Wednesday, March 31, 2010

If 2022 Bid is Successful, South Korea Will Offer Some Game Hosting to North Korea

South Korea is reaching out to North Korea, offering to let the country host some of its World Cup games if South Korea wins its bid to host the 2022 tournament. The move is seen as a goodwill effort intended to help mend the rift between the two countries.

South Korea, who co-hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan, are promoting the message that sport, and in particular football, can help relations between the two countries.


"We don't know exactly what the situation will be by the year 2022, we might be a unified country or we might still be a divided country, either way it will be a good opportunity to bring North Korea into the mainstream of the world and it will contribute good relations between north and south," said Han Sung-Joo, South Korea's bid chairman.

S Korea offer North games in 2022 bid
March 31, 2010

Interpol Officials OK South African Security Preparations

The international police agency Interpol has given high marks to South Africa for its securioty and crime-fighting preparations leading up to the World Cup.

"What I have seen so far is very positive. South Africa can be proud of the level of security that is in place," Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble said.

"My opinion is that South African police services is doing all that is in its power to ensure that South Africa is as safe as possible during the World Cup."

Interpol was in South Africa to assess security plans ahead of the tournament, where it will work alongside South African police and provide links to its database of lost and stolen passports.

World Cup security gets the nod from Interpol
Independent Online
March 31, 2010

FIFA Trademark To Be Protected By Task Force

Investigators, legal experts and police officers will make up a task force to look out for an enforce any violations of FIFA's trademark during the World Cup by local businesses.

Its job is to sniff out businesses that infringe Fifa's intellectual property rights.

No ambush marketing cases are being investigated by the unit, but Van Dyk has warned that businesses and individuals caught using Fifa trademarks illegally will be shown no mercy.

'Rights' squad to patrol city
Cape Argus
March 31, 2010

Price Gouging Widespread in Durban

Officials in Durban have surveyed local hotel accommodations and found that more than half are planning to boost their prices by 50% or more.

This is the second highest in the country after Gauteng with 65 percent, the survey commissioned by South African Tourism has revealed.

"This is not too good," Gerhard Patzer, the chairman of the region's Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa), said last night.

However, Patzer believes that many of the hotels, guest houses and B&Bs charging more than 50 percent of their highest rack rate (the price, inclusive of VAT, charged to the public before any discount) would not get their price.

2010 price gouging in Durban
Daily News
March 31, 2010

Soweto Angles to be Tourist Draw During World Cup

Soweto is hoping to lure World Cup tourists to experience its historic character and distinct urban charm. Local business people claim that bed-and-breakfast accommodations are fully booked for the World Cup period. This article takes a look at the township and its history.

This is the new Soweto, a mix of upper-crust comforts and urban grit.

It is a place where shopping malls and landscaped parks have sprung up among some of South Africa’s most important landmarks of the struggle against white-minority rule.

It’s a side of Johannesburg that residents hope World Cup visitors will venture out to see, where one third of the city’s 3.8 million people live.

Soweto to show face of success to tourists
March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

BRT Set to Open in Pretoria

A new bus rapid transit system is getting set to begin the first phase of its operation in Pretoria on April 1. It will expand to other routes later in the year.

The BRT roll-out will be done in phases, with line 1 linking areas in the north, such as Soshanguve and Mabopane, to the CBD, while line 2 will reach out to areas in the south and east, like the fast developing suburbs along Hans Strijdom Drive and Mamelodi.

The completion of lines 1 and 2 would mean a BRT service that covers a route of about 70km and features four bus terminals, 53 bus stations and 159 buses.

Public transport overhaul
Pretoria News
March 29, 2010

Focus Shifts From Stadium Preparation to Transportation and Accommodations

Now that the stadia are officially completed and FIFA-approved, South Africa shifts its focus to making final improvements to its roads, rail infrastructure and hotel accommodations.

Now it is in a race against time to complete road, rail and transportation projects and is struggling to find enough suitable rooms to accommodate the homegrown fans and expected 450,000 visitors from overseas.

So much is at stake for the nation flying the flag as Africa's first to stage either a World Cup or an Olympics. Now that the building and refurbishment of the stadiums are complete, South Africa at last has something to brag about.

Roads, rails and rooms still a headache
March 29, 2010

Transportation Infrastructure the Main World Cup Legacy

Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele has proclaimed that transportation infrastructure improvements being made ahead of the World Cup will be the event's most important long-term legacy.

"If anyone asks what the World Cup has brought and what we are left with as infrastructure, it will be transport infrastructure, it will be the improved transport delivery in the country that will remain with us and be our way of life," he said. Ndebele made this assertion when interviewed on the SAfm Radio programme, the After Eight Debate, on the country's transport readiness for the World Cup.

World Cup paves way to better infrastructure
Daily News
March 29, 2010

Spectre of Crime in Johannesburg Hard to Evade

Locals are calling on fellow Johannesburg residents to keep the peace during the World Cup in order for the city to improve its reputation when it plays host to international visitors for the World Cup.

Many of the expected 450,000 visiting fans will also head for "Jozi" because 21 of the 64 games are in the region and that will also give the city a golden chance to make an impact.

The downside, however, is that many of those visitors might be targeted by those who put crime above the need to make this a trouble-free World Cup.

Those visitors, whether they be from England, the United States, Germany or Brazil, will have to get used to being told to take taxis instead of a short walk, to not go out alone at night and to leave their valuables in their hotels.

Jozi must lose crime image for World Cup
Independent Online
March 29, 2010

Durban Installs Shark Nets To Improve Beach Safety During World Cup

Tourism officials in Durban are installing extra shark nets to prevent shark attacks at the beaches during the World Cup.

[Tourism MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu] Mabuyakhulu joined a team of KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board members to install shark nets on Durban beaches to protect bathers from shark attacks.

He said KwaZulu-Natal beaches were more than ready for World Cup visitors with 17 triple nets to protect bathers from shark attacks.

KZN beaches ready for World Cup visitors
The Citizen
March 18, 2010

Drunken Fans Face Arrests at KZN Fan Parks

Drunken fans will be arrested on sight at fan parks near the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal, according to police officials. They plan to have a zero-tolerance policy for drunken fans who pose a risk of drowning.

“There will be fan parks around the beaches, and on the North Beach (Durban), but I must insist that no drunk fan will be allowed to enter the beach,” [MEC for economic development and tourism Mike] Mabuyakhulu said.

“The police will be there and so will volunteers and marshals, because we all know how dangerous it is for a drunk person to go on to the beach.”

