Sedibeng refuses to be left out

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The Sedibeng District Municipality has developed a 2010 World Cup master plan to ensure they also benefit from the opportunities of this money-spinning tournament.

Sedibeng does not have a host city for the 2009 Confederations Cup or the World Cup, but hopes to attract some of the countries to set up a training base there.

Mlungisi Hlongwane, the executive mayor, said their master plan covers the promotion of Sedibeng as a tourism and investment destination of choice.

"Our objective is to use the 2010 World Cup as a catalyst and opportunity to leverage resources to speed up sustainable growth and development," Hlongwane said.

"Our primary focus will be on bringing together public and private investment to be team and accommodation base camps offering a unique experience for tourists.

"Hotels should be considered in relation to the complete aspect of accommodation. Sedibeng has several wonderful hotels, especially those on the Vaal River.

"These include Riviera, Riverside Sun and Emerald hotels. For the cost-conscious travellers, we are building a comprehensive database of all B&Bs.

"That includes new and emerging ones in the townships. They will be popular, come 2010, to provide the real South African experience.

"We are also working with our universities who will convert their student residences into temporary accommodation for the duration of the World Cup. As Sedibeng we can easily provide up to 10000 beds for the World Cup," said Hlongwane.

Hlongwane is also the president of the South African National Civics Association.

On tourism, Hlongwane said Sedibeng was working with the hospitality industry to improve service standards.

"The sad history of Sharpeville; joy of signing a democratic South Africa's constitution; the Anglo Boer war legacy with the Treaty of Vereeniging; and the Vaal River are all tourist attractions that will be packaged to provide the tourists with a great experience."

Hlongwane said they were satisfied with the progress in upgrading the George Thabe Stadium, which they intend using as a training base for the World Cup.

The Gauteng provincial government and Sedibeng District Municipality have jointly contributed R200 million to the upgrade

On improving transport, Hlongwane said plans were at an advanced stage to upgrade their roads to make them more accessible, as well as train stations.