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KwaZulu-Natal Premier S'bu Ndebele has assured the people of the province that everything was on track to host a successful 2010 world football tournament.
Speaking to delegates in Durban attending a 2010 world cup strategic indaba yesterday, Ndebele said construction of the Moses Mabhida stadium and transport infrastructure was on course.
"I can assure you that by June 2009, the stadium would have been completed. This is an assurance to Fifa and the local organising committee. KZN is ready. Durban is ready. The people of this province are ready," said Ndebele.
Ndebele said the economy of the province was expected to boom.
"For the 61 municipalities this is a window of enormous opportunity.
"Many people will visit the country. They will be here to see the country and, of course, our province. This is your chance.
"You can influence the future by designing plans and marketing strategies to woo the citizens of the 32 countries which will qualify and the billions of people in the world who will watch the games," Ndebele said.
He said the challenge stakeholders in the province were facing was to look at how rural areas could benefit from the World Cup.
"Our cities will no doubt be the most immediate beneficiaries of the staging of the world cup. The challenge will be how to use this event to stimulate the development of our rural economy.
"The question is how can we use our existing institutions such as municipalities, traditional leadership, civil society and NGOs to ensure the benefits are spread to rural areas. We must decide what development will flow to the rural areas and what kind to the cities," said Ndebele.
Julie-May Ellingson, head of the 2010 strategic project programme in the municipality, said everything was in place for the city to host a very successful tournament.