New stadiums will leave a legacy

Posted On Monday, 12 July 2010 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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The expenditure on new stadiums may not have been wasted if it helps to persuade the world that 'Africa is open for business'.

Construction IndustrySA DAZZLED the world with its shiny stadiums at the World Cup. But the projects did not come cheap, with total construction costs estimated at R20bn.

Now that the soccer tournament has finished, the country can expect increasingly loud complaints that the stadiums will prove expensive white elephants.

Durban and Cape Town both had large rugby stadiums that arguably could have been upgraded to host Soccer World Cup matches. Instead, new venues were purpose-built in those cities, along with stadiums in Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit and Polokwane.

World Cup local organising committee chief Danny Jordaan said in March that the two new stadiums’ viability depended on major rugby teams agreeing to move into them — but there has been little interest shown.

The outlook is equally dubious for the other new stadiums, which have no top sports teams nearby.

Stellenbosch University economist Stan du Plessis told The Herald in May that, of the five, only Durban’s Moses Mabhida had a good chance of making money in the years ahead.

Yet the expenditure may not have been wasted if it helps to persuade the world, as President Jacob Zuma said last week, that “Africa is open for business”, spurring foreign investment in SA and its neighbours.

And there can be no doubt of the safety net that World Cup investment provided for the construction industry, as it was hit by a sharp fall in domestic private sector spending amid the downturn, as well as a spate of cancelled projects in the Middle East.

Few expect private sector investment to recover before 2012.

The National Union of Mineworkers says at least 18000 contractors were laid off after finishing tournament-related projects.

Yet some companies have benefited from the chance to build their reputation overseas: Aveng is now lining up stadium projects in Brazil. And the sector will receive a boost from the government’s planned R846bn investment in infrastructure over the next three years.

As well as improved roads and expanded freeways, SA will continue to gain from integrated, rapid public transport networks. The government has promised that by 2020 over 85% of urban residents will live within a kilometre of a rapid transport stop.


Last modified on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 10:35

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