Stadiums will be ready for 2010, says state

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

The government has promised South Africans that there will be no more excuses in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup and nothing will stop the timely completion of World Cup facilities, the Finance Department announced yesterday.

Deputy Finance Minister Jabu Moleketi said construction on stadiums is expected to begin in February, once the tender process is completed. Ellis Park, Rustenburg Stadium, Loftus Versfeld, Free State Stadium and the Nelson Mandela Bay Arena will all be ready by 2008, in time for the Confederations Cup in 2009, a tournament usually played in the lead up to the World Cup. All other stadiums would be completed by 2009.

The government has set aside R8,4billion for stadiums and R6billion for supporting infrastructure, such as roads and railway lines as well as renovation and expansion to airports.

Moleketi said that the only thing to slow down the progress of the 2010 planning would be an earthquake.

Not even reported shortages of building materials would affect the deadline.

"We expect contractors to be professionals," Moleketi said. "Once they get the tender they should be prepared and start sourcing supplies. There might be other unforeseen aspects that might come into play such as natural disasters, but supply shortage is not one of them."

Final negotiations for tender applications are under way before tenders can be awarded by the end of next month.

"We have made certain that contractors adhere to stringent criteria," Moleketi said.

"This is taxpayers' money and we have to ensure that we aren't taken to the cleaners."