Lack of funds sees Harry Gwala revamp stumble

2009-06-08 00:00

THE re-construction of the Harry Gwala Stadium to be used as a training venue in the 2010 Fifa World Cup has hit a stumbling block and will not be completed as initially planned due to financial constraints.

The stadium, which will also be used for Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches by Maritzburg United, was initially planned to be able to seat 20 000 supporters, but recently the uMgungundlovu District Municipality, which is in charge of the re-construction, revealed that with the funds at their disposal, the stadium will have a capacity of just 12 000.

The district’s municipal manager, Sbu Kuzwayo, told The Witness that they have R80 million for the re-construction of the stadium, but to complete it as planned (see graphic), they would need R120 million.

"The R80 million will make the stadium functional. The east and west grandstands will be roofed, and the pitch will be completed along with plumbing and floodlights. What is going to remain [outstanding] is the north and south stands. The seating capacity will be 12 000 instead of 20 000," said Kuzwayo.

He said the stadium will be able to hold 20 000 altogether, but the additional 8 000 supporters will have to sit on the grass.

The west grand stand, said Kuzwayo, will be completed as planned but the east stand will not be fitted with the suites which were envisaged in the plan, until further funding is sourced.

Kuzwayo said the stadium is

scheduled to be completed in October.

Maritzburg United chairman Farouk Kadodia said that the 12 000- seater stadium will seat just a mere 2 000 more than the Woodburn Stadium that the Team of Choice used last season.

He lambasted the district for allegedly failing to give the club regular updates on the progress of the stadium.

"All we have been told is that they do not have funds to complete the other two [north and south] stands. We haven’t even been given a telephone call," said Kadodia.

The chairman also said that another issue of concern was when the stadium would be completed as the next PSL season starts in August. With the stadium scheduled to be completed in October and with the local rugby season, which is played at Woodburn Stadium, United might be forced to move games to Durban, said Kadodia.

Kadodia said that a meeting with the club, the district and Msunduzi Municipality should be scheduled as soon as possible to deal with the concerns about Harry Gwala Stadium.

The revelation on the lack of funds was criticised by a source in the Msunduzi Municipality, who wished to remain anonymous. The source said that the additional funds to complete the stadium would go against the procurement processes if the company tasked with the re-construction tendered for R80 million. He said that if the company tendered for R80 million, then they should complete the stadium without additional funding.

The source said the Msunduzi Municipality will have to step in and assist for the stadium to be completed to accommodate 20 000.

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