‘No drunks at the fan parks’
March 19, 2010

Despite Cutbacks By Mining Industry, Power Outages Are Likely During World Cup

The mining industry has been asked to limit its use of energy during the World Cup to stave off any possible power outages, which is expected to push metal prices up. But even with these efforts, energy officials say there's no guarantee that power supply will be able to match demand.

Eskom, the South African power utility, is under such strain that voluntary action may not be enough to prevent a crunch in supply.

South Africa generates between 36 gigawatts and 39 gigawatts of power, depending on availability. Demand during the World Cup is estimated to be 37.2 gigawatts, prompting fears that electricity supply to big industrial consumers could be rationed.

World Cup 2010 faces threat of blackouts and soaring metal prices
March 20, 2010

Mobile Communications Company Invests to Expand Network Ahead of Cup

Mobile communications operator MTN has claimed network and infrastructure improvements totaling 7.1 billion Rand ($959 million USD) in the lead-up to the World Cup.

The company said that as part of the work it had completed network coverage upgrades at all stadiums being used in the tournament.

MTN spends R7bn on WC upgrades
Fin 24
March 23, 2010

Rand to Rise and Fall, Though With Only Slight Relation to World Cup

The South African Rand is expected to see some appreciation in the lead-up to the World Cup, though mainly because of speculation as opposed to economic activity.

And the depreciation thereafter would have more to do with "some growth disappointments in the global economy and, therefore, heightened risk aversion rather than any deterioration in local conditions", according to Nedbank group chief economist Dennis Dykes.

World Cup to test stability of local currency
Business Report
March 23, 2010

Small Chance for South Africa to Break Even on World Cup Investment

South Africa has very slim chances of breaking even on its investment in the World Cup, according to a report from Human Sciences Research Council executive director of the Centre for Service Delivery research programme Dr Udesh Pillay. The best-case scenario would see a modest 0.5% increase to the country's GDP. But large defecits are expected to occur.

The country's expenditure on the event has been R63-billion ($8.5 billion USD), which is 6,4% of the 2010/11 gross domestic product (GDP). Currently, the only known revenue is R2-billion ($270 million USD) from FIFA and it is estimated that the event's contribution to the GDP will be 0,5%.

Taking these figures into account, Pillay says that the best-case scenario deficit that South Africa will experience is R26,1-billion ($3.5 billion USD), while the worst-case scenario deficit will be R56,1-billion ($7.5 billion USD). But these figures do not take ticket sales, marketing and merchandising into account.

He estimates that ticket sales, marketing and merchandising could add up to a total of about R20-billion, therefore it could be possible to break even in a best-case scenario, but there is a current possible conundrum. There are a total of 3,2-million tickets available for the event. To date, local supporters have bought about 350 000 tickets, or 11%, of these, resulting in 2,8-million remaining tickets.

SA may just break even on 2010 World Cup, research shows
Engineering News
March 19, 2010

South Africa Safer Than Spain and Germany for British Tourists

South Africa is safer for British tourists than Spain or Germany, according to a report from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. British tourists are expected to be the largest group of foreign visitors to South Africa for the World Cup.

The report, which examined the behaviour of British tourists from April, 2008, to March, 2009, measured how much help Brits needed from their different consulates abroad.

And the results may surprise you. Of the 451 580 Britons who visited South Africa in the 12-month period - and a further 212 000 living in the country - there were 23 arrests, 23 hospital admissions and 48 deaths, due to either accidents, natural causes or murder. No rape or sexual assault cases were reported.

SA safer for tourists than Spain or Germany
The Star
March 25, 2010

'Not About Security', But Army Will Be in Full Force During Cup

Despite declaring that army personnel would not be allowed to take leave during the World Cup, South African Army Chief Solly Shoke is trying to make the argument that safety concerns over the World Cup have been overblown.

Members of the army would not be granted leave during the Fifa World Cup tournament, SA Army Chief Solly Shoke said on Thursday.

"All leave has been cancelled. All members of the SA Army will be on high alert," Shoke told the media during a briefing in Pretoria.

However Shoke said high alert was a norm for large events and was not a result of any perceived disruptions.

'This World Cup is not about security'
Independent Online
March 25, 2010

One-Quarter of Accommodations Raise Prices 50% or More During World Cup

A recent survey by the Department of Tourism shows that nearly one-quarter of the nation's tourist accommodations are planning to increase their prices by more than 50% during the World Cup.

The survey, which investigated alleged overpricing by accommodation establishments, showed that the remaining 76% of respondents polled raised their prices by under 50%.

Speaking to Business Day Online, Sindiswa Nhlumayo, Deputy Director-General in the department of Tourism says the price increases were expected.

"When you host an event of such magnitude, increases like are expected based on the laws of supply and demand", Nhlumayo said.

South Africa: 2010 Accommodation Marked Up By Over 50 Percent
Business Day
March 26, 2010

Stadia Pass FIFA Inspections

All of South Africa's World Cup stadia have passed final inspection by FIFA ahead of the World Cup.

South Africa built five new stadiums and renovated five existing ones ahead of the June 11-July 11 tournament, spending more than $1,3-billion.

The stadium projects were plagued by early worker strikes and budgets that soared beyond initial projections as the rand took a hit on the foreign exchange market.

World Cup stadiums get Fifa approval
Independent Online
March 26, 2010

Homeless Being Pushed Out Of Cities Ahead of World Cup

More than 1,000 homeless South Africans are being moved out of Johannesburg and Cape Town ahead of the World Cup, angering human rights activists for sweeping the problem away instead of trying to solve it.

More than 800 tramps, beggars and street children have already been removed from Johannesburg and sent to remote settlements hundreds of miles away and in Cape Town, up to 300 have been moved to Symphony Way Temporary Relocation Area where 1,450 families are crammed into a camp designed for just 650 people.

The moves have happened in Cape Town and Johannesburg but it is believed that other host cities are also drawing up plans to tidy the streets. Johannesburg councillor Sipho Masigo confirmed it was a big problem but likened the actions to cleaning your house before you have guests.

Homeless South Africans getting moved out of major cities ahead of 2010 World Cup
World Cup 2010 South Africa
March 28, 2010

Call for 'Strike-Free' World Cup

The Independent Democrat party is calling on labor officials to negotiate to ensure a "strike-free" World Cup.

Joe Mcgluwa, the ID's spokesperson for Sport, called on Nedlac to "take immediate steps" to negotiate such a period. This came after the Congress of SA Trade Unions warned that mass action against Eskom's electricity price increases could carry on during the soccer tournament.

