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Have the WC Stadiums finally become white elephants?

13 March 2012, 21:23

Contrary to what the organizers had hoped for,now with FIFA satisfied and long out of South Africa,it looks as if the World Cup Stadiums are now the unwelcoming,sad looking white elephants. A very real reminder of when a Government that is laced with corruption and nepotism and that doesn't now its elbow from its **** gets their priorities so very wrong.

Durban's multibillion-rand iconic Moses Mabhida stadium continues to run at a loss,losing millions upon millions and yet the eThekwini municipality insists its not a white elephant. A real drain on the municipality's finances. In annual report for 2012,the municipality said in a financial statement that it needed R92million to operate the R3.1billion stadium but was only getting R72million in revenues generated.

The Durban city Treasurer said a grant and WC ticket sales partially paid for the building of the stadium,but that is only as far as it went. Those funds served its purpose and is not paying the bills for the daily,weekly,monthly and yearly operational and operating costs incurred.

Still Durban city treasury is hopeful the stadiums sky car,bungee-jump facility and lovely restaurant will be a stopgap in the severe haemorrhaging of city funds. Apparently the stadium's aforementioned facilities gets 10000 paying visitors a month enjoying any one of these three thrills.

Conference sand private parties at the stadium makes about R15million a year an the sky car brings in R5million a year revenue.The bulk of the R92million the stadium needs to make in order to survive should come from a particular sports team calling the stadium its home ground.No amount of corporate advertising,rent from retail stores,the hosting of concerts and shows. will pay for the upkeep of this stadium and others unless it has done regularly,consistently and in unison.

Already the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union said the Sharks Super 15 franchise would remain at King's Park.DA councillor Tex Collins  had asked the city to renegotiate with the Sharks to try and get them to move into the Moses Mabhida stadium,but the Sharks are playing hardball. Durban sadly is not marketing the stadium in the right way extensively enough for it not to become a white elephant.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula came out saying cities and companies have not successfully explore the commercial benefits of the stadiums. A big talker this Sports Minister is,but no action on his part to do something about the situation instead of just shifting the blame onto the city and companies.

Of all the 9 WC stadiums,Durban has had the most events since 2010.It hosted hosted 92 events, with the Royal Bafokeng in Rustenburg hosting 29 and Cape Town just 25. Other stadiums have hosted between 10 and 19 events between them. Ellis Park Stadium and the Free State Stadium have hosted just 10 and 12 events respectively.

For the stadiums to live up to its important legacy for the country, why has not it been supported and utilised to the fullest potential? The Guinness Book of World Records has recognised Durban’s Big Swing as the tallest jump swing in the world. Enough to be proud of,but not enough to bring in the revenue needed to keep the swing going longer than it's currently making.

Moving farther south what about Cape Town's R4.5bn (€460million) Green Point Stadium,now known as Cape Town Stadium? What is a city like Cape Town to do with a football stadium no one seems to wanna use and that is sitting very pretty on such prime property in the centre of town? Demolish it some would argue and why not.

Ever since it was even built on Green Point Common,this stadium has had its fair share of controversy. Many Capetonians reckoned it should've been built in Athlone once dynamite or C4 explosives had been dropped onto the grotty and sore eyed,murderous and impoverished Cape Flats.

Cape Flats is where most of the city’s football fans live anyway,so not built the damn thing there in the first place. But it was FIFA who insisted it should be built in city centre location instead and well outside the sight of  open sewers and corrugated townships shacks and abject poverty. Servicing this stadium and keeping the pitch in tiptop shape costs 45million Euro's a year alone.

Capetonians had come out loud saying the icon is just a useless monument and reminder of ANC's excessive spending before and after the World Cup. Other stadiums such as the 45,000-seater Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit, which cost the taxpayer R1.3bn (€134million), and the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane which cost the taxpayer R1.25m were always going to be white elephants.

Cape Town’s stylish stadium was the most expensive of the 10 World Cup venues, leading everyone to believe that the number crunchers for sustainable. Say what,come again,you heard me a bona fide honky tonk festivus mongol. To late to demolish such a beautiful building I reckon.

The only saving grace offered by planners hoped to persuade the Western Union Super 15 Rugby to move to the stadium from their legendary home at Newlands wealthy suburb. But WP Rugby still too reluctant to leave the ground they own in favour of leasing a stadium they consider unsuitable for rugby.


3.eThekwini municipality.

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