Durban beefs up its Commonwealth bid

2015-02-15 06:00

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Durban mayor James Nxumalo will travel to London on March 2 to formally lodge South Africa’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Durban’s last remaining competitor, Edmonton in Canada, withdrew its bid this week – but that doesn’t mean the Games will automatically be handed to Durban on a pricy platter.

Edmonton pulled out because of economic concerns sparked by the tumbling international oil price.

Durban’s bid, approved by Cabinet, will cost South Africa R98?million. Durban’s executive committee on Tuesday approved the allocation of R18?million as part of its contribution to the shared cost of the bid.

In total, the city and the KwaZulu-Natal government will contribute R17.5?million for bid preparation costs, with the city allocating an additional R500?000 for transport costs. The rest of the money will come from the national government.

In a report to council, Durban’s deputy city manager, Musa Gumede, said all three tiers of government had agreed that the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee would lead the bid process.

This culminates with the formal lodging next month. The host city will be announced in September.

In his report, Gumede said Durban had the necessary infrastructure and there would be no need to build new facilities. Existing facilities would be upgraded where necessary, he said.

The Moses Mabhida Stadium is located at the heart of the Kings Park Sporting Precinct, which will be able to accommodate most sporting codes.

The codes proposed for 2022 are netball, table tennis, shooting, cycling, badminton, judo, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing, lawn bowls, swimming, rugby 7s, athletics, hockey, beach volleyball and triathlon.

A Games village will be set up in Cornubia, north of the city, with broadcasting centres at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground and the SABC in Durban.

Nxumalo said the Games would keep Durban in the news for seven years before they even started.

In an interview with The Namibian last month, Commonwealth Games Federation vice-president Gideon Sam punted the Durban bid.

If Durban’s bid is accepted, it will be the first time the Commonwealth Games are hosted in Africa.

The Games are held every four years and involve athletes from 50 countries.

The next Games are in 2018 on Australia’s Gold Coast – but they will be held amid increasing concern about the massive event’s future.

The 2014 Games in Glasgow, Scotland, are estimated to have cost more than R9?billion.

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