Demolish Cape Town stadium, say angry residents

Written by Yazeed Kamaldien

“Just demolish it,” was among angry resident’s demands at a public meeting this week outlining business plans to stop Cape Town Stadium from bleeding taxpayer’s money.

The meeting was held inside the stadium on Wednesday night. Residents in areas around the stadium – Green Point, Sea Point and Fresnaye – mostly attended.

Its purpose was to inform locals about the legal changes required and environmental impact of proposed business plans for the economically failing stadium. The venue costs R52-million to manage annually but earns only R13-million over the same period.

Geoff Underwood, director of Planning Partners, said the stadium manager City of Cape Town wanted a “more commercial approach”. Underwood heads a team leading the process to turnaround the stadium’s losses.

Underwood said the City needed to rezone the stadium from a community property to a general business zone.

He said the City’s business plan proposes using space inside the stadium for office suites, mixed retail spaces, franchised restaurants and contract parking.

Carmen du Toit, managing director of The Environmental Partnership, said among the legislation that would need to be amended include the National Environmental Act. This was to rezone the stadium and subdivide it from the public urban park on the same property.

Du Toit said an environmental impact assessment would consider how upgrades to the area could “block existing visual resources”. She said they would have future meetings across the city before finalising their submissions to the City in the mid-quarter of next year.

Residents angrily voiced their objections to the business plans though. Green Point businesswoman Colleen Anderson said the stadium has “been an enormous waste of money”.

“It’s a monstrosity we’re sitting with that doesn’t bring in any money. We are paying for this and you’ve all lost sight of that. Theses people just suck our money out of us. It costs us R52-million to keep this empty building,” said Anderson.

Green Point resident John Hall added: “It will never be viable.”

“Let’s mitigate our losses. It’s a shambles. It’s all airy-fairy stuff.”

But Underwood would hear none of it. When one resident stood up and demanded, “just demolish it (the stadium)”, he said their “mandate is not to knock down the stadium”.
“We are here to make this wonderful facility work. For those who regret it, it’s here,” said Underwood.

“The community was concerned that shopping malls would creep up on the common. That will not happen.”


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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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