Cape Town mayor fights off attempt to take over soccer stadium construction

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

Cape Town mayor Helen Zille has fought off Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool's attempt to take control of the construction of the city's World Cup soccer stadium.

This is the result of meetings last week between the legal teams of the two leaders in Cape Town.

Rasool initially slammed Zille for having failed to follow proper procedure before building could start on the R2,5billion stadium at Green Point.

Early last week Rasool said Zille's DA-led council first had to start the process by providing "consent use" before rezoning.

He said he had the backing of his MEC Tasneem Essop and her legal team, and slammed Zille and her council for the "blunder".

But on Friday Rasool said that Essop had to provide rezoning before the council could give consent use.

This came after the leaders' two legal teams had met in behind-the-scene discussions on what process was to be followed.

Rasool said Essop would make an announcement early next month on what will happen and construction will take place as scheduled by the end of next month.

Zille said the province had agreed on October 5 for rezoning to take place on December 20, but this had not been done.

"It is regrettable that this deadline has not been met. The failure to take the decision on the rezoning is the cause of the delay," she said.

"This decision is extremely urgent if we want to avoid undue delays in preparations for 2010."

Zille had said earlier that the province was trying to get the construction to take place within a "special purpose vehicle", but that this was not lawful in terms of agreements reached with Fifa, soccer's governing body. The city had signed agreements with Fifa and not the province, Zille said.

The stadium has also been hit by legal threats by a local ratepayers association.

The latest incident is part of ongoing clashes between Zille and the provincial government.

Earlier this year MEC Richard Dyantyi tried to take control of the council, but was stopped after intervention by national provincial and local government Minister Sydney Mufamadi.