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Sun May 29 21:14:52 SAST 2016

Commonwealth Games plans hit

Nompumelelo Magwaza | 17 February, 2016 00:39
Durban was named Africa's first Commonwealth Games host city in September. File photo
Image by: Supplied

South Africa is behind on plans for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula has yet to appoint a board and CEO, said Mark Alexander, chairman of the 2022 Commonwealth Games bidding committee.

At a tourism forum briefing hosted by the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday, Alexander said: "We lost the first three month in terms of planning, so it's important that the minister announces the new board rather soon. We need to hit the ground running."

Alexander, who is also the deputy president of the South African Rugby Union, said processes needed to be in place so that the tourism, infrastructure and transport stakeholders can start marketing the event.

He added that any plan needed buy-in from all the stakeholders.

"We need to sell the idea to our locals and international counterparts with one voice and the same strategy."

Durban was named Africa's first Commonwealth Games host city in September.

"The idea should be to put together a pool of people with relevant skills. Putting together a high-powered board is key because it will provide guidance."

National sports spokesman Mickey Modisane had not responded to a request for comment at the time of going to print.

The Commonwealth Games board will also help with setting up an inter-ministerial task team that will ensure all government departments deliver on their mandate. The games, which are estimated to cost about R6.9-billion, will need significantly fewer infrastructure projects compared with the 2010 World Cup.

Alexander said about 80% of infrastructure was in place, with some "sprucing up and modification" needed.

On the tourism front, Alexander pleaded with the hotel and the tourism industries to come up with information that could help with planning.

"KwaZulu-Natal will need to drive the tourism aspect of this event. We need to drive brand awareness and get everyone involved."

Durban Chamber chief executive Dumile Cele urged businesses to also invest in the event.

"The event should not be put squarely on the government's shoulders, but business should also be available to invest."

Durban expects about 200000 people to visit the city during the games.


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