2009 Confederations Cup: Mangaung & Tshwane progress report, Eastern Cape Super Rugby franchise

Sports, Arts and Culture

25 February 2009
Chairperson: Mr B. M. Kompela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee heard progress reports from the 2009 Confederations Cup host cities of Tshwane (Loftus Versfeld Stadium) and Mangaung (Vodacom Park Stadium). The City of Tshwane said that the Loftus Versfeld Stadium had hosted several international events recently and only required minimal changes to comply with the FIFA requirements. A major part of the renovation included the construction of a new roof over the Eastern Pavilion. Upgrades were also done to the entrance sites, turnstiles, ablution blocks and lighting. Installation of the sound and evacuation systems was 99% complete. All additions and alterations including electrical and mechanical work were scheduled for completion by the end of March 2009. Members asked questions about accommodation, the Bus Rapid Transport system, the training venues, the ownership of stadiums and category of persons awarded tenders for the construction work.

The City of Mangaung explained that Vodacom Park Stadium was an existing stadium which was located within a sports precinct. The city was completing upgrades to the main stand to provide extra capacity. Seating would be increased from 38 000 to 46 000. It also had to meet requirements to upgrade office space, hospitality areas, media facilities, floodlights and the public address system. The city was busy with the finishing touches to the pitch, the installation of sensitive IT&T equipment, video screens, turnstiles and landscaping. All these would be completed by the end of February. The official opening of the stadium was planned for March/April 2009, depending on soccer match allocation.  The Local Organising Committee, the National Department of Sports and National Treasury had commended Mangaung for keeping costs within the allocated budget. Additional allocations might be used for a roof extension over the VIP suite during March/April 2009 as part of the legacy. The City of Mangaung also updated the Committee on their dispute with the Free State Rugby Union, with regard to the latter’s claim for loss of income. The Committee asked if the stadium was disabled friendly and if the city had involved Lesotho in their plans.

The President of the Eastern Cape Rugby Union and member of SARU’s President Council spoke about the new Super Rugby franchise that would be unabashedly African. The Committee was shown the design and logo that would be launched on 16 June 2009. They were told that the franchise would resonate and touch every single corner of South Africa and would change the face of South African Rugby. The Union’s President suggested that the Minister of Sports should speak to the President of SA Rugby Union ahead of the South Africa / New Zealand / Australia (SANZAR) meeting to ensure that this issue be put on the agenda. He said that he was certain of government’s commitment on the issue but not of SARU’s. The Committee resolved that it would write a letter to the Minister of Sports requesting interaction with SARU on this matter.

The planned meeting about the problems between the Kei Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa was deferred to the next parliamentary term due to the unavailability of Cricket South Africa officials.

 

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Chairperson noted that the cities of Tshwane and Mangaung would brief the Committee on their state of readiness for the 2009 Confederations Cup. He explained that the Committee wanted to satisfy itself that the host cities were on course to deliver on all the deadlines before the current term of Parliament expired.

City of Tshwane presentation
Mr Godfrey Nkwane, 2010 Chief Executive Officer: City of Tshwane, indicated that Loftus Versfeld had been identified as the match venue for both the Confederations Cup and the World Cup. He noted that the stadium had hosted several international events recently and only required minimal changes to comply with the FIFA requirements. A major part of the renovation included the construction of a new roof over the Eastern Pavilion. Upgrades were also done to the entrance sites, turnstiles, ablution blocks and lighting. Installation of the sound and evacuation systems was 99% complete. All additions and alterations including electrical and mechanical work were being finalized and were scheduled for completion by the end of March 2009. The current spectator seats at Loftus were FIFA compliant. However, for the purposes of aesthetics, the city decided that the seating would be replaced and had already commissioned a service provider to install the new seats. This project would be completed by the beginning of May 2009.

