Thursday, December 17, 2009

Odd Pick for England's 2018/2022 Host City List, But Surprises Await

A surprising name was included in England's list of proposed venues for their 2018/2022 World Cup bid: Home Park, Plymouth. The stadium is much smaller than most FIFA regulations require, and not exactly one of the most famous venues in England. But supporters say broad renovation plans will turn Home Park into one of the country's finest stadia.

Plymouth’s presentation to England’s World Cup Bid panel included ambitious plans to upgrade the stadium to a 46,000 “Wembley of the West”. The club is already committed to a £20 million expansion of the stadium to hold 27,000 regardless of the bid, with plans to increase the capacity to 46,000 should the bid be successful at a cost of a further £30 million.

The stadium design is by Populous, one of the world’s leading stadia-design firms, also responsible for Wembley Stadium. Of particular interest was that a representative of American firm AEG, who have built and operated MLS stadia for a few years now, joined the Plymouth delegation’s presentation to the panel, with AEG slated to operate the stadium.

An Unlikely World Cup Venue: Home Park, Plymouth
Pitch Invasion
December 16, 2009

Volunteers Narrowed Down to Short List

The 64,500 volunteers for the 2010 World Cup have been narrowed down into a short list, from which 15,000 will be selected to serve at the event.

While most South Africans will be relaxing over the holidays, the 2010 Organising Committee and the more than 37 000 shortlisted volunteers will be hard at work.

The selection process begins in earnest next month, committee spokesperson Rich Mkhondo said yesterday.

Volunteers would be selected from a shortlist of 37 080 people, who were pre-selected from 64 500 initial applications from South Africa and abroad.

2010: Selection, training of volunteers close
Cape Argus
December 16, 2009

'Unroadworthy' Buses and Taxis Pulled From Eastern Cape

In a preventive measure, the Eastern Cape department of transport has temporarily suspended 149 buses and 30 taxis from the road after ruling them "unroadworthy". Faulty vehicles have led to many accidents in the Eastern Cape and throughout South Africa.

Spokesperson Ncedo Kumbaca said the only way for the owners to get them back was to fix the problems on the buses and put them through roadworthy tests.

149 buses, 30 taxis suspended in Eastern Cape
Independent Online
December 16, 2009

World Cup to Bring Debt to South Africa

South Africa's World Cup is likely to put the country deep in debt, according to economist Stefan Szymanski.

Szymanski, a professor at Cass Business School in London and co-author of the book Soccernomics, predicts that South Africa will find itself in the red after the World Cup.

He says countries that host big events such as the World Cup often have to borrow money or cut back on other social spending to meet the deficit.

Such events require a government guarantee, he says, and this demonstrates that they are not "ordinary profitable commercial activities".

World Cup will put SA in debt, says expert
Pretoria News
December 16, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

LOC Claims Stadia 95% Complete

Officials from the Local Organizing Committee say that the five new stadia and the five renovated stadia are "more than 95%" complete and will be ready on-time to host the World Cup.

Stadium construction faced many challenges, including strikes in July when more than 70 000 workers asked for salary hikes, countrywide blackouts in January 2008 that crippled the economy, budget deficits and sometimes unpredictable weather.

"It has been a roller-coaster ride. Sometimes we were happy and most times saddened by the criticism and the pessimism but we always knew we would be ready on time," local organising committee spokesman Rich Mkhondo told AFP.

World Cup stadiums 95% complete
Mail & Guardian
November 30, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stadium Opens in Durban

The second of the brand new World Cup stadia has opened in Durban.

The Moses Mabhida stadium is named after a former leader of the South African Communist Party, and will host seven matches during the World Cup.

The stadium's outstanding feature is a cable car which ascends to a viewing platform at the top of a 350m arch.

Durban stadium opens
November 29, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cities Compete to Play Home Base to Teams

The cities and regions of South Africa are competing to play a second tour of hosting duties -- this time as temporary home bases for World Cup competitors during the tournament. While Cape Town and the Western Cape in general are already in the sights of many teams, geographic realities may stop some teams from making the region their base.

But the Western Cape was forced to lobby against two factors over which it had no control: altitude and rainfall.

"Some teams are very determined to be training at altitude because they believe they must if they want to win the World Cup final which is in Johannesburg, even though the two semi-finals will be held at sea level," Platzky said at an investor breakfast in Cape Town on Thursday.

Call for 2010 teams to use Cape as home base
Independent Online
November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jo'Burg Roads Agency Pledges Readiness

The Johannesburg Roads Agency is assuring officials that the city's roads will be ready for the World Cup.

"The JRA had set aside more than R30-million for refurbishing infrastructure for next year's spectacle. The money would be spent on fixing potholes, trenches, traffic signals and sidewalks, among other things."
Joburg road on right track
Independent Online
November 17, 2009

15 Cities Vie for Inclusion in England's 2018 World Cup Bid

Hoping to get into the country's plans for a possible 2018 World Cup hosting gig, 15 English cities have submitted applications to play hosts during the event.

About 10 cities will be chosen from a list that includes London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Derby, Hull and Newcastle-Gateshead.

Nottingham, Plymouth, Leicester, Milton Keynes, Sheffield, Sunderland and Bristol are also candidates.

The chosen venues will be announced by the 2018 bid team on 16 December.

Cities make case to be in England's 2018 World Cup bid
November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Johannesburg Halts inner-City BRT Lines

The City of Johannesburg has stalled the inner-city routes of its new bus rapid transit system.

Lack of signs, poor salesmanship, insufficient enforcement of traffic rules and lack of interest from commuters were cited for the closure.

The two routes, which started on September 21, will run on Wednesday for the last time, but are expected to return early next year.

"The Soweto/Ellis Park trunk services will continue to operate normally and are not affected by the withdrawal of the Inner City circle distribution routes," said council spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane.

Rea Vaya routes suspended
The Star
November 17, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Host Cities and Stadia Prepare Disaster Plans

Local officials in host cities and their stadia are preparing plans for any and all foreseeable disasters during the 2010 World Cup. Tests are planned for early 2010.

"Measures are being implemented to reduce disaster risk by all applicable line function departments and relevant agencies in the city," said Greg Pillay, head of the city's disaster risk management centre.

"Planning for stadium evacuation has been completed and this aspect will be tested when the stadium building is finished."

Tests would be carried out during the first quarter of next year. It was expected "test events" would be held at the new stadium.

Schalk Carstens, head of the province's 2010 disaster risk management team, said every possible risk was being assessed.

Range of 'disasters' put to test for 2010
Cape Argus
November 10, 2009

Gautrain Operation Set to Begin Late

The Gautrain regional train system will not be operational until half-way through the World Cup tournament, according to Gautrain officials. The regional system had planned to have the first leg of its system operational between Johannesburg, Pretoria, and OR Tambo International Airport in time for the 2010 World Cup, beginning in June.

Organisers of South Africa 2010 had hoped fans would arrive at Johannesburg airport and board a high-speed train to the commercial centre.

Instead, most football fans' first experience will now be a taxi or a shuttle bus and more than likely a sizable traffic jam, our correspondent says.

For the past three years builders have been working on the Gautrain - an ambitious $3.5bn (£2bn) project linking Johannesburg, Pretoria and the airport.

Contractors, under pressure to complete before next June's deadline, demanded an additional $180m (£107m) to accelerate their work and hit the target.

SA World Cup rail project delayed
November 9, 2009

Amid Cape Town Concerns, Transportation Contingency Plan Unveiled by FIFA

FIFA is preparing a contingency plan in Cape Town, should the city's developing Integrated Rapid Transit plan not come to full fruition by the May 2010 deadline.

In its September update of the plan, Fifa notes that the May 2010 deadline to have the Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) system running is "very tight and the possibility that this service may not be available for the event poses a considerable risk to the planning of the even transport services".

The extent of the top-up transport services that will be needed for the event will depend on how much of the IRT will be ready. The first phase of the IRT has been scaled down because of escalating costs. The project, estimated to cost R1.3 billion a year ago, will now cost the city R4.3bn.

Cape Town contingency plan for 2010
Cape Times
November 9, 2009

Cape Town's New Terminal Makes Airport Truly International

After five years of development, a new terminal has opened at Cape Town International Airport -- part of the country's infrastructural improvements ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

The multi-billion-rand Central Terminal Building has 120 check-in counters, 20 self-service check-in machines, eight air bridges, 11 bus gates and an automated baggage-sorting system.

The terminal cost R1.6 billion.

New terminal hailed as a success
Weekend Argus
November 8, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

England Fans to Flood South Africa, Despite Security Concerns

With a large amount of England supporters expected to descend upon South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, security concerns loom over travel plans. Some estimate 100,000 England fans will be visiting South Africa during the World Cup.

