The South African government will spend “upwards” of R30 billion on the 2010 Soccer World Cup a report released yesterday showed.

R20 billion has so far been allocated as direct investment in infrastructure.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka who received the report from Sports Minister Mike Stofile admitted that “in some instance” budget estimations were conservative and adjustments and increases had to be made.

“This expenditure is not open ended, the capping must continue; in most of the stadiums we have reached a point where we have said the ultimate budget has been achieved, we don’t have any wild expenditure plans,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

The handing over ceremony of the report held at the Union Buildings was attended by various government ministers and officials, diplomats and members of the Local Organising Committee including chairman Irvin Khoza and Danny Jordaan.

Stofile pointed out that the responsibility for organising the World Cup was that of the LOC and that government had only to create conditions for the smooth hosting of the tournament.

With only 815 days before the 2010 World Cup kick-off, Stofile said government preparations for the event were on track.

“This report shows that we have complied with literally every guarantee that we have made, we even went beyond that,” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Mlambo-Ngcuka; “We are very satisfied that we are on course”.

The report showed that building of the stadiums in the host cities was on track.

Preparations for transport, information and communication technologies, electricity supply, safety and security, economic and social legacy projects, tourism and communication, were underway.

The Director General of the 2010 Fifa World Cup government unit, Joe Phaahla, however, highlighted major challenges in the coming year including the completion of the stadia and other infrastructure.

“We are no longer in a position to refer to paper plans, but have to see these coming to fruition which implies an acceleration of all cluster activities,” he said.

This included a “marked improvement” in overall perceptions of high crime in the country.

Urgent attention was also needed to ensure a lasting economic legacy.

Phaahla said the co-ordination between the three levels of government needed to be formalised, as well as co-ordination between the LOC and national government.

He also highlighted several other issues that needed to be improved.

PUBLICATION: The Times
DATED: 19th March 2008