Friday, November 21, 2008

Alarm as stadiums call for more cash

Now this must come as a big surprise.

CABINET was extremely concerned about the extra billions South Africa’s host cities were demanding to complete building new stadiums ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

“It’s very clear…something is going definitely wrong
as far as the construction process is concerned,” government communications head Themba Maseko said .

The government had allocated an extra R1.4 billion for completion of stadiums; cities had reportedly asked for R3.2bn , saying if they did not get it, the stadiums would not be finished on time.

Maseko said stadium budgets had been determined before construction started, and the government had indicated to the host cities this was the amount available for them. “The cities had to go and plan on the basis of (these) budgets…(which) were approved…(now) there are cost over-runs…and we are extremely concerned about this.”

The matter needed to be thrashed out between national government and the cities, he said. “Our view is that if you allocate someone a budget and say go and build a stadium, (and when) they are half-way through construction they come back and say they need more money, they can’t then complain they were not allocated enough money. “They were allocated money. There were cost over-runs…mainly due to the way the contracts were structured…and rising construction costs mainly due to inflation and other pressures.

“Those matters need to be dealt with…National Treasury will interact with them to make sure that these matters are attended to.” Four new stadiums are being built for the 2010 event – in Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Nelspruit. Other stadiums around the country are being upgraded.

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