For their part, England fans will inevitably have concerns about security in a country with one of the highest crime rates in the world. Police chiefs say that the huge blanket deployment of police and security officers (41,000 dedicated to policing the World Cup alone) will make the country far safer during the tournament than outside it and point out that visitors should be reassured that the vast majority of the worryingly high crime statistics are accounted for by cases where the victim knows the perpetrator.

South Africa prepares for England fans by addressing the fear factor
The Guardian
November 6, 2009

With Hotel Shortage, WC Organizers Plan Post-Match Fan Transport

World Cup organizers have announced plans to assist the mobilization of fans out of host cities after tournament matches due to projected shortfalls in accommodations.

Away from the main urban centres of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, fans could face a long night after evening games. As well as South Africa's main cities, organisers have signed deals to accommodate them in neighbouring countries such as Swaziland, Botswana and Mozambique. Some supporters will even stay on the holiday island of Mauritius.

The mass airlift will employ a shuttle system introduced on a smaller scale by Uefa to ferry Chelsea and Manchester United fans back from Moscow following the 2008 Champions League final.

World Cup organising committee chairman Danny Jordaan said that over 200 extra planes and more than 1,000 additional buses would be pressed into action. Supporters will funnel away from stadiums and be placed on the first available flight. Smaller hosts such as Polokwane and Nelspruit will be among the worst affected.

World Cup organisers plan mass evacuation of spectators after matches
The Guardian
November 6, 2009

New Stadia Need Huge Crowds to Sustain Over Long-Term

The long-term viability of South Africa's new football stadia is being questioned by many in the country. One critic says each of the new stadia will need to attract 30,000 spectators every week for nine months of the year to pay off the large investment cities have made in the five new World Cup venues.

[Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry executive Albert] Schuitmaker says it is unlikely that the vast investment in World Cup stadiums will ever produce acceptable returns.

"It has not done so in many countries which have hosted World Cups and Olympic Games. Indeed some stadiums have been demolished soon after the event."

Will 2010 stadiums survive?
Independent Online
November 5, 2009

Concerns Over Future of World Cup Stadia

Questions surround the future of Cape Town's new stadium, which many argue will be too small for cricket, too big for football, and too unfamiliar for the city's established rugby teams.

These are questions facing all of South Africa's 2010 World Cup host cities.

There is fierce debate about what to do with it afterwards to make it pay once 13,000 temporary seats, which will boost capacity to 68,000 during the tournament, have been removed. It is too small for cricket, the city's two professional football clubs attract just 15,000 fans each, and much will depend on whether city grandees can persuade the city's rugby clubs to swap the history of Newlands for the comfort of the new stadium.

A consortium comprising Stade de France and a South African sports marketing agency will take on the running of the 4.5bn Rand stadium after the World Cup, paying 30% of their profits to local government coffers. But with five such major new stadiums scattered across this vast country, and rugby the only sport really capable of sustaining them, it is seen as almost inevitable that some will lose out and go on to be tagged as white elephants – a phrase that has become the enemy of any city or country bidding for a major sporting event in an era when the buzzwords are sustainability and legacy.

South Africa diary: day one
The Guardian
November 3, 2009

World Cup Expands South Africa's Tourism Draw

The World Cup is being foreseen as an opportunity for South Africa to gain a tourism foothold in new foreign markets, especially in the Americas.

Qualifying nations such as Mexico and Honduras will raise South Africa's profile in the Americas, while strong ticket sales in the United States will give the country a new boost among American travellers, he told parliament's tourism committee.

"Mexico, Honduras, these are all completely new markets. The US has bought the higest number of tickets, 82 000," he said. "It carries great opportunity if we can strengthen tourism in the US market."

World Cup to boost SA tourism, organisers say
Independent Online
November 3, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cape Town Transit-Taxi Talks Break Down

Negotiations between taxi operators and local transit officials are breaking down in Cape Town, where officials have refused requests by taxi officials to hold explanatory conference sessions with taxi drivers to clear the air about the city's Integrated Rapid Transit system.

Taxi operators walked out of an IRT workshop with mayor Dan Plato yesterday after he rejected a proposal to hold a conference for the province's more than 5 000 taxi drivers to explain the IRT process.

Speaking after the meeting, Western Cape National Taxi Association (NTA) spokesman Mvuyisi Mente said talks had deadlocked and that it was now up to the city council to contact them with a date for a provincial "indaba".

IRT: Talks with taxi men break down
Cape Argus
November 3, 2009

Property Owners Holding Out on Development Ahead of World Cup

Property owners are still holding on to their assets right now, hoping to cash in on their rising value as the World Cup nears.

Owners are keeping their investment properties empty until the World Cup soccer tournament in 2010, said Seef Properties on Wednesday.

"I am increasingly being asked by owners to withhold their investment property to ensure availability during the World Cup," Jules Arnott of Seef Properties said in a statement.

Arnott said that Match, the Fifa-endorsed ticketing and accommodation booking agents for VIPs, sponsors and media to the World Cup, did not cater for the marketing of non-graded residential accommodation for the average fan.

Property owners eyeing World Cup
Independent Online
November 4, 2009

First World Cup, Then Olympics?

South Africa's World Cup Local Organizing Committee CEO Danny Jordaan is hoping the successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup will set the country up for a possible Olympic hosting gig in the near future.

"The one event Africa has not hosted is the Olympics," Jordaan told the portfolio committee on tourism.

"A successful World Cup will put pressure on the IOC to award for the first time since 1896 the Olympics to Africa."

The first modern-day Olympics took place in 1896 in Athens, Greece.

"Africa has waited 100 years for the Fifa World Cup to be awarded. It has now waited more than 100 years for the Olympics to be awarded to Africa."

Jordaan hints at Olympic bid
Independent Online
November 3, 2009

New Terminal Opens at Cape Town International

A new terminal at Cape Town International Airport has opened, and officials are calling it ready to handle the crowds expected during the 2010 World Cup.

Cape Town International Airport's readiness has been put to the test shortly before Terminal 2010 - the new multi-million-rand central terminal building - opens.

A mass simulation exercise with 500 participants, including airport staff, porters and dummy passengers, was held last week to test the readiness of the new terminal ahead of the opening next Saturday.

South Africa: Cape Airport 'Ready'
Cape Argus
October 30, 2009

Cape Residents Rather Hitch Than Taxi

Eastern Cape Transit official MEC Ghishima Barry says locals are more likely to hitchhike than take a taxi, mainly due to concerns over driving safety and the violence in which the industry has participated against the country's push for more public transit.

Speaking at a "hitch-hiking indaba" in East London, he said the industry in the province had been losing its clientele base.

Many commuters no longer felt safe travelling in taxis.

The industry needed to review the training taxi drivers received in disciplines like customer care and proper driving skills.

ECape travellers 'prefer hitching to taxis'
Independent Online
October 29, 2009

Tshwane Taxi Officials Look for Role in BRT Planning

Taxi officials in Tshwane are calling on local officials to include them in planning talks on the creation of a bus rapid transit system -- an effort to create a collaborative and cooperative development relationship between taxi drivers and transit officials. Other parts of the country have seen antagonism and even violence between the two stakeholder groups as BRT plans developed.

Moeletsi Thulo, chairperson of the Soshanguve Taxi Association and the SA Local and Long Distance Taxi and Bus Organisation, told Pretoria News at the launch of a BRT station in Soshanguve on Wednesday that they wanted to see the system running smoothly and catering for all people.

The concept designs of the multi-million rand project were launched by executive mayor Gwen Ramokgopa, who said the municipality was committed to involving all stakeholders in the implementation of the BRT project.

Taxi boss hits positive note on BRT plan
Pretoria News
October 29, 2009

Stadia 85% Complete

All of the new stadia being built for the 2010 World Cup are more than 85% complete, according to the Local Organizing Committee.

Now all that is left is for the finishing touches to be done to the stadium bowls and the construction on the precinct areas around the stadiums.

The stadiums will then be handed over to the 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee South Africa.

Our venues are among the best
Daily News
October 28, 2009

Road Safety a Concern for Officials During Cup

Transportation officials are calling on locals to drive patiently when roads become crowded during the World Cup. South Africa's notoriously dangerous roads will be stressed with an influx of tourists during the Cup, and officials are trying figure out how to ensure safety.

One of the biggest concerns ahead of the event, says Ashref Ismail, national traffic enforcement co-ordinator and head of 2010 operations at the Road Traffic Management Corporation, is how locals and international visitors will get along on the roads.

He said the Road Traffic Management Corporation had consulted traffic authorities in Germany and other World Cup host cities, and was working on a strategy to deal with motorists before and after matches.

2010: Plea for more tolerance on the roads
Cape Argus
October 28, 2009

Cape Town Taxes to Rise as Transit Costs Increase

Property taxes are expected to rise in Cape Town, as costs for the city's integrated rapid transit project balloon.

