Cape stadium 'musn't be flattened'

2010-12-01 21:25

Cape Town - There should be "no thought" of demolishing the R4.4bn Cape Town stadium, the chief executive of the stadium's former operating company said on Wednesday.

"There shouldn't be thought about breaking down the stadium," Morné du Plessis, who heads up Sail Stadefrance Operating Company, told the Cape Town Press Club.

"The stadium is a huge commercial asset. This stadium is a brilliant facility and an asset to the city and South Africa.

"The costs are significant, but the opportunities are also significant."

Du Plessis said in October that Sail Stadefrance would not renew a 30-year lease to manage the property after running into "severe operating constraints".

"We made a projection over five years and it certainly was not an astronomical amount. But it was money our shareholders did not have the reserves to carry."

Du Plessis said Sail had given the city a business plan, with business programmes, concessionaires, naming and advertising rights when it handed over the stadium.

"The stadium has great potential to generate revenue to off-set costs," Du Plessis said.

"While the costs are significant in our terms, we do not think (they are) unmanageable for City of Cape Town."

Du Plessis said he could not discuss the stadium's operating cost due to a confidentiality agreement with the city.

In a briefing to Parliament earlier this year however, director of the city's 2010 operations Lesley De Reuck said the current operational and maintenance costs, including management of the adjacent Green Point Park, were around R46.5m a year.

Rugby not negotiating

Company Ross Demolition said it was prepared to demolish the stadium for between R10m and R15m. Some architects in the city had also been calling for the stadium to be torn down.

Du Plessis said Sail had underestimated the resolve of Western Province Rugby to stay at its current home at Newlands, instead of moving to Cape Town Stadium. This had been a major constraint, he said.

"Rugby is drawing the line in the sand in terms of not wanting to negotiate at all," he said.

"But even if they were willing into enter negotiations, we could not withstand that timeline."

Even if Western Province Rugby decided to negotiate "tomorrow", the public participation process could take up to three years.

Rugby, he said, had been put off by the lack of hospitality suits at the new stadium. The European designers had neglected to take the local culture of each company having its own suite into account, and had opted for a more open plan design instead.

"Rugby is reliant on revenue from suites, so we would have to replace those," he said.

What rugby could do, he said, "is decide that certain matches could be played in the interim period".

"Ironically, our departure could speed up and facilitate possible discussions with Western Province Rugby," Du Plessis said.

Iconic structure

Other constraints faced by Sail were the inability of soccer clubs to afford playing at stadium, and the "throttling commercial restrictions" around operating the venue.

The 2 000 parking bays were also taking away an opportunity to build a fitness centre and hospital.

"There is no space because we have to have parking. At the moment you are not allowed to sell a cup of tea in the stadium outside of events. This has to change."

The stadium operator was also having to operate Green Point Park.

"With the successful eradication of major constraints, that we now know exist, this could result in a sustainable business or at least limit the cost to the city and ratepayers.

"If we want to keep this iconic structure... We have to make this work."

  • MouthoftheSouth - 2010-12-01 23:04

    Mbeki and Rasool should be jailed for allowing FIFA to rape and pillage the country!

  • Fred - 2010-12-02 08:51

    Tear it down. R15mill versus R50 mill running costs per annum, it's a no brainer.

  • D - 2010-12-02 08:54

    Convert the staduim into small flatlets and rent it out.

  • Volv - 2010-12-02 09:11

    hahahaha!! Lots of money spend on a lousy sport. They could have used the money for education or something our country needs, but no…some people like to watch soccer for a month. Now FIFA smiled to the bank and left us with the debt and lots of white elephants we can’t afford!

  • Kevin of GP - 2010-12-02 09:31

    Is this not just another extravagant exhibition of our ruling party with no long term fore site....just think of how many houses and upliftment of hospitals could have taken place with R4,4 billion!!!!

  • Gavin - 2010-12-02 09:58

    I agree tghat the stadium must be demolished. It is a monument to the egos and folly of those who had it built in the first place and must be pulled down without further delay. Time is money and in this case,the ratepayers of Cape Town who were largely against it being built in the first place. Talk about gertting priorities right. Surely eco-nomic pragmatism must triumph over emotional decision-making? The taxpayers (financial) and people in general have been ripped off by FIFA who are smiling all the way to the bank. Their greed and ruthlessness is matched only by the lack of sportsmanship in the game of football.

  • jem - 2010-12-02 11:34

    its huge, its int the wrong place, and only a few got the benefits...a perfect example of shortsighted selfish agendas,,,,now a vulgar mess both visual and economic for capetonians to have to sort out the mess. dont tear it down,,,use it properly and cleverly. and get that transport sorted out...!!

