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Mar 31, 2000

Sports centre pilot project on track

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© Reuse this Warrick Lace Engineering News Features Reporter Construction of the pilot project for the R1,5-billion Sport For All (SFA) initiative is expected to begin construction in Umlazi, Kwazulu-Natal, during May reveals SFA chairperson Zee Cele.

Black-empowerment group Union Alliance Holding (UAH) owns 50% of the intiative.

The Umlazi site will begin with a face lift to the existing King Goodwill Zwelithini stadium.

The main focus will, however, be the 10 000 m2 adjacent retail centre.

The retail centre will provide economic and social upliftment for the community and is expected to be the main source of revenue through rent paid by high-profile tenants. Cele explains that traditional forms of sponsorship are regarded by SFA to be insufficient to sustain the project.

A viable business plan, that will offer both financial and social returns, is the reason that SFA believes the centre will be a success.

The construction company, Basil Read, has joined forces with SFA and UAH and its contribution towards the project will enable SFA to deliver on the 30 centres planned over the next ten years, as well as to unlock critical funding. Its holding company construction projects include the Stade de France, the Charlety sports stadium, Parc des Princes stadium, the Hong Kong stadium, Burkina Faso National stadium and Lagos stadium.

Locally, the company constructed the original Kyalami race-track and pit buildings, as well as the later refit of the motorsport facility. The Phakisa freeway, in Welkom, is the company’s most recent large project. Subsidiaries of the company have also managed the sports facilities for a city council in the UK, as well as the Stade de France. These are managed as self-sustaining projects, in line with the SFA strategy of making all 30 centres self-sufficient and independent of government support.

In addition to sports coaching, life skills will be taught at the centre, confronting issues such as goal-setting and teamwork.

State-of-the-art artificial surfaces will be used, enabling the centre to cope with the expected 20 000 children below the age of 18 every week. Teachers from local schools will be used in the centres, they will receive additional training and earn more money from the centres.

Each child will pay affordable levies for the use of the facilities, while it is envisaged that those who are unable to afford the payment will receive support from surrounding factories and businesses that employ a large proportion of the local workforce.

In addition to the sport facilities and the retail outlets, community services, such as libraries, electricity pay-points, day-care centres, health clinics and phone services will also be built.

The development of informal trade is prominent in plans for the centre.

Informal trade stalls and fleamarket-type facilities will be built.

The large brand names moving into the centre are expected to work hand-in-hand with the informal trade sector of the community.

SFA insists that the actual development is only 20% of its job; the main challenge will be ensuring that the centre is sustainable and well run, adding to the economic and social development of the community.

The centre will create in the region of 1 000 permanent jobs in the community, these jobs do not include the construction process, which Basil Read has ensured will also create jobs and involve the community significantly.

Umlazi was chosen as the pilot site because of the need for educational and recreational activities in the area.

Edited by: System Author
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