Stadium costs squeeze Jo’burg

2009-09-08 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The city of Johannesburg has had to slash its budget by over R1 billion to cover the soaring costs of Soccer City, the stadium that will host the opening game and final of next year’s World Cup, the Times reported yesterday.

Soccer City, one of 10 World Cup stadiums, is undergoing a major redesign and upgrade to boost its capacity to 94 000.

Since work on the stadiums began in 2007, costs have soared, putting the host cities under financial strain.

Soccer City is now estimated to come in at R3,3 billion, up from R2,5 billion at the last estimate, the Times reported.

The bill for Cape Town’s Greenpoint stadium is also expected to hit over R4 billion, twice the amount originally budgeted.

At the same time, cities and towns are coming under growing pressure to step up their provision of basic services, such as housing and electricity.

A report by the city of Johannesburg laid the blame for Soccer City’s escalating costs on high tenders from sub-contractors and high import duties on items such as the stadium’s roof, among other things.

The Times reported that the city has ordered department heads to cut R670 million from their capital budgets and R477 million from their operating budgets to finance the shortfall.

A city spokesman told the paper: “Departments will re-prioritise spending to ensure there are no negative repercussions to services and ratepayers.”

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