so far, so good for sa

RM: Comrade Minister, I hear you are the chairman of the Host Cities Forum, can you please explain to us what is the objective of this structure?

SM: The Host Cities Forum provides overall oversight on 2010 preparatory processes. These include monitoring, coordination and integration, identification and resolution of bottlenecks on the critical paths.

In project management language, it has evolved into a '2010 technical steering committee'.

RM: Who is serving on the organisation and how often to you meet? Do you have subcommittees within the forum dealing with other 2010 World Cup activities?

SM: Host Cities Forum members are host cities, provincial governments, national sector departments and the Local Organising Committee. We have established six subcommittees who are focusing on the following thematic areas:

l infrastructure;

l safety and security;

l marketing and communications;

l information technology and telecommunications;

l finance and legal; and

l legacy and sustainability.

RM: What about non-hosting cities like Buffalo City, Galeshewe, Makhado and Maluti a Phofung, for example, do you communicate with them too elsewhere?

SM: South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup. For us this means everyone and every citizen has a part to play in hosting this historic event.

The role of non-host cities is relatively less and not as intense as that of host cities, hence the establishment of the Host Cities Forum.

Non-host cities would be engaged as various projects are brought on board, for example accommodation and base camps among others. In terms of base camps, it is the prerogative of each and every nation that will be competing in the World Cup to decide on their base during the tournament. Some teams may decide to base [themselves] at areas you have indicated above and we would engage and support them once that happens.

RM: What are the real issues that the Host Cities Forum deals with?

SM: HCF focuses on progress made, identification and removing [of] bottlenecks that may impede preparation for this important event. Best practices are also shared among host cities and collaboration is facilitated on common areas.

RM: Are you happy with the progress since the forum was established?

SM: Remarkable progress has been made by all the stakeholders, we are pulling together in one direction to make sure that this event becomes a success.

RM: What are some of your achievements?

SM: The host cities are on track with overall preparations, will all the preparatory milestones having been delivered to Fifa's satisfaction.

The Fifa preliminary draw held in November 2007 was one such event.

RM: ...and the challenges?

SM: We need to keep unblocking whatever bottlenecks that may stand in the way of our preparations, such as making sure that by-laws in the host cities are in place to make sure that this event is successfully hosted.

RM: Overall, what is the role of the Department of Provincial and Local Government in relation to the 2010 World Cup?

SM: 2010 will take place in the local government space. We have the legislative mandate to support local government including periods when it is preparing for 2010. It is our responsibility to coordinate support from various stakeholders towards ensuring that host cities deliver on time for the tournament.

RM: What is your relationship with the municipalities in accordance with the by-laws and implementation of the overall disaster management plan for the World Cup.

SM: In supporting host cities in the area of by-laws, we developed generic by-laws with specific focus on 2010 and shared them with host cities who are following relevant legislative promulgation processes.

We have established a 2010 Disaster Management Steering Committee, which has undertaken a high-level audit of 2010 host cities' preparedness and developed 2010-specific guidelines for disaster management contingency planning.

We are working closely with the safety and security cluster to ensure that the host cities comply with the Disaster Management Act before 2010.

RM: What would you say will be some of the legacy projects of the World Cup in terms of the Department of Provincial and Local Government.

SM: The second term of our democratic developmental local government coincides with the 2010 Fifa World Cup preparations and hosting of the tournament. Specifically, our host cities have and continue to deliver infrastructure over and above what they would ordinarily have delivered had 2010 not been there. This additional infrastructure and increase in private sector investments in these localities is a developmental legacy.

RM: Is there any action that the department will take if you feel a certain municipality (host city) is dragging its feet in terms of implementing some of the World Cup projects?

SM: Measures put in place to monitor progress and identify bottlenecks allow us and better prepare us to prevent any critical challenges that may arise.

Resounding dedication, support and commitment by all stakeholders, especially premiers and their executives and mayors and their councils, have been without doubt a recipe for our success.

RM: What progress have the various municipalities made to deal with the challenges of load shedding for all the World Cup activities like training and functions:

SM: We have a dedicated team from the energy sector led by Eskom and the Department of Minerals and Energy who are working on plans that would prevent or minimize any power interruptions before, during and post 2010.

RM: As government, are you happy with the country's preparations for the 2010 World Cup?

SM: We are confident that this tournament will be a success; all the stakeholders are working hard to make sure that this happens.

RM: Finally, many South Africans are of the opinion that it is a guarantee that they will (automatically) benefit financially from the World Cup, any word of advice?

SM: Host cities have conducted a 2010 Opportunities Conference whose purpose is to share information on some of the projects that are still to be undertaken even before 2010 so that people can position themselves to benefit from this event.