President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on stakeholders to ensure that the new, world class Msunduzi Athletics Track is fully utilized in order to become a hub for talent development in the country.
President Ramaphosa was speaking during the official opening and handover of the Stadium on Thursday, 10/01/2018. Ramaphosa was accompanied by National Sport and Recreation Minister Thokozile Xasa, her provincial counterpart Bongi Sithole-Moloi, Acting Premier Sihle Zikalala, Athletics South Africa President, Aleck Sikhosana and Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo as well as other National Ministers.
The President was in the Umgungundlovu District as part of the mobilization programme ahead of the African National Congress’s 107th anniversary celebrations held at Moses Mabhida stadium on Saturday, 12 January 2018.
The opening of the track was preceded by the 5km Thuma Mina Walk from Freedom Square to the new stadium. It was led by Minister Xasa and MEC Sithole-Moloi. President Ramaphosa could not join the walk due to other pressing commitments.
President Ramaphosa said he was pleased that all stakeholders had committed themselves to ensure that the Athletic Stadium will be utilized by local athletes.
“I am happy to hear that a nearby school has already booked to use this track for their training session. We hope that other schools will also take the opportunity to utilize this facility. I am happy that all stakeholders involved have made a commitment to bring national and international events to this venue to ensure that it does not become a white elephant,” he said. He once again encouraged South Africans from all walks of life to adopt walking as part of their daily activities.
Minister Xasa said they will work closely with ASA, KZN Department of Sport and Recreation and the Msunduzi Municipality to bring top class events to Msunduzi.
MEC Sithole-Moloi shared similar sentiments. She also thanked President Ramaphosa for taking time off his busy schedule to officially handover the facility to Msunduzi people.
The stadium was built by the Msunduzi Municipality, in collaboration with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation at an estimated cost of R96.2m (R91.4m & R4.7m). Some of the key features of the track include the main pavilion, precast embankment seats, suites, padded VIP seats, a clubhouse and a football pitch. The Stadium is the only one in the country with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) accreditation.
The Stadium has already been put to test with the hosting of the Africa Athletics League (AAL) in September 2018 as well as the SALGA KZNDSR Games in December 2018.
The venue will put Msunduzi Municipality on the international map, as it is expected to attract more international, continental and national events, thus contributing to local economic development.