2010 FIFA World Cup: Readiness of host cities: Department of Transport briefing

NCOP Public Services

31 August 2009
Chairperson: Mr M Sibande (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee heard a briefing from the Department of Transport on the readiness of the host cities in terms of transport for the 2010 FIFA World Soccer Cup. The briefing took as their basis the observations made in relation to the Confederations Cup, which was regarded as a test for the World Cup. The Department had to address the shortcomings and fine tune the plans that were in place. The plans included the co-ordination at national and provincial level, and host city transport plans. The national deliverables included communications, branding, licensing, rail, aviation and land interface. The Department noted that all the host cities had plans in place but some were at a more advanced stage than others. All cities had very limited financial resources.

Members concerns included the slow pace of construction work at the Durban’s Moses Mabida railway station next to the newly built stadium. They wanted to know the reason that other cities were more ready than others, and enquired about what was meant by Cabotage, and how this system would work. It was noted that some Taxi operators had threatened the Bus Rapid Transport System with violence because they were opposed to it, and Members asked what would happen if there were strikes and whether it would still be possible to transport fans and teams. Members noted their concerns that the standard of service on Shosholoza Meyl left much to be desired, noting that this issue had been raised over several years, and were briefed on the reasons for the problems. A Member expressed his view that the investment on the transport infrastructure was a waste of money because the tournament would not be profitable, but the Department explained that  the investment was in fact improvements for the future. Members made suggestions that the volunteers should receive training as tour operators to equip them for future careers. Suggestions were made in respect of the use of Kimberley airport, highlighting the problems at Polokwane, the theft of baggage and the possible diversion to other countries’ airports.  .

Members adopted the Minutes of the meetings held on 25 August 2009, with minor technical amendments.

Meeting report

FIFA 2010 World Cup South Africa Transport Preparations: Department of Transport (DOT or Department) briefing
Ms Lusanda Madikizela, Senior Manager: 2010 World Cup, Department of Transport,  mentioned that all the host cities had very limited financial resources. Some cities were more ready than others, but all of them had plans and infrastructure projects for the tournament. She then went through the summary of the FIFA Confederations Cup observations (see attached document). She stressed that the host cities had limited resources and they relied on volunteers. She emphasised the fact that Infrastructure alone would not deliver the event. There was a need to balance operations with the excellent infrastructure. Effective central communications programmes would be implemented to ensure that messages get across.

She then touched on the importance of national and provincial co-ordination to ensure uniform execution of tasks at the national level. The provincial and the inter-provincial co-ordination would ensure that activities were co-ordinated between provincial aviation, rail and road, traffic and security services. The same should be done between provinces because matches would be played at different host cities, which were in different provinces. Ms Madikizela spoke briefly about host city delivery structures and operational plans. These were subdivided into summary of submissions, full plans and the Guidelines. The national deliverables were transport information and public communications, regulations, licensing and branding. Other deliverables were inter-city transport, event signage, rail commuter and inter-city and aviation and land interface. She concluded her briefing by saying that the focus had moved from the planning stage to operational readiness.

The Chairperson said that there were 281 days left before the 2010 Soccer World Cup kick off. 31 August 2009 was the last day for the registration of volunteers, and 66 000 people had been registered. The role of the Committee was to check whether everything was prepared properly.

Ms Madikizela said that some host cities were ready while others were not ready.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on the problems around the construction of the Moses Mabida railway station. He then asked which cities were ready, and which were not, and he asked for clarity around cabotage, because huge aircraft required longer runways to take off. He asked for clarity on transport co-ordination.

Ms Madikizela replied that Moses Mabida stadium was still under construction and the railway station would be finished in April 2010. All major airports had long runways, but the problem was the terminal capacity. Cabotage referred to the situation when an aircraft from another carrier could be used to move people to another city while waiting to return, later on, to its final destination. The negotiations with other airlines were continuing. She noted that SAA belonged to Star Alliance, along with more than 10 other airlines. Lufthansa aircraft, a member of the Alliance, could be used to move people from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth before it returned to Germany in the evening

Mr A Lees (DA) (KZN) wanted to know whether everything was ready for implementation. He asked the reason that the Drakensberg accommodation was not used instead of focussing on the coastal areas. He asked for clarity on the Airports Company of South Africa’s state of readiness.

Ms Madikizela replied that the majority of cities had plans in place but there were some challenges. All the plans would be forwarded to the Department on 15 September 2009. She said it was impossible to test the plans. However, the Department had spoken to the Professional Soccer League, who were to play their major matches in the newly finished stadiums. Cape Town international Airport was undergoing expansion and the smaller airports like Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein, which did not have enough capacity, would be improved by erection of extra terminal facilities similar to the ones that were used in Cape Town during its construction. She said that accommodation in places like Drakensberg could be used, and taxis could ferry people to and from bed and breakfast or lodges in those areas.

Mr H Groenewald (DA) (North West) said that the transport for the tournament would not be a profitable exercise. He asked about the guarantees that were in place in case the taxi operators would not co-operate. He enquired about the readiness of emergency services in case of road accidents in busy roads. He said that accidents could sometimes cause traffic delays of up to two hours. He asked about the ticket category that was allocated for politicians. He raised his concerns regarding the unavailability of fan parks in rural areas.

Ms Madikizela replied that public transport had never been profitable anywhere in the world, hence the subsidies. Public transport infrastructure was mostly for the benefit of the citizens and the economic development of the country. The 2010 Soccer World Cup would leave a legacy of better infrastructure that was reliable, and better access to services and amenities. There were alternative routes that could be used to divert traffic in cases of emergencies. Road accidents were the responsibility of the emergency services and traffic rerouting was the responsibility of the respective transport departments. All these entities were working together in special forums. Response to emergences depended largely on co-ordination.

