Cape Town - At least 16 months after the date for completion of the Green Point Athletics Stadium, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille called an urgent meeting with officials on Wednesday, before announcing that the facility would officially open on February 18.
The announcement follows a Cape Times story about the facility not being used despite it being scheduled to open at the end of 2013.
At Wednesday’s meeting the mayor gave strict instructions that all outstanding work be completed in order to ensure that the stadium is functional by February 18.
“On behalf of the City of Cape Town, I would like to apologise for the delay caused by the liquidation of the previous contractor. The Green Point Athletics Stadium will soon be a world-class facility. We have already received bookings for an international triathlon championship in April,” said De Lille. The city said one of the main obstacles to the stadium’s completion was former contractor Filcon Projects’ inability to complete the work.
But former Filcon Projects chairman Saul Lonnenberg hit back on Wednesday. He said the stadium was completed on time, before the end of 2013, and was signed off by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and deemed fit for use by July 2013.
He said the city had overspent professional fees and had sought to claim this money through guarantees to offset the overexpenditure.
“This, by default, brought the completion to a close. The reason they are not using this facility is that they cannot agree how much they owe.”
But De Lille’s spokeswoman, Pierrinne Leukes, said there was an extensive list of snags during construction that included joiners, plaster work, plumbing, paint work and sections of ceiling that had collapsed.
“The contractor agreed to attend to all of the snags, but failed to honour this commitment. The city therefore cancelled the contract. The City of Cape Town is committed to ensuring that the quality of the stadium is not compromised and as such we are not prepared to accept sub-standard workmanship,” she said.
According to Leukes, the IAAF approval was only for the track and excluded the grandstand. “Filcon did not complete their work in 2013 and towards the end of 2013 asked the city for an extension of their completion date to February 2014. In February, the works were still not complete.”
Lonnenberg also said the city’s project head did not control the project well enough, and the project’s principal agent was seconded to the city and shared an office in the municipality. The city said it would investigate these claims.
The tender process previously came under the spotlight after Tony Ehrenreich, ANC leader in the city council, said there should be a full investigation into the “connection between DA councillors and Filcon”. The ANC plans to take this matter to the public protector, he said.