Pretoria – Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele says his department is ready to cope with the high volumes of traffic during the Fifa World Cup to be hosted in nine South African host cities in June.

Minister Ndebele was briefing journalists in Pretoria on Tuesday.

“South Africa has hosted major international sporting events. Since 1994, we have successfully hosted some of the biggest – including the FIFA Confederations Cup, the Indian Premier League, the A1 Grand Prix, World Cup Cricket, the African Cup of Nations and the Rugby World Cup.

During these international events, no major road crashes were reported. Last year’s Confederations Cup provided us with a dry-run in transporting thousands of soccer enthusiasts to the stadiums, fan parks and viewing areas and back,” said the minister.

The minister said his department had learnt important lessons during the country’s hosting of the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup.

“We learnt many lessons from the Confederations Cup. Although we would have liked to see no deaths on our roads during this period, we had a report of one visitor from Germany, freelance journalist Wolfgang Jost,” he said.

Jost died in a car crash near Bloemfontein on 24 June 2009 on their way to a Confederations Cup semi-final match between the United States and Spain.

Minister Ndebele said the Fifa World Cup was about transport and building a lasting legacy for the country’s road network.

“South Africa has never had so many visitors and road users as we will experience during the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The World Cup is not only about sport; it is more about Tran-Sport. Our obligation is to ensure that all those who use our roads are able to do so safely.

Let us use the World Cup to build a lasting legacy for the world to return to South Africa, way beyond 2010. Let us use the spirit of the Soccer World Cup to cement safer roads, to save lives and to kick road deaths out of our lives, he said.

The Department of Transport has given a guarantee that its programme for the World Cup will ensure the smooth movement of fans, Fifa officials, associates and media.

The Ministry of Transport will coordinate the provision of efficient and safe transport in each host city and, with its partners in the transport sector, ensure sufficient and appropriate transport capacity.

PUBLICATION: SA2010 Government Website
DATED: 27th January 2010