happy days in ethekwini

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

All reports by Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The eThekwini Municipality is impressed by the high level of enthusiasm shown by construction workers on various projects for the 2010 World Cup.

Obed Mlaba, the metro's executive mayor, said the projects, including the new Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, were taking shape.

"We are well on track in all the projects that include transportation and road infrastructure, hospitality, accommodation and the stadium," he said.

"We would have been far ahead had it not been for the persistent rain, but the constructors on site at all the projects have been doing a great job.

"Progress is also great at the new international airport [King Shaka International Airport at La Mercy] and in the widening of the harbour."

Mlaba is happy that other cities like Pietermaritzburg, Port Shepstone and Richard's Bay were hard at work to prepare for the tournament, including upgrading and building new hotels.

Besides soccer, the R2,6 billion Moses Mabhida Stadium will also cater for other sporting codes, including cricket, rugby and athletics.

Built on the site of the demolished Kings Park Stadium, the new venue will accommodate 70 000 people for the World Cup. It's capacity will be reduced to 54 000 after 2010.

Named after former ANC leader Moses Mabhida, the project is 65 percent complete. Many of its supporting structures have largely been completed.

Sixty percent of the stadium's feature arch is in place, with the compression ring running around the perimeter of the roof now 45 percent complete.

Despite the rainy weather, the city's World Cup programmes head Julie-May Ellingson is still pleased with the progress.

To keep local residents and tourists up to date with the progress, the city has established a Visitors' Centre at the stadium that is open weekdays from 8.30am to 5pm.

It is also open on Saturdays from 8am to 1pm, but will be closed from December 24 to 31. Entrance to the wheelchair-friendly venue is free but groups of 10 or more must make an appointment.