Peter Mokaba gets ready by the day

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The construction of the Peter Mokaba Sports Complex in Polokwane, one of the venues for the 2010 World Cup, is gradually taking shape with the builders laying a solid foundation.

"It is still early days but we have already done a lot," said Refiloe Mallela, a representative of the project management team entrusted with the responsibility of building the world- class 45000 seater.

The new complex will include 5 000 seats for members of the media, 504 VIP seats and a further 12 VIP boxes, each with a capacity of 12.

Taking Sowetan through the construction process during the site visit, in the presence of Frik van der Merwe, sports and recreation manager of the Polokwane municipality, Mallela proudly assured South Africans that they were on schedule.

"We were already on site when the sod-turning ceremony took place on March 16. We started earlier by mobilising. We have already completed 55 percent of the site establishment.

"Within two weeks, we had already begun with the earthworks construction.

"Everything is running smooth at this stage and we are impressed with the developments," said Mallela, shortly after a weekly management meeting with the municipality to monitor the building progress.

Van der Merwe said people visiting the site, which is next to the existing Peter Mokaba Stadium, will start seeing tangible structures of the new facility by August.

"For now most of the constructors on site are dealing mostly with concrete and reinforcing. Brick laying and blasting will start at the last phase, which will see more people coming on site," Mallela said.

"By the end of the year there will be between 750 to 800 people hard at work. Obviously, the number will gradually increase as we start seeing more tangible structures."

Mallela said workers from Polokwane would get first preference in the building of the stadium, which will cost R696,7 million.

This comes after Sello Moloto, Limpopo premier, made it clear that part of their agreement with the preferred bidder was to ensure that the locals were employed in the building of the stadium.

"We have a lot of local labour. We have also roped in experts from other areas in situations where we cannot get anybody from Limpopo," said Mallela, adding that 1,5 million bricks will be used for the entire project.

Van der Merwe said: "We will also use 50000 cubes of concrete. The new stadium will be Fifa-compliant.

"There will be medical rooms, a security area, a joint operational centre and holding cells inside.

"All the roads leading to the stadium will be upgraded. The hospitality area, which will also have the Fifa commercial stands, will be on the two rugby fields between Peter Mokaba and the new sports complex. It will be part of the stadium precinct.

"The indoor stadium next to Peter Mokaba Stadium will be used as the media centre for all the print and broadcast journalists coming here for the World Cup.

"It will be a huge facility that will house more than 1 000 media people. The netball courts, which are about 300m away from the Peter Mokaba Stadium, will be an accreditation centre," Van der Merwe said.

"In addition, it will also be used for ticket collection."