SA ready for 2010 World Cup - Chabane

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - Its all systems go for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, says Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane.

Briefing reporters after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Chabane said Cabinet had received a progress report on the preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup which indicated that it's "all systems go".

He said the report highlighted the upgrades at OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and Mangaung's Vodacom Park which have been completed to world class standards.

The new Durban airport, he said, will be completed just before the start of the finals in June, adding that 570 additional busses were being procured and driver training was underway.

Discussions are also taking place with the taxi industry to look at how they fit into the transport system. Meanwhile, sites have been selected for fan parks and public viewing areas.

"There will be a total of 46 public viewing areas around the country; additional power substations and generators have already been installed at the stadiums to ensure adequate power supply.

"Six stadiums have already been fitted with 'last mile' fibre optic broadcasting infrastructure and the remaining four stadiums will be completed in March," Chabane said.

All of these milestones will be part of the lasting legacy that will be enjoyed by generations of South Africans for many decades, long after the World Cup has come and gone, he said.

2010 Local Organising Committee boss Danny Jordaan said this week all stadiums were ready.

He said Soccer City, host of the opening match between South Africa and Mexico, will open its doors ahead of the tournament with a test match in April or May.

"All our stadiums are ready; we are only making final touch-ups at Soccer City such as beautification around the stadium. All our stadiums are rated amongst the best in the world," he said.

However, the pitch of the 46 000 capacity Bombela Stadium in Mpumalanga was recently dug for the third time. But Jordaan said "it was dug to ensure the long term sustainability of the pitch".

Jordaan said even the report they received from their pitch expert who inspected all the stadiums indicates that the pitches in all the stadiums including Bombela are up to standard.

The state-of-the-art 45 000 capacity Peter Mokaba Stadium in Limpopo opened its doors to top-flight football in January when Kaizer Chiefs, Supersport United and Wits competed in a four-team tournament which included Danish side, Bronby IF.

Moses Mabhida in Durban opened its doors with a KwaZulu-Natal derby between AmaZulu and Maritzburg United in November last year. - BuaNews