Yacht Club Hits Back

Yacht Club Hits Back:

Mdengtonga Primary School in Motherwell

Grade R Pupils from the Mdengtonga Primary School in Motherwell grace ABYC with their presence and enthusiasm for the Port of Port Elizabeth. They were very proud to hear that a son of the Eastern Cape – Asenathi Jim – had sailed in two Olympics on a 470. Photo: Alan Straton

  • Does Transnet once again want to make the NPA the laughing stock of the city?
  • Port of Port Elizabeth’s answer to threat from the city and it’s citizens around the Manganese Ore pollution

On Saturday 17 February at 12:58 the TNPA released a press statement on the “impending eviction of the Algoa Bay Yacht Club” – a Port of Port Elizabeth based sailing club that has been in existence for close on 60 years providing sail training, regattas and safe haven for local and international sailors along with access to what has been described as the best sailing waters along the African Coast.

ABYC has been attempting to get the TNPA in front of the Port Regulator since 2009 when the club submitted a complaint over an unfair 61% rental increase.

On Friday morning 23 February 2018 the TNPA have been summonsed to appear in court to answer the ABYC’s Notice of Motion interdicting the TNPA from issuing a Warrant of Eviction. ABYC will be asking the honourable court to rule that ABYC be entitled to continue occupying the premises pending a determination by the Port Regulator on 20 March 2018.

On 23 August 2017, before High Court proceedings, the TNPA – represented by TNPA Legal Officer, Justin Uren, Advocate Ntsepe, Attorney Nash Vandayar and Port Manager, Rajesh Dana – and ABYC – represented by Attorney Gerald Friedman, Advocate Albert Beyleveld, ABYC President Sean Wiseman and ABYC Commodore Alan Straton – agreed that until such time as a new tenant had been allocated the premises occupied by ABYC, pursuant to a lawful tender, ABYC could remain in occupation and would be afforded two months notice to vacate if ABYC were unsuccessful in tendering.

It would appear that the TNPA’s representatives at the time have suffered amnesia over this agreement and could have been devious in their handling of the matter.

Despite being asked in numerous forms and by numerous persons the TNPA has remained silent on whether a tender has been awarded.

On 16 February 2018 ABYC’s lawyer, Gerald Friedman from Friedman Scheckter Attorneys in Port Elizabeth, requested an expedited hearing in front of the Ports Regulator on the basis that the Port Manager, Rajesh Dana, had granted consent for ABYC to host the East Cape Dinghy Provincials regatta over the weekend of the People’s Port Festival, on the 24th and 25th August 2018. As ABYC had until 15 April to confirm unconditionally its ability to host the event ABYC was now seeking a decision from the Port Regulator to conclude their complaint.

The TNPA’s attorney, Russell MacDonald from Woodhead Bigby Attorneys in Durban, replied saying; “I do not think that it is appropriate to seek an expedited hearing motivated on the premise put forward.”

Alan Straton

ABYC Commodore Alan Straton Photo: Michael Sheehan

Some back and forth between lawyers on the interpretation of events at the 2017 eviction settlement resulted in the following note to MacDonald from Alan Straton of ABYC:

Dear Mr Macdonald

Forgive me if protocol demands my silence. As my NPA colleagues at the Port of Port Elizabeth will affirm, along with me wearing my heart on my sleeve, I am also the Commodore of the Algoa Bay Yacht Club and can confirm that the agreement at the Supreme Court was reached in my presence.

Your naked attack on the ABYC and the Port of Port Elizabeth well being in general is puzzling and frankly quite hurtful to a city beset with 52% unemployment.

I can only presume that your position is representative of your masters Transnet and not the NPA.

You will be well aware that the Port of Port Elizabeth is under threat from the city and it’s citizens around the Manganese Ore pollution. You will also be aware that ABYC has joined hands with the Port in trying to find a solution to this problem.

We learned along the way that being part of the solution is far better than being part of the problem. Frankly – your attitude is one that leans to being part of the problem.

As valued stakeholders we have occupied premises within the Port for nigh on 60 years. I will be the first to tell you that length of service does not grant anyone continued rights over a person, place or thing so we have always embarked upon a policy of wanting to pay a fair rental for the space that we occupy – remembering that we are a sporting body run by volunteers who always place the sport and city first.

Yes, we are in continued discussions with the Port Manager of the Port of Port Elizabeth and yes, we are more than willing to contribute to placing the Port in a more favourable light by holding and attracting regattas to the city.

We are more than grateful to the Port Manager for his continued open door policy with regards to concerns around Manganese Ore, offers by ABYC to move regattas to accommodate Port Festivals and his fair treatment of our requests to hold land based events that help pay the onerous rental imposed by our settlement.

I do not presume to speak for the Port Manager but have great admiration for his conduct thus far.

I need to ask these questions though;

  1. “Does Transnet once again wish to have empty buildings within the Port of Port Elizabeth?”
  2. “Does Transnet once again want to make the NPA the laughing stock of the city?” Make no mistake the man in the street sees empty buildings within the Port and blames the Port and it’s Management. The man in the street does not make a distinction between Transnet and the NPA.
  3. Unless of course the NPA and Transnet are one and the same – so which hat are you wearing today Mr MacDonald?
  4. “Does Transnet want to once again come under public and media scrutiny for the unfair and high handed manner in which you, Sir, are conducting yourself?”


J-Sea J27

J27 Yacht Sailing in a recent offshore regatta. Photo: Alan Straton

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About Alan

The one with a "My Complex" - incurable but fun. Grumpy, Cynical, Wise and Idiotic. I can also be found HERE.