South Africa

Mabopane residents to decide future of “white elephant” stadium

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Mabopane residents still have the chance to decide the fate of the “white elephant” Odi stadium during a virtual meeting on Tuesday at 18:00.

This is a follow-up to the meeting on Sunday, February 25 at the Mabopane Indoor Centre to discuss the proposed lease for the historical stadium.

On November 30 last year, Tshwane approved a public participation process to obtain input from residents and relevant stakeholders on how to maximise the potential of the dilapidated 60 000-seater stadium.

This facility was originally built by the Bophuthatswana government under Kgosi Lucas Manyane Mangope’s administration to help develop sports in the former homeland in the late 1980s.

It was home to Ga-Rankuwa United and hosted electrifying soccer matches, involving big teams such as Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows, Mamelodi Sundowns and Wits University, as well as ANC and ZCC gatherings.

Before falling into neglect and being vandalised, the multi-purpose stadium had a soccer field, athletics track, two changing rooms, four male and female restrooms each, four kiosks, a VIP lounge, a control room and four ticket offices.

After the council approved the public participation, MMC for Corporate and Shared Services, Kingsley Wakelin said the city proposes to lease the property for 80 years to a developer, sports team or community organisation. The aim is to transform the site and promote multiple sports and mixed-use to make the Odi Mabopane stadium financially viable.

“The vision for the site as a multipurpose sports facility is to drive local economic growth and ensure we do not end up with another white elephant project as we saw after 2010,” Wakelin said.

There have been numerous plans over the years to transform the stadium into a world-class sports event host.

Wakelin said attempts to get the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and African Cup of Nations to host games at the Odi Mabopane stadium have come to nothing due to its poor condition.

“The metro is committed to seeing the site become a valuable community asset that could promote local sporting activities.”

Deputy mayor and MMC for Community and Social Development Services, Nasiphi Moya said the stadium has attracted the attention of the national and provincial governments, prompting discussions in the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport, arts and culture meetings.

There has also been notable interest from professional football clubs, particularly in the rejuvenation of the stadium.

“This proposal aims to drive local economic growth by providing an incentive for local football franchises to invest in township stadiums while retaining control over their operation,” Moya said.

The proposed plan offers several key benefits to the city, including the following:

Creating safer communities:

For years residents in and around the stadium have raised concerns over the safety at the facility.

It has been brought to light that the stadium as a former shadow of itself has been a crime hotspot and a nest for criminals, vagrants and nyaope users.

However, Moya said the renovation would effectively address safety.

“Through this initiative, the stadium will be transformed into a multifunctional sporting precinct, offering various sporting and recreational opportunities to the community.”

Unlocking full value:

By leasing the stadium for 80 years – a guaranteed 50 years with the option to renew for an additional 30 – Moya said the city aims to maximise use.

“This strategic move is anticipated to generate spill-over opportunities in economic activity such as township tourism, thereby bolstering the broader township economy.

The proposed lease is available on the Tshwane website at www.tshwane.gov.za.

Residents can join the virtual meeting on Microsoft Teams Meeting ID: 365 084 137 838  Passcode: 7tCSgw

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