Local and international stakeholders must ensure they ease the concerns of the public, according to Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg, if they expect the South African public to get behind the 2022 showpiece scheduled for Durban.
While the bid committee said it had received tremendous support from the public after Durban was named host city in September, numerous citizens took to social media to raise concerns about the R6.4 billion budget in a struggling economy.
“We need to talk to the people about their anxieties and what concerns they have, whether it’s about the amount of money being spent or how that money will be controlled,” Grevemberg said at the Discovery Sport Industry Summit in Midrand yesterday.
“We need to put all that on the table and overcome that anxiety before we can harness ambitions for this great event.”
Grevemberg was the chief executive of the local organising committee (LOC) for last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, which was delivered under budget.
With Durban expected to be organised at a much lower cost, due to existing infrastructure in the coastal city, Grevemberg believed the event could result in a lucrative return, as predicted in an economic impact report conducted before Durban’s official bid was launched.
He insisted there was more value to hosting the Games, however, than a financial boost, with the additional opportunity to develop communities in KwaZulu-Natal and have a positive social impact in the province.
“It’s not just about what we achieve in terms of numbers, but how we achieve it, because it’s not only about money,” he said.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to address relevant issues in South Africa.”
The CGF would be actively involved in the build-up to the Games, and would work with the LOC (to be appointed early next month) to try and keep the event under budget.
“Just because you have the money does not mean you need to spend it all,” Grevemberg said.