A top South African official responsible for co-ordinating government responsibilities towards hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup has resigned, a statement said yesterday.
Joe Phaahla, director-general of a government unit that oversees security, health, environmental and infrastructural preparations for the football extravaganza, will leave his post six months early on March 31, the government said.
â€œI need time to sort out a number of private initiatives. I also need to attend to other responsibilities in the (ruling) African National Congress (ANC), its executive to which I was elected in December,â€ Phaahla told AFP.
He headed the unit on a three-year contract that started in August 2005.
Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile has accepted Phaahlaâ€™s resignation, said the government statement. A replacement has yet to be announced.
There has been much speculation of tensions in Fifaâ€™s local organising committee for the 2010 tournament.
Last month, communications head Tumi Makgabo resigned her appointment, officially citing a need to â€œfocus on other projectsâ€.
Her colleague in the marketing department, Tim Modise, has also indicated he would resign, but later changed his mind.
Sceptics have questioned South Africaâ€™s ability to host the continentâ€™s first-ever football World Cup, but top officials including President Thabo Mbeki have repeatedly promised to host the best event ever.
PUBLICATION: The Times
DATED: 14th March 2008