"The ID has consistently been critical of the electricity price increases, of Nersa's rubber-stamping of Eskom’s price increase applications and of government’s shady energy deals, including ANC front company Chancellor House’s stake in them," Mcgluwa said in a statement.

"However, the World Cup is also a vital socio-economic opportunity for South Africans, especially considering our huge investments in it."

ID calls for 'strike free' World Cup
News 24
March 28, 2010

Concerns Over Available World Cup Tickets

More than 650,000 World Cup match tickets remain unsold, which is causing some concerns for organizers.

Of the 2.95 million tickets on offer, 650,000 still remain unspoken for, with 330,000 unsold among the 570,000 allocated to competing nations - worrying at 58%. Germany 2006, in contrast, received 15 million applications for just 3.4 million seats.

650,000 tickets remain unsold
March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Durban Given 60 Days to Fix Stadium Cable Car Problems

Te city of Durban has been given an order to fix all problems associated with its stadium cable car system within 60 days. The cable car travels along an arch over the new Moses Mabhida Stadium, but has experienced a number of breakdowns in recent weeks.

Thobile Lamati, the department's chief inspector, visited Moses Mabhida Stadium following media reports and complaints about the stranded passengers to view the cable car that runs along a 350m arch over the stadium.

Lamati said after 60 days the department would return to ensure all concerns they had raised had been fixed.

Cable car at Moses Mabhida stadium probed
Independent Online
March 23, 2010

Socccer Club Looks to Make Use of London Stadium After 2012 Olympics

The owners of West Ham football club are in talks with officials in London to try to make use of the 2012 Olympic Stadium after the games are over. Current plans have the stadium being reduced from 80,000 seat capacity to just 25,000 and being used for concerts and other events.

The east London club and council hope the arena, in Newham borough, will feature "both football and athletics".

Interested parties have an eight-week deadline to submit plans, with the OPLC set to make a decision on the stadium's future use by March 2011.

A joint statement from West Ham and Newham Council read: "The proposal would be to make the venue a vibrant centre of sport, culture and education, featuring both football and athletics."

West Ham and Newham Council eye bid for Olympic Stadium
March 23, 2010

Traffic Not a Problem During Cup: Gauteng Premier

Infrastructure improvements should be finishing up in Gauteng province, leading its premier to announce that traffic will not be a problem during the World Cup.

"We are confident that in the next few months, traffic on our roads will flow without the congestion and the inconvenience that is currently being encountered," [Premier Nomvula Mokonyane] said in her speech to the Foreign Correspondents' Association.

"We have been given a guarantee by the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) that key parts of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project will be completed by end of April 2010."

The R21 highway joining the OR Tambo International Airport and the cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane would be completed by the end of April, with three lanes opened in both directions, she assured the foreign media.

Traffic to ease during World Cup - Mokonyane
Independent Online
March 23, 2010

World Cup Tourism Slump Not A Problem for KwaZulu-Natal

A tourism slump among South Africans is being predicted during the World Cup, but officials in KwaZulu-Natal are confident that vacationers will still head out to the province during school holidays.

Patzer was commenting on Monday on a report by Grant Thornton, an audit and specialist advisory services firm, which predicted that domestic tourism was heading for a slump during the tournament.

Gillian Saunders, director of Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions, pointed out that although the World Cup would damp South Africans' domestic travel plans and that many families were likely to stay at home during the school holidays, there was no reason for tourism providers to panic.

KZN likely to attract locals during World Cup
Independent Online
March 23, 2010

Qatar Has High-Tech Solution to Heat for 2022 Bid

Qatar's bid to host the 2022 World Cup seems to be progressing smoothly, except for one minor detail: June and July temperature in Qatar can peak over 100 degrees F. To accommodate sports in such an oppressive climate, organizers there say they've got a technological solution that will make the weather a non-issue.

"Currently, we are researching various cooling methods which are environmentally friendly and very effective," said Qatar 2022 chief executive officer Hassan al-Thawadi.

"We'll be unveiling a number of visionary, state-of-the-art ideas for iconic stadia and infrastructure and we're very excited by the challenge."

Qatar's World Cup bid set on defying weather logic
Agence France Presse
March 22, 2010

Questioning the Wisdom of Hosting International Sporting Events

This article from the International Monetary Fund looks at the investments required to host big international sporting events like the Olympics and the World Cup and challenges the wisdom of making those investments.

Though the article explores some of the benefits Olympics can create for cities, it also warns that the costs of hosting these events are increasingly large.

Unfortunately, the Los Angeles experience was exceptional. Subsequent host cities found it impossible to procure the same proportion of private support. Several billion dollars in public monies was committed in Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992), Nagano (1998), Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), and Beijing (2008).

The Barcelona Olympics left the central Spanish government $4 billion in debt, and the city and provincial governments an additional $2.1 billion in the red. The Nagano Organizing Committee showed a $28 million surplus, while the various units of Japanese government were left with an $11 billion debt (Burton and O’Reilly, 2009). In Athens, public investment exceeded $10 billion, and in Beijing, more than $40 billion.

Is It Worth It?
Finance and Development
March 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Officials Promise Taxis a Role in World Cup Transport Plan

Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele is once again assuring taxi officials that they will have a role in a transport plan to take effect during the World Cup.

Speaking after the government's 2010 inter-ministerial committee meeting on Friday, Ndebele said the taxi industry would be "fully involved" with the World Cup transport plan.

He said talks with taxi associations across the country would continue in earnest ahead of the event.

The taxi industry has been angered over the lack of clarity on its role during the tournament, sparking violent protests and a demand for the new bus-rapid transit (BRT) system to be scrapped.

Taxis assured of part in World Cup plan
Cape Argus
March 22, 2010

Unions Threaten Strike Over Rail Fare Hike

Union officials are threatening a countrywide strike should a proposed rail ticket increase go through. Metrorail is planning to increase monthly fares between R40 (~$5.50 USD) and R100 (~$13.50 USD) on April 1.

The Cape Argus reported earlier this week that Metrorail had blamed the increase on rising operational costs and the slashing of its government subsidy.

In a statement released on Thursday, Cosatu expressed outrage at the increases and threatened strike action if the price hike wasn't cancelled.

"Cosatu will reinstate the section 77 notice that gives members the right to bring the economy to a standstill should Metrorail continue with these ill considered increases," the union warned.