Ratepayers will bear the brunt of the ballooning costs of the City of Cape Town's R4.5-billion public transport system and the expected R99-million operating shortfall - by paying higher property taxes, parking and fuel levies, paying for permits to use the city's roads or by contributing to a new Local Business Tax.

It was estimated in August, 2008, that the first phase of the Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) would cost R1.3bn.

But a year later, the city council was asked to downscale the first phase because of unexpected cost escalations. These escalations are now under forensic audit and the findings are expected to be released this week.

Ratepayers to fork out for heavy IRT costs
Cape Times
October 27, 2009

Cape Town Hoteliers Preparing for Tourist Influx

Owners of bed-and-breakfast accommodations in Cape Town-area townships are developing their own strategy to meet the expected influx of tourists during the 2010 World Cup.

B&B owners in Gugulethu, Langa and Khayelitsha have developed their own hospitality strategy for the event - without Match, Fifa's official hospitality partner for the World Cup.

The strategy includes:

# Launching a website where fans can book and get information on township accommodation.

# Ensuring that township restaurants and B&Bs are equipped with everything the average soccer fan needs.

# Developing a plan to ensure visitors are kept safe.

Townships prepare for 2010 influx
Cape Argus
October 23, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gautrain Tunneling Pushes Project Forward

Progress on the Gautrain regional rail project near Johannesburg is moving ahead, as a critical tunnel nears completion.

[W]ith just one press of the button the blast would take down the hewn wall and open up the 15,5km tunnel between Park station and Sandton, making one continuous conduit that has taken three years to construct.

The tunnels came from opposite directions - one was en route from the Shaft E2 site in Rosebank, while the other came from the Park station site.

Gautrain tunnel becomes one
The Star
October 14, 2009

Blackouts and Energy Loss a Concern During World Cup

Energy company Eskom is assuring South Africans that there will be no power outages due to increased demand during the World Cup. The economic recession and rising mineral prices have many concerned about outages and economic losses as energy demands rise sharply during the World Cup.

Officials at the parastatal energy giant Eskom say they are confident they will not have any blackouts during the matches, which kick off on June 11 and run for one month.

But South Africans have sharp memories of nationwide power failures in January 2008, which shut down the critical mining sector, hobbled factories and left cities plunged into darkness for days.

Strain on the electricity supply eased as the global recession sapped mining orders and cut demand for power from the energy-intensive industry.

Eskom answers 2010 power concerns
October 11, 2009

Nation Perceives Transit Progress, Cape Town Remains Skeptical

Though many parts of the country seem comfortable with South Africa's progress on updating public transit services, Cape Town residents are much more skeptical about the development. Congestion is consistently mentioned in surveys as one of the city's most pressing problems.

Since 2005, the HSRC's South African Social Attitudes survey has asked respondents aged 16 and older about their perceptions around next year's World Cup.

Last year the national Department of Transport asked for the inclusion of specific questions on road congestion and public transport services.

Since 2005, respondents in Cape Town have consistently identified congestion as a key concern. The Review article says that 82 percent of Cape Town residents agreed that roads would be "severely congested during the World Cup".

Scepticism about 2010 transport
Cape Argus
October 7, 2009

Testing Cape Town's New Stadium

A soccer match, a rugby match and a mass prayer will serve as test events for Cape Town's new Green Point soccer stadium. The events will gradually build up the amount of attendees to see how well the stadium handles the crowds, and how its operators will react to game-day audiences.

The city and the Sail Group, part of the consortium which is to manage the stadium, are trying to hold a mass event which will fill the stadium but be gentle on the turf - so are considering a cultural or religious event.

It is hoped that the final full dress rehearsal will be a mass prayer gathering. It will aim to fill the stadium to capacity.

This will be the final chance to test access and egress routes for the 68 000-strong crowd - as well as everything else from the public address system and lights to turn-styles and barcode scanners.

World Cup: Stadium put to the test
Cape Argus
October 6, 2009

SA to See Immigrants as Economic Opportunities

Long seen as a threat to the local economy, immigrants are now being regarded as an economic opportunity in South Africa, which is hoping to build on the increasing in-migration related to the upcoming World Cup and its business potential.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba outlined the new policy in Johannesburg yesterday, at the regional launch of the United Nations Development Programme 2009 Human Development Report.

Titled "Overcoming barriers; human mobility and development", the report urges all governments to regard migrants as potentially good for the development of their host and home countries.

Immigrants 'not a threat'
Cape Times
October 6, 2009

World Cup Boosting IT Development

The 2010 World Cup is having a major influence on the development of South Africa's information technology industry, according to economists.

Walker said IT growth up to 2010 will be driven by initiatives arising from the Fifa 2010 World Cup soccer tournament. Up to 2012, the engine will be government infrastructure projects.

After that, commercial demand will return when, according to the International Data Corporation, the economy will have recovered. In addition, better access to broadband will encourage new applications. And after 2013, new technology will drive the market.

IT gets nice slice of the pie
October 5, 2009

Olympic Hopes Lost, Japan Still Eyes World Cup

Tokyo recently lost its bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, but Japan still has its sights set on hosting either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

The JFA had planned to use the proposed 100,000-seater waterfront Olympic stadium had Tokyo won the 2016 Olympic vote. Yokohama, venue for the 2002 World Cup final, has Japan's biggest stadium with a capacity of 70,000.

JFA president Motoaki Inukai wants Tokyo -- which did not host matches at the 2002 tournament -- to stage the World Cup final.

Japan plans World Cup bid despite 2016 failure
October 5, 2009

Green Point Stadium 1 Rand Lease Deal Irks Locals

The city of Cape Town is on the verge of sealing a deal with a French-South African consortium to lease the 4.5 billion Rand ($610 million USD) Green Point soccer stadium. Under the proposed agreement, the company would only have to pay 1 Rand per year to lease the stadium, unless it is able to clear a profit. Many assume the stadium will likely be profitable, but others are concerned that the high public price tag is being gambled.

Despite fears that the venue will become a costly white elephant after the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the city is pushing ahead with a controversial deal with a French-South African consortium. The city hopes to receive a 30% share of the after-tax profits of the SAIL Stadefrance Operating Company.

If the operator does not make a profit, however, the city will recover just R1 a year in rent while spending millions more on maintaining the stadium. To be viable, the building will have to host between 20 and 40 events a year.

Rent row hits stadium
City Press
October 4, 2009

40,000 Stadium Stewards Planned for World Cup

More than 40,000 people will be trained to serve as stadium stewards during the World Cup. They will be charged with controlling crowds and ensuring safety in the stands, which has been an issue at many stadia over the years.

The new stewards are not security officials, but marshalls deployed to assist with the management of crowds. They do not fall under the provisions of the Private Security Regulatory Act, so do not have to be registered with a security service provider.

40 000 stewards training for 2010
Cape Argus
October 2, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stadia on Track for Completion Q1 2010

After FIFA inspections of South Africa's World Cup facilities, organizers have confirmed that all stadia are on-track for timely completion before the 2010 World Cup.

A 50-member delegation from Fifa and the local organising committee (LOC) inspected the five newly built stadiums over the last six days.

The team comprised experts in competition broadcasts, media operations, medical and transport logistics, and protocol.

The competitions chief for the LOC, Dereck Blanckensee, said preparations were on track for all stadiums to be completed within the first quarter of 2010.

SA stadiums on track for 2010 World Cup
Mail & Guardian
October 1, 2009

Mexico Bows Out of 2018, 2022 World Cup Races

Citing concerns about its economy and the country's internal infrastructure needs, Mexico has withdrawn its bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

"The decision is based on two factors, the world economic situation and the investment needs in (our own) infrastructure and (that of) third parties,"' Femexfut general secretary Decio de Maria said.

Mexico withdraw from race for 2018 and 2022
September 30, 2009

Cape Town Invests in Extra Insurance Policy

Cape Town is expecting to take out an additional insurance policy of 300-500 million Rand ($42-67 million USD) to protect itself from any liability and damages during the 2010 World Cup.

The 2010 local organising committee and Fifa already have coverage for the event. It is reported that Fifa has taken out cover worth $640m (about R4.672bn) against the possible abandonment of the 2010 and 2014 World Cup finals, in South Africa and Brazil respectively.

Cape Town to get extra insurance for 2010
Independent Online
September 30, 2009

Transit Expanding, Playing Big Role in 2010 Plans

Buses and trains are seen as playing an important role in the country's operations during the 2010 World Cup, according to Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele. With new bus rapid transit systems opening, expansion of bus lines and the creation of the Gautrain regional rail system in Gauteng Province, public transportation is being dramatically expanded ahead of the World Cup

Government has bought at least 570 of the luxury buses and they will be managed by the Passenger Rail Management Association (PRMA) and Autopax, a company that is responsible for the Translux fleet.

