Benefits from 2010 World Cup preparations roll in

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

The KwaZulu-Natal government says it is on track with its 2010 business plan, and will host a 2010 Indaba at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre next month.

The indaba will take place two weeks before the city hosts the Football World Cup Preliminary Draw on November 25.

Delivering his mid-term progress report on Monday, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele said he had appointed a special political oversight committee, led by MEC for finance and economic development Zweli Mkhize, to provide political leadership, direction and interface between the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC), the national government and the municipalities involved in the 2010 World Cup.

In addition, a technical committee headed by director general Kwazi Mbangwa had also been established to provide technical and managerial support to the oversight committee.

Ndebele said more than 3000 delegates and journalists from 204 countries would attend the event.

"This will afford us an opportunity to position and showcase ourselves from the tourism and investment point of view," he said.

"The presence of 200 international journalists means the event will be beamed live across the globe, providing a huge marketing opportunity for us as a province."

Ndebele said KwaZulu-Natal was already engaging a number of top footballing countries to convince them to set up base camps in the province, the most recent being Germany.

He said the new R6,8billion King Senzangakhona International Airport at La Mercy is expected to be operational by the time the World Cup kicks off.

So too will the multi-purpose Moses Mabhida Stadium, which it is hoped will host one of the semi-final matches.

He said thousands of soccer lovers from all corners of the globe would attend the tournament and utilise the local hospitality and tourism industry, as well as enterprises such as B&Bs, the small beading industry and SMMEs.

"All this goes to prove that the 2010 Football World Cup showcase will not just be a frivolous money-gobbling exercise, but will bring about unprecedented economic and social benefits to provide a rich legacy for generations to come."

On matters of infrastructural delivery, Ndebele said the government was spending R7,63billion on housing, road construction and maintenance, agriculture, land reform and restitution, tourism and corridor development projects in the province.

Economically the gross domestic product of the province has risen from 1percent in 1999 to more than 5percent in 2005, and is now the second largest in the country.

He said the province had also almost eradicated the bucket toilet system from more than 13000 in 2003 to only 100 this year.

The provincial government was also in the process of enlisting national government to secure additional funds for the backlogs in clean water provision to some 600000 households.