Durban’s crown jewel undergoing maintenance

The Moses Mabhida Stadium located in Durban, South Africa, is named after Moses Mabhida, a former general secretary of the South African Communist Party. | Leon Lestrade/ Independent Newspapers

The Moses Mabhida Stadium located in Durban, South Africa, is named after Moses Mabhida, a former general secretary of the South African Communist Party. | Leon Lestrade/ Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 24, 2024


Durban — The rehabilitation of the Moses Mabhida Stadium (MMS) is currently under way.

That was according to the eThekwini Municipality, which earlier this week said the stadium is currently being refurbished as part of the stadium’s routine maintenance programme to ensure that the facility remains world-class and maintains its reputation as one of South Africa’s grandest sporting facilities.

The report detailing the stadium’s rehabilitation programme for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial year was presented during the Community Services Committee on Monday, April 22.

The Moses Mabhida Stadium located in Durban, South Africa, is named after Moses Mabhida, a former general secretary of the South African Communist Party. | Leon Lestrade/ Independent Newspapers

eThekwini Stadia head Dr Vusi Mazibuko explained that an asset of this size and design requires major upgrades and rehabilitation to ensure that it not only remains relevant and attractive but that it is compliant.

He said the stadium must also be able to effectively respond to the unit’s socio-economic mandate, promote social cohesion and generate revenue.

The refurbishment which began in the 2023/24 financial year following a thorough conditional assessment, is an exercise which will see the City spending approximately R390 million over three years. The budget includes other repair works such as the upgrades of the turnstile and the kitchen with related equipment.

“The revamp follows an extensive assessment of the facility, and we have identified urgent rehabilitation that needs to occur. This includes the rehabilitation of the concrete, steel roof and architectural façade. The facelift also includes the upgrade of the stadium’s roof structure and viewing platform to accommodate the new Sky Car to be commissioned within the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period, treating identified corrosion and subsequent paintwork,” Mazibuko said.

He also said the work would include taking care of critical infrastructure maintenance and upgrade activities such as the repairing of floodlights and the audio system to enable compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 and the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act of 2010.

Last year thousands of Shembe Church devotees gathered at Moses Mabhida Stadium for the eThekwini prayer. Picture: Supplied

The stadium is structurally stable and continues to be the preferred venue of choice to host various gatherings including political, cultural, religious, lifestyle and sporting events.

Last week, the stadium hosted the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup with over 50 000 spectators. Last financial year, the facility generated R53.2 million in revenue after hosting 152 events.

The 15-year-old facility, which was built ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, requires a constant maintenance plan. This plan ensures that the structure is safe for residents and visitors, is operational and is aligned with evolving technological needs for efficient and profitable commercial operations.

The Moses Mabhida Stadium. | Bongani Mbatha/ Independent Newspapers

In December last year, during a post-council media briefing, eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said information that the stadium was operating at a R228 million annual loss was not factual and was stated out of context.

He said that in 2017, the council decided to integrate the stadium under the eThekwini Municipality as a business unit including five other community stadia.

Kaunda explained that all Moses Mabhida Stadium operating and capital budget requirements are fully funded by the municipality, and all the revenue that MMS generates annually forms part of eThekwini Municipality’s income.

“The MMS is not making a surplus due to the high asset depreciation of over R133 million per annum in relation to the investment of over R3.1 billion for the construction of the stadium in 2010. Each financial year depreciation is budgeted for, and therefore cannot be deemed to be a financial loss,” Kaunda said.

“With respect to financial performance a revenue of R32.3 million was budgeted for. However, the actual revenue generated was R53 million which is R20.7 million more than what was projected. Therefore, MMS exceeded the revenue target by 65%.”

Moses Mabhida Stadium. | FILE

In February last year, an exclusive by sister publication Sunday Tribune reported that the stadium was crumbling, with cracks on the roof, pillars and walls requiring urgent repairs that could cost eThekwini Municipality millions to ensure the stadium is safe for use.

The extent of decay forced some tenants to move out as it was deemed unsafe for them to continue operating there. Some sections of the R3.4bn 2010 World Cup facility have since been repaired, particularly the roof, while some sections of the stadium have been demolished and were in the process of being rebuilt.

The Sunday Tribune had established through several sources within the city that senior municipal engineers made the assessments and advised on repairs to be undertaken.

Following this report, the municipality responded by saying: “The City hereby states categorically that this iconic jewel is fully operational and compliant with the relevant legislations to host events and functions of any type. This is in accordance with the City’s structural engineers and various football and event regulatory bodies.”

“Anywhere in the world, designs do age and like any structure of this size and age, it is currently undergoing major maintenance. The maintenance being carried out encompasses both the structural aspect and retail sections. The timing of this initiative coincides with the unfolding process of filling vacant shops that will see a rise in retail occupancy levels before the end of the year.

“The stadium is also due for a second phase of assessment in accordance with the asset management plan roll out. Local and international engineering firms will conduct this assessment between March and June 2023.”

Orlando Pirates celebrate during the 2024 Nedbank Cup quarter finals match between AmaZulu FC and Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium on the 13 April 2024 © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

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