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2008-11-19: The inauguration of Orlando Stadium

Media statement  by the acting Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Councillor Nandi  Mayathula-Khoza,  on the inauguration of Orlando Stadium, Orlando Stadium, Soweto - Johannesburg

The media
Ladies and Gentleman

On  30  July  2008  the Executive Mayor Clr. Amos Masondo announced that he will  be  opening  the  Orlando  Stadium  on  23  November 2008 and this is happening this week - end.

I  am  excited  to inform you that the City has completed the rebuilding of Orlando  Stadium  that  will  be used as one of the training venues for the 2010 FIFA  Soccer World Cup. The Executive Mayor will mark this historic milestone with an inaugural ceremony on 22 November 2008. The full programme will be held over 3 days with the following PSL matches being played at the stadium.

Orlando Pirates vs. Thanda Royal Zulu
22 November 2008

Moroka Swallows vs. Platinum Stars
23 November 2008

Kaiser Chiefs vs. Golden Arrows
26 November 2008

Curtain  raiser - Pirates & Swallows Legends versus Chiefs & Sundowns Legends.

In addition, we will also be entertained by the following groups:

Rev Vukile Mehana
Soweto Gospel Choir and Imilonji kaNtu
Zulu Boy
Alaska, Mandoza
Every passing day brings us another step closer to that much anticipated first whistle that will start the 2010 FIFA World Cup at Soccer City, in the Nasrec  Precinct. Perhaps it is appropriate to indicate that today, it is a mere five hundred and sixty eight (568) days before the first ball is kicked.

For almost 40 years, the Orlando grounds were sacred to South African soccer, only to be replaced by the gigantic concrete bowl of FNB Stadium-the Cathedral of African soccer.

On the 3rd of May 2006, a day after Orlando Stadium celebrated its 47th anniversary we handed her - the 'old lady' to the contractors. On that day we marked the City of Johannesburg's ground-breaking movement towards the first 2010 project to be initiated by the City.

On  the 2nd of May 2008, Orlando Stadium celebrated its 49th anniversary. During the Confederations Cup in 2009, Orlando Stadium will be 50 years old.

When we announced that Orlando Stadium will be demolished and reconstructed, we had a vision of what the new Stadium would look like and what it would mean to the community. This facility is the biggest and the most sophisticated stadium in this residential area. Orlando Stadium, before its construction used to sit plus or minus 24 000 people and by the time this new facility is complete it will accommodates more than 40 000 people.

This project was conceptualised in such a way that it took into account our commitment to use the pressure of 2010 FIFA World Cup to ensure that a lasting legacy is left behind for the benefit of the residents of Johannesburg. When the soccer spectacle has come and gone there must be something of value that is there for all to see and point at.

What we will be doing this coming week – end and following week (22- 26 November 2008) is the implementation of this vision. What you will see is a state of the art stadium that meets all FIFA and PSL standards and requirements.

As per our commitment in 2006, that we will make this facility a multi-purpose stadium, in addition to the technical compliance, we also have the following facilities:

A multi-purpose stadium for soccer, rugby, gatherings and concerts amongst others.
Hospitality: plus or minus 120 suites (dependent on size)
Conference facilities
Meeting Rooms
Weddings, Matric Dances and similar functions
Fan shop
Video Screens
Security facilities including CCTV cameras that extend into the precinct
The stadium is being rebuilt at a cost of R280 million. Twenty five percent (25%)  of  this amount came from Municipal Infrastructure Grant and seventy five (75%) percent from the City's budget.

This Stadium is surrounded by a quality precinct, which will ensure free and  safe movement of spectators and enhance the enjoyable experience that will be created by the stadium facilities.

In addition to the stadium and precinct, well-lit footways from Orlando and Mlamlankunzi  stations have been provided. Surveillance cameras are to be extended to these footways to improve spectator safety.

The  mood  of  2010  is  one  of  excitement and vibrancy and as residents, investors  and  the  media  we  all need to play our part in nurturing this development and make it a self - sustainable facility for our children.

The community at large has benefited from this development through the jobs that  has  been  created.  To date 2 205 jobs has been created and training provided  in  the  following fields: carpentry, bricklaying, plastering and painting.

Orlando  Stadium  becomes  the  home of football in Soweto and re-establish itself as the heart of community activities in the area.

Orlando   Stadiums   is  completed  on  time,  within  budget  and  without compromising quality as per our commitment.

We will be witnessing a fulfillment of that promise we set ourselves to use the  pressure  presented  by  hosting  the  world cup to accelerate our own development  project.  We  have  started  a  journey to realise the lasting legacy  that  we  promised  to  realise  long after the 2010 FIFA World Cup spectators have come and gone.

Orlando  Stadium represents a change in Soweto's skyline. This Stadium will be  a  reference  point  for  all tourist and soccer lovers as a legacy for 2010.

In  conclusion,  let  me  re-emphasise that for us in the City, we see this project  as  part  of  a  bigger  programme of restoring the dignity of our people.  We have spared no amount of craftsmanship in ensuring that quality is not compromised.

The  inauguration  of  the stadium will indeed mark a significant moment in the history and future of soccer.

Thank you