Ndebele said the joint venture will not only allow fans to travel "in style" but will in the long run boost the country's transport system as the buses will be sold back to the private sector after the world cup.

Busses, Trains to Play Major Role in 2010
September 30, 2009

Zuma Backs Expansion of Police Power

President Jacob Zuma has come out in support of amendments that would expand police powers ahead of the 2010 World Cup. The changes would allow police to crack down much harder on violent criminals.

Alongside the proposed amendment to Section 49, government is also in the process of strengthening the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD).

Zuma said the strengthening of this directorate is an important measure to ensure that changes to Section 49 are not abused, adding that legislation to this effect will be introduced in due course.

Zuma Supports Amendment to Strengthen Hand of Police
September 29, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recession Brings Job Losses to South Africa

Job growth has been hit hard by the global economic recession, according to the Development Indicators 2009 report.

Despite the increase in employment from 11.3 million in March 2003 to 13.6 million in March 2009 and the attendant decline in unemployment rate from 31.2 percent to 23.5 percent over the same period, the country has witnessed massive job losses in the recent months, says the report, released on Friday.

According to the Development Indicators, 267 000 jobs were lost in the second quarter of 2009.

South Africa: Economic Crisis Eroding Employment Growth, Report
September 25, 2009

Prostitution Won't Be Decriminalized for World Cup

Despite earlier reports that sex laws would be lossened during the 2010 World Cup, a national officials has announced that there are no plans to decriminalize prostitution.

[Justice and Constitutional Development Deputy Minister Andries] Nel says the South African Law Reform Commission will only publish a report with final legislative proposals in 2011. This comes after several role players debated the legalisation of adult sex work at a seminar at Unisa in Pretoria today. Nel says the legalisation of adult sex work must not be linked to the World Cup.

No new law to decriminalise prostitution before 2010: Minister
September 21, 2009

SA's World Cup carbon Footprint 8 Times the Size of Germany's

The carbon footprint of South Africa's World Cup is being predicted to be eight times as large as that of the 2006 Cup in Germany. The difference is largely due to the distance teams and fans will be traveling to participate in the event.

An appeal had thus been made to FIFA and its partners to make a contribution to reducing the spectacle's carbon footprint as it did in Germany, reported Western Cape premier Helen Zille on Thursday.

At the announcement of a progress report on Cape Town's Green Goal Action Plan for the tournament she pointed out that the carbon emissions would moreover affect the entire globe.

Steps need to be taken to involve everybody who has a stake in 2010 in the Green Goal Action Plan and its objectives.

World Cup carbon concerns
September 18, 2009

Major Funding Shortfall for 2010 Stadia

South Africa is falling short more than 2.3 billion Rand (~$300 million) for six of the new stadia being built for the 2010 World Cup, according to officials.

"National Treasury has informed me of the projected shortfalls for the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums. The total shortfall on the six new stadiums is 2.33 billion rand as of July 2009," Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said in a written response to a question in parliament.

SA sees R2.3 billion World Cup stadium shortfall
Business Report
September 17, 2009

Police Consider 'Shoot-to-Kill' Policy

The appointment of a new national police commissioner has brought the prospect of a "shoot-to-kill" policing policy ahead of the World Cup.

The proposal has raised fears of a return to "apartheid-era policing", with officers having the right to shoot fleeing suspects in the back.

The change in tone has come with the appointment of a new national police commissioner, Bheki Cele, who has been called a "cowboy" with a penchant for pinstripe suits and panama hats.

The plain-speaking Cele has called for a change in legislation that would allow police to open fire on suspects without having to worry about "what happens after that".

South Africa considers 'shoot to kill' policing ahead of World Cup
The Guardian
September 16, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Taxi Industry Vows to Destroy Cape Town BRT

Taxi officials have announced plans to destroy infrastructure related to a new bus rapid transit system set to open soon in Cape Town.

Western Cape taxi bosses have given Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele one month to halt the roll-out of the integrated rapid transit (IRT) system in Cape Town - or face having key infrastructural projects destroyed.

Taxi drivers would take to the streets "en masse", warned provincial National Taxi Alliance (NTA) spokesman Mvuyisi Mente, and destroy "every action of the government" ahead of the World Cup.

Taxis threaten to destroy BRT
Cape Argus
September 23, 2009

Crime Remains an Issue in SA

Reductions in the country's murder rate are not enough to dispel many fears over security as South Africa prepares to host the 2010 World Cup.

Despite a 3% drop in the murder rate, police statistics revealed an increase in sex offences, including rape, as well as a dramatic rise in burglaries.

In Rustenburg, tipped to be the England squad's base, cases of sex crimes, assault, robbery with aggravating circumstances and kidnapping all increased on the previous year.

Reported sex crimes also increased in the police precincts of Cape Town central, Durban central, Johannesburg central, Nelspruit, Polokwane, and Pretoria central, which are all certain to receive football supporters from around the world.

Crime fears grow as South Africa readies for football World Cup
September 22, 2009

Murder Rate Falls Slightly in SA

South African police officials have announced an overall increase in crime in the country, but a slight decrease in the amount of murders. One of the most violent places in the world, South Africa's high murder rate has been a consistent concern during the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup.

The South African government announced their latest crime figures on Tuesday with overall cases seeing a small rise, but murders dropping by 3.2%. The government reported that 18,148 people were killed in the 12 months up to March.

Police chief Bheki Cele announced his force was determined to further reduce the murder rate as the eyes of the world begin to turn to South Africa ahead of FIFA's showpiece event.

World Cup hosts South Africa announce drop in murder rate
September 22, 2009

Airport Infrastructure Expanded Ahead of World Cup

As part of efforts to update the country's airport infrastructure ahead of the 2010 World Cup, a new terminal is set to open this Fall at Cape Town International Airport.

Terminal 2010, the multimillion-rand central terminal building under construction at Cape Town International Airport, is to be opened on November 7 - months before schedule, the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) says.

Construction of the R1,5-billion, five-storey terminal is more than 90 percent complete.

The terminal has 120 check-in counters, 20 self-service check-in machines, eight air bridges, 11 bus gates, and an automated baggage sorting system.

Early opening for new airport hub
Cape Argus
September 21, 2009

Job Losses Deal Major Blow to New Black Middle Class

Job losses in South Africa are being seen as causing major hardships within the country's black middle class. Because this group is a relatively new concept, the downturn in the economy is having a larger impact than expected, according to analysts.

The Bureau for Market Research's (BMR's) analyst Carel van Aardt said last week that the 475000 job losses are likely to have affected most of those black South Africans earning between R100000 and R300000 a year.

"First indications are that a lot of the gains in living standards between 2000 and last year, particularly in the African group, have been seriously impacted on," Van Aardt said last week.

South Africa: Recession Has Exposed Frailties of Black Middle Class
September 21, 2009

Street Kids Won't Be Hidden During World Cup

World Cup officials have announced that no efforts will be made to hide South Africa's street children during the World Cup.

People had often asked him if the shacks and street children would be removed, [2010 Fifa World Cup organising committee chief executive Danny Jordaan] said.

"No, we can't be a society that misleads and creates a false impression. We are a country of diversity, rich and poor, employed and unemployed, and the world must know that we have massive challenges of poverty and housing and we must address these issues."

We will not hide street kids in 2010, says Jordaan
Daily News
September 17, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Link List: September 8, 2009

Here are a bunch of links to stories I haven't had a chance to properly summarize. Hopefully I'll get on that in the next few days...

Zimbabwe: African Sun to Spend U.S.$60 Million On Hotel Capacity Expansion
The Herald
August 27, 2009

Durban to host 2010 Street Child Soccer World Cup
August 27, 2009

Gautrain mulls using buses for World Cup
Business Day
September 2, 2009

Google SA launches Street View
Biz Community
September 1, 2009

SA electricity demand to pick up in 2010
Engineering News
August 27, 2009

South Africa: South Africans Urged to Travel More Domestically
August 27, 2009

‘Brokers have to go now’
August 29, 2009

Direct flights for Pretoria
September 3, 2009

Gautrain mulls using buses for World Cup
September 2, 2009

Rea Vaya calls for change in habits
The Star
September 1, 2009

South Africa: 2010 Soccer World Cup May See More Snorting Than Kicking
Inter Press Service
September 1, 2009

BRT back on track after shooting
The Star
September 3, 2009

World Cup bid eyes Olympic venue
September 4, 2009

SA frets over World Cup immigrant boom
Mail & Guardian
September 6, 2009

South Africa’s Poor Renew a Tradition of Protest
The New York Times
September 6, 2009

South Africa: State's Planners in the Works
Business Day
September 7, 2009

South Africa: Southern Sun Puts R1,3 Billion Into Growth
Business Day
September 7, 2009

Joburg financial woes deepens
The Star
September 8, 2009

Paraguay to set up 2010 base in Mossel Bay
Cape Argus
September 8, 2009

Killing of official not BRT related: MEC
September 8, 2009

Joburg Berlin Wall to fall
Independent Online
September 8, 2009

South Africa: Public Service Unions Reach Wage Settlement
September 8, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

High Demand as BRT Gets Rolling

Johannesburg's new bus rapid transit system is already struggling to meet demands, as large crowds came out for the system's first day of service August 31.

