Arena will pull the bucks

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Durban's International Convention Centre arena will boost KwaZulu-Natal's coffers.

So said political and business leaders at the official opening of the arena, which included performances by Grammy winners George Benson and Al Jarreau, and by local artists, on Tuesday night.

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sbu Ndebele paid tribute to the founding members of the ICC - "black and white" - for their foresight.

"In this very place, in November, Fifa's president, Sepp Blatter, will open the road to the 2010 World Cup when he launches the preliminary draw. It will be one of Africa's biggest media events for the world's greatest sporting event."

Ndebele said the ICC was built for R28million but had generated more than R5,5billion.

Transport Minister and founding ICC member Jeff Hadebe said the province envisaged the World Cup as part of an economic, social and environmental obligation.