South Africa: Cosatu Threat Over Metrorail Increases
Cape Argus
March 19, 2010

Hoping for a Windfall, Some Local Businesses May Overinvest

Some economists worry that local businesses looking to cash in on the World Cup may be reducing their possible revenue by increasing their own overhead.

"Restaurants and hotels have been upping staff levels to make sure they can cope with the anticipated increase in custom. But if that increase is smaller than expected, they will find themselves overstaffed, which will hit profits."

Craig Pheiffer of Absa Asset Management highlights the car rental industry as another potential trouble spot.

"They'll be putting off retiring cars for the World Cup, to make sure they have bigger fleets. But if they don't sell those hire days, there could be a problem."

South Africa: Dreams, and Reality, of a World Cup Windfall
Business Day
March 18, 2010

Breachable Border May Be Security Concern During Cup

Defense analysts are expressing concerns about terrorist threats during the World Cup because of South Africa's porous border, which will be easy to breach for anyone intending to pose an attack.

"The World Cup will be a real problem as we have no way of controlling anyone coming through a beach or a land border," defence analyst Helmoed Heitman said during a border security conference organised by DefenceWeb, a security news service in Midrand.

"If someone wants to cross into SA it's not very difficult to do."

South Africa: SA's Borders 'Vulnerable' for World Cup
Business Day
March 18, 2010

Inside South Africa's World Cup Stadia and Host Cities

The Guardian's David Smith visits the new World Cup stadia in South Africa. He brings this audio profile of the country's readiness and the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

He talks with Local Organizing Committee head Danny Jordaan about the significance of the World Cup, and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille about Cape Town's safety during the Cup.

Football World Cup preview: 'Durban - one of the most spectacular stadiums in the world'
March 17, 2010

FIFA and Brazilian Soccer Club Come to Terms Over Stadium Renovation

FIFA and a Brazilian soccer club have come to an agreement over the contentious renovation of a Sao Paulo stadium for the country's 2014 World Cup. FIFA had apparently been concerned about reforming the Morumbi stadium, and had criticized renovation plans that apparently did not meet FIFA specifications. But the club and FIFA have ironed out the issue.

"The latest information about the saga between FIFA and Sao Paulo is that the latest project fulfilled all our requirements," Valcke told reporters.

"It's seems there is a clear understanding on what we are looking for."

The Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo is expected to serve as one of the venues for a semi-final match during the 2014 World Cup.
FIFA and Sao Paulo reach agreement over stadium plans
March 19, 2010

Indonesia Out of 2022 World Cup Host Running

Indonesia has been excluded from the running for hosting duties of the 2022 World Cup, according to FIFA officials. The country had failed to provide government guarantees related to the event and its costs.

"The government said their main concern was the people of the country and they would not support the bid," said Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke.

Indonesia's bid to host the 2022 World Cup bid ends
March 19, 2010

Arch Cable Car Breaks Down Again at Durban Stadium

A funicular cable car that travels on the arch over Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium has broken down yet again, underscoring the city's continued troubles with what was hoped would be a long-lasting tourist attraction.

Intended to help keep the stadium's tills ringing after the World Cup, the joy ride is fast turning into a liability for the city, with visitors regularly stranded atop the 105m arch without medical supplies, water or an adequate evacuation plan.

Stadium management admitted last week that the sky car had failed to operate on several occasions since its launch in November. They promised that staff would be trained in the security measures to be adopted in the event of a breakdown and that harnesses, sunshades and water would be kept on the viewing deck.

Durban stadium's sky car breaks down
The Mercury
March 19, 2010

Street Children Play World Cup in Durban

Street children from around the world have been flown to Durban to participate in the "street kids World Cup". Organizers are hoping the event will highlight the persistent problem South Africa and other countries face when trying to deal with their homeless youth populations.

The teams are competing on a school campus in downtown Durban, with vuvuzela trumpets blowing in stands filled with wigs and faces painted in national colours. The tournament wraps up Sunday with a final and trophy for the winner.

During the Fifa World Cup, organisers of the children's event will set up a surveillance system to reduce the risk of street kids facing abuse during the month-long tournament, and to set up sports events to keep them off the streets.

Street kids stage own World Cup
Independent Online
March 19, 2010

London Soccer Team Owner Blasts London 2012 Stadium Downsize Plan

Plans to reduce capacity at the London Olympic Stadium from 80,000 down to 25,000 after the 2012 event are being blasted by a local soccer team's co-owner as a waste of public money. He says the stadium should be sized down only to about 60,000, allowing his team, West Ham, to lease it from the city.

"To build an 80,000-seat stadium and reduce it to 25,000 for athletics makes no sense at all," said Sullivan.

"The whole concept was misconceived. I can't get my head around it.

"Let's be honest, that stadium should not have cost £537m. It's a temporary stadium with limited facilities - that's public money appallingly badly spent. The Emirates [Arsenal's ground] was built for half the price."

West Ham owner attacks athletics plan for 2012 stadium
March 18, 2010

Former Taxi Drivers Home Set on Fire in BRT Retaliation

the home of a Rea Vaya bus rapid transit driver in Johannesburg was petrol-bombed recently in what is being called an attack from the taxi industry. Taxi drivers in town are upset about the new BRT system taking their passengers. The owner of the home is a former taxi driver who recently took a job as a bus driver.

Four policemen guarded the house, which was cordoned off.

"This is about BRT," Mazibuko said when a police officer investigating the attack asked if he had had an argument with anyone recently. "But where do you get in? What does this have to do with you?" the officer asked, to which Mazibuko replied: "I don't know. Maybe it's just jealousy."

The attack took place on the last day of a two-day taxi strike against the implementation of BRT on feeder routes.

Rea Vaya bus driver's house petrol-bombed
Independent Online
March 18, 2010

New Train Station Set to Open in Durban

A new train station will be opening next to Durban's Moses Mabhida stadium next month. Officials call it the province's most modern station.

The features include new generation speed gates - modern turnstiles for access control and ticket collection - an integrated communications system involving a public address system and electrical display boards, lifts and a hi-tech security system.

And passengers will be able to go out of the platform, straight on to the concourse, and from there to the stadium.

Work started on the flagship facility, which will have two platforms, in June, and is expected to be finished on April 16.

Stadium station promises thrilling ride
Daily News
March 17, 2010

Government Plea to Unions: Don't Use 2010 as Leverage

Government officials are appealing to trade unions to resist the urge to use the World Cup as leverage should there be a strike within the health sector.

