South Africa 2008-11-14 : Construction at Mbombela stadium ahead of schedule

By Sydney Masinga

Nelspruit - The Mbombela stadium in Nelspruit, which is to host some of the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, is more than half-way complete and is expected to be given over to FIFA ahead of schedule next year.

Mpumalanga Culture, Sports and Recreations MEC Dinah Pule said the stadium was over 60 percent complete and would be ready in June next year.

She said the stadium was ahead of schedule despite repeated strikes over wage disagreements.

"We are supposed to hand over the stadium to FIFA by December 2009, but because of the commitment from government officials and those who are working in the site, the contractors have said the stadium will be handed over by June 2009."

Ms Pule, who was accompanied to the construction site by Mbombela Executive Mayor Lassy Chiwayo and provincial 2010 Project Manager Desmond Golding, thanked the 1 250 construction workers who are making up the time lost during the wage strike actions.
"As government, we will do everything in our power to make sure that they are happy and well taken care of," she said.

About 80 percent of the workers employed at the site came from local communities in Nelspruit and surrounding areas.

Leon Botha, a resident engineer on site, said the two million working hours had been comleted at the stadium without any injuries.

He said the project was also on budget. "Our budget was R920 million and we are still working to that budget," he said.

He said the contractor would bear the risk of any price escalation and be liable for any future damages at the stadium.

The stadium will be able to seat 46 000 people, 5 000 of which will be reserved for the members of the media during the soccer showpiece. Beyond the world cup, the stadium will be used as a multipurpose centre for soccer, rugby, cricket and music activities. - BuaNews