Stadiums all set for 2010

Tamara O’Reilly

Renovations to all stadiums to be used during the 2010 Fifa World Cup are on track. That’s the assurance from the board of directors of the 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee South Africa (SALOC).

On Tuesday 4 March the board announced its confidence that all stadiums will be in top shape in time for the World Cup, amid concerns over the readiness of the stadium in Port Elizabeth for the Fifa Confederations Cup in June 2009.

Although there is no question about the Nelson Mandela Stadium’s readiness for the main event, a final decision on its inclusion as one of the host cities for next year’s football tournament will only be taken at the end of April.

“We have sent a clear message to the host city that it must work during the next month and a half to prove categorically that it can meet the required deadlines,” said Irvin Khoza, chair of the 2010 SALOC board. “We have committed to the country and the world that we will present a world class event and we want to give all stakeholders the opportunity to put their best foot forward.”

While five stadiums are undergoing renovations for the two football events, the venue in Port Elizabeth is being built from scratch. This poses a real challenge for the city’s municipality, as improvements still need to be made to the supporting infrastructure, such as roads leading to the stadium and accommodation surrounding that venue.

“Port Elizabeth is still a part of the 2010 World Cup,” said CEO of the SALOC Danny Jordaan. “Worldwide, the construction period for a new stadium is between 31 and 34 months and for Port Elizabeth to have to do it in 24 months is going to be a huge challenge, which is why there needs to be close monitoring and support.”

Meeting the power challenge

Other issues discussed during the meeting of the board dealt with electricity provider Eskom’s role in ensuring the football event is a success.

Eskom is currently feeling the strain of the country’s increased demand for electricity but it is working closely with government and other stakeholders to ensure that the electricity supply to stadiums and homes continues uninterrupted during the tournament.

“The government of South Africa has also committed itself to investment in the infrastructure, logistics, communications and security that will be needed to ensure that Africa’s first Fifa World Cup is a resounding success,” the SALOC said in a statement. “This includes the provision of complete infrastructure such as lighting, electricity lines and emergency power supplies.”

Meanwhile, in the the third annual survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) regarding the event, South Africans proved to be generally positive about the country’s ability to host the World Cup, and reap its benefits. The HSRC surveyed respondents in all nine provinces.

“For the third consecutive year South Africans’ attitudes remain positive towards the 2010 World Cup. Comparing the 2007 data from the HSRC’s 2010 annual longitudinal survey to that of previous years, it seems that perceptions are consolidating around anticipated benefits, disadvantages, and notions of readiness,” said the HSRC.

It was found that perceptions of national benefits have begun to stabilise. Similarly to the previous round, 74% of respondents perceive economic growth, job creation and putting South Africa on the international map as the three main benefits. About a third of the population indicated that they expect to personally benefit from job opportunities.

Some 80% of respondents indicated that South Africa would be ready to host the World Cup in 2010 and 56% of people surveyed believed that their local authority would be able to meet the needs of 2010.

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