Trade unions, government as the employer and the Public Sector Bargaining Council will sit down to deliberate on how to improve service delivery in South Africa, he said.

Top government officials, including the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Zweli Mkhize, stressed the importance of efficient and effective performances by public servants.

He said the people of South Africa deserved improvement in their lives after choosing to fight against the apartheid system, adding that a few public servants should not taint the overall image of government.

South Africa: Govt Urges Unions Not to Use 2010 As Leverage
Bua News
March 14, 2010

Cape Town to Face Capacity Test

In a final test of its readiness, Cape Town's new World Cup stadium will host a capacity crowd on April 10 for an international soccer match. Roughly 68,000 spectators are expected to attend.

The challenge will follows a prayer gathering on Monday, when more than 55 000 people are expected to pack the Cape Town Stadium.

Transporting spectators to and from the stadium is expected to be the city's biggest challenge during these two final test events.

Organisers have vowed to make it easy for soccer fans to get to the final event but authorities say transport and traffic management will be a major challenge.

Stadium to test capacity at soccer challenge
Cape Argus
March 16, 2010

Personal Security Costs Expected to Rise Over $1,000 Per Day

Private security firms are hoping to cash in during the World Cup, with prices for personal bodyguards and protection during the World Cup ranging up to R7,500 per day (~$1,000 USD).

Chris Beukes, the chief executive of TSU Protection Services, said a diplomat, celebrity or wealthy business executive could pay anything between R3 500 and R7 500 a day for a bodyguard, depending on the individual's profile.

Since the beginning of the month, he said, his company had received requests from high-profile executives for protection services during the World Cup.

World Cup security: High rollers to dig deep
Cape Argus
March 16, 2010

Generators Act as Safety Net Against Power Outages During Cup Games

The threat of intermittent power outages throughout South Africa will be addressed in World Cup stadia during events through the donation of diesel generators from energy corporation BP.

It was confirmed in April last year that neighbouring countries of South Africa would, if called upon, divert electricity supply to South Africa however, these now appears to be a backup solution if all stadiums are now to run on BP powered generators.

BP to power 2010 World Cup stadiums
World Cup 2010 South Africa
March 16, 2010

Expanded Johannesburg BRT Hits Some Roadblocks, But Moves Forward

The first day of expanded BRT service in Johannesburg went ahead relkatively smoothly, despite some related violence and vandalism at bus stops.

Mayoral committee for transport member Rehana Moosajee, said the Rea Vaya system showed it could handle an increased volume of passengers.

"We experienced some initial first-day challenges but, in the broader context, the success of the service demonstrated the need that existed for a rapid bus service to move passengers safely and effectively across our city," Moosajee said in a statement.


The service introduced on Monday included a main route between Dobsonville and the Johannesburg city centre and Ellis Park Station, as well as feeder services from Naledi to Thokoza Park Station, from Jabaavu to Lake View Station and from Mofolo to Boomtown Station.

The next phase will be introduced on May 3.

Rea Vaya bus violence condemned
Independent Online
March 15, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Soccer City Construction Company Denies North Korean Worker Rumor

In the face of reports that North Korean workers were being employed to finish construction of Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium, construction company officials have stated that no North Korean workers have been hired for those jobs.

The Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit was also reported to be using North Korean workers.

The Mbombela Municipality could not immediately be reached to comment on the report.

The report said the sanctions-hit state sent the workers "in an apparent attempt to earn much-needed hard currency".

Company says no North Koreans at work on 2010 stadiums
Mail and Guardian
March 15, 2010

Cape Town's Non-Motorized Transport Infrastructure Expands

As part of its Integrated Rapid Transit plans, the city of Cape Town is installing bike and pedestrian lanes throughout the city, a system officials say will be ready in time for the World Cup.

Although there will be no bicycle access in Government Avenue before the World Cup, repairs and upgrades to the paving in the area will make this route more pedestrian-friendly.

The construction of an NMT route along Old Marine Drive outbound has started, but has been put on hold.

The NMT routes from Cape Town Station to the North Wharf via Thibault Square and upgrades to Shortmarket Street are expected to start soon.

Projects already under construction include NMT upgrades to Somerset and Main Roads in Green Point, the construction of a pedestrian bridge across Buitengracht at Coen Steytler Avenue, and NMT improvements to Waterkant from Adderley Streets.

Waterkant Street will be part of the official Fan Walk linking Green Point and the stadium preceinct with Cape Town station and the inner city.

Cape Town prepares for non-motorised transport revolution
Independent Online
March 16, 2010

Temporary Accommodations Won't Be Built

Temporary accommodations planned near Johannesburg -- including a proposed "container city" made of shipping containers -- will not be built, according to local officials.

Local residents are also objecting to the establishment of a tent city in Waverley.

The City of Joburg intended to pitch 40 tents for 1 500 backpackers in a park in Waverley for fans. Although the campsite is almost fully booked, residents are threatening legal action if it goes ahead.

Brian Miller, chairman of the Waverley, Highlands North Extension and Abbotsford residents' associations, said this was not a Fifa or City of Joburg project, but that of a private commercial company.

He said it had been put out to tender, but the process had been flawed.

World Cup 'tent cities' look doubtful
Independent Online
March 16, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thousands Protest Over Poor Housing Conditions

Township residents in Soweto are protesting over their living conditions, barricading roads and demanding better housing options. More than 1,000 Sowetans participated in the recent protests, which many say are exacerbated by the country's large World Cup-related expenditures.

The protests have spread. This week, they reached Pretoria where demonstrators demanding better housing, schools, roads and sewage systems threatened to disrupt the World Cup.

Nthamaga Kgafela, a researcher at the independent South African Institute for Race Relations, said the protests had escalated since the election last year of President Jacob Zuma, whose pro-poor image had raised hopes of change.

Protests spread ahead of World Cup
Independent Online
March 10, 2010

Taxis Want to Know Role During World Cup

Taxi officials in Johannesburg are still uncertain about what, if any, role they'll play during the World Cup. The city's new bus rapid transit system is rolling, and local efforts to improve service have left the taxi industry in the shadows.

Irate South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) members told MPs on Tuesday that 93 days before the kickoff, they had yet to hear a word from Ndebele about the part their taxis would play in transporting visitors during the event.

Santaco was at a meeting of the National Assembly's transport committee to hear Department of Transport officials report on progress with the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system and other World Cup transport plans.

