ohannesburg – Gauteng is ahead of schedule with the construction of all host stadia ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cupâ„¢.

Briefing the media on the provincial government’s key achievements and challenges in realising its five-year programme on Wednesday, Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation MEC Barbara Creecy said Gauteng would be ready to stage the 2010 Fifa World Cup in time.

“The provincial government will ensure that we honour the commitments we have made to satisfy all Fifa’s requirements and meet the high expectations of people throughout the continent and the world,” said Ms Creecy.

According to the Gauteng Provincial Government, she noted that the substantial improvements in sporting infrastructure, transport systems, telecommunications and public facilities would benefit the people of Gauteng long after the world cup was over.

Gauteng, which boasts Soccer City, Loftus Versfeld and Ellis Park Stadia, will play the most crucial role in hosting the Confederations Cup next year and world cup.

The opening ceremonies and the closing ceremonies as well as a number of group matches will be hosted in this province.

The rebuilding of Soccer City began in early 2007 and is expected to be finished by May 2009, five months ahead of the Fifa deadline.

The new Soccer City stadium will have 94 700 seats, which will be covered by a roof, leaving the soccer pitch open.

According to Loftus Versfeld manager Hugo Kemp the renovations at the stadium will be complete ahead of schedule in December 2008.

Ms Creecy cited that the department would further ensure that the stadia infrastructure development across the province benefits the clubs and communities long after 2010.

In addition, the department will this year focus on finalising construction of the 2010 Legacy Stadia; the Sinaba and HM Pitje Stadia.

In terms of the creative industries, Ms Creecy said the department was now equipped to take advantage of the large concentrations of creative industries in the province to further enhance job and wealth creation.

This follows a ground-breaking mapping study of the creative industries in Gauteng recently.

The Gauteng Craft and Design Centre (CDC) will be based at the Sandton Art Gallery, which is “ideally positioned in the heart of the province’s major retail area and provides access to markets so desperately needed by regional craft producers.”

More than R5.2 million has been budgeted to support the music industry in the province.

The funds will be used to grow musicians based in Gauteng and ensure that Gauteng retains its coveted status as the ‘Home of South African Music’.

An additional R1.25 million will be used to support the Puisano Jazz Programme. The funds will go towards improving the stage performance, image and professionalism of aspiring jazz musicians, said Ms Creecy.

Following the success of the Moshito Music Market and Conference over the past two years, the department plans to spend R2.5 million on the event this year.

Moshito is collaboration between music stakeholders and government to provide the music sector with the opportunity to draw on global knowledge resources, discuss issues affecting the local music industry and to address challenges to growth together.

This year the conference will also take place in smaller venues in Sedibeng and Ekurhuleni.

DATED: 17th July 2008