Local Organising Committee (LOC) chief officer for transport and logistics Skhumbuzo Macozoma said on Tuesday that South Africa was expecting a significant number of visitors from Africa for next year’s FIFA World Cup, several of whom would make the journey by road.

He said that a lot of focus was placed on overseas tourists, but noted that the necessary transport infrastructure and services had to be ready to enable smooth mobility and access for African travellers.

Speaking at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) indaba on road transport, he said that the LOC was recommending the free movement of foreign visitors within Africa, in the hopes of increasing international tourists not only to South Africa, but also the rest of the continent.

“We want to see free movement in Africa, to enable international visitors to experience not only South Africa, but features that the continent has to offer in order to boost tourism numbers for the continent, and increase our profile globally.”

Gauteng MEC for roads and transport BS Nkosi said that South Africa still had many challenges in terms of road safety.

“The statistics on our road safety, over the past months, although marginally improving, it is still a cause for concern to government of our country, and us in transport.”

He added that statistical projections have shown that Africa’s road deaths stand over 200 000 fatalities each year, and the figure was predicted to raise by 80% by 2020.

“The statistics further paint a gloomy picture, which says by 2015, road crashes would be the number one killer of children aged between five and 14 in Africa, outstripping malaria and the HIV/Aids pandemic.”

Nkosi added that globally, at least 3 400 people died every day on the world’s roads while walking, cycling or driving. “South Africa certainly contributes to these fatality figures. We, therefore, have a duty as a nation to transform and turn around this scourge and making roads safer.”

Meanwhile, Macozoma commended the SADC transport indaba for devoting its final day to the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, and gave the audience the assurance that South Africa would indeed be hosting the event.

He noted that thus far, eight out of the ten stadiums would be completed by the end of October, with the outstanding two, being Green Point stadium in Cape Town, and Soccer City in Soweto, would be completed before the end of the year.

“All of the key infrastructure, where football is going to take place, will be done before we all go on a Christmas break.”

He further added that the bus rapid transit system was also operational and that construction at the OR Tambo International Transport and Cape Town International Airport was already completed.

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Esmarie Swanepoel
DATED: 13th October 2009