Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe Speech to the World Travel Market, November 9, 2009, London
London: Speaking to an estimated 150 members of the media agencies from around Europe, Asia and the Americas at the World Travel Market London, Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe cautioned that with 214 days left before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa is ready – South Africans can’t wait.x
The Deputy Minister gave an overview of South Africa’s readiness, stressing that South Africa is on track to honour all 17 guarantees it had made to FIFA in its Bid Book in 2004; that South Africa has successfully hosted a number of major international events without incident.; that most of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ infrastructure projects are nearing completion and the stadiums are on schedule to be to be handed to FIFA in December this year. In her informed view, the FIFA World Cup is a catalyst for development for South Africa and will assist in moving the country to a new developmental level.
Government, she said, is contributing over R33 billion, equivalent to £2.8 billion (€3.3 billion) to 2010 FIFA World Cup-related projects in order to deliver on the guarantees made to FIFA and to ensure that South Africa delivers a world class event in 2010. She also said confidence in the hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ is already reflected in the 325 000 (30th October 2009) international ticket holders that will be attending the event. A total number of 683 000 tickets have so far been sold, and half of the tickets have be obtained by South Africans.
On infrastructural development, the Deputy Minister said that South Africa has invested over R11.6 billion in construction of stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™; and that preparations have helped create 20 000 direct jobs through the construction of stadiums and 400 000 other jobs through various infrastructure projects. On government guarantees, she said Government is using the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ to revolutionise South Africa’s transport system having invested R13 billion; that the country wants to ensure efficient and safe transportation for all visitors with sufficient air, road and rail transport operators to accommodate the event, and Sufficient transport infrastructure to accommodate projected travel demands.
In the area of ICT, the Deputy Minister said the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will be the first world cup broadcast in high-definition television through mobile telephones; that the SABC plans to have six high-definition outside broadcast units in place by the end of 2009 for production and transmission from FIFA venues and Fan Parks during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™; that a dedicated network will link the 10 stadiums and the rest of the world to the images from the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, with satellite and telecommunications infrastructure able to support transmission capacity of 40 gigabytes per second. On Safety and Security, the Deputy Minister said a comprehensive security plan is in place, which includes South Africa’s approach to addressing terror threats, hooliganism and crime, was submitted to and approved by FIFA in June 2008; that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is spending R640 million on the deployment of 41 000 officers specifically for the event; that the police are to divide the host cities into sections, with teams patrolling sections and focusing on FIFA headquarters, hotels, other accommodation establishments, stadiums, fan parks, restaurants and tourist venues; that the route security, specifically those leading from airports into the cities, will be a priority and also focusing on border security at ports of entry, including South Africa's land, sea and air borders; that there will be state-of-the-art policing equipment – purchased as part of the R665 million legacy procurement plan for the tournament – will assist in securing the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, including surveillance system involving satellites and high-altitudesurveillance aircraftwill be used to monitor the 2010 FIFA World Cup™; that equipment such as 40 helicopters, 10 Mobile Command vehicles (fitted with hi-tech equipment), 10 water cannons, 100 high performance cars, are some of the other hardware that will be used; that police members have already undertaken a range of 2010-related simulation exercises involving air security, bombs and other scenarios. Incidents revolving around major accidents, natural disasters, plane hi-jackings and hostage situations have also been simulated to hone skills to prevent and deal with such incidents as a collective unit.
In the spirit of ensuring that justice is seen to be accessible at the event, that courts will be available 24 hours seven days a week to ensure access to justice during the event – with one dedicated 2010 District court and one 2010 Regional Court per host city. On aspects relating to immigration; she said an estimated 450 000 ticket holders are expected to visit South Africa and that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is implementing special measures to ensure that the processes of entering and exiting South Africa are efficiently handled; and that South Africa is offering a special event visa for 2010 FIFA World Cup™ ticket holders from non visa exempt countries at no additional cost, with priority treatment will be given to spectators, players or FIFA delegates through integrated special dedicated lanes.
On the African Legacy she said it has always been South Africa’s intention that the World Cup should not only be a South African celebration, but an African one; that in partnership with FIFA, the projects such as the installing of artificial turfs in 52 countries, the building of 20 community centres across Africa is being planned to nurture education, health and football; that a number of Southern African neighbouring countries would benefit from the provision of accommodation, including the My 2010 School Adventure campaign that focuses on participation in football and education. In this regard, learners adopt nations in the classroom and learn about their culture, history and geography. 8349 schools from around South Africa took part in a similar campaign during the 2009 FIFA confederations Cup.
Speaking on the aspect of accommodation, the Deputy Minister said there is sufficient accommodation, with figures as of September 2009 showing that 41 000 of the 55 000 rooms required by FIFA have been contracted. Of these, 10 274 are non-hotel rooms, 30 221 are hotel rooms and 631 through South African National Parks (SANPARKS). She said the Department of Tourism has provided R200 million to assist with the grading of small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) accommodation. On the question of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), she said medical teams will be strategically positioned throughout each stadium and its precinct; that special measures are in place to ensure that all international ports of entry are properly monitored in accordance with international health regulations; that a comprehensive plan has been developed to deal with national and international disease surveillance, outbreak indicators, and the strengthening of existing disease outbreak policies.
In closing, the Deputy Minister insisted “Africa is capable of hosting the spectacular show and that Africa can do it!
For more information contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647.
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag x152
09 November 2009