The presenter outlined the timelines for the completion of the three training venues. The first venue was the Super Stadium, which had already been used for international matches and had received favourable reports from SAFA officials. The second was the HM Pitje Stadium which was being developed as a legacy project together with the province. Pilditch Stadium had been earmarked as a back-up to the latter stadium. The city had done the mapping of the different facilities and showed their distance from the match venue. The fan park was situated within 2 kms of the match venue and the FIFA accredited hotels approximately 4 kms away.

The city had developed an Integrated Precinct Plan. The Precinct Plan took into account all the needs and requirements of FIFA and FIFA itself were satisfied that the city had managed to accommodate all their needs within the precinct. The new walkway, which was scheduled to be completed in March 2009, was central to the Plan.

At present, the city was in the process of recruiting volunteers for the Confederations Cup. Interviews had been conducted and volunteers were being selected. All volunteers would be supplied with a uniform and a stipend. Volunteers would undergo training in March 2009 and be deployed for the event in June 2009.

A city decoration specification document had been designed to standardise advertising, city branding, billboards, banners and flags. Currently, there were 68 CCTV cameras within the city. A further 68 cameras would be procured to cover facilities such as the venue specific hotels, public viewing areas, the Loftus precinct and the regional transport hub.

Fan parks would be funded by the city. Minor upgrades would be made to the water and sanitation systems. The city was working with Gauteng Online to provide the necessary ICT framework. Optic fibre cabling would be used. Some 430 schools would be connected to the network. They were working with Tetra equipment systems for the provision of safety and security. Accommodation, marketing and branding issues were being addressed.

Discussion
The Chairperson complimented the city for the progress it had made. He was pleased that the majority of its projects had already been completed or were near completion. He noted that for the 2010 World Cup, specific accommodation had to be set aside in terms of FIFA requirements, and wondered if this was the case for the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Mr Nkwane replied that the city had not been instructed to reserve any number of beds because historically the Confederations Cup catered mainly for locals. This was in contrast to the World Cup where a large influx of foreigners visited the country. 

The Chairperson said that he had been impressed with the kit that the City of Johannesburg would provide its volunteers. He asked about the kit that the City of Tshwane would supply its volunteers.

Mr Nkwane confirmed that the City of Tshwane would issue a similar kind of uniform to its volunteers. 

Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) complained that fans were often arrested and harassed by the police whenever big matches were played in Tshwane.

Mr Nkwane responded that government’s Safety and Security cluster together with the South African Police Service were addressing this type of concern.

Mr Dikgacwi remarked that these incidents did not arise when rugby matches took place but only when soccer matches were played.

The Chairperson argued that the police could not be expected to fold its arms if people behaved like hooligans and caused disruption. 

In reply to Mr Dikgacwi questioning whether the municipality or FIFA would be responsible for the financing of the beautification of the city, Mr Nkwane confirmed that this was a joint responsibility.

Mr Dikgacwi noted that the presenter had failed to mention anything about the city’s Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) plan.

Mr Nkwane clarified that the BRT network would not be ready for the Confederations Cup but should be in place for the World Cup. He added that there were a number of measures that had been introduced to cover the route that would have been covered by the BRT system.

The Chairperson noted there were concerns that the BRT plan would sideline taxi operators during the Confederations Cup and World Cup. This had created resistance by taxi operators.

Mr Nkwane clarified that the city was making provisions for the taxi operators to become operators on the BRT itself. He emphasized that taxi operators had a major role to play in the process and were not being sidelined by the city.

Mr Dikgacwi asked if small emerging contractors and women contractors were involved in the construction and infrastructure work carried out by the city. Secondly, he enquired whether Loftus was a private stadium or if it belonged to the municipality.

In response, Mr Nkwane expressed pride in the fact that the city had awarded the major tender for Loftus to a small, 100% black owned construction company. He confirmed that Loftus was owned by the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, which was a private company. The city had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the company to establish what would happen post the 2010 World Cup.

The Chairperson recalled that the Minister of Sports had made an undertaking that there would not be any facilities that did not belong to municipalities, including those that were leased for 99 years. It was untenable that government should finance a stadium with such large amounts and have no say about its operations. 

