The once-renowned Bob van Reenen Stadium facility has been labelled a construction site for the past 10 years, with no hint of a planned upgrade. Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso
Johannesburg – At least R10 million has been wasted in an ambitious plan to renovate the iconic Bob van Reenen Stadium, 10 years after it was initially closed for upgrades.

Mogale City municipality’s plan was first announced in 2006, but more than 10 years later, the arena is dilapidating at a rapid pace.

In 2013, former Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane announced ambitious plans to return the stadium to its former glory. 

Construction company Tauris Garden Trading 500 (TGT) was at the time awarded a R10m contract for the work, but almost four years later the stadium remains closed.

The once-renowned Bob van Reenen Stadium facility has been labelled a construction site for the past 10 years, with no hint of a planned upgrade.Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

In 2014, in his final budget speech, former Gauteng finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe set aside R314m to “implement the archive project and the final phase of the renovation of the Bob van Reenen Stadium in Krugersdorp”.

The stadium was initially earmarked to be the home of football powerhouse Kaizer Chiefs, but plans later collapsed. 

It was then set to be a multipurpose sports hub and a high-performance training centre. But in 2015, the stadium upgrade was fingered for financial irregularities by the auditor-general after budget overruns.

Gauteng sport and recreation spokesperson Nomazwe Ntlokwana confirmed that budgets had previously been set aside for the project, but couldn’t confirm the amounts.

“Work done includes upgrading and fixing of the plumbing, electricity, and clearing of the rubble among others,” she told The Star.

When the stadium was closed, athletes had to use the Johanna Botha Park Sports Complex, Azaadville Sports Complex, Kagiso Sports Complex, Lusaka Sports Complex, the Khoza Club and the Market Hall.

The Star visited the stadium and found it in a shambolic state, despite the recent upgrades. Electrical wires, taps, showers and other ablution infrastructure have been vandalised and stripped.

The once-renowned Bob van Reenen Stadium facility has been labelled a construction site for the past 10 years, with no hint of a planned upgrade.Picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso

Despite being sent queries about the costs of the upgrades and the state of the stadium two weeks ago, Mogale City had still not responded at the time of publication.

Ntlokwana said the department’s intention was to ensure that work was done diligently to renovate the facility so that it could serve the people of the West Rand and Gauteng.

“Work has stopped to allow an investigation to determine if all the necessary processes, including procurement, were followed in getting the work done. Following this investigation, the department is studying the report and will consider the way forward, which will be communicated to the public.”

Responding through their lawyer, Shaheed Dollie, TGT said it completed phase two of the project in 2015. “Our client is unaware whether the stadium was damaged/vandalised after it had left the site during November 2015,” Dollie said.

TGT provided The Star with a signed work of completion certificate for the project’s second phase.

According to a June 5, 2013 statement issued by Mogale City, TGT was also responsible for the first phase of upgrades – also worth about R10m. TGT makes no mention of completing the first phase. It was unclear if the R10m included both phases.

In the 2013 statement, Mogale City said TGT had been appointed and had begun renovations in some parts of the facility.

TGT said the contract included:

Cleaning up of the site and building.

Interior refurbishment and painting of existing clubhouse.

Refurbishment of a section of the internal water and sanitation network.

Refurbishment of sections of the stormwater infrastructure.

Electricity (site infrastructure/security lighting).

Jan Lotz Stadium refurbishment phase 3 (electrical work).

A representative of athletics and gymnastics clubs in the area, Delia Smit, said: “It is disgusting, many of the schools must now rent other stadiums because we can’t use our stadium. It’s been a construction site for the past 10 years.

“This was one of the leading track and field stadiums in the world. Paul Nash (100/200m sprinter) broke a world record here and Frankie Fredericks (Namibian sprinter) competed here.”

Mogale City VF Plus councillor Amanda de Lange said all efforts had been frustrated by the municipality. “No one can tell you what’s happening.”

The Star