Taxi bosses give minister ultimatum
The Star
March 10, 2010

UK and SA to Join Police Forces During Cup

South Africa and the United Kingdom have made a deal to jointly handle policing during the World Cup, which is expected to increase the amount of police on the ground during the event -- an issue that had worried many in South Africa and beyond.

The agreement on police co-operation includes intelligence sharing, measures taken in the UK to stop hooligans travelling to South Africa and the roles and remit of each country's police forces, the department said in a statement.

SA, UK sign World Cup policing agreement
Independent Online
March 9, 2010

World Cup Revenue Not as Much as Expected

A researcher in Durban who's been focusing on the World Cup says the revenue boost expected from the World Cup will in reality be much smaller.

"All of South Africa's urban ills will not be solved by 2010," warns Dr Udesh Pillay, principal investigator and researcher at the Human Sciences Research Council who is leading their World Cup Research Project.

Over the past five years, Pillay has been researching the World Cup and South Africans' views on its benefits.

His findings also indicate that poor local ticket sales means more foreigners will have to buy tickets for the event to be a success.

2010 revenue over-rated
Daily News
March 8, 2010

Bafana Bafana Changes Mind on Home Base Again

The South African National Team has again pulled out of a prospective home base and training ground for use during the World Cup.

After negotiations last week concluding an agreement "in principle" that Sandown High School would be Bafana's training ground, it was a shock for Oupa Keele to receive news saying otherwise.

Keele, the chairman of the school's governing body, said he had received an e-mail on Tuesday from the legal department of the Fifa World Cup Organising Committee SA. The short communication informed the school that the South African team had "opted for another venue as their camp and that negotiations are terminated with immediate effect".

Bafana again homeless hosts of the World Cup
Independent Online
March 11, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nelspruit's Stadium A Sore Spot for Impoverished Locals

Nelspruit's $137 million World Cup stadium has locals angry about the lack of attention officials are paying to the city's thousands of impoverished people. This piece examines the controversy surrounding the stadium, corrupt local officials and the ignored needs of locals.

Such boasts may well turn out to be true, for South Africa has spent more than $6 billion on stadiums, roads, airports and other projects. But Nelspruit, in preparing for its own six hours of championship soccer, is instead an example of the nation at its worst, with distressing inequality — measured by some economists as the worst in the world — and an epidemic of local corruption that often leads the downtrodden to rise up in anger.

Simon Magagula lives in a mud house accessible by a dirt road whose cavities deepen with each rainfall. His doorway is a short jaunt to the new stadium. “Those who’ll benefit from this are the wealthy that already have plenty in their hand,” he said, not in resentment so much as weariness.

And indeed, with the stadium project came an infusion of money, catnip to the corrupt who congregate at the junction of money and power.

Cost of Stadium Reveals Tensions in South Africa
The New York Times
March 12, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bar Owners Hope to Cash In With Strip Club During World Cup

This piece looks at business owners in Rustenberg who are hoping to cash in on visitors to the country for the World Cup by running a shuttle service between their bar and nearby "gentleman's club".

Lourens Opperman, 45, and Louis Coetzee, 40, own Castle Corner in Rustenburg in the North West Province where six matches will be played at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium and where the England squad will be based.

Opperman also runs a "gentlemen's club" a few kilometres out of the city where they plan to lay on a courtesy "bonk bus" to transport visitors.

"In town we have a pub and outside is the club," says Coetzee.

They will hire buses to run a shuttle service to the sprawling estate.

Laying on the ladies for the World Cup
Independent Online
March 5, 2010

Police Official Assures South Africa's Safety

South African Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa is reassuring the press that the country will be safe during the World Cup.

The host nation for this summer's finals are devoting huge resources to ensuring the fans' safety, including the deployment of 41,000 police officers.

Security has been an issue that has dogged preparations for the World Cup because of South Africa's crime rate, which is among the highest in the world.

Police chief insists South Africa safe
March 5, 2010

Durban Stadium Heralded As City's Iconic Landmark

Locals in Durban are calling the new Moses Mabhida Stadium the city's most iconic landmark.

For Florina Maphalala, the Moses Mabhida Stadium is like Durban's table mountain, a marvel that will attract people from all walks of life for many years to come and when she speaks about the stadium, her eyes light up and her passion for the Durban landmark shines through.

Maphalala, who has been dubbed Mama 2010, is responsible for managing and running the visitors centre at the stadium. She is one of the busiest people in Durban these days and with the interest in the World Cup gaining momentum, her workload is bound to increase.

South Africa: Moses Mabhida Stadium, the Jewel of Durban
March 5, 2010

Soccer City Handed Over to Johannesburg

The Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg has been officially handed over to the city by its developer.

The R3,2-billion Soccer City stadium, which resembles a calabash, will host the opening ceremony, first match and final game, as well as five first-round matches, one second-round match and one quarterfinal. The stadium had its seating capacity increased from 80 000 to 94 000.

Roger Jardine, chief executive of Aveng Group, said pessimists had been proved wrong. "Like an African calabash that securely stores food and drink, this calabash-inspired stadium will securely hold almost 90 000 fans who will witness the opening match of the World Cup,” said Jardine.

Soccer City up and running
Mail and Guardian
March 5, 2010

Grass Troubles Plague Nelspruit Stadium

Two failed attempts to grow the field grass at Nelspruit's Mbombela Stadium have organizers and locals worried that the stadium won't be ready to host its World Cup matches.

They now face a race against time to get the stadium ready for the first game between Honduras and Chile on June 16, followed by Italy against New Zealand on June 20. There is local speculation that another pitch failure could force Fifa to switch the fixtures to a different venue.

Conflicting official explanations of what has gone wrong served only to sow confusion on a tour of nine cities. Ronnie Moyo, a 2010 marketing and events manager who gave a guided tour of the Mbombela Stadium, said the original pitch was removed in December after failing a Fifa inspection because "25% of the pitch had clay soil".

Will the pitch Mbomb?
Mail and Guardian
March 5, 2010

Upper Classes to See Most World Cup Benefit

This economic analysis suggests that recent policies will isolate the economic benefits of the World Cup to the upper classes.

Yet amid last minute projects to ensure that the stadiums are ready to host the international teams, fine tuning of the host cities' infrastructure and overall excitement, eviction campaigns against people living in low income housing and informal traders threaten to isolate the economic gains of the tournament to the upper crust of society.