  • James - 2010-12-02 12:09

    So let us look at the case of transnet and apply it to this white ellie. They (transnet) base their working model upon returns, rightly or wrongly, using infrastructure that by now must be assets rather than liabilities, since the previous regime(s) paid for it all. So now they cannot balance their books. They are closing down and in fact stripping hundreds of kilometres of rail infrastructure on an annual basis. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a similar situation brewing in the case of the stadium. It is not and might not ever make a profit, so by analogy, must go.

  • Peter Ramsden Consul - 2010-12-02 13:01

    Cape Town stadium is a difficult one because of the distance to the railway line. It is not a good swop for Newlands. However Durban should be given to the rugby union free of charge (with a certain number of days per year reserved for soccer) as a swop for the existing stadium which could then be demolished. Alternatively it could be auctioned. Nelspruit and Polokwane should be auctioned out for a 10 year lease with termination rights reserved if maintenance not done, and then reauctioned again after that time. It is no use pretending that the stadiums are worth more than what a willing buyer would pay for them. I would be prepared to draft a pro-forma contract.

  • Pie in the Sky - 2010-12-02 14:52

    Yeah, tear it down ASAP. Waste of money. Wrong place to be of much use to community at large

  • cr1t - 2010-12-02 16:33

    Lol at all the people complaining at the transport, Last i looked there was a BRT system in place and you could walk to the stadium, from the water front. Maybe that is why cape town is the most obese city in SA, capetownians to lazy to walk.

  • anon - 2010-12-02 20:03

    Tear it down. Soon. Whoever designed that stadium is a loser. Fin24 should name and shame them so its readers don't get sapped into using an incompetent architect. How can they not create more capacity with private suites? There is absolutely no financial reason for WP to move. Pathetic effort to all those behind a beautiful but totally useless stadium.

  • anon - 2010-12-02 20:09

    According to the City of CT website: "GMP Architects of Germany and two local firms, Louis Karol and Associates and Point Architects, joined forces to design the stadium." Remind me to NEVER use these people for anything.

  • Tweets - 2010-12-02 20:13

    If it dont make money, and costs. It must GO ! Pay now and save in the future. WHAT a waste these idiots are that DEMANDED the stadium. Name & Shame them.

  • Roger - 2010-12-02 22:57

    Many Capetonians still labour under the impression that FIFA funded the cost of stadium infrastructure. In order to obtain a groundswell of support to do the right thing this illusion needs to be dispelled. The old adage applies - your first loss is your best loss. Take it down.

  • JDV - 2010-12-03 06:41

    Dear Morne It's a bit rich for you to make the comment that the city should keep the stadium, when clearly there was no feasible way to run it profitably in the future. Hence your company's sudden departure out of the management contract. Demolishing the stadium would make way for genuine commercial enterprises to take over the existing space and actually provide a return to taxpayers for the wasted BILLIONS spent on the stadium. Rather be direct and honest in providing an assessment and forget about popular opinion in providing guidance for a way out of this mess.

  • ockert - 2010-12-03 07:49

    Rather spend 10-15 mil. now than in 2 years time when the demolition costs will have gone up by 50%, and the maintenance costs have been paid for two years --- obvious what to do.--- Why this sturcture was built in the first place is a question FIFA and Danny should answer. The cost vs renovating stadia country wide should have been the answer-- as MANY pointed out long before the time --- but were called racist and all kinds of names--- when the funds could have been put to good use in hospitals which are attrocious, roads which are disintegrating, electricity which (thanks to Erwin) is failing, Education which is failing without a doubt.

  • Dewald - 2010-12-03 07:50

    Did you see how the Qatar spokesman praised the FIFA gods for being awarded the world cup?

  • Abigwar - 2010-12-03 13:13

    Turn it into a prison

  • Arjen - 2011-01-05 15:21

    News24 carried a report by Julian Rademeyer on 4/10/2009, and I quote from the report: "Dave Hugo, Cape Town's 2010 technical director, disagrees. "I honestly believe it (the stadium) is going to be an asset...We certainly don't see it being a white elephant. To achieve that we have to sweat the asset. He believes that SAIL Stadefrance is a "world best". "The city is not in the business of running international stadiums....If they can't make it work, no-one can."" Now we know that Sail has in the meantime pulled out because they can not make it work, ergo, according to what Mr Hugo said at the time, the stadium will not be viable. So, tear it down and end this unedifying torture.

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