Durban turns sole bidder for Games

2015-02-12 00:00

DURBAN is currently the only bidder for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and looks set to host the global event.

On Tuesday evening in a surprise announcement Edmonton, Canada, which was the only other known bidder for the 2022 games, announced its withdrawal from the bidding process, blaming plummeting global oil ­prices and a battling provincial fiscus as a factor.

David Grevemberg, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said they were “disappointed” to hear of the withdrawal.

“We now look forward enthusiastically to working with the Durban 2022 bid team and their partners through the evaluation process so, together as a Commonwealth sporting movement, we can realise the ambitions of delivering Africa’s first Commonwealth Games.”

But eThekwini, possibly facing the biggest challenge for an African city since South Africa hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup, was guarded in its response.

Spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said: “The city will still follow due processes and lodge our bid with the ­Commonwealth Games Federation. We will be guided by national government and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) on the way forward.”

Edmonton pulled the plug, claiming their provincial government had withdrawn support to help carry the CAD$1 billion (R9,36 billion) price tag to host the games.

In a statement on the city’s dedicated Commonwealth bid website, mayor Don Iveson said, “Given the provincial government’s current financial reality, my city council colleagues and I are disappointed that the province is unable to proceed with supporting the Games bid.”

The city last hosted the event in 1978 and said it would consider bidding for the 2026 games.

This week eThekwini approved R18 million to be made available for the Commonwealth Games bid.

Deputy city manager for community and emergency services Musa Gumede told Durban’s executive council that “[national] cabinet has finally taken the decision to support the bid”.

“A number of meetings have been held between the three spheres of government and Sascoc to kick-start the process. It was agreed that Sascoc will lead the process including the appointment of consultants who will put together the bid document and lobby internationally for our bid,” said Gumede.

The total cost of the bidding process is estimated at R98 million, of which R35 million will be shared between the city and the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.

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