- South Africa will begin construction and upgrading of the stadiums to be used during the 2010 soccer World Cup this month, the local organising committee has announced. December was given as dateline to all host cities to finalise the tender processes so that constructions worth euro 800 million would be given the green light.
And according to the local organising committee chairman, Dr Irvin Khoza, some host cities have already appointed contractors, while others have just finalised the tender procedures.
"Two of the host cities Port Elizabeth - in Nelson Mandela Metro and Nelspruit in Mpumalanga - have already conducted the sod turning ceremonies," Dr Khoza said, according to a government statement, expressing confidence that the stadiums would be completed within a short period as compared to Germany's stadiums.
He said as part of ensuring that the timeliness set for the construction of the stadiums remains realistic, a specialist task team has been appointed to set a benchmark against Germany.
Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria and Stuttgart Stadium are expected to be completed next year. Upon complexion, they will be ready for FIFA Confederation Cup matches.
Among the stadiums that are supposed to be upgraded included those in Gauteng, the biggest with 95,000 capacity. Others are found in Polokwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.
FIFA has asked South Africa to complete the upgrading and construction in 2009.
According to calculations recently presented by South Africa's Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, rand 5.6 billion (euro 600 million) will go towards building the new stadiums. Another rand 1.95 billion (euro 210 million) will cover the planned upgrades.
Australia had earlier asked to be given the onus to host the World Cup if South Africa was not in a position. South Africa was cautioned to contain rampant crimes if it does not want to organise a failed competition, a notice that was met with protest in the country.
Authorities claim to be in full control and guarantee the 2010 World Cup will be a memorable event. "Like a bolt from the blue, South Africa's 2010 World Cup tournament will surprise the world with its accomplishment," President Thabo Mbeki promised in a statement made last month.
Also FIFA President Sepp Blatter in a New Year message was optimistic about South Africa's progresses in organising the major event. "The vision we have of a successful World Cup in South Africa provides a unique vehicle to impact on improving health issues, education and peace-building on the continent as a whole," said Mr Blatter. "A successful World Cup in 2010 will definitely contribute to the fight against racism and the marginalisation of the African continent," he added.
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