formal two months notice that a succesful tender has been concluded with any party.
- The terms of the settlement agreement also increased the rental for the club’s land to R49 977.60 – an increase of 310%.
- In addition the club has to pay Rates, Lights and Water and is responsible for the upkeep of the building and reclaimed land which will revert to TNPA upon expiration of a lease with no compensation to the club. ABYC members built and paid for the clubhouse, hard and slipway facilities.
- At a pre-hearing with the Port Regulator, on 29 August 2017 in Durban, the TNPA challenged the Port Regulator’s authority to hear the matter and both parties were instructed to return to Durban to attend a Jurisdiction tribunal hearing on 20 October 2017.
- The Jurisdiction tribunal released their findings on 31 January 2018 and ordered that the regulator has the necessary jurisdiction to adjuduicate this matter based on Section 30(1)(a)-(c) read together with Section 30(2)(f).
- In essence the Port Regulator was confirming that any matter pertaining to a lease between TNPA and a tenant could be heard and decided upon by the Port Regulator.
- The original Port Regulator complaint around unfair increase in rentals is still pending before the Port Regulator and ABYC awaits a date for that hearing.
It is the Yacht Club’s contention that they qualify for a sporting club rental discount from the TNPA and that the continued occupation of the land by the club serves as a focal point for the proposed PE Waterfront along with attracting local, regional, national and international regattas to the city which, in turn provide much needed tourism revenue to the city.
“The statement released by the TNPA is puzzling and hurtful as we continue to ask the TNPA to return to the negotiating table to find a solution to this concern that will be benficial to all stakeholders in the Port of Port Elizabeth whilst continuing to provide services to international and national yachts seeking shelter in the Port of Port Elizabeth and seeking to shine the spotlight on our excellent waters to host international and local sailing compettitions,” said ABYC Commodore Alan Straton.
“Last week our offer to move the hosting of the East Cape Provincial Sailing Championships from late September to late August 2018 in order to support the Port of Port Elizabeth People’s Port Festival was eagerly welcomed by the Port – and now we learn through the media of our ‘impending eviction’ and not via the correct agreed channels,” concluded Straton
The entire statement as released by the TNPA late on Saturday:
Algoa Bay Yacht Club to vacate the Port of Port Elizabeth[Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 17 February 2018] Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA) Port of Port Elizabeth confirms that it has issued a notice to Algoa Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) yesterday, to vacate the port on 28 February 2018 in accordance with the terms of a High Court order dated 23 August 2017.
ABYC will be required to vacate the buildings accommodating the restaurant and bar whereas the lease which the TNPA holds with the Algoa Bay Sailing Marina will not be affected and yacht owners will continue to have uninterrupted access to their yachts.
“We have to comply with stringent governance processes with regards to managing leases,” explained PE Port Manager, Rajesh Dana.
“As landlord, TNPA operates within a legislative and regulatory environment created by the National Ports Act No.12 of 2005. This requires us to follow a public process for service providers looking to provide port services and facilities. Our Lease Management Policy further requires that when a lease expires, the TNPA must ensure that the broader public has an opportunity to participate in a process that is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective.”
TNPA maintain that the leisure boating and yachting fraternity remains a crucial part of its ‘People’s Port’ vision, which includes promoting greater public access and ensuring a vibrant port system, connecting local communities to port activities. TNPA’s vision for the Port of Port Elizabeth aligns with the city’s vision of positioning Nelson Mandela Bay as the water sport capital of South Africa.
TNPA has already embarked on an open tender process for a new tenant on 11 September 2017 and the process is at an advanced stage. An announcement in this regard will be made shortly.
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