25 May 2010
Limpopo’s Department of Roads and Transport has set aside more than R25-million for taxi operators to ferry soccer fans from rural areas to the province’s public viewing areas during the 2010 Fifa World Cup™.
Each of Limpopo’s five districts has one public viewing area, which will give rural communities that cannot afford tickets the opportunity of watching all the matches during the month-long tournament.
“This money will be a huge boost to taxi operators, and I hope they will smile all the way to the bank,” provincial Roads and Transport Minister Pinkie Kekana said in Polokwane this week. “The department will contract 1 250 taxis in total for the five selected viewing areas.”
She said taxi operators would have to have complied with the taxi recapitalisation programme and own vehicles less than three years old to qualify for accreditation. The vehicles would also have to pass visual roadworthy inspection tests.
Department spokesperson Ronald Makhadi said a few last touch-ups were being done to the public viewing venues. “Come 11 June, we will be more than ready,” he said.
In the Vhembe district, rural communities are expected to converge in larger numbers on the refurbished and upgraded Thohoyandou Stadium in the Thulamela local municipality.
Makhadi said that, because of the large numbers of people expected to visit the Thohoyandou Stadium, councillors would be asked to identify people who will watch the games.
“Because we expect large numbers of people to visit the stadium, we want groups to give each other a chance – those who attended today should allow another group do so the following day,” he said.
Community member Azwinndini Masikhwa, of Tshenzhelani village outside Mutale, said it would be once-in-lifetime experience for him to be part of the people watching games in Thohoyandou’s public viewing area because he had no electricity at home.
“We were worried because we’ve been excluded from watching many historic events before, but now we are happy that the provincial government has remembered us,” Masikhwa said.