The cabinet is concerned about the extra billions that host cities are 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 told a media briefing in Cape Town yesterday.

The briefing follows the cabinet’s regular fortnightly meeting, held on Wednesday.

The government has allocated an extra R1,4b n for completion of stadiums; cities have reportedly asked for R3,2b n, saying if they do not get it, the stadiums will not be finished in time.

Maseko said that 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. 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.

“Because 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. National treasury will interact with them to make sure that these matters are attended to,” Maseko said.

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.

The cabinet yesterday also congratulated Bafana Bafana on their win over Cameroon on Wednesday.

PUBLICATION: Business Day (Sapa)
AUTHOR: Richard Davies
DATED: 21st November 2008