If Durban wins the bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the city’s economy could expect an inflow of about R25-billion, with positive knock-on effects from 220 000 visitors extending way beyond the East Coast, bid committee CEO Mark Alexander says.
However, professional services firm Deloitte KwaZulu-Natal consulting head Carryn Tennent noted that, with a project of this magnitude, enterprise risk management of the games would be critical.
“The logistics behind securely moving 220 000 people will have to be well planned, tested and executed.
“The world has seen the far reaching negative impact of the FIFA World Cup scandal on sport in general. It is imperative that the [Commonwealth Games] Federation, in conjunction with South Africa, delivers games that are free from any corruption, bribery or unlawful acts whatsoever. This will require strong governance frameworks underpinned by sound financial processes in every phase of the games, to ensure seamless execution,” she said.
Deloitte KwaZulu-Natal incoming managing partner Ruwayda Redfearn said the proposal for the 2022 Commonwealth Games bid committee seemed to be a “smart one” for a number of reasons.
“Thirteen out of 17 sports planned are to be held within a 2.5 km radius of each other; the planned athletes’ village, 15 km from the King Shaka International Airport and located along the KwaZulu-Natal northern growth corridor, will be used after the games to alleviate some of the housing backlog in the province; and all but one of the facilities was originally earmarked for upgrade as part of the existing National Development Plan and Integrated Development Plan, leveraging the planned investment to increase the impact on Durban,” she said.
The athletes’ village would be absorbed into the flagship Cornubia business and housing project, which would ultimately see over 24 000 new mixed-income homes built over the next ten years. A joint venture between the eThekwini metropolitan municipality and agriculture and agroprocessing company Tongaat Hulett, it was identified by Cabinet as a national priority project.
This event would also enable the city to leverage other major investments including the ICC Arena addition, the Moses Mabhida Stadium that was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the King Shaka International Airport that was developed to handle large visitor inflows into the province.
“It is estimated that[, if held in Durban,] the 2022 Commonwealth Games will see 220 000 visitors to the region which includes athletes, spectators, officials, delegates and VIPs. This will undoubtedly have a major impact on the local economy not only in 2022 but also during the seven-year lead-up to the games.
“At Deloitte, we understand just what it takes to realise the considerable opportunities that result but we also know that stringent controls and good corporate governance and empowering partnerships are what counts when it comes to seamless delivery,” Redfearn added.
Based on experience from their strategic role in the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games and, more recently, the organising committees of the 2015 South East Asia Games and the Youth Olympics, Deloitte had first-hand experience of the financial impacts of international sporting events of this magnitude, as well as the ‘feel good factor’ that lasted long after the closing ceremony.
Deloitte believed that the Commonwealth Games 2022 offered the same opportunity for Durban. If awarded, this would be the first time that the games would be hosted on the African continent.