Fifa transport worries will be addressed, state feels

All stories by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All stories by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The government is pulling out all the stops to deliver a successful 2010 World Cup that all of Africa will be proud off.

This commitment was given by Joe Phaahla, the 2010 World Cup Government Unit director-general, at the Sowetan Extra Time in Polokwane last Thursday.

"We are more than ready as a country and all the projects are in compliance with the requirements set out by Fifa," said Phaahla.

He said they were happy with the preparations in all the host cities, who meet monthly at a forum convened by Sydney Mufamadi, the minister of local government, to review the progress.

He said one of the government's priorities was to ensure that local communities, including those in the rural areas, also benefited.

"The World Cup itself takes place in a number of cities, but there are many business benefits for all of us."

Phaahla said they were working round the clock to ensure that there will be quality public transport for the tournament.

"We have what we call the intergraded public transport system. It is one of the areas where we are investing a lot into public transport," he said.

"There are intense discussions with Fifa on this matter.

"Fifa has raised some concerns they want us to deal with around transport.

"They are saying if you have a [World Cup] match ticket for Soccer City, it becomes a problem if you are based in Sun City.

"We are working on a strategy to ensure that somebody who is in Sun City should not take long to go to Soccer City."

Phaahla said the matter can't be viewed in isolation.

"There is about R200 million earmarked to upgrade our public transport. The current focus is on the operators," he said.

"We will support those who are already in the business with a proven track record. If there is anybody who wants to benefit, now is the right time.

"We are looking at an additional 500 buses for the World Cup. One of the conditions is that those busses must remain in South Africa after the World Cup."

Municipalities in the host cities are planning to introduce rapid bus transport, special buses allocated designated lanes.