Vusi Mazibuko, head of stadia and facilities in South Africa’s eThekwini Municipality, has rejected claims that Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium is “collapsing”, while confirming plans to redevelop the Skycar lift at the venue.
The stadium, which has a capacity of 55,500, opened in 2009 ahead of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa the following year. The venue is used to host a range of sports, including rugby union and cricket.
A recent report from the Sunday Tribune newspaper claimed that Moses Mabhida Stadium is falling into disrepair, with its roof featuring cracks and its pillars and walls requiring urgent attention.
The report claimed that some tenants had been forced to relocate due to the unsafe nature of the stadium, but Mazibuko has refuted these suggestions and insisted that the facility is not collapsing.
Speaking on the ‘eThekwini Matters’ podcast, Mazibuko said, according to South African news outlet IOL: “The stadium is not collapsing.”
He added: “It (the claim) comes from people who have made it their business to rubbish the city, who have made it their business to paint this city as a failing city. That is how I sum it up. With all the news that the stadium is collapsing; there is no picture that suggests that the stadium is collapsing.”
Mazibuko said the stadium continues to host events and moved to clarify that some tenants had relocated because their businesses were struggling.
Mazibuko has also confirmed that the Skycar installation at Moses Mabhida Stadium will be overhauled.
The installation allows guests to travel up the stadium’s arch in a glass-encased lift, offering views of the Durban skyline and the nearby King’s Park Rugby Stadium. It is hoped that the lift, which has been closed since 2018, can be operational again within a year.
“The real issue is that in the world there is only one company that is involved in this,” he said, according to IOL. “We have engaged them. They need to build this car, and it has to be modelled within our own specifications.”
The city had begun work on repairing the lift but the cost doubled following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, from R13m (£588,000/€665,000/$714,000) to R26m. The decision was then taken to abandon plans to repair the existing lift and replace it with a new one.