Shiny new red and blue buses will now compete with dilapidated mini-buses and ageing trains that currently provide the backbone of South Africa's limping public transportation.

Under apartheid, the government intentionally created non-white neighbourhoods far from city centres to make it difficult for people of different races to mix.

Now transportation is a daily struggle for millions of commuters, and one of the main issues the government is trying to resolve ahead of the 2010 football World Cup.

New SAfrica bus system struggles with demand on its first day
August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

BRT Opens in Johannesburg

Johannesburg's bus rapid transit system has begun operations, becoming the first BRT system to open in South Africa. With dedicated bus lanes, the system is expected to improve public transit in the populous city, which had heretofore relied on the operation of minibuses and taxis. The taxi industry is still upset about the system, fearing it will steal jobs from taxi drivers. A planned strike had been called off, but taxi officials have not ruled out retaliatory action.

The bus service runs from Soweto, the biggest township in South Africa, to Johannesburg city centre and some of the stadiums that will feature in the 2010 World Cup.

World soccer governing body FIFA has flagged public transport, severely neglected during decades of apartheid rule, as a key challenge South Africa needs to overcome as it prepares to host next year's World Cup tournament.

S.Africa launches transport system ahead of 2010
August 30, 2009

Taxi Officials Call Off Strike Hours Before BRT Launch

Officials from the taxi industry have, for the second time in two days, called off a planned nationwide strike of taxi workers to protest the opening of the nation's first bus rapid transit system in Johannesburg. The call came just hours before a ceremonial launch of the system on Sunday.

The industry had threatened to begin a strike on Tuesday in protest at the Rea Vaya pilot route of the BRT, which, they say, could have a direct and negative impact on their livelihoods. They claim to have been insufficiently consulted about the route by the city's authorities.

However, during an eleventh-hour meeting on the East Rand, some 50 executive members of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), lobby group United Taxi Association Forum (UTAF), and other members of the industry have agreed to negotiate rather than strike - for now, at least.

Taxi industry backs off strike action again
The Sunday Independent
August 30, 2009

Polokwane - The Quiet Host City

This piece from The Guardian takes a look inside Polokwane, one of the host cities of the 2010 World Cup -- and one that is likely low on the must-see lists of tourists.

"You are the only guest," smiled one of several waiters competing to sweep my plate away. This, after all, was Polokwane, a sleepy city at the opposite corner of South Africa from Cape Town – and at the opposite end of most tourists' to-do lists.

...Yet there, not too far away on the horizon, was one of the host stadiums for next year's football World Cup, probably the biggest international event in Polokwane since the Anglo-Boer war.

Beautiful game-watching in the World Cup city of Polokwane
The Guardian
August 27, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gauteng Officials Say BRT Will Open As Expected

Nomvula Mokonyane, premier of Gauteng Province has vowed to ensure the new bus rapid transit system in Johannesburg will open as expected, despite threats of taxi strikes in an effort to block the system's opening August 31.

Premier Mokonyane said the city authorities will not bow to the threats. "We want to assure the people of Gauteng that we are determined to protect them. Law enforcement authorities will stand ready to deal with any disruptions that may occur," Ms Mokonyane said, while addressing reporters at one of the BRT stations in Ellis Park.

"No permission has been sought for the strike and any public gathering that seeks to undermine the process (BRT launch) will be dealt with," Premier Mokonyane added. She said the City of Johannesburg will also oppose any legal action by taxi operators to block the launch of the BRT.

South Africa: Joburg Ready to Launch BRT - Mokonyane
Bua News
August 27, 2009

Political and Trade Groups Voice Opposition to Taxi Strike

The Gauteng branch of the African National Congress, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the SA Communist Party have come out in opposition to a planned strike by a national taxi drivers union upon the launch of a bus rapid transit system in Johannesburg.

The alliance acknowledged the right of citizens to protest peacefully but called on the taxi industry to respect the rights of citizens who support the BRT system.

"We also call on the government to ensure that law enforcement agencies protect ordinary citizens on the day of the strike," said David Makhura, African National Congress secretary in Gauteng.

Taxi strike slammed
Independent Online
August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Commuters Seek Seat at Taxi Strike Negotiating Table

Organizations representing commuters in favor of the new bus rapid transit systems under development in South Africa have requested a seat at the negotiating table with the government and the taxi industry. They are opposed to the planned strike by workers from the National Taxi Association.

On Saturday, they elected 40 people to participate in the national joint working group set up by President Jacob Zuma.

...The organisations are the SA National Civic Organisation, the SA Commuters Organisation, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union, the National Economic Development and Labour Council, the Gauteng Commuters Organisation, the SA Disability Alliance and Cosatu.

The group says the taxi industry should not go on strike without consulting the public.

Commuter groups enter taxi strike fray
The Star
August 24, 2009

We're Not 'Africa's Party City', Says Cape Town Business Leader

Cape Town has mistakenly been branded "Africa's party capital", according to Guy Lundy, the chief executive of Accelerate Cape Town, a private sector group made up of Cape Town business interests. He says the city needs to refocus its branding efforts to make the city more appealing to business interests and more viable in the long run.

Speaking at the bi-weekly 2010 lecture series last week, Lundy said the city needed more co-ordination and a consistent message to attract more business visitors in 2010.

He described the city's initial 2010 marketing strategy, which branded Cape Town as Africa's party capital, a disaster and said the city could learn a thing or two from the country's other host cities.

Cape Town not Ibiza - Lundy
Cape Argus
August 24, 2009

Western Cape Metrorail Strike Fades

Though no formal agreement has been reached, Metrorail workers are returning to their trains one week after instituting a strike. Workers had gradually returned to work over the course of the strike, though union officials are still trying to push forward wage negotiations.

When the strike began last Monday, train services in the Western Cape were reduced to 30 percent of its 679 daily trips, but waned after three days as some United Transport and Allied Trade Union (Utatu) members returned to work.

...Utatu demanded an 8 percent increase effective from April 1, a further 2 percent in September and an 8 percent increase in the housing subsidy and medical aid. Metrorail has offered 8 percent across the board. The minimum monthly salary is R5 000.

Metrorail transports about 600 000 passengers daily. About 1 000 of Utatu's 2 500 members at Metrorail are based in the Western Cape.

Metrorail strike fizzles out
Cape Times
August 24. 2009

BRT System Threatened by Strikes and Legal Action

As it closes in on its planned opening day, South Africa's first bus rapid transit system in Johannesburg could be marred by legal action and taxi strikes. A nationwide strike is being organized by the South African National Taxi Council, while an arm of the United Taxi Association Forum is seeking a court intervention to stop the system from opening.

The scheduled launch of Rea Vaya - billed as the nation's debut BRT project - on August 31 could be stopped by a court interdict being sought by Doldotha Taxi Association, a member of the United Taxi Association Forum, formed by various taxi associations in Gauteng and Polokwane.

...Philip Taaibosch, the secretary-general of Santaco, said the industry was angry that the government had also gone back on its word regarding an undertaking made at the national joint working group established by President Jacob Zuma.

A short left to BRT from the taxis
The Sunday Independent
August 23, 2009

Commuters Back BRT

Commuter representatives are backing the government's implementation of a bus rapid transit system in Johannesburg, despite continued complaints from taxi union officials.

"We disagree with the threats made against the implementation of the BRT systems as we understand the importance of the implementation of the BRT project and [Fifa World Cup] 2010 guarantees given by the country to the LOC [Local Organising Committee]," said Dumisani Mthalane of the SA National Civic Organisation in a statement.

Government, he said should have included commuter representatives in negotiations concerning the BRT as they were the most affected.

'BRT will better lives of commuters'
The Independent Online
August 23, 2009

Taxi Industry Vows Strike When Jo'burg BRT Opens

The SA National Taxi Council plans to hold nationwide strikes beginning September 1, the day after Johannesburg's bus rapid transit system is set to begin operations. Taxi officials have been upset about not being included more in the planning process for the broad new system.

Despite negotiations not yet being concluded, the City of Johannesburg was rigidly committed to putting the BRT on line as scheduled, said Santaco secretary-general Philip Taaibosch.

