Thursday marks one year to the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and local organisers are confident that South Africa’s preparations for the tournament remain on schedule.

Brand South Africa has called on all South Africans to wear a Bafana Bafana jersey, or a yellow shirt, to fly the South African flag, to blow a vuvuzela and sing the national anthem on Thursday afternoon.

Construction work for the stadiums are progressing within the FIFA set target dates, despite South Africa’s economy entering a recession and the threat that the global economic meltdown might have a negative impact on preparations.

President Jacob Zuma has cited the 2010 FIFA World Cup as one of the biggest infrastructure investment projects.

“We have, as government and the nation at large, pledged that the World Cup will leave a proud legacy from which our children and our communities will benefit for many years to come. We are on track to meet all our obligations and are determined to give the world the best World Cup ever,” Zuma said recently.

Soccer City, near Nasrec, which is the venue for the opening match of the 2010 World Cup, as well as the finals, is 92% completed. The Grinaker-LTA/Interbeton Soccer City Joint Venture would hand over the stadium in October.
Owing to the prevailing economic squeeze, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has revised its 2010 World Cup-related infrastructure expenditure down to R17,8-billion, from R19-billion.

Acsa communications manager Solomon Makgale said that, as a result of the current global economic slowdown, the company undertook a review of the infrastructure expenditure programme and postponed, where feasible, uncommitted projects in light of the decline in the traffic profile.

“However, Acsa will complete essential 2010-related projects for the efficient facilitation of the soccer World Cup, which is a strategic initiative for the company and the country,” assures Makgale.

Acsa general manager Chris Hlekane said on Wednesday that it expects 400 000 visitors during the 2010 World Cup.

South Africa’s main airport, OR Tambo International Airport, in Johannesburg, would use the Confederations Cup, which starts on Sunday, to test its policies, procedures and readiness for next year.

Pan-African Advisory Services MD Dr Iraj Abedian said that the 2010 FIFA World Cup would attract billions of rand to the South African economy.

However, its real, long-term value lay in the exposure it would give the country and in the evidence it would offer the world of its capability, efficiency and attractiveness as a world-class investment and leisure destination, he noted.

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Dennis Ndaba
DATED: 11th June 2009