ndebele talks tough

TRANSPORT Minister Sbu Ndebele has warned that the government will not tolerate any action by taxi operators aimed at disrupting the World Cup.

TRANSPORT Minister Sbu Ndebele has warned that the government will not tolerate any action by taxi operators aimed at disrupting the World Cup.

He said the government would withdraw operating licences from taxi operators who engaged in illegal strikes and road block during this period.

Ndebele said he was willing to talk to taxi operators who felt sidelined from World Cup business opportunities.

But he warned that any illegal strike by taxi operators could lead to their operating licences being withdrawn.

"(But) engaging doesn't mean there is no law. There is law, there is government that gives operating licences" he said.

"Why should you have an operating licence if at the drop of a hat you can just withdraw it?" Ndebele asked yesterday.

Ndebele was speaking at the start of a two-day parliamentary hearing into whether ministers had lived up to the 17 guarantees they made to soccer governing body Fifa.

The guarantees are contained in the bid book and are required of any country that wishes to host the World Cup.

Deputy Sports Minister Gert Oosthuizen said the legacy of the World Cup would become clearer in August when the results of a "legacy audit" would be made public.

But skeptical MPs told Oosthuizen to tell them exactly where the legacy projects were located so that they could "go and check on them".

"I hope they are really scattered in the most remote areas so that they can say they have benefited from 2010," one MP warned Oosthuizen.

The MPs also asked for guarantees that the newly built stadiums would not become white elephants after the World Cup was over.

Parliament's sports committee chairperson, Butana Komphela, said the Sports Department had "kept quiet" instead of standing up to Fifa to ensure that teams played all over the country - instead of just in major cities.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk told the committee later in the day that 300000 international tourists, and not the expected 500000, would be coming to South Africa for the World Cup.

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