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All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The presidential imbizos have been linked to the 2010 World Cup to ensure that South Africa is well on track with preparations for the quadrennial soccer spectacle.

This is according to Dan Moyo, the acting head of the World Cup government unit, after President Thabo Mbeki visited Mpumalanga last weekend.

"The 2010 World Cup will feature as a major component of the presidential imbizos, that will help us a lot to assess the progress made by the various host cities," he said.

"We started in the Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth) and Limpopo (Polokwane) with Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka visiting the provinces.

"We all know that the government has made massive guarantees to Fifa in as far as the hosting of a successful World Cup is concerned."

The government has made guarantees of R28 billion for the World Cup, a move which has been praised by Irvin Khoza, chairman of the Local Organising Committee.

During the imbizos, Mbeki and other cabinet ministers travel throughout the country to meet community members and attend to their grievances.

"The imbizos will provide the president with an opportunity to be briefed on the preparations for the 2009 Confederations Cup and World Cup," said Moyo.

"It is a fact-finding mission where the national government is able to identify the areas where the provinces and host cities needed help in their preparations.

"The president and other senior government officials will also be going to the other provinces. The aim is to make sure all the World Cup host cities do not slip up at all."

On their overall preparations for the World Cup, Moyo said they were happy with the enthusiasm displayed by the nine host cities and most South Africans.

"Everybody is hard at work and as government we are impressed.

"Right now we are in the process of rolling out mass participation programmes in all the provinces.

"We want all the Confederations Cup and World Cup matches to be well attended, irrespective of whether Bafana Bafana are involved or not.

"The consolidated process of mobilising support will be announced soon, we are working very closely with the soccer supporters' structures."