The deputy president toured Johannesburg’s 2010 legacy projects, and came away impressed by what he saw.  OTHER 2010 FIFA World Cupâ„¢ host cities should emulate what the City of Johannesburg is doing in its preparations to host the football spectacular, according to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Motlanthe was speaking during a tour of Joburg’s 2010 legacy projects, including the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, Soccer City Stadium and the stunning Orlando West Regional Park in Soweto on Saturday, 31 October.  Explaining the reason of the tour, Executive Mayor Amos Masondo said it was about all issues related to the World Cup. The City has two approaches concerning the event, he said.

“The question we ask ourselves is how in the City do we utilise the pressure to deepen our programmes and also ensure that this pressure is utilised positively. Secondly, we have to ensure that there are legacy projects that preoccupy the work that we do. What is it that will be left behind when 2010 has come and gone?”  There were other legacy projects besides Rea Vaya, the stadiums and parks; these included city beautification, greening of soccer fields, construction of the Soweto Theatre, the Diepkloof hostel upgrades and improving safety and security, said Masondo.

The tour started at the Metro Centre in Braamfontein where City officials, members of the mayoral committee and councillors joined government officials, including Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka. They learned about the City’s readiness to host the World Cup from the City manager, Mavela Dlamini.  After a marathon account of what the City had done so far, the delegation boarded a Rea Vaya bus that took them through the city centre to the BRT station at Westgate. Here, Masondo and Motlanthe were met by some BRT volunteers working at the station.

The first phase of the BRT, from Regina Mundi in Soweto to Ellis Park in the inner city, is already running and has proved popular. Motlanthe, who sat with Masondo as the bus meandered through the city, was impressed by the system.  “This has been a wonderful tour and an eye opener. I never thought that some day our public transport would operate so efficiently and comfortably,” he said.  It is furnished with a range of play equipment and sports facilities, comprising swings, a netball and basketball court, a professional-size football pitch and a one-kilometre jogging track.

Matshidiso Mfikoe, the member of the mayoral committee for environment, said the park had proved very popular with the local community. On any given day, over a thousand children and elders visited the park.

Commenting after touring the green lung, where he met frolicking children, Motlanthe said he was impressed by the manner in which the City had transformed “bumpy ground” into such a beautiful park.  “What the City has done is commendable and I hope Sicelo Shiceka can pick up tips and then take them over to other municipalities to replicate.”  Motlanthe said the 2010 World Cup would leave a rich legacy for the people of South Africa. As someone who used to live in Johannesburg, there were a lot of buildings that needed to be preserved, especially in Soweto.

“These are historical buildings that contributed to our struggle. There is one particular building that I noticed in the vicinity of the park that should probably be declared a national museum. We have to breathe life into our history,” he said.  After the tour, Masondo, Motlanthe and Shiceka attended the Soweto Derby match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium. The hotly anticipated game between the traditional Soweto rivals ended in a goal-less draw.