Mr B Solo (ANC) appreciated the input made by the presenter. He noted that one of the training venues (HM Pitje Stadium) was a Gauteng province Legacy Project and questioned whether this impacted on the work that had to be done by the city.

Mr Nkwane admitted that the city had experienced challenges around the HM Pitje stadium and as a result, had earmarked the Pilditch stadium as a back-up venue. Pilditch stadium required little work and would be ready by the end of March 2009.

Mr Solo expressed concern that the city had leased the existing CCTV cameras.

Mr Nkwane replied that the present contract involved a leasing arrangement. The rationale behind this was to have a service provider that had the capacity to improve the technology around the CCTV cameras. He admitted that it was a legitimate debate whether the city should in fact own the CCTV cameras.

In reply to Mr J Louw (ANC) questioning whether the city had made preparations to control and police the expected influx of sex workers for both events, Mr Nkwane conceded that this issue was a challenge for all host cities and would be addressed at a national level. The Chairperson added that he viewed this matter in a serious light because of it implications for human trafficking.
 
Finally, the Chairperson commented that the city had allayed any lingering concerns and was ready to deliver a world class event.

City of Mangaung presentation
Mr George Mohlakoana (2010 CEO: Mangaung) explained that the match venue (Vodacom Park) was an existing stadium which was located within a sports precinct. The city was completing upgrades on the main stand to provide extra capacity. Seating would be increased from 38 000 to 46 000. There was also a requirement to upgrade office space, hospitality areas, media facilities, floodlights and the public address system.

Most of the construction work on the stadium was awarded to a joint venture of four Free State-based companies. The profile in terms of equity shareholding showed that about 70% of the shareholding was from the black category. Of that, 20% was women. Of the 520 people that worked on the construction site, approximately 80% of the personnel were locally based. Women made up a small portion of the workers on site. The statistics indicated the city’s commitment to maximize the utilization of local businesses and local labour. The Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) had recruited 109 of the 400 workers. There was some work being done on the north eastern and southern parts of the stadium but the main work was on the western stand. Additional seating was being provided and a new roof would be fitted. Only 60% of the seats would be covered. The current hockey fields would be used as a media centre. On the north eastern side, 2 000 parking bays would be built with a pedestrian bridge linking the site to the stadium. Development to the north was restricted due to the waterfront development there. The stadium would be integrated into the shopping mall. The VIP accommodation would increase from between 615 to 1 000.

All the facilities were in close proximity to the stadium. The official fan park would be located at the Mangaung Outdoor Sport Centre. The training venues for use during the Confederations Cup and the World Cup would be at Seisa Ramabodu and Botshabelo stadiums, and the grounds of the University of Free State and the Central University of Technology.

The city was busy with the finishing touches with regards to the pitch, installation of sensitive IT&T equipment, video screens, turnstiles and landscaping. All finishing touches would be completed by the end of February. The official opening of the stadium was planned for March/April 2009, depending on soccer match allocation.  The Local Organising Committee, the National Department of Sports and National Treasury had commended Mangaung for keeping costs within its allocated budget. Any additional allocation might be used for a roof extension over VIP suite during March/April 2009 as part of its legacy.

Most of the transport projects were going according to plan. The city had made a decision in conjunction with the National Department of Transport to delay the implementation of the BRT plan until after the World Cup. Mr Mohlakoana said that the volunteer programme was going well. The city had recruited 800 volunteers. A decision was taken to show a bias towards unemployed persons in the selection of volunteers. Their training would commence in March 2009.

Discussion
Mr Dikgawi voiced concern that no disabled person was employed in the construction of the stadium. Related to this, he asked whether the stadium was disabled friendly.

Mr Mohlakoana assured the Committee that the stadium catered for that category of persons from a design point of view. 

The Chairperson believed that it was a serious indictment that in the money used to upgrade the stadium, not a single disabled person had benefitted.

Mr Solo asked if the city had included Lesotho in their plans for the both the World Cup and Confederations Cup. Secondly, he noted that there were five hospitals in the city and asked how many were public.

