Afcon suite tickets chaos
The Africa Cup of Nations Local Organising Committee (LOC) was yesterday accused by peeved hospitality service providers of taking away their final match ticket allocations at the eleventh hour.
Irate providers, who spoke to City Press on condition of anonymity, blamed the committee for taking them for a ride and ruining their reputations with their clients.
One provider said she bought 31 suite tickets in December and was promised delivery on Wednesday.
“I have been waiting and they have been silent. The more you try to speak to them the more they keep quiet and I have a corporate client who is furious with me. This is an embarrassment to the country and the Hawks must be called to investigate this scandal,” she said.
In fact, she said, this was the second time it has happened to her.
The first was with the quarterfinal game between Nigeria and Ivory Coast in Rustenburg, North West, last Sunday.
“Even for the opening game I got my tickets at 5.45pm the night before the match. How on earth could organisers do this to us?” she asked.
Another tour operator was also scathing, saying LOC chief executive Mvuzo Mbebe should be arrested.
He alleged the LOC was taking back their ticket allocations in order to give them to government and other stakeholders.
“There has been trouble since day one. The problem is that they owe a lot of money and are giving away tickets in lieu of cash,” he said.
LOC spokesperson Sipho Sithole said he was not aware of any double bookings or any people who did not get their ticket allocations.
Sithole said they had the same number of seats allocated as they had for the opening.
“We are not responsible for corporate seats outside our allocation number and if there is a problem they must address it with Warwick Hospitality,” said Sithole.
However, John McCarthy of Warwick Hospitality and Events, who holds exclusive rights for the official hospitality programme of the tournament, said it was easy for people to point fingers.
He said the demand had exceeded supply and he was advised on Monday about the situation.
“The requirements from stakeholders increased, hence there has been this situation. We had about 1 000 tickets taken from us (by the LOC) and there is nothing we can do,” said McCarthy.
He said late interest in the game resulted in late bookings for tonight’s final between Nigeria and Burkina Faso at the National Stadium.