A bylaw passed by the city of Cape Town restricts informal traders or street vendors from working in the city center. A communiqué from Cape Town's mayor, Dan Plato, on 17 February described his view of the effect of a large population of informal traders: "The current trading area has ballooned out of control, congesting and obstructing walkways and lanes." So the Municipal Council has restricted trading in the city center as part of other infrastructure developments in preparation for the world cup. "The creation of public market squares, along with the upgrade and renovation of walkways will transform the Town Centre into a world-class facility. This will ensure that Mitchells Plain is regarded as a bustling economic centre that is safe, secure and financially viable," Plato's communiqué added, but without presenting alternative economic activities for informal traders.

South Africa: Preparation for World Cup Disenfranchises Poor
March 3, 2010

Zuma Says SA 'More Than Ready'

South African President Jacob Zuma claims the city is "more than ready" to host the World Cup.

"At the beginning, many people said it would be very difficult for South Africa to host this. We can say now without any fear of contradiction that we are ready, if not more than ready," said Zuma, who later just avoided missing an open goal on the hallowed Wembley turf when invited by Fabio Capello to take a penalty.

South Africa 'more than ready' to host World Cup, says Jacob Zuma
March 4, 2010

Officials Warn of Prostitute Influx

Officials in South Africa are expecting upwards of 40,000 foreign prostitutes to invade the country during the World Cup.

"Forty-thousand new prostitutes. As if we do not have enough people of our own, we have to import them to ensure our visitors are entertained," said David Bayever, the deputy chairman of the Central Drug Authority (CDA), on Thursday.

He was speaking in Pretoria at the release of the International Narcotics Control Board's annual report.

Thousands of prostitutes for World Cup
Independent Online
March 4, 2010

Foreign Visitors to South Africa Increased in 2009

The amount of foreign visitors to South Africa saw a 3.6% increase in 2009, and that figure is expected to see a similar rise in 2010 -- mainly due to the World Cup.

"This defies the decline of four percent that the global travel industry experienced last year as traveller markets reeled from the effects of the global financial crisis. I believe it strongly reaffirms the vitality of our tourism industry," [Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said].

Tourism contributes more than 8 percent to South Africa's economy and the government plans to raise that to more than 10 percent in the next few years.

SA foreign visitors rise, World Cup to boost
Independent Online
March 4, 2010

Durban Places on Top Travel Cities List

Officials in Durban are welcoming the city's recent inclusion in a list of top 10 global destination cities. The city is hoping to cash in on the newfound praise.

"There's no doubt that Durban has its problems, with crime rates that might scare off some tourists, but it also has so much to offer to the educated traveller... (With) the world's biggest international party - the World Cup - and you have a must-see destination for 2010," [writes travel industry publisher Bootsnall Travel Network].

Durban comes in at number nine, ahead of Fukuoka, Japan.

Other destinations on the top 10 list are: Iceland; Sighisoara, Romania; the Philippines; Split, Croatia; British Columbia, Canada; Scotland; and Pucon, Chile. New Zealand is at number one.

City makes world top 10 destinations for 2010
The Mercury
March 3, 2010

South Coast Becomes Last-Minute Home Base

South Coast had been looking at the bleak reality of not being able to lure any World Cup teams, but secured a last-minute commitment from the Algerian National team to make South Coast its home base.

The South Coast managed to secure the powerful Algerian football team's 2010 base camp at its Mondazur Hotel at the luxurious San Lameer resort in a dramatic twist that saw the North Coast's lavish five-star Fairmont Zimbali Resort lose out.

Zimbali seemed a sure bet, and even Fifa's original list last week showed Algeria were going there. But Algeria reportedly complained that Zimbali was too pricey, and were even talking to potential Eastern Cape base camp sites.

South Coast's last-minute World Cup coup
The Mercury
March 3, 2010

Soccer City 1 Billion Rand Over Budget

Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium renovation has cost more than one-third more than initially estimated.

Johannesburg city councilman Parks Tau said Soccer City - the largest stadium built for a football World Cup, with a capacity of 90 000 - had gone R1 billion over budget to cost R3.2bn.

The venue, which will host the opening and closing matches of the June 11-July 11 tournament, was handed over to the city by the Aveng construction group with 99 days to go before it kicks off.

Soccer City R1bn over budget
Independent Online
March 3, 2010

Durban and KwaZulu-Natal Hope to Cash in as Teams' Home Base

The city of Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal province have been selected as the home base of the second greatest amount of World Cup teams, providing what locals hope will be a boon to the area's economy.

Both tourism leaders - speaking at separate events more than a week apart in the city - made almost identical declarations about Durban's fortunate 2010 position. But they both also asked the industry and South Africans alike to seize the "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity and promote the World Cup.

Durban 2010 scores big
The Mercury
March 3, 2010

South Africa Expecting 10 Million Tourists in 2010

Officials are predicting that the World Cup will help bring the country's tourist count up over the 10 million mark.

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the World Cup, which kicks off in less than 100 days, would help to push up the number of tourists visiting the country to 10 million this year, a figure many thought South Africa would never achieve.

"What we will do this year is to achieve what many people said four, five years ago was impossible. This year we will receive 10-million foreign tourists and that, in our view, is a major achievement."

2010: Guess how many tourists SA expects ...
Cape Argus
March 3, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Look Inside the Sex Worker Industry as it Prepares for the World Cup

This report takes readers inside the world of sex work in Johannesburg, and finds a booming industry that's ready and waiting for the influx of visitors coming to the coutnry for the World Cup.

I paid R7 at the door and was told a beer costs R15. The sex workers charge R50 for “a round” and the same for a blow job.

Each room has two beds and a mattress and doubles up as a kitchen. The girls rent out the rooms, with at least five sharing a room.

“It will be business as usual for us during the World Cup,” says one of them.

Sex workers up for World Cup - Soccer visitors will be spoilt for choice in Johannesburg
March 2, 2010

Greening Efforts May Fall Short in Carbon-Heavy World Cup

Despite goals to create a carbon-sensitive and environmentally friendly World Cup, the impact of carbon emissions related to the games will be hard for South African cities to counter. Cities have taken many efforts, including tree planting, green design in new stadia, and carbon credit trading systems. But some say those efforts won't be enough.

Despite these efforts, the environmental cost of the World Cup will be heavy. The "carbon footprint" is estimated at the equivalent of 2.75-million tonnes of carbon dioxide, nine times higher than the World Cup in Germany in 2006 and more than twice as high as the Beijing Olympics.

Simple geography is the main reason: foreign visitors will travel a total of 7.1 million kilometres (4.4 million miles) to cheer their teams at the southern tip of Africa, their planes emitting tonnes of carbon.

