With only 500 days remaining until the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the governing body would focus its attention on the infrastructure and arrangements surrounding the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

FIFA secretary-general Jérôme Valcke said during a press conference in Johannesburg that the organisation was satisfied with the progress in the construction of the stadiums, saying it would now focus on bringing tourists to South Africa and other aspects “to give life to the World Cup”.

He added that, with only 135 days to go until the start of the Confederations Cup, some of the focus would also have to be on this tournament, as it was a test of the preparedness of South Africa to host the World Cup.

Local Organising Committee (LOC) CEO Dr Danny Jordaan noted that the year ahead would be a “tremendous and challenging” year, saying that the LOC would have the Confederations Cup, the final draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the World Cup to work on.

Jordaan was confident that the LOC would be able ensure the operational success of the two tournaments.

He said that transport for the stadiums to be used in the Confederations Cup would not be a challenge, despite transport systems such as the Gautrain rapid-rail project and the Bus Rapid-Transit systems not being in place by then.

Jordaan explained that only the Free State Stadium, in Bloemfontein, was not within easy reach of reliable road transport.

He also expressed confidence that a integrated public transport system would be operational by the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, saying that people would be able to comfortably move around South Africa by then.

Further, he said that the LOC would be able to deliver the amount of accommodation required for the tournaments.

Meanwhile, Valcke stressed that while the economic conditions might have affected the value of some of its commercial sponsors’ companies, none of these have pulled out of sponsoring the tournaments.

He added that business for FIFA’s commercial sponsors was still good and that they would continue to sponsor the FIFA World Cup tournaments until 2014.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS

Meanwhile, LOC chairperson Irvin Khoza announced the appointment of four new board members.

The new Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sicelo Shiceka, deputy-Minister of Safety and Security Susan Shabangu, deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs Susan van der Merwe and director-general of the Department of National Treasury Lesetja Kganyago have been appointed.

Former Ministers in the Presidency Dr Essop Pahad, former deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad, former Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula, former Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sydney Mufamadi and former deputy- Minister of Finance Jabu Moleketi were no longer serving on the board of directors.

This followed the decision by a number of South African Ministers in 2008 to resign from their positions, after former President Thabo Mbeki had been recalled by the African National Congress.

Further, Khoza said that the board had also passed a resolution to increase the number of board members the LOC was allowed to appoint to 25, previously 20, so that it could appoint new members if in future it identified someone with specific expertise that it would require.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb

PUBLICATION: Engineering News
AUTHOR: Chanel Pringle
DATED: 26th January 2009