"But even more frightfully, the city does this despite the flaws that exist in the business model of the BRT project...," said Taaibosch.

The government set up a National Joint Working Committee to deal with taxi operators' issues after an outcry over BRT by the taxi industry.

Taxis vow to put brakes on BRT
The Independent Online
August 21, 2009

Durban Eyes Future as Tourist Mecca, Olympics Host

The port city if Durban is hoping to use the World Cup as a catalyst towards a future as a major tourist destination within South Africa, as well as the African center for sports and entertainment. Durban officials also have their sights on hosting the Olympics.

Intensely competitive with the more famous tourist mecca of Cape Town along the coast, Durban is pulling out all the stops to ensure nobody forgets it when the soccer World Cup is over.

Grimier but also more African than sophisticated, Europeanised Cape Town, Durban - which will host seven matches including a semi-final - markets itself on its miles of sandy beaches and the year-round warm weather that makes it a winter playground for South Africans.

Durban's ambition exceeds World Cup
August 14, 2009

FIFA Calls for Revision of 2010 Security Bill

A bill moving through the South African legislature seeking to codify how cities should prepare their security systems during the World Cup has prompted opposition from FIFA. The organization responded to an older version of the bill because of the stringent requirements of the bill.

The world soccer body was responding to an earlier version of the Safety at Sports and Recreational Events Bill which contains stringent provisions regarding safety at major sports events in the country.

This version of the bill makes provision for emergency helicopters to be stationed at big match events complete with a landing pad outside stadiums; a fully equipped ambulance for every 5 000 spectators; 50 police officers for every 1 000 spectators, an operations command made up of law enforcement authorities, event organisers, emergency services etc at every game; and for a full itinerary of big games to be provided to the police six months in advance.

SA to implement 2010 bill?
Daily News
August 19, 2009

Build a Stadium, Watch a Match

Stadium workers in South Africa are being granted two free tickets to a World Cup match. The move is part of the FIFA World Cup Ticket Fund, an outreach effort to enable some of the country's lowest income residents to attend the event.

Launched on Friday at Walter Sisulu Square in Soweto, the fund will see tickets being allocated through various programmes run by Fifa partners.

Tickets will go to deserving pupils, workers, teachers, parents and community leaders.

Of the 120 000 tickets, 40 000 will go to stadium construction workers, who will be given two tickets each to watch a game at the stadium they helped build.

Stadium workers to get 2010 tickets
The Star
August 15, 2009

Ukraine's 2012 UEFA Cup Hosting in Question

Poland and Ukraine are supposed to host the 2012 UEFA European Cup in 2012, but it seems that preparations are behind schedule in Ukraine, with only 1 host city confirmed. Three other intended host cities have been given until the end of November to show that they can implement the necessary preparations to host the event.

[S]talled preparations for Euro 2012 are shedding an unpleasant light on all of the problems the game and the nation’s infrastructure has there. The necessary work on transportation links, accommodation and stadia is far behind schedule, even with three years to go.

UEFA this month confirmed five cities as hosts for games in 2012, but only one in Ukraine. The Dnipropetrovsk stadium, expensively built, has been dropped from UEFA’s list for 2012 as the 31,003 capacity is curiously just short of the required 33,000 minimum, with no commitment to a temporary capacity increase given.

Euro 2012 in Ukraine in Doubt
Pitch Invasion
August 14, 2009

Western Cape Residents Can Legally Rent Out Homes During Cup

Officials in Cape Town are assuring Western Cape residents that they can legally rent out their homes during the 2010 World Cup.

According to Christel Olivier of a new online property company specialising in finding affordable accommodation for visitors in 2010, all that home owners will need, in order to qualify, is a "livable" house.

Cash in on 2010
The Independent Online
August 14, 2009

Durban Ahead of Schedule

The city of Durban and the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality are moving ahead with their World Cup preparations, with most infrastructure now in place.

The head of strategic and 2010 planning at the eThekwini municipality, Julie-May Ellingson, said there was still much to do. "Focus will now shift from infrastructural works to operational activities and post-2010 planning."

Steve Middelton, deputy chief of the unit, said security planning was virtually done.

"We are taking our strategies, analysing them and developing tactical plans for deployment. We also have to fine tune our tactical planning for the fan park, the beachfront, route protection, and the escorting of VIPs, teams and officials.

"Traffic and bylaw enforcement and crime prevention are ongoing," he said.

2010: 300 days to go, goal is in sight
The Mercury
August 14, 2009

Tshwane on Lookout for Illegal Taxis

The national Department of Transport is calling on law enforcement officials in Tshwane to crack down on illegal and unpermitted minibus taxis.

Last week the department called on provincial and municipal authorities to be on the lookout for the 1 070 or so vehicles it had identified as being converted.

In the market, panel vans are about R45 000 cheaper than taxis.

Dealers buy these vehicles, convert them into taxis and then sell them to operators at the same price as a standard specification taxi to cream off large profits.

While these vehicles are not sub-standard, and could be used by non-public operators or for private use, they are not of the standard required for public transport.

Crackdown on illegal taxis under way
Pretoria News
August 11, 2009

Transit Strike Cripples Cape Town

Minibus taxi drivers and bus drivers went on strike in Cape Town August 12, mainly fueled by members of Satawu, the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union.

The city warned commuters earlier this week that the Western Cape National Taxi Alliance (WC-NTA) had indicated it would be embarking on a strike.

"The city has had several meetings with the Western Cape National Taxi Alliance and has negotiated in good faith to address their concerns which include traffic fines, permits and warrants for arrest," the city said in a statement.

Taxi, bus drivers on strike
The Independent Online
August 12, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

99-Year Lease Signed on Soccer City Stadium

The SA Football Association has signed a 99-year lease on the new Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, taking over operations from the city's department of public works.

[Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile] said the government had initially intended to donate the land. However, Stofile said in the past land grants to sports clubs had been exploited by rugby clubs.

99-year lease signed for Soccer City
Independent Online
August 7, 2009

IRT Plan Not Forced By FIFA, Say Officials

Transportation officials are deflecting allegations that FIFA forced the country to push forward with the integrated rapid transit (IRT) system in time for the World Cup. Though mistakes have been made, the plans are moving forward, according to officials.

Addressing MPs during a portfolio committee meeting in Parliament yesterday, [
Transport director-general Mpumi] Mpofu admitted that the government had failed to "properly consult" with taxi operators before going ahead with plans for the multimillion-rand IRT project.

She said the "the real" consultation process would now begin.

Negotiations had already started between the taxi industry and the government through the National Joint Working Group, she said. The working group was launched by Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele last month to resolve issues related to the implementation of the IRT.

Fifa has no role in new IRT system
Cape Argus
August 6, 2009

Dorms Eyed as Extra Hotel Space

With hotel capacities in question, three Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) campuses will be used to provide budget accommodations in dorm buildings during the World Cup.

[T]he cheapest room is expected to cost R550 (~$68 US) a person a night, including breakfast.

Students described the residences as putrid and unsafe, with "no real security" at hostel entrances at the Bellville and Cape Town campuses.

But varsity management insists its residences would be "perfect" for budget accommodation, and say on-campus security is to be significantly increased for the event.

CPUT to let dorm rooms to 2010 soccer fans
Cape Argus
August 5, 2009

Calls to Privatize South African Airways

Officials are calling for the privatization of South African Airways, which is funded by the national government. Leaders from the Democratic Alliance are pushing for privatization in an effort to reduce costs to the state and improve efficiency.

The official opposition on Tuesday charged that the monopoly the state-owned airlines held was "not healthy" for private sector competition and was costing the state too much.

The government in 2008 bailed out SAA to the tune of R1,6-billion, and the airline company told Parliament in June that it might need another injection of R1,5bn in 2009.

SAA 'costing state too much'
The Star
August 5, 2009

Police Wary of Terror Threat Inspired by Visiting Countries

Police in South Africa are preparing for the possibiliy of terrorist attacks during the World Cup. Officials have said that more than 52,000 police officers would be on duty during the month-long event. Though a threat is not likely, police officials there say international presence of other countries may cause tensions.

"There is no intelligence to suggest there there is any threat of terrorism during the World Cup. South Africa on its own is not a target for terrorism," [Senior Superintendent Vishnu Naidoo, the national police spokesman for the World Cup] said.

But he added that some of the teams taking part, which might include both the United States and England, could be seen as potential targets. "There is the potential that one or two of those countries may import the threat of a terrorism attack into the country," he added.

World Cup police braced for terror attack
August 3, 2009

New Fiber Optic Line Updates Communications in Southern and Eastern Africa

A new 10,500 mile undersea fiber optic cable has become operational in Southern and Eastern Africa. It is only the second fiber optic line to serve the region, where Internet access and communications are plagued by outdated infrastructure.

