The City of Cape Town has made tremendous progress in its preparations to meet the 2010 FIFA World Cup transportation requirements and is still well within its infrastructure budget, says Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe.

The minister and various other national, local and provincial department officials including the city’s Executive Mayor Helen Zille on Thursday embarked on a 2010 transport infrastructure inspection tour.

The tour kicked off at the Green Point Stadium Visitors Centre and proceeded to the Koeberg Interchange, the N2 Rehabilitation Project, the Cape Town International Airport and ended with a drive pass Hospital Bend which is being upgraded to cope with high traffic volumes.

Mr Radebe said the city had taken on a radical approach towards meeting the transportation needs of the world cup to be staged in South Africa in less than two years time.

“We are on track, we are on time. We are also on budget and the R13.6 billion that has been put by government has been put into good use.

“I want to assure everybody in South Africa and here in Cape Town that our readiness for 2010 from the transport perspective can never be doubted,” Minister Radebe said.

Minister Radebe noted that the city had embarked on its infrastructure preparations later than other host cities because the venue was changed at the last minute.

“Initially Cape Town’s venue was going to be Athlone and at a later stage we changed that decision, but to see the tremendous progress that has been made is extremely important. This is a reflection of the kind of cooperation that we see,” he said.

He further commended city officials for steering the preparations back on track.

Ms Zille, who was recently voted the world’s best mayor by the international network of professionals City Mayors, agreed that the city had covered much ground in its preparations to welcome thousands of visitors in 2010, most of whom will be coming to experience the first ever African-flavoured world cup.

“There has been a lot of work done by many people, the great legacy of 2010 will be a transport system that our grandchildren will look back on and say someone somewhere took the right decisions and that is us right here and right now.”

The mayor thanked the minister who had envisioned the Bus Rapid Transport system becoming one of the lasting legacies of the world cup.

Mr Radebe said South Africa would reap the rewards of the current boom in transport infrastructure beyond the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and the world cup events.

“We are going to be leaving a lasting legacy for the South African economy, for its people and for the future generations.”

Mr Radebe together with Roads and Transport MEC in the Western Cape, MEC Koleka Mqulwana and SA National Roads Agency CEO, Nazir Alli is expected to launch the R300 Pedestrian Bridge in Cape Town on Friday.

The launch forms part of the department’s October Transport Month.

The two will also visit Khayelitsha for a site visit and inspection of progress regarding the Khayelitsha Rail extension project, together with SA Railway Commuter Cooperation Chief Executive Officer Tshepo Montana.

AUTHOR: Simangaliso Zwane
DATED: 17th October 2008