Durban’s Moses Mabhida stadium set to get a new Skycar, procurement process at an advanced stage

The Skycar seen travelling down the arch of the stadium in Durban.

The eThekwini Municipality is looking to procure a new Skycar for the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. The old one, pictured here, has not been in operation since it broke down in 2018. File Picture: Shelley Kjonstad African News Agency (ANA).

Published Mar 10, 2023


Durban - The popular Skycar at the Moses Mabhida Stadium will undergo a major overhaul, as repairing the old facility would have been an expensive exercise for the municipality.

Head of stadia and facilities at eThekwini Municipality Vusi Mazibuko revealed they were engaging with the company that builds Skycars, and the intention was to have the tourist attraction in operation within a year.

Mazibuko said the process of procuring it was at an advanced stage.

“The real issue is that in the world there is only one company that is involved in this. We have engaged them. They need to build this car, and it has to be modelled within our own specifications,” he said.

The Skycar has not been functional since it broke down in 2018. Attempts to fix it a few years ago had to be shelved amid escalating costs. It would have cost the council R26 million to repair it. The City would have operated it for two more years, and after that would have had to overhaul it.

Mazibuko revealed that the new Skycar would be markedly different from the one the City had operated in order to improve user experience.

Speaking on the challenges they had faced with bringing the old Skycar back into operation, he said the car was over 10 years old and a decision had been taken to do a minor upgrade in the interim while the City worked to procure a new one.

A company that was going to do the work had charged the city R13m for the work, but there were disruptions brought about by Covid-19, and when the company was able to resume the work, it informed the city that the cost of the project had doubled.

“The company then informed us that they wanted the full 100% payment upfront, and we told them that as a city we do not do that. There was this back and forth, and they deadlocked.”

According to Mazibuko, the City then decided to abandon its plans to repair the old Skycar and opted to procure a new one.

“People who had gone up in the Skycar had no reason to go up again, because there was nothing to do up there. Part of this upgrade is to ensure that it becomes an interactive experience, that when you are up there, there is something that you do,” he said.

Mazibuko also spoke about plans to change the platform.

“The platform that we want to have is a glass platform, so that when you are on top of the arch and you look down, you are able to see the pitch.”

The City also wanted to upgrade the reception area where the Skycar is parked when not in use to ensure that the car is not exposed to corrosive elements.

Mazibuko said the costs associated with the upgrade, and the revenue that would be generated from it made economic sense.

He also rejected allegations the stadium was collapsing, saying they were not true.

He conceded that some tenants had moved out, but said that was not linked to the poor conditions of the stadium. Many had moved out because their businesses had suffered losses and they could not operate any more.

He said they would be welcoming new tenants that had innovative ideas that could make the precinct vibrant.