ANC STATEMENT ON 2010 FIFA SOCCER WORLD CUP INFRASTRUCTURAL LEGACY
Last night's (27 May 2010) sterling performance by Bafana Bafana against Colombia before a packed crowd at the revamped world class Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, bears testimony to the efforts and commitment by Government, spearheading infrastructure development projects in the country in preparation for the FIFA Soccer World Cup.
Not only will the country reap dividends in the Government's heavy and visible investments in building or upgrading 10 world-class stadiums, other sectors of the economy that include energy, transport, telecoms and tourism stand to benefit handsomely. FIFA Soccer World Cup - the first to be hosted by an African country in decades - is also set to see a boost in soccer development in the country.
The R28 billion spent in the past two years to upgrade stadiums, R16 billion on airports and widening highways and R35 billion for Gautrain are just among a few key projects that will ensure that the world cup leaves behind a lasting legacy after South Africa's successful hosting of the world's most prestigious sporting event.
With Government driving South Africa's multibillion-rand development world cup projects, what is certain is that in doing so, the move will also go a long way to remedy the skewed implementation of infrastructure during apartheid, making the country ready to meet the many demands of a growing economy.
The following are just some of key infrastructure projects that will remain with us as a lasting legacy beyond the FIFA Soccer World Cup:
The Dube Trade Port and King Shaka International Airport
Not only was the construction of the project completed in the record time of three years, it also involved the relocation of both the cargo and passenger businesses, from the old airport to these new facilities, in one overnight operational switch.
In just 10 days, South Africa will experience its largest waves of aviation traffic in its history, when the 2010 FIFA World Cup begins. We welcome the fact that the airport is also going to be a critical diversion facility for OR Tambo International should this be necessary.
With more than 80% of our national economy being housed in the three cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, the airport means that Durban, will be able to accommodate long haul international flights.
The port of Durban is already the country's biggest container port, serving more than 50 international destinations. The port of Richards Bay serves as the largest bulk port in the country. Both these seaports are linked to the Dube TradePort and King Shaka International by road and in the future by rail. The new Airport and the Dube TradePort will be well positioned to capture these new air services going forward.
Gautrain is regarded as one of the biggest interventions by Government to improve transport infrastructure in Gauteng - South Africa's biggest economic hub and a gateway to Africa and the world. We are pleased that Gautrain's first operation of a train service linking stations at Sandton, Marlboro, Rhodesfield and the O.R. Tambo International Airport as well as bus routes from Sandton and Rhodesfield stations, kick off on 8 June 2010 - three days before the start of the FIFA Soccer World Cup. The operation will alleviate the current heavy traffic congestion in Johannesburg's busiest routes, especially during the FIFA Soccer World Cup.
The FIFA World Cup has already provided a huge opportunity for tourism in South Africa and the continent. Having teamed up with Fifa, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has insisted that the World Cup has the potential to spark a tourism resurgence, as seen on a smaller scale when Germany hosted the previous World Cup. According to a Travel Connect report, the 2010 World Cup boasts the slogan 'Win in Africa with Africa'. We are confident that this historic FIFA Soccer World Cup will leave a lasting legacy, not only for South African football, but for all of us as South Africans.
Statement issued by Jackson Mthembu, African National Congress national spokesperson, May 28 2010
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