Newlands under threat

Newlands Stadium must comply with new safety regulations if it is to continue hosting rugby matches.

According to reports in the Cape Times the stadium requires comprehensive upgrades on its current infrastructure if it is to meet the requirements of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Act.

The act, which came into effect in 2011, has a number of stipulations for events attended by 2 000 or more people. Stadiums were given three years to comply to the regulations, meaning that from next season Newlands will have to be fully compliant.

Anda Bici, spokesman for sports minister Fikile Mbalula told the Cape Times that there is still time for stadiums to comply to the regulations.

'The due date for compliance has not yet passed,' he said. 'The act was passed after long consultations and inputs by sports stakeholders. It remains our commitment to assist stadiums to comply with the act, upon receipt of requests.'

Among the numerous regulations, stadiums are required to:

  • Be evacuated within 10 minutes if there is an emergency.
  • Have collapsible barriers to separate the stadium bowl and the field in case of emergencies.
  • Have a temporary or permanent heliport.
  • Install seats that are a minimum of 50cm wide and 30cm high at the back, with a 80cm gap from seatback to seatback.
  • Have one turnstile for every 1000 spectators.

Newlands currently falls short on a number of the prescribed regulations. Saru has previously raised concerns about Newlands' ability to meet the minimum requirements, stating that upgrades would be logistically impossible given that the stadium is in an established residential area.

The Cape Town Stadium, which has long been courting the Western Province Rugby Union as potential tenants, is fully compliant with the act. Meanwhile, the Athlone stadium, which is used mostly for football matches, is busy being upgraded to ensure it meets requirements for the new legislation.

Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images