World Cup will be more grey than green
Independent Online
March 2, 2010

Deputry president Says All Stadium Work Will Be Complete By First Match

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has pledged that there will be no unfinished stadia when the World Cup begins on June 11.

Four of the new six stadiums built for the event are fully complete. Work at Soccer City, the tournament's main venue, and Mbombela in Nelspruit continues and is expected to be wrapped up soon.

In Cape Town all eight World Cup soccer matches are sold out, the R4.5 billion stadium is complete and the city boasts the country's best World Cup soccer pitch.

No fans will sit on wet cement - Motlanthe
Independent Online
March 2, 2010

Journos Marvel at World Cup Stadia

Foreign journalists have converged in South Africa for a LOC-led tour of the World Cup stadia. One journalist from Brazil, host of the 2014 World Cup, says it will be hard for his country to match the quality of the stadia built for South Africa's World CUp.

"In Brazil we're concerned about the stadiums we will have," Raposo said during a recent interview at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. "I think it will be difficult to compete with the stadiums that Africa has [built]."

Raposo, a producer at Bandeirantes TV in Sao Paulo, is one of 120 international and local journalists currently touring South Africa's 10 host stadiums on a trip initiated by FIFA and the Local Organising Committee (LOC).

South Africa: Media Wowed By 2010 Stadium Tour
March 2, 2010

Suggestion to Fight World Cup Absenteeism by Canceling Work

Absenteeism from work during the World Cup could cost South African employers 750 million Rand (~100 million USD). One possible solution: don't make them go to work.

This was one way of combating the expected spike in absenteeism over the tournament, said Toska Kouskos, head of health management solutions at Alexander Forbes.

A report last year predicted that World Cup absenteeism would cost South African employers R750-million.

However, Kouskous said there were things that could be done to combat workers skiving off.

'Give workers time to watch Cup matches'
South African Press Association
March 2, 2010

Beer Sales Expected to See Surge During World Cup

Officials from the industry association South African Breweries expect beer sales to increase by about 4%-6% during the World Cup.

While it was difficult to predict how much extra beer would be consumed, it was estimated that SAB would sell an additional 100 000 hectolitres of beer during the five-week World Cup period.

This equates to about 20-million 500ml beers or 30-million 340ml beers.

"This is over and above normal consumption during the June/July period," SAB 2010 marketing manager Alastair Hewitt said in a statement.

Beer sales set to rise during World Cup
Mail and Guardian
March 2, 2010

FIFA Forced to Put Pressure on South Africa to Get Ready

The country's preparations have at times lagged, according to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who says his organization had to apply some pressure at times to get the country's preparations up to speed.

“From time to time we had to put on some pressure but I never had any doubt. Now it's time for the world of football to accept the tournament will go ahead in South Africa," he said.

“We have come a long way to where we stand now only 100 days from kick off. It has been a long road paved with trust and confidence but with patience as well,” Blatter said, repeating a well-worn theme of several months.

South Africa needed pressure to get World Cup ready - FIFA
March 2, 2010

Reservations Underwhelming at Kruger National Park

Reservations for World Cup accommodations at Kruger National Park have been much lower than expected, according to the FIFA-contracted company that is controlling the bookings.

"Very little" of the accommodation previously reserved for Match had been sold, said South African National Parks tourism and marketing manager Glenn Phillips.

So far, through Match, they had about 50 bookings in Skukuza and 16 bookings in three other camps.

Match is a company contracted by Fifa to provide ticketing, accommodation and event information technology for the World Cup.

Only 10% of Kruger's World Cup places booked
Independent Online
March 2, 2010

Stadia Flaunted on Media Tour

This piece from The Sowetan takes a look inside three of the stadia to be used during the World Cup, Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Soccer City near Soweto and Super Stadium (Loftus) in Tshwane.

Come June, [local organising committee CEO Danny Jordaan] said, "This stadium is going to introduce the kind of World Cup that we want to see in South Africa. An African World Cup in a world class facility".

Stadium tours mark 100 days to World Cup kick-off (VIDEO)
The Sowetan
February 26, 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Johannesburg Stadium Hand Over Set for April

Officials claim that Johannesburg's Soccer City Stadium will be ready in time to hand over to FIFA by April, slightly past a previously set deadline.

The initial deadline for delivery had been mid-March.

The grounds around the stadium, located between the famous township of Soweto and downtown Johannesburg, remain filled with construction equipment.

But the stadium will still be handed over Wednesday to local officials, who will then deliver it Fifa, said Sibongile Masibuko, the provincial head of World Cup preparations.

Soccer City stadium handover set for April
February 26, 2010

Grass Failures Add to Concerns Over Nelspruit Stadium Readiness

Confusion over the failed grass planting at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit underscores uneasiness about the city's and the country's ability to host the World Cup.

When World Cup officials on a tour of South Africa's showpiece venues arrived at the ground today, they were confronted with a brown sandpit colonised by dozens of birds. They now face a race against time to get the stadium ready for the first game between Honduras and Chile on 16 June, followed by Italy against New Zealand on 20 June. There is local speculation that another pitch failure could force Fifa to switch the fixtures to a different venue.

Conflicting official explanations of what has gone wrong served only to sow confusion on a tour of nine cities.

World Cup organiser in race against time to get Mbombela Stadium ready
February 28, 2010

Poverty Persists in South Africa, According to Study

A new study shows that South Africa's poverty problem has seen little improvement in recent years.

The poorest group of adults -- earning up to R50000 a year -- shrank by just 7000 between 2007 and last year, a report by the University of SA's Bureau of Market Research showed last week. In absolute terms, the number of people in this category dipped to 23503512, down from 23510969.

While grim, it is not all bad. The number of poorest hardly moved in absolute terms, but did decrease as a proportion of the total population, from 77,9% to 75,4%.

South Africa: Little Progress in Alleviating Poverty in SA
Business Day
March 1, 2010

Concerns Surround Nelspruit Stadium's Readiness

Grass has not yet been laid on the new Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, a revelation that has stunned many and prompted concerns that the stadium won't be ready in time for the World Cup.

Local and international media were shocked when they discovered that the pitch is yet to be laid at the R1,2bn Nelspruit stadium after England experts recommended that the grass be completely stripped as it was not growing according to plan.

Secretary-general Jerome Valcke said Fifa was confident there was still enough time to complete the stadium before the start of the June 11-July 11 global showpiece.

South Africa: Fifa Insists Mbombela Will Be Ready
Business Day
March 1, 2010