The cable, built by Seacom, a consortium 75 percent controlled by African investors, is the first of about 10 new undersea connections expected to serve Africa before the middle of next year. The expansion will cost about $2.4 billion and will help connect Africa with Europe, Asia and parts of the Middle East at higher speeds and at lower cost.

Right now, Africa has only one submarine fiber-optic cable: the less efficient SAT-3 cable in Western Africa, owned primarily by Telkom, the South African telecom company, and last updated in 2002. Those with no access to that cable are forced to use expensive and slow satellite links.

New Undersea Cables to Expand Broadband in Africa
The New York Times
August 9, 2009

Many Hurdles in Zimbabwe to Gain Benefit from World Cup

Zimbabwe is hoping to benefit from the upcoming 2010 World Cup in neighboring South Africa, but some analysts say the country's tensions and instability will likely limit the impact of the event.

These hopes are being dashed by the effects of the decade-long economic and political crisis which saw Zimbabwe being regarded in some quarters as a pariah state. Despite concerted efforts by stakeholders in the tourism sector to lure teams and visitors to the Soccer World Cup, the industry is still to regain its competitiveness that would enable it to lure a fair share of the tourist traffic come June 2010.

Analysts told The Financial Gazette this week that the sector is still hamstrung by a plethora of problems which include the unavailability of funds for refurbishments, an unsustainably high country risk, exorbitant prices and the uncertainty that continues to blight the country's body politics.

Zimbabwe: 2010 World Cup - Will This Country Benefit?
Financial Gazette
August 7, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Joburg Calls for Improvements to Informal Settlements by 2014

Officials in Johannesburg are planning to perform an overhaul on the city's informal settlements by 2014, improving access to water, sanitation and electricity.

About 180 informal settlements in and around Johannesburg have been identified and were to be upgraded, according to Mayor Amos Masondo.

Joburg informal settlements to be revamped
Independent Online
July 29, 2009

Troubled TImes Ahead for Cape Town, According to Report

Poverty, access to services and crime are some of the areas needing improvement in Cape Town, according to the new report, which assessed the environmental, social and economic challenges facing the city.

The regional review of Cape Town by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) paints a bleak picture of the city's sustainability, highlighting rising unemployment, income inequalities, growing poverty and a high crime rate.

"Despite well-developed policies and strategies, government, as a whole, is often unable to deliver services effectively and efficiently in all areas. Frequent political shuffles have made governance in the region unpredictable, policy priorities are often changed before programmes can be implemented," the Paris-based think tank said.

Future of Cape Town in jeopardy - report
Cape Times
July 29, 2009

Durban's Beachfront Makeover

The city of Durban is pushing forward with a 100 million Rand (~$12.8 million) project to improve access to the beach and expand beachfront activities and businesses, according to Julie-May Ellingson, head of strategic projects and 2010 planning at the eThekwini Municipality.

Ellingson said the city's vision was to link the harbour mouth with Blue Lagoon via a R75-million promenade.

"We have 8km of amazing shoreline and we must use it to its full potential. For that we need a decent promenade with activity nodes about every 300m all the way along."

In line with the plan the city has already demolished the Snake Park and Ocean Conference Centre, and plans are afoot to refurbish the Rachel Finlayson Pool and the historical South Beach change rooms.

Makeover for Golden Mile
The Mercury
July 29, 2009

Hosts Chosen for 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups

England will host the event in 2015 and Japan will become the first Asian country to host the tournament in 2019, according to the International Rugby Board.

Japan, who lost out to New Zealand in the bidding for the 2011 edition, and England, hosts of the 1991 tournament, were awarded the rights ahead of bids from South Africa and Italy.

England awarded 2015 Rugby Cup, Japan 2019 hosts
Mail and Guardian
July 28, 2009

Security Cameras to Keep Eye on KwaZulu-Natal During Cup

Officials in KwaZulu-Natal are planning to tightly control and monitor the city of Durban during the 2010 World Cup with closed-circuit television camera systems and other technologies to record and hopefully dissuade crime.

"We will be tapping into the closed-circuit television camera network in Durban and the national roads agency cameras on the major routes in the province. We will also have mobile remote-control cameras which can be placed anywhere. Operations centres will also be established in key areas. Our aim is not to give criminals the opportunity to commit crime," said Captain Percy Govender, who is responsible for security planning and co-ordination for the World Cup.

KZN police plan live surveillance for 2010
The Mercury
July 27, 2009

Fighting Rats in Cape Town

A non-governmental organization in South Africa has received a grant from the government to fund a program to combat the rat infestation that overruns Cape Town. The goal is to make sure ther are "more fans than rats" during the 2010 World Cup.

The national Department of Environmental Affairs has provisionally agreed to give Men on the Side of the Road R1,5m as part of its greening programme for 2010. A consultant with the department said it was now up to the NGO to come up with a business plan.

2010: Cape in bid for more tourists than rats
Cape Argus
July 25, 2009

Immigrant InfluX Expected in South Africa as Result of World Cup

With an estimated 3-5 million undocumented immigrants already in South Africa, officials are expecting the 2010 World Cup to act as a magnet for even more. They're hoping to avoid an influx, but with restrictions being modified to ease entry into the country, the immigrant population is expected to rise.

South Africa is spending nearly $145 million to streamline entry for the games. It is the first World Cup host to offer an “event visa” for visitors from countries lacking visa-free arrangements with the host government.

They will have to show a purchased match ticket, an address while in South Africa and a return ticket home.

Fears over World Cup immigrants
Associated Press via The Times
July 23, 2009

2010 A Chance for Zimbabwe

This blog post from Craig Urquhart wonders whether ZImbabwe will be able to capitalize on the momentum it's had in preparing for the 2010 World Cup and climb back into a positive global light. The country is positioning itself to draw in tourists and provide hotel space for visitors to the region during the tournament.

For starters, a government of national unity has been formed, a move that has stabilised the economy, curbed the post-election violence and given the tourism industry a major boost.

Will 2010 mark a turning point for Zimbabwe?
Mail & Guardian
July 22, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Updating Airport Boarding in Time for 2010

South Africa's airports are going to implement a new passenger processing system in time for the 2010 World Cup that is expected to improve airplane boarding times. The system moves the passenger ticket and security processing from the gate to the ticketing booth, the way many western countries do. This will be the first such implementation in Africa.

The so-called advanced passenger processing (APP), a Sita product, involves passenger pre-clearance prior to boarding a plane, instead of clearing passengers at the port of entry.

South Africa will be the first country in Africa to implement it.

"Essentially, it extends a country's border to the point of departure, as the decision whether to allow entry to a passenger is made at the time of check-in when airlines receive immediate notification to allow, or not to allow, a passenger to board," Akil said.

Airport queues to be faster by November
Independent Online
July 22, 2009

Metered Taxi Drivers Feeling Left Out of Transit Plans

While minibuses dominate the public transit sector in the Western Cape, there are plenty of traditional metered taxis. But because they play a smaller role, they have not been included in government talks over how to handle public transit during the 2010 World Cup. Now, drivers are calling for better inclusion as the government prepares for the event.

Drivers say the government should have at least spent some of the 2010 transport budget on the metered taxi industry, as it was expected most foreign visitors would use cab taxis during the event.

Abubaker Safodien, chairman of the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council, said the government was more concerned about minibus taxis than the metered taxi industry for the World Cup.

Metered taxis 'being sidelined for 2010'
Cape Argus
July 20, 2009

Skyrocketing Stadium Costs Leave Many Wondering

Back in 2004, when South Africa first secured the 2010 World Cup, officials there estimated that they would need to invest about 2 or 3 billion Rand (~$260-390 million) for stadium development. Now, that estimate has climbed to 13 billion Rand (~$1.7 billion), with little to explain the sharp rise.

For months, officials have been predicting the final bill will come in around R13 billion. It is an staggering increase that has never got anything but a flimsy explanation over the last few years.

The economic recession, the price of steel, the volatile South African currency (the Rand) were all cited but never was a detailed explanation offered over the massive escalation.

Cost of World Cup begins to worry South Africa
July 17, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Communist Party Calls for De-Privatization of Durban Bus System

Critics are calling on the City of Durban and the municipality of eThekwini to take over control of Durban's citywide bus system, which the city had privatized in 2003. The recent downfall of the city's bus operator, Remant Alton, and replacement by Transnat Africa Bus Company has spurred complaints about institutional inefficiencies from the South African Communist Party.

"What the city is doing is just shifting responsibility from one operator to another. The SACP therefore calls for the immediate takeover of the public transport operation. This is indeed feasible as it has been proven throughout the world and in other South African cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town that the only effective way to run a public transport system is if it is run by the municipality involved," said Themba Mthembu, the provincial secretary of the SACP.

