With less than a year to go before the 2010 Soccer World Cup, transport needs to be improved to make the tournament a success, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Monday.

The June Confederations Cup had highlighted limitations in the park-and-ride system, he said in a speech prepared for delivery in Sandton, Johannesburg.

“For 2010, we will therefore employ a combination of the modes of transport, including rail and buses, which are principally mass movers. These will be supplemented by minibus taxis which we believe are an integral part of the public transport system.”

He said the roll-out plans included long distance services such as buses, trains and planes.

Ndebele said about 500 000 fans were expected to “descend” on the tournament, and this figure could rise with travellers not attending the cup but touring the country.

Fifa’s final draw on December 4 would determine where the various teams would play their matches. This could mean that popular contenders could see themselves based not in main metropolitan areas, but smaller ones with less tourist infrastructure.

“If we plan inadequately for this situation we might end up in disaster.”

For this reason, Ndebele said it was strongly believed that one person — through delegated authority in the host cities — should run the entire transport system.

“The buck must stop with one centre that uses a benevolent dictatorship to deal with problems.”

He said ongoing negotiations with the taxi industry over the much-resisted Bus Rapid Transit system should also be concluded and implemented without delay.

“Working together as partners we will be able to address all the shortcomings we experienced during the Confederations Cup. To achieve such a result, the country and the continent need to pull together.

2010 reward for ‘good schools’
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola will give away free 2010 World Cup tickets to schools across the country that participate and excel in recycling projects.

Onwell Msomi, general manager of the 2010 Fifa World Cup Unit at Coca-Cola South Africa, says the initiative is intended to make teachers and learners aware of the importance of recycling and the protection of the environment and to reward innovation and responsible behaviour.

The tickets come from Fifa’s Ticket Fund, which was set up to enable South Africans who cannot afford to buy tickets the opportunity to attend matches.

In partnership with the Department of Education, schools in all nine provinces will participate in an innovative competition to promote recycling and environmental awareness. The National Schools Recycling Programme will also encourage learners to collect bottles and cans, which will be recycled.

A total of 200 schools in the country will be rewarded with tickets for World Cup matches at the 10 venues that will host the tournament. Tickets will be available for all of the 64 matches played during the month-long tournament.

The competition will be launched in January 2010 and the handing over of the free tickets to the winning schools will take place before the start of the tournament.

The Department of Education has partnered with Coca-Cola to ensure that the programme becomes a success.

“We strongly support this initiative,” said Themba Kojana, chief director of the Department of Education.

“Environmental education is very high on our list of priorities and the importance of recycling of products must be emphasised at an early age”. — Sapa

PUBLICATION: Mail & Guardian Online
DATED: 17th September 2009