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

Officials Urge Negotiations with Stadium Laborers

World Cup officials and labor representatives are calling for better communication and negotiation between laborers and developers in order to make sure the 5 World Cup stadia under construction are completed.

An interdict to bar the strike called over a wage dispute for next Wednesday will be sought by the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors on Friday, said Campanella who is the group’s spokesman.

The country’s labour relations body - the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration - has also called an urgent meeting between parties on Friday to discuss the dispute and the potential impact on 2010.

2010 organisers to talk to unions
The Times
July 2, 2009

Gautrain 65% Complete, According to Officials

The development of the Gautrain regional rail system is about 65% complete, according to train officials. One segment had been planned for completion by the 2010 World Cup, but it is now unclear whether that portion will be complete in time.

[Gautrain Management Authority chief executive officer Jack] Van der Merwe said that 14km of the 15km of tunnelling has been completed and that 25 percent of the track-laying has been done.

The bulk of the civil works has been completed.

Van der Merwe said an announcement would be made next month on whether the OR Tambo to Sandton route would be complete two weeks before the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Gautrain construction is 65% done - managers
Independent Online
July 2, 2009

SA Not Recommended for Next Rugby World Cups

Hoping to get another chance to host the Rugby World Cup, South Africa was disappointed recently when it was not recommended as a good choice for either the 2015 or 2019 tournaments.

Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) on Tuesday announced it was recommending England to the IRB Council to host Rugby World Cup 2015 and Japan to stage the tournament in 2019, at the expense of South Africa and fellow bidders Italy.

The IRB Council will meet in Dublin on July 28 to finalise the hosting nations.

South Africa, which hosted and won RWC 1995 and who were recrowned world champions in 2007 in France, were seen as strong candidates for re-hosting one of the RWCs up for tender.

South Africa 'disappointed' but still bidding for RWC
Mail & Guardian
July 1, 2009

Construction Strike to Affect Stadium Construction

300,000 National Union of Mineworkers have announced plans to strike, affecting construction of World Cup stadia and the Gautrain regional rail system.

Affected projects include KwaZulu-Natal’s Moses Mabhida stadium, King Shaka International airport, the Durban Harbour project, the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela stadium, the Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane, and the Western Cape’s Green Point stadium.

2010 stadiums back on hold
The Times
July 1, 2009