Cape Town – Finance minister Trevor Manuel added a further R2,3 billion for hosting the Fifa World Cup in 2010, to improve the efficiency of public transport.

However, Manuel warned that fiscal prudence and sound budgeting principles must be adhered to at all times.

Last month, host cities complained of funding shortfalls amounting to billions of rand to build and upgrade football stadiums. But the treasury refused to budge, forcing cities to negotiate lower prices with construction firms.

The extra funding has brought the total allocation to R17.4 billion from the initial allocation of R13.3 billion when the World Cup budget was announced in 2005.

“In total, over R9 billion will be allocated to municipal transport, roads and precinct upgrading relating to the 2010 Fifa World Cup,” Manuel said.

This amount included the additional R2.3 billion for municipal and “rapid transit” bus systems. The other R8.4 billion would go towards upgrading five existing stadiums and the construction of five new ones.

The budget review stated that R600 million had already been transferred to cities for stadium construction and renovation.

“I am happy to announce that the local organising committee for the Fifa World Cup has reached agreement with municipalities on the budget for the construction and upgrading of stadiums, and that these agreements are within the R8.4 billion set aside for stadiums,” Manuel said.

“These agreements set a firm precedent – that we must go out of our way to ensure a successful tournament and lasting legacy beyond 2010.”

The SA National Roads Agency and Rail Commuter Corporation received a further R1.7 billion to upgrade roads and stations in areas critical to the World Cup.

The review stated that the World Cup provided the government with an opportunity to reduce infrastructure investment backlogs in metropolitan areas and municipalities.

These investments would target projects ranging from improvements in sports facilities to roads and public transport networks, and would serve as a catalyst for tourism promotion, sports development and voluntary community participation.

Nine cities have been designated to host the 2010 soccer World Cup matches: Cape Town, Nelson Mandela, eThekwini, Mbombela, Polokwane, Rustenburg, Tshwane, Johannesburg and Magaung.

In December, planning was completed for the stadiums and transport infrastructure. Last month construction commenced on new stadiums and supporting infrastructure.

PUBLICATION: Business Report
AUTHOR: Thabang Mokopanele
DATED: 22nd February 2007