Msunduzi proposes R128?mln revamp for Harry Gwala

2013-09-20 00:00

JUST four years after receiving a R40 million sprucing up for the World Cup, Pietermaritzburg’s Harry Gwala Stadium could be in line for a further R128 million upgrade if a proposal of the Msunduzi Municipality is accepted.

The World Cup upgrade was funded by the provincial government and included an artificial pitch, upgraded conference centre and revamped grandstand. The facility then served as the base of Paraguay’s team during the tournament.

Yesterday, the council’s executive committee approved plans designed to ensure the stadium’s sustainability, which entail a R128 million upgrade.

According to a detailed report on the planned upgrade, the stadium’s current capacity would increase from its current 10 000 seats to cater for 30 000 fans of not only soccer, because the plan is for Harry Gwala to also be kitted with a cover, aimed at ensuring that the stadium could also host concerts in any weather conditions.

Commentators say that increasing the stadium’s capacity would help lure big teams to play in the city.

Currently, home team Maritzburg United’s games against big teams like Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs are played at Durban’s 56 000-seater Moses Mabhida Stadium to cater for the increased number of fans attending such matches.

According to the report presented by the acting deputy municipal manager for community services Nomonde Gwabini, the upgraded stadium would conform with all safety regulations and be able to host various international events once complete.

Gwabini said while some funding for the project would come from the council, they would rely on the 2010 World Cup Legacy Trust for the bulk of the R128 million.

In terms of the report, the municipality had already approved a business plan to be submitted to the trust.

The trust is expected to pay for:

• Completing the eastern stands, and adding seating and suites at a cost of R15 million;

• Southern stand development at a cost of R40 million;

• Northern stand development at a cost of R40 million;

• Indoor stadium development at a cost of R25 million;

• Upgrading the current function room for use in conferencing and banqueting at a cost of R400 000;

• Purchasing and erection of LED screens at a cost of R100 000; and

• Purchasing a pitch cover at a cost of R5 million.

The council will pay for items including plastic bins for R50 000, staff resources for R1 308 584 and “essential equipment” for R580 900.

No timeline was provided for the development.

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