A few days after South Africa gave municipalities an extra 619 million euro to help with the costs of preparations of the 2010 football World Cup, a cabinet spokesperson said that preparations for the event, as well as the 2009 Confederations Cup, were “on track”.

Spokesperson Themba Maseko said on October 23 2008 that the South African cabinet had received a progress report on preparations which said that the construction programme for the stadiums was on track but “cost escalation still remains a challenge”.

Maseko’s remarks came as Fifa’s executive board started a two-day meeting which would include an update on South Africa’s progress.

On October 21, South African finance minister Trevor Manuel, in a medium-term budget policy statement to parliament, said that an additional 8.8 billion rands (about 619 million euro) was to be given to municipalities to help with the costs of preparing for 2010. Manuel made adjustments to the country’s medium-term budget plans against the background of the global financial crisis.

An additional 5.4 billion rands will go to alleviate the effects of inflation on operational and capital spending programmes and there will be an extra 3.4 billion for the municipal costs of the building programme. Of this amount, 835 million rands (about 59 million euro) will go to public transport and 497 million rands (about 35 million euro) to add to the existing budget for stadiums.

To host the event, South Africa is upgrading five existing sports stadiums and building a further five. The Fifa World Cup 2010 will be played at 10 venues in nine cities.

Maseko said that the cabinet had been told that South African telecommunications giant Telkom’s upgrade of its core fibre optic network was progressing according to plan and was due for completion in the last quarter of 2008.

The Public Transport Infrastructure Support programme was being implemented with most infrastructure either under construction or scheduled to start this year.

Power utility giant Eskom has guaranteed that construction of stadiums and the football tournaments would not be adversely affected by any power outages, and safety, security and disaster management plans had been completed, Maseko said.

PUBLICATION: www.sofiaecho.com
AUTHOR: Clive Leviev-Sawyer
DATED: 23rd October 2008