The iconic stadiums in the City of Tshwane - HM Pitje and Odi - will in future be given a new lease of life following a proposal to transform them into multiple sports and mixed use facilities with a view to make them financially viable.
The future of the stadiums is detailed in a recently tabled council report, which proposed that they be leased to private investors for a maximum period of 80 years to turn them into multipurpose sporting facilities.
In terms of the report, the accounting officer Johann Mettler has been mandated to conduct a public participation to solicit general views on the proposal.
In the event when the City would not receive objections the lease process would go ahead in terms of the municipality’s approved land management policy, according to the report.
The accounting officer is expected to undertake direct engagements with interest groups and professional bodies with the view to attracting partnerships in the stadiums’ development.
The City cited in the report that the “sustainability of these stadiums requires high levels of maintenance which the City cannot afford due to its financial challenges”.
“This accordingly leads to a lack of funding and capacity to maintain these stadiums and threatens the livelihood of these facilities,”said the report.
The Mamelodi-based HM Pitje was demolished in February this year by the Gauteng provincial government, but the asset remains in the ownership and custodianship of the City.
The cost for the demolition works was estimated to be R87 million.
The stadium, according to the report, had several shortcomings and consequently did not comply with occupational health and safety.
HM Pitje was earmarked as a training facility for teams participating in the 2010 Soccer World Cup, but that never materialised due to non-compliance with occupational safety regulations.
“The cost of re-developing the stadium will come at a heavy price that will burden the City's already poor financial state, therefore this report proposes the releasing of the stadium to the market,”the report said.
On the other hand, the structure of Odi stadium in Mabopane was deemed unsafe and dilapidated.
It was reported that the community asked for the stadium to be demolished because it was unsafe for children using the stadium.
The City said it was not in a position to afford the cost of redeveloping the stadium, including its demolition.
The 60 000-seater Odi stadium was built by the erstwhile homeland government Bophuthatswana in the 1980s. It was subsequently transferred to the City of Tshwane after the collapse of the former bantustan.
It hosted big teams like Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs in its heyday.
ANC councillor Donald Tsela welcomed the proposed leasing of the two stadiums, adding that the facilities represented the struggles of “our people”.
He said over the years the venues deteriorated and that the proposed developments would mark the transition from neglecting them to making them “beacon of pride once again”.
“We can create a space that caters for diverse needs and aspirations of our people,”he said.
MMC for Corporate and Shared Services, Kingsley Wakelin said residents and communities around the stadiums would have an opportunity to decide on their future.
“The vision for the sites as multipurpose sport facilities is to drive local economic growth and to ensure that we do not end up with another white elephant project as we saw after 2010,”he said.
He said constant vandalism over the years forced the Gauteng provincial government to demolish HM Pitje Stadium early this year.
“As the former home of the Mamelodi Sundowns, this was a massive blow to the local community and local soccer fans alike. The City is committed to seeing these sites become financially viable and valuable community assets that could promote local sporting activities,” Wakelin said.
The public participation process is expected to start early in 2024 with physical meetings for all communities and relevant stakeholders.