2010 World Cup costs going through the roof

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

Five cities that are scheduled to host the 2010 World Cup are in tough negotiations with developers to reduce the ever- increasing costs of building soccer stadiums while facing tight deadlines to start construction.

Delegations from the five cities explained to parliament yesterday that they are in talks with national and provincial governments, and with developers, in a bid to find the extra money to pay for the increasing costs of building the stadiums.

Delays will cost about R10 million a month in Durban, and Cape Town has estimated it will lose R20 million a month if the project is delayed.

Cape Town manager Mike Marsden said the city needed another R1,3 billion for its World Cup infrastructure.

Durban's representative, Julie-May Ellingson, wants an extra R600 million, Nelson Mandela Bay's city manager, Graham Richards, wants R262 million and Mbombela's project manager said his city's shortfall was R97 million.

Polokwane is R576 million in the red, according to documents tabled at a briefing of parliament's sport and recreation portfolio committee yesterday.

"All the experts were wrong in their guesses as to what the cost would be," said Nelson Mandela Bay's Richards.

"I am not pointing a finger at them because it was a national issue and was totally unexpected, by all the host cities that we would end up in this situation."

Richards said greater cooperation was needed between all three spheres of the government and that they should "pool their collective wisdom and experience".

He told the portfolio committee that equipment was also in short supply, particularly high-rise cranes. Each site will require between six and 12 cranes, but there is only one crane in the country that can fit roofs.

The five cities have not been given the go-ahead by the treasury to award tenders for the construction of stadiums.

The representatives of the cities agree on the reasons for the cost increases.

Cape Town's Marsden said "opportunistic pricing" was a root cause.

He said South Africa was in an unprecedented construction boom and companies had plenty of work. Marsden said constructing stadiums was risky and the construction companies were factoring risk into their pricing.

l Durban officials are considering a range of options for getting the money they need to complete the construction of the King Senzangakhona Stadium for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, writes Mary Papayya.

City manager Michael Sutcliffe said a technical committee had recommended ways of making up the shortfall.

The government allocated R1,8billion for the stadium, but its construction costs have increased to about R2,4billion.

The technical committee's report offers city executives options for redesigning the stadium to reduce the costs. It also suggests additional sources of funding.