As South Africa looks ahead to hosting the biggest event on the football calendar, the World Cup in 2010, the country is said to have launched a new bus service. Transportation is one of the biggest problems in the African continent and the new bus service is expected to uplift the transport sector.

But the coming in of the bus service has led to protests from the minibus industry who feels they will be denied of business.

Media reports in the country said Tuesday that the National Taxi Council threatened a nationwide strike.

South Africa’s Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said the coming of the bus service will not keep away business from the taxi industry adding they will work together in the system.

“As government, we will ensure that, as a direct result of bus rapid transit, no legitimate jobs are lost. We will continue our intensive engagement with the taxi industry on many issues,” Ndebele told Reuters.

The bus service is to be running from Soweto, South Africa’s biggest township to Johannesburg city centre and some of the stadiums that will host the World Cup games.

The World Cup is expected to attract more tourists and it is estimated that 450,000 foreign tourists will come for the event.

Veteran African footballers among them Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya have called on the country to make the tournament the best so as to open the way for other African countries to host the event.

South Africa is the first country to host the event in Africa.

The country successfully hosted the Confederations Cup in June which attracted eight top countries among them Brazil and Spain. Brazil won the tournament after defeating USA.

In a related development nearly 68,000 people are said to have applied to work as volunteers at next year’s World Cup in South Africa, exceeding the 48,167 applications received for the 2006 finals in Germany.

According to organisers of the event, the process, which ran from July 20 to August 31, received 67,999 applications from 170 countries.

PUBLICATION: www.africanews.com
AUTHOR: Sam Banda Junior
DATED: 4th September 2009