Mr Mohlakoana explained that the city had incorporated Maseru in its plans and pointed out that establishments from Lesotho were included in the accommodation database for the city. He noted that most of the hospitals (three in total) were public institutions.

Mr C Frolic (ANC) asked the presenter to update the Committee on their dispute with the Free State Rugby Union, with regard to the latter’s claim for loss of income suffered.

Mr Mohlakoana explained that the Union had submitted a claim of R6 million as a result of the losses incurred. The matter had not yet been brought to finality. The city had made a payment of some of the money because some of the claim was in fact legitimate.

The Chairperson repeated his earlier statement that the municipality owned the stadium and that it did not belong to a particular sport. Finally, he expressed confidence that all the host cities would be ready to deliver on the event.

Super Rugby franchise in the Eastern Cape: input by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality
The Chairperson recalled that three years before, the ruling party had made a call that a new Super 14 franchise should be based in the Eastern Cape. The motivation behind this appeal was to enhance the party’s agenda around issues of transformation.  At the time, the government had not insisted that the franchise be established immediately. Instead, it was conscious that time was needed to put all the proper foundations in place first. Three years down the line, the Committee still maintained its original position. He stressed that the Committee would not negotiate on this position.

Mr Bicks Ndoni, Deputy Executive Mayor, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, thanked the Committee for their unwavering support regarding the establishment of a Super 14 franchise in the Eastern Cape. He recalled that when the municipality had bid for the stadium, it had stated that it would be used for both rugby and soccer.

Given the significance of the day, the Chairperson insisted that there be some commemoration and observance when the British Lions play at the Nelson Mandela Stadium on June 16 2009. 

Mr Ndoni confirmed that that the municipality would ensure that all activities and programmes revolved around the commemoration of that date.

The Chairperson referred to recent media reports where a football club had claimed that they were charged exorbitant fees to make use of the facilities belonging to the Eastern Province Rugby Union. He maintained that the stadiums that existed in the metro belonged to the city council and that no single sport could have a monopoly.

Mr Ndoni agreed with the position that stadiums were municipal property.

Mr Frolick claimed that there should be no claims of ownership and exclusivity with regard to the stadium. He advised rugby and soccer authorities to sit down and find ways on how to collaborate.

Super Rugby franchise in the Eastern Cape: input by Eastern Cape Rugby Union
Mr Cheeky Watson, President: Eastern Cape Rugby Union, made no apologies that the new franchise would be an African one. He showed Members the design and logo and said that it would be launched on June 16 2009. He believed that the franchise would resonate and touch every single corner of South Africa. He was confident that this would change the face of South African Rugby. He stated that the Minister of Sports should speak to the President of SA Rugby ahead of the South Africa New Zealand and Australia (SANZAR) meeting in Dubai so that this issue of a Super 15 should be put on the agenda. Lastly, he commented that he was certain of government’s commitment on the issue but he was not sure of SARU’s commitment.

The Chairperson said that he believed that sport was the catalyst for unity and nation building.  He was impressed with how advanced the Union was with their plans.

Mr Frolick sought clarity on what was outstanding in terms of the inclusion of the Eastern Cape into the Super 14 Competition.

Mr Watson replied that there was no clarity from SARU regarding how far the matter had been tabled at SANZAR level. He noted that there was a SANZAR meeting on 4 March 2009 and that it must be stressed to the President of South African Rugby that the Super 15 franchise must be on the agenda.

Mr Frolick proposed that the Committee write a letter to the Minister of Sports and instruct him to interact with SARU on this matter.

The Committee endorsed this recommendation.

Kei Cricket Board
The Chairperson explained that the Committee had invited representatives from the Kei Cricket Board to discuss their problems with Cricket South Africa (CSA). He had hoped to finalise the matter before the current term of parliament expired. Unfortunately this matter had to be deferred to the Fourth Parliament because the CEO and the President of CSA were not in attendance due to prior commitments. The Chairperson assured the representatives from Kei Cricket Board that he had an interest in the matter and would see to it that it reached finality.

The meeting was adjourned.

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