The SACP has also called for a full investigation into the collapse of the bus system under Remant Alton, saying that this had cost taxpayers about half a billion rands in bailout funds to the operator.

Take the wheel, Durban, says SACP
Daily News
July 14, 2009

Construction Worker Strike Continues

The strike of construction workers within the National Union of Mineworkers drags on, according to union officials.

World Cup stadium strike continues
Independent Online
July 13, 2009

2010 Provides Illegal Economic Opportunity for Street Children

The 2010 World Cup is expected to be a big economic opprtunity for black market work by street children, who are likely to sell drugs and sex work during the event, according to former street children.

The City of Cape Town has reportedly set aside money to remove street children during next year's event, but those rumors have not been verified.

Former street children Sigumbuzo Makhubo and Thozamile Ganjana, both 23, who are now working in the film industry and as "fixers" for international journalists, said street kids had plans to make big money during 2010.

Makhubo, who left the streets in 2005, said the children were ready for one big party.

"They know the visitors will use drugs and want sex. And they know they can make money from that."

Street kids' 2010 plan: drugs, sex=big bucks
Cape Argus
July 12, 2009

No Signs of Construction Strike in Mpumalanga

The construction worker strike organized by the National Union of Mine Workers was nowhere to be seen at the Mbombela stadium in Mpumalanga, where workers continued construction work on the new stadium.

Those who came to the stadium thinking that there was going to be a big strike were disappointed. It turned out to be a normal working day, just like any other.

"We heard on the television that there would be strikes across all 2010 venues, but we will not go on strike," said Joseph Ntibande, a construction worker at the stadium. "We cannot afford to do that because this is our dream and we will be destroying it. We have embarked on a number of strikes here and as a result we fell behind schedule and are now working on borrowed time."

All quiet on the Mbombela front
Mail & Guardian
July 10, 2009

Construction on Jahannesburg Stadium Halts

Stadium workers governed by the National Union of Mine Workers have stopped all construction work at Johannesburg's new Soccer City Stadium. The stoppage is part of a protes tover wages, in which the union is demanding that the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors increases wages by 13%.

The strike threatens the tight deadlines set for each of the new stadia being built for the 2010 World Cup.

But by midday the main 2010 World Cup venue resembled a battleground. More than 1 500 workers had swapped their picks and shovels for sticks as they toyi-toyied outside, demanding a pay rise.

Work at the opening and closing venue for next year's World Cup was brought to a standstill, with the only activity being that of the subcontractors. Even the foremen and site managers seemed at a loss and watched from inside the perimeter fence.

Work stops at Soccer City
Mail & Guardian
July 10, 2009

Bribery Offer Reported by Stadium Construction Company

An official from a London-based construction company says the company was asked to pay a bribe of 20 million Rand (~$2.5 million) to secure a bid for a World Cup stadium.

The Daily Dispatch reported that two people allegedly approached Rumdel Construction with an offer to secure the R500-million contract for the company.

A representative of the company confirmed the incident took place, but declined to comment further for fear of the safety of his workers in the Mthatha area in the Eastern Cape.

Construction company linked to 2010 bribe
Independent Online
July 9, 2009

England 2018 Sites Prepare for Inspection

15 cities in England are preparing for site visits from FIFA officials to determine whether they are appropriate sites for a possible 2018 World Cup, which England is hoping to secure.

Two inspection teams from the England World Cup bid will visit all the cities over the next two months, starting at Bristol and finishing with Newcastle.

Each will have two inspections before a shortlist is drawn up by December.

Cities to put case as 2018 hosts
July 7, 2009

2010 Corruption Risk Highlighted in Report

A report from South Africa's Public Service Commission is putting the spotlight on the risk of corruption during the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup.

The report highlighted potential challenges in areas such as the capacity of the emergency services, processing the huge influx of visitors, and providing services without bias based on race, gender or disability.

"Lack of full compliance may put departments, which are involved in big programmes and tenders, at risk regarding potentially corrupt practices," the report stated.

SA must be wary of corruption linked to 2010, says report
Mail & Guardian
July 7, 2009

New Operator for Durban's Failed Bus System

After years of poor service, the operator of the city of Durban's privatized bus system has been replaced.

The Ethekwini Municipality privatised the municipal fleet in 2003 because the National Land Transport Transition Act stipulated that municipalities with transport authorities, such as eThekwini, should not themselves run buses.

Since 2003, Remant Alton had been accused of failing to provide efficient public transport and the city had bailed it out financially several times.

In 2008, eThekwini spent R405-million buying back buses and equipment from the underperforming operator.

New Durban bus operator appointed
Independent Online
July 7, 2009

Pirate Taxi Drivers May Go Legit in Cape Town's New Integrated Trasnit System

Un-permitted taxi drivers in Cape Town may be able to legitimize themselves in the city's new Integrated Transit System, which will have a new permitting and licensing process.

Once the new system is implemented, the present taxi operating licences will fall away, enabling both valid and invalid taxi drivers to be part of the IRT.

The drivers will be registered with the city and the system's operators, and will receive specialised IRT training, says the city's media manager, Kylie Hatton.

But it will be up to the IRT operators, made up of taxi industry role-players and bus companies, to decide whether to employ the pirate drivers.

Pirate taxi drivers to get another chance
Independent Online
July 7, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Workers Thumb Negotiations, Saying Strikes Will Go On Into 2011

Construction workers have shot down a proposed raise during recent negotiations, saying that unless their demands are met, they will continue to strike until 2011. With the 5 new World Cup stadia depending on these construction workers, this prospect could be disastrous for the tournament.

[W]orkers on Monday rejected an improved wage offer of 10,4 percent, up from 10 percent, and stuck to their 13-percent demand.

"Employers must expect no mercy from us, they must deliver 13 percent or we will strike until 2011," said Bhekani Ngcobo, National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) chief negotiator in the dispute.

No mercy from us, warn stadium workers
Independent Online
July 6, 2009

Thousands Dying on Western Cape Roads

Over the last 8 years, 12,348 people have died in car crashes on roads in the Western Cape. Officials are responding to these staggering numbers by calling for a drastic reduction of fatalities in the coming years.

The "endemic" rate of deaths on the province's roads has prompted MEC for Transport and Public Works Robin Carlisle to embark on a campaign to halve the number of fatalities on the province's roads over the next five years.

Statistics from the Road Traffic Management Corporation indicate that the Western Cape has the country's third highest rate of motor accident deaths.

KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are the only other provinces to have recorded more fatalities in the same eight-year period.

Cape's roads of death
Cape Argus
July 6, 2009

The Development of Durban's New Stadium

This post from Pitch Invasion looks at construction progress and plans for Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium, one of the new stadia being built for the 2010 World Cup. Pictures and renderings show how things are coming along and what the stadium will eventually look like.

With its soaring arches, Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium, currently under construction, certainly has a passing resemblance to London’s white elephant. The arch in Durban is slated to be a little bit special, though: the arch also serves as a pedestrian walkway, so spectators will be able to traverse the stadium 100 metres above the pitch by foot or go up there via a cable car lift. The arch will apparently even offer bungee jumping (hopefully not during World Cup matches).

World Cup Stadia 2010: The Moses Mabhida Stadium
Pitch Invasion
July 3, 2009

FIFA Calls on South Africa to Fix Transportation Issues

Transportation has become one of the major concerns facing FIFA officials ahead of the 2010 World Cup, and they are calling on South African officials to focus on improving transportation in host cities as they prepare for the tournament. The concerns were amplified by recent troubles during the Confederations Cup tournament in June.

Soccer’s ruling body Fifa flagged transport as a major issue after the Confederations Cup tournament last month, which was seen as a dress rehearsal for the much bigger 2010 competition, the world’s most watched sports event.

There were serious difficulties with getting fans away from stadiums after matches in the eight-nation tournament.

Fifa also highlighted lack of accommodation and security in crime-plagued South Africa as issues to be solved before 2010.

SA to fix 2010 transport concerns
The Times
July 3, 2009

BRT Officials Call on Taxi Drivers for Cooperation Ahead of Test Runs

As transportation officials get set to test out the soon-to-open bus rapid transit system, they are warning taxi operators against disrupting the tests. The taxi operators and their unions have expressed much anger over the planned BRT system.

Gauteng Community Safety spokesperson Thaphelo Moiloa on Thursday warned taxi operators not to try to disrupt a test run on the much-awaited BRT system.

Taxi industry operators have increasingly expressed their dissatisfaction with the BRT, fearing it would result in income and job losses. They are also not happy about the time limits placed on their operating permits.

One of the biggest taxi industry umbrella bodies, the National Taxi Alliance (NTA), recently presented a document to Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele claiming "intellectual property rights" over the routes to be used by the BRT system.

The Star
July 3, 2009