KZN Provincial Government throws weight behind Mandela Day Marathon
In spite of the concerns raised by the uMngeni Municipality, organisers of the 2023 Mandela Day Marathon insist that the race will go ahead as scheduled. A fortnight ago, KwaZulu-Natal Athletics announced that the much loved race which last took place in 2019, would go ahead on the 9th of December as a 21km and 10km hosted by the provincial athletics federation in association with the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Governmment, uMgungundlovu District Municipality, Msunduzi Local Municipality and uMngeni Local Municipality. But just days later the uMngeni Local Municipality released a statement questioning the haste with which the race has been put together.
"Expressing concern abruptness of the event and apparent lack of comprehensive planning, the uMngeni Municipality deems it necessary to raise critical inquiries regarding the procurement processes and funding origins, emphasizing the importance of adhering to legislated timeframes. Furthermore the uMngeni Municipality underscores its apprehensions regarding the utilization of the 'Mandela' name," read the statement.
But the provincial government has come out in support of KZNA in a long and storied saga that saw the race being postponed in August, and being scrapped altogether last year when a court battle ensued about whether or not KZNA had the right to use the 'Mandela' name. Speaking soon after the special Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (28 November) evening, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube nailed her colours to the mast and called on citizens of the province to support the race.
"The Government of KwaZulu-Natal is proud to have sustained this legacy for over a decade. The Mandela Day Marathon has been one of the critical events of the sporting, social cohesion and cultural calendar not only for Umgungundlovu District, but the province and the country as a whole," said Dube-Ncube.
KZNA President Steve Mkasi echoed those sentiments. "We are excited to see the level of enthusiasm from participants and the communities along the route. The Mandela Day Marathon is not just a sporting event; it's an opportunity to unite people in the spirit of Madiba's values," said Mkasi.
Entries for the event which features a half marathon which will start at the Hilton Police Station, a 10km race which starts at the Howick Sports Field and a 46664 (family fun run) which starts next to the Midmar Dam are open and are available for purchase online at Web Tickets (www.webtickets.co.za). The total number of entries will be capped at 5000 with the 21.1km at 2000 runners and 10km at 3000 runners.