South Africa’s successful bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup has proven to be a major catalyst for positive development in country – particularly for the construction industry.

As South Africa gears up to host the biggest single-code sporting event in the world, the construction work is ever increasing.

From upgrading the country’s transport infrastructure, hotel and accommodation facilities to creating 10 world-class stadiums which are either being refurbished or built from scratch in nine host cities, local construction companies and their workers are receiving a major boost in tough economic times.

Vasco Pedrina, the Italian-based vice-president of Builders and Wood Workers International (BWI), an international federation that campaigns for fair working conditions around the world, paid a visit to the construction site at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on the weekend.

“This is my first time in South Africa and this is my first inspection of a South African site, and my impressions of the conditions at Soccer City stadium are positive,” Pedrina said.

“In fact the organisation and conditions on site are a lot better than a lot of sites I have been to.”

For Crosby Moni, vice-president of the National Union of Mineworkers and an executive member of BWI, the inspection was a showcase of how the world, as well as South Africa, can benefit from the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“We are not only setting parameters for South Africa, but for events around the world,” Moni said. “The standards that will be set in South Africa will be the standards of the world in the construction sector”.

BWI regional representative Crecentia Mofokeng said that hosting soccer’s showpiece event had permanently altered the construction landscape of South Africa.

“Before South Africa won the bid the construction sector was not doing so well, but the successful bid for 2010 has raised the hopes for construction workers to now get a job”.

The trade union delegation was due this week to visit both Green Point stadium in Cape Town, where workers recently started to lift the giant roof into place, as well as the workers at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, who recently completed the iconic arch over the stadium.

DATED: 24th March 2009