2010 to speed up work

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

Government was using the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup as a catalyst to accelerate some of its major infrastructure projects, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said yesterday.

She said even if South Africa did not win the World Cup, it would still win in "infrastructural development".

"We have decided the most critical legacy for South Africa in 2010 has to be public transport infrastructure," she told some 1700 media leaders - mainly international delegates attending the World Association of Newspapers and World Editors Forum twin conferences at the Cape Town International Centre.

Yvonne Johnston, chief executive of the International Marketing Council of SA, pictured, assured the international gathering that the country had every reason to be optimistic about 2010, but that doubts continued to exist in the minds of foreign media about the country's readiness. "We are excited about hosting the Fifa World Cup in 2010, but old stereotypes died hard."

She endorsed international media reports that indicated the country had some formidable assets and the ability to fork out more than "$2 billion for stadiums, infrastructure, the police and other needs".

Johnston said South Africa was "alive with possibility" and one of the most exciting places to be in the world today.

"South Africans have established a terrific track record of fixing what others have written off as terminally broken, and of finding solutions where others have despaired." Few observers really believed that South Africans would have come together as they did 13 years ago. She said in 1994 some had even predicted the "swimming pools of white-owned villas would run red with blood", but this did not happen.

l See pages 32 and 33