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Our city on the rise! It's Africa's moment – Durban to host 2022 Commonwealth Games
AAfter the announcement in Auckland, New Zealand, eThekwini Mayor Councillor James Nxumalo thanked the Commonwealth Games Federation and all its members for giving
Durban the opportunity to host the Games. “We will be hosting these Games on behalf of the African continent which is about one billion people. It is history in the making, as these Games will be coming to the African continent for the first time. South Africa is under reconstruction and development, as we are building this new country which is non-racial, non-sexist and democratic,” he said.
An elated Nxumalo said: “The Games will be used to promote social cohesion and build our nation. Hosting the games will give our young people an opportunity to showcase their talent on the world stage in 2022 because we want them to be the champions of tomorrow.”
Nxumalo added that Durban is humbled by the decision of the Commonwealth Games Federation and asked Durban residents and South African citizens to rally behind the country to ensure that the Games become the greatest sporting event our country has ever seen.
“Durban continues to fly the flag of South Africa with pride,” he added. Government is confident that the opportunity to host the Games in 2022 will accelerate infrastructure development and refurbishment of sports facilities in the City which will form part of the City’s sustainable sports development programmes, which will in turn improve the lives of underprivileged children and adults in various communities.
Durban’s vision supports and contributes to South Africa’s 2030 National Development Plan and is rooted in the desire to engage citizens, especially young people, athletes and the Commonwealth.
The Games concept features a compact venue plan centred around the sporting super-precinct of the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium and adjacent coastline, providing excellent opportunities for innovative sport presentation and enhanced athlete experience.
Now Durban has won the bid, the real work begins. What is important to note, is that 80 percent of the facilities where the games will be played already exist.
Chairman of the Durban 2022 Commonwealth Games Bid Committee, Mark Alexander said: “The real work starts now and there is a lot of work to be done for the next seven years. The upgrades of our facilities are in our current plans such as the building of the Athletics Village which is part of the 2030 housing requirements. We have budgeted R6.5 billion and that is what we will spend over the coming years.”
Durban is the gateway to Africa and has also over the years created hugely attractive tourism products which have increased the City’s appeal for not only planning and staging mega sporting events but also as a top tourism destination, earning it a spot at number seven in New York Times’ travel list of the world’s top 52 destinations in 2015.
The Games will elevate the eThekwini Municipality’s Long Term 2030 Development Plan vision, which aims to make Durban Africa’s most caring and liveable City.
The preparations of the 2022 Commonwealth Games have also assisted in fast-tracking major developments in our City. The Cornubia housing project has been identified as a cost-saving measure that will ensure that the units continue being used long after the Games have finished. The Athletes Village will be built as housing units and handed over to beneficiaries after the Games.
The eThekwini leadership is confident that our City has the expertise, capabilities and infrastructure to be able to handle about 200 000 visitors expected to come to Durban during the Games.
The Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network is underway and promises to offer a world-class 21st-century road network by 2022. It will provide a faster and more efficient public transport network to the City of Durban during the Games and beyond.Economic Spinoffs and job opportunities The City of Durban is contributing about R500 million for the seven-year period before the Games begin.
Government believes that the Games provide great prospects for economic growth. The financial support of the Games will not be a burden to ratepayers because the benefits will outweigh the financial contribution made by the City.
Some of the economic benefits include:
- Up to R20 billion in outputs to the economy, this translates to an estimated R11 billion Gross Domestic Product growth. International visitors are expected to contribute up to R12 billion, in direct expenditure.
- Positive revenue impact across all sectors will be derived as a result of increased economic activity prior to, during and post the Games including the construction, hospitality and entertainment, accommodation, food and beverage, safety and security, transportation services, tourism as well other commercial and public sectors either directly or indirectly.
- The delivery of 2022 Games will require the hiring of an estimated 1,000 full time staff members at its peak, who will work to ensure the successful delivery of the Games as part of the organising committee.
- 3,400 additional employees directly linked to the Games.
- The Volunteer programme is one of the Games’ legacy in the area of human capital development. It involves thousands of people, mostly students, but also a significant number of senior citizens who would support the fans, especially foreign tourists. About 10 000 volunteers will receive training.
- The infrastructure investments will also require a number of employees to implement infrastructure upgrades as well as fast track new construction for example the Athlete’s Village. These may be in the form of full-time, part-time or contractor work in the construction industry.
Durban still remains the most favoured sports centre for many South Africa’s iconic annual sport events such as the famous Comrades Marathon, several rugby test and super XV matches, T20 international and domestic cricket matches, Bafana Bafana and premier soccer league matches and the Amashova Cycle Race.
With such an international and local track record of hosting major sports events, there is no better suited place to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.