Mercury: Durban stadium to cost R500m more

Durban stadium to cost R500m more

January 28, 2009 Edition 1

Colleen Dardagan

Durban’s 2010 stadium will finally cost R3.1 billion, R500 million more than originally expected, but ratepayers will not be asked to foot the bill and there is no crisis about the funding of the massive structure.

This is according to municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe, who told a sitting of the city’s executive council yesterday that a full report on the stadium costs was pending a decision by the national treasury, on what allocations would be made to cities to meet escalating infrastructure costs related to the 2010 World Cup.

“The original cost of the stadium was R2.6 billion – with R1.8 billion coming from the national treasury, R500 million from the city and R300 million from the provincial treasury. The city has already allocated the R500 million, and province their R300 million. However, we are still inquiring with the national treasury what its contribution will be to cover escalations, which are provided for in the Division of Revenue Act,” he said.

Sutcliffe told The Mercury that the stadium could finally cost R3.1 billion.

“I know there is going to be a negative reaction and some might get confused, but there is no crisis. Durban residents have already made a huge contribution to the stadium and I don’t want them to contribute any more. We’ve already been given extra funds from the national treasury during the 2008/09 financial year to cover escalations, but only once the Budget is announced in two weeks will we have a clearer picture of what will be allocated to deal with further escalations.”

According to industry specialists, steel prices escalated by more than 70% and cement by more than 20% last year.

National treasury spokesman Thoraya Pandy confirmed that just more than R1.8 billion had been appropriated during the 2008/09 financial year to the city of Durban. However, she would not comment on any further allocations. “If there is to be anything extra, that will be announced in the Budget speech on February 11.”

Sutcliffe also believed Durban had not had a fair deal.

“I am hoping the Budget will show more equity,” he said. “We really have a problem with the formula they used to work out the allocation of funds for the different stadiums. It resulted in Cape Town getting more money than us. Their stadium is exactly the same size as ours. So we are hoping there will be some equity in the allocation.”

However, Pandy denied the allegation. “According to the formula we used, there was no preferential treatment,” she said.