Ms Madikizela noted that official FIFA fan parks were the responsibility of the host cities. Fan parks had to have police personnel, ambulance service and disaster readiness. She added that the security personnel would be overstretched during the tournament. All the taxi associations and the Government were working together in a task force, together with bus operators. The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system would go forward with or without the co-operation of the taxi associations. 

Mr D Feldman (ANC) (Gauteng) asked for the reasons that Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) would not be using taxis but rather the new buses. He suggested that the Committee should go on an oversight visit to assess transport plans of the host cities.

Ms Madikizela replied the new buses would be used by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) as part of its fleet.

Mr Z Mlenzana (ANC) (Eastern Cape) said that he was concerned with the legacy of 2010. He asked what would happen to the volunteers after the tournament. He wanted to know the reason that Umtata Airport was not upgraded.

Ms Madikizela replied that volunteers would be trained on different issues like giving directions to fans. Umtata Airport was not that busy and it would not be economically viable to upgrade it. There were also no proper hotels that could accommodate fans in Umtata.

Mr R Tau (ANC) (Northern Cape) asked for clarity regarding the movement between host cities, for example if England was based in Bloemfontein, and then had to play in Nelspruit and return, and asked how they would be travelling between these cities. He raised his concerns regarding the level of service and reliability of Shosholoza Meyl. The problem of Shosholoza had been raised in Parliament for the past five years and nothing had improved. He suggested the use of Kimberley Airport to ease congestion, saying that teams could then travel to Bloemfontein by road.

Ms Madikizela replied that the challenge with Shosholoza Meyl was caused by under funding that hindered progress on the upgrading of the aging rolling stock. The other problem was the need to maintain the vast infrastructure. She said that the average age of the coaches was over 40 years. More money would be needed to buy new coaches so that Shosholoza could provide a reliable service. She added that the service had been gradually improving over the years. Buses would be used to ferry people between the stadium and the place where they were based.

Ms Madikizela agreed that Kimberley Airport would be used to ease congestion. She added that airport congestion depended on the work done by the Department of Home Affairs  officials responsible for processing visas and entries, as well as South African Revenue Services in doing their customs work, and the baggage control officials. Delay in one department at the airport could have a ripple effect in other departments. There would always be delays caused by weather complications that were beyond human control. 

The Chairperson suggested the use of neighbouring countries’ airports as another possible solution to ease air traffic congestion.

Ms Madikizela mentioned that her Department was discussing this with the officials in neighbouring countries. She said that border officials in the neighbouring countries had always worked together on mutual issues. The Department and the neighbouring countries had a Cross Border Transport Agency at all key points of entry.

Mr M Jacobs (ANC) (Free State) enquired about the kind of plans that were in place for crowd control in fan parks and access for people with disabilities. He asked for clarity on air supply, and asked whether Parliamentarians would be catered for in ticket allocation.

Ms Madikizela replied that air supply referred to shortage of aircraft to transport people. People living with disabilities were catered for, from the airports to hotels, stadia road and rail transport and fan parks.

Ms L Mabija (ANC) (Limpopo) said that there was no ATM in at the new Terminal in Polokwane Airport so that people were forced to walk to the old terminal, exposed to the weather, in order to access it. She asked the reason that the Peter Mokaba Stadium was not yet finished.

Ms Madikizela said that it was expected that ATM and car rental facilities would be installed before the tournament, and if not then adequate signage would be provided. The construction of the Peter Mokaba Stadium was on schedule

Mr Mlenzana suggested that volunteers could be trained as tour guides so that they could use those skills later to earn a living.

Ms M Themba (ANC) (Mpumalanga) said that she was concerned about the ongoing baggage pilfering at the Airports.

The Chairperson commented that traffic congestion was a big problem in Cape Town during the winter season. He then asked about the arrangements that were in place to cater for the huge army of fans that followed large teams like Brazil during training sessions. He asked what would happen to the people who usually sold South African cuisine outside soccer stadiums.

Ms Madikizela replied that it was important to have all the fans inside the stadiums two hours before the kick off to avoid problematic scenarios. The majority of fans would be encouraged to use Metrorail trains. FIFA did not allow non-approved people to trade in designated areas around soccer stadiums. The law obliged the soccer body to protect the rights of the sponsors. CCTV cameras had been installed at all airports to curb the problem with pilfering. 

Mr Tau asked about the progress regarding cabotage negotiations.

Ms Madikizela replied that airlines needed specific permits and the domestic airlines were protective of their turf. She said that the negotiations were at an advanced stage.

The Chairperson urged the Department to ask for help because the Committee would do all in its power to help in whatever way it could.

Committee Minutes: 25 August 2009
The Chairperson tabled the Minutes of 25 August 2009.

He suggested that in the second paragraph of page 2, the word “comply” be changed.

Mr Feldman suggested the use of the phrase “unable to honour the appointment” rather than comply.

Mr Tau said that the reason that Members had used such a word was that they felt strongly about the issues at the time, but added that protocol necessitated toning down the language.

Ms Temba asked whether the letter had already been sent.

The Committee Secretary replied that the letter had not been sent, and it was still with Mr Tau.

Mr Jacobs felt that decisions that had been made should be implemented.

The Chairperson replied that the rules permitted the Committee to make changes or amendments before Minutes were adopted.

Ms Themba concurred with the Chairperson.

Members adopted the Minutes, with minor technical amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.


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