Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium Develops Into South Africa’s People’s Stadium By Cheryl Roberts

21 Oct

Whilst debates around infrastructural costs of South Africa’s World Cup stadiums raged, officials, eThekweni ImageMunicipality got into action with ideas on how to make Moses Mabhida stadium, not just a football stadium, but a people’s stadium for sports entertainment.

Since July this year, management of the Moses Mabhida Stadium has come under the control of eThekweni Municipality whom terminated the contract of the stadium consultants.

And the new officials heading the management team is Vusi Mazibuko, seconded from the city’s sport and recreation development unit. Mazibuko’s brief from the city is challenging: make the stadium self-sustaining and a people’s stadium for enjoyment.

Mazibuko says the stadium’s management has continued with maintaining the stadium as a business entity; ensuring the stadium and its surrounds are open seven days of the week with various activities on offer to the public.

‘There was no debate about what to do with this beautiful world class stadium in Durban. It must be a business entity which entertains people and allows much recreational pleasure. Costs are high, but ideas must be implemented to sustain activity at the stadium. Seven days of the week, the Durban and KZN public and tourists may public can enjoy stadium tours, gym activity, restaurants, car rides to the top of the stadium, leisure in the adjoining people’s park. And on match days, there’s the football attraction which can be either a pro league encounter or an international match,’ says Mazibuko. 

Hospitality and in house catering are considered big earnings for the stadiums income. Venues at the stadium are hired out, but catering is done in house.

Mazibuko explains: ‘At Moses Mabhida stadium we have what we call the bowl events which are our football matches and the non-bowl events which are everything else but the football. This includes conferences, Top Gear festival, concerts, meetings, events at People’s park, the tours and sky car trips. Whatever event is held at the stadium, also means that catering and hospitality is done by the stadium management. This is vital revenue attained from retail sharing.

‘The Top Gear festival has proved a high income boost for the city of eThekweni and for stadium income. This festival will only get bigger and better. The international football matches and PSL knockout and cup final matches are also very big. Amazulu is the resident professional team which plays out of Moses Mabhida stadium which the stadium management has a partnership with so that we can assist growth of the city’s professional football teams. Of course football attendance for matches at the stadium depends on the state of football in South Africa.  If the home team is doing well and Bafana Bafana, the national team is winning, more and more spectators and fans will occupy seats on match days.

‘At Moses Mabhida stadium we have hospitality packages in three categories where the public can lease suites on an annual basis, just for a match or individual hospitality packages. All this adds to income and making the stadium accessible to all levels of interest.

‘Fortunately, since inception and utilization of the stadium, we have had a good relationship with SAFA and the PSL and have already hosted several international matches and cup finals. Our challenge is to offer our football clients the best and lucrative deals always which will impact positively on the matches we are hosting and the growth of football.

‘Whilst maintenance costs are high, Moses Mabhida Stadium is not only about income and big money generating events. The People’s Park is an open space that is utilized free of charge unless an event, which charges an entrance fee, is being staged in the park.  As stadium management, and on behalf of eThekweni municipality, we strive to ensure that at all times the city’s people and residents feel they own the stadium, that the stadium is theirs which belongs to them. This beautiful stadium reminds the city of the expensive costs to build it, of the magical moments it created from hosting the 2010 World Cup, and for the enduring memories we will continue to create for the city and all who visit the stadium.’

Mazibuko says the challenges to maintain the stadium as self-sustaining are ever-present and the stadiums’ management cannot take their focus off the challenging terrain. Contact and relationships with conference organizers, advertisers, tour and concert operators is ongoing. Mazibuko also says the stadium management is in good, efficient control by employees of the city who want the stadium to be successful and a people’s entertainment delight. ‘I am fortunate to have assumed the management helm with a very strong team of assistants, all working to make the stadium the best it can be and achieve,’ says Mazibuko. 

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