Michele du Plessis
The annual Sabie Tube Race, organised by White River Round Table 64, has come and gone and without any doubt, those who participated enjoyed the event thoroughly.
Unfortunately, comments on WhatsApp public groups have raised questions that cause concern.
Sabie residents and business owners have been quite outspoken about the event. One resident posted the following on the Sabie Rate Payers WhatsApp group: “I was at the Sabie Tube Race on Saturday and I was appalled that there were no Sabie local businesses represented. Except for those offering accommodation it was unclear what the benefit of this event was for any local businesses. I know the Round Table does good work, but if it benefits no local business, what is the point of supporting it?”
Businesses that wanted to participate had been refused. “We (Caltex/ Captain Wings) wanted to pay for a food stall at the tube race. We were told that the other food stall, sponsored three trucks which means they expected us to sponsor them to rent a food stall. We were more than willing to pay for our stall as our sponsorship but no interest was shown. We feel that it is extremely unfair for local businesses not being able to benefit from events that are held locally, considering that businesses from outside our community benefitted more than us local businesses.”
Captain Gwilym Rees said: “The SRA will not be commenting officially on the event as the SRA is not a beneficiary. I have spoken at length to the Chairperson of the SCCT and he assures me that they have the matter in hand. Unfortunately, the SCCT was not involved by WRRT until very late and so it was too late to change things this time around without jeopardising the event.”
Round Table White River 64 responded: “The most important aspect of this whole event is that it is a non-profit event. In short, not one of the organisers put a cent in their pockets, meaning the maximum amount is given back to the people who need it the most.
Two concerns filtered through to us. First was that the event is organised in Sabie, then do why we support the charities outside of Sabie. The reason for this is. In total, we received support upwards of R300 000 from businesses originating from Nelspruit and White River.
This is essential as this keeps tickets and beverage prices to a minimum, this, in turn, ensures that we get the people to travel from Gauteng, North West, Limpopo, Free State, KZN and the rest of the country to attend this event in Sabie.
Last year 95% of the proceeds were given to charities from Sabie, White River, Nelspruit and Waterval Boven. Some of the proceeds also assisted in allowing a less fortunate child to go to school.
Sabie is well supported through filling stations, grocery stores, liquor stores and accommodations and if a handful of people create an unstable atmosphere, we all stand to lose greatly. Round Table White River is also hosting the annual national get-together for Round Table in Sabie,” Brian Rossouw, Round Table White River 64.