Calls to rename Mbombela Stadium

Monday, March 29, 2010

Nelspruit- The Mbombela Local Municipality has called for the Mbombela Stadium to be renamed after assassinated speaker Jimmy Mohlala before the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Councillors Benjamen Maseko and Jo Koster made the proposal during the first ordinary council meeting in Nelspruit recently.

"Mohlala lost his life in January 2009 because he was fighting corruption and particularly that the corruption pertained to the building of the 2010 soccer stadium," said Maseko.

Mohlala was shot dead outside his house in KaNyamazane on January 4, 2009, a week before he was due to testify in the disciplinary hearing of former municipal manager Jacob Dladla, who had been accused of financial mismanagement of the World Cup stadium project. Dladla has since resigned.

"Mohlala fought against the manipulation of tenders, service delivery failures, victimisation and harassment of council employees and failure to implement council resolutions as well as to keep the council informed on matters relating to the World Cup," Maseko said.

Mbombela executive mayor Lassy Chiwayo has suggested that late former vice-president of the South African Football Association Reuben Mahlalela and the founder of the Mdluli clan, Chief Matsafeni Mdluli, also be taken into consideration as possible names for the stadium.

"While Mahlalela worked for the organising committee as a venue volunteer co-ordinator in the 2010 Fifa World Cup for Nelspruit since in July 2008, he also played an important role in ensuring the world cup stadium in Mbombela made good progress," he said.

He said Mdluli was a powerful Swazi chief who conquered the area on which the stadium is built around 1840. His people successfully lodged a land claim on the area, taking it back from the most recent land owners HL Hall & Sons.

Koster said he trusted that the motion would be presented at the next council meeting and that a name will be chosen then.