Durban well on track

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The central business district of the Ethekwini municipality is undergoing a major face-lift as the metro gears itself up for the 2010 World Cup.

There are visible renovations in almost every busy road in Durban, some of which are inconveniencing motorists.

This after some of the streets were temporarily closed down as the renovators are hard at work to ensure the smooth beautification of Durban.

The airport has also been refurbished, a new three-storey parking has been added opposite the main entrance. This is despite the fact that a new and bigger airport will be built to deal with the millions of foreigners expected in the country between 2009 and 2010.

Jullie-May Ellingson, head of the municipality's strategic project unit and 2010 programmes, said Durban was well on track in its preparations.

Ellingson said one of the top priorities in preparations for the World Cup was to improve the public transport system.

"We are going to ensure that there is great public transport accessibility for everybody from the airport into the city.

"There is R750 million that has been made available for our public transport projects," explained Ellingson.

"The national department of transport and municipality are working hand in glove on this project."

The municipality is looking at the state of its taxi ranks. Pedestrian lanes connecting the city with all the retail centres will also be built.

"We are getting a new lane for public transport on the Western Freeway, which connects Ethekwini and Gauteng," said Ellingson.

"That will also encourage our people to use public transport, knowing that it is faster."

Sandile Kubheka, a resident of Lamontville who works in Durban, said: "The changes are a bit inconveniencing, but it shows that we are getting ready for the world.

"It will also end the myth in Europe and other continents that, as Africans, we can't deliver one of the greatest tournaments of all time."