Country's state of readiness for 2010 FIFA World Cup: briefing by World Cup Local Organising Committee

Sports, Arts and Culture

09 November 2009
Chairperson: Mr B Khompela (ANC) & Ms W Bhengu (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

A joint meeting was held involving 14 Parliamentary Committees with oversight over the Departments which had provided guarantees for the 2010 World Cup. Those present were the: Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation, Select Committee on Education and Recreation, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Select and Portfolio Committees, Portfolio Committee on Transport, Select Committee on Public Services, Portfolio Committee on Tourism, Select Committee on Trade and International Relations, Portfolio Committee on Police, Select Committee on Security and Constitutional Development, Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Select Committee on Social Services, Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance.

The Local Organising Committee reported that progress was good. All the stadiums were ready and much had been invested in aspects such as transport, accommodation and safety and security. Final planning would commence after the draw on 4 December, at which point the fixtures would be known.

Members voiced concerns over transport and accommodation issues. While ticket sales worldwide were good they had been slow in Africa. Concerns over players' fee demands were allayed. There was optimism over the performance of the team.

All agreed that the tournament should be a showcase for the democracy of South Africa. Government was praised for its co-operation in putting all the enabling legislation in place. Politicians from across the spectrum stood united.

Meeting report

Mr Komphela noted that even political foes were being united as the country prepared to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This was a joint sitting of the Portfolio Committees of all those Departments which had signed guarantees.

Presentation by Local Organising Committee
Dr Ivan Khoza (Chairperson, Local Organising Committee (LOC) said that Parliament should be proud of itself. Without its support in ensuring this event is world-class, the world would continue to undermine Africa. There were 212 days left to the tournament and the success was being felt already. He congratulated both Houses. The enabling legislation had been passed earlier than in any other country. Government had made a number of guarantees. On 29 May 2003 the President had signed the guarantees on behalf of the South African Football Association (SAFA). Ironically this process had been Mr Jacob Zuma, who was Acting President at the time. The LOC was self-funding. The government guarantees covered a wide range of activities.

Dr Danny Jordaan (Chief Executive Officer (CEO), LOC) said that great progress had been made since 2004. The LOC was now transiting from the compliance to the operational phase of preparations. A bridge between the two phases would be the final draw that was being held on 4 December 2009. After this the final fixtures would be known.

Dr Jordaan said that South Africa was the stage but the World Cup would be an African experience. It would be a world class event. South Africa would be the primary focus of the world. The country had an excellent track record with international events. Over the recent years, 140 such events had been held, including events ranging from cricket's Indian Premier League to the British and Irish Lions rugby tour. There had been no incidents at any of these events. They had been 100% safe.

Dr Jordaan presented a brief history of the World Cup. Traditionally the tournament had been dominated by European and South American countries. The most successful African country was Cameroon, which had reached the World Cup final stage on five occasions and had a best performance of reaching the quarter-final. This would be South Africa's third appearance at the finals. He listed the countries which had already qualified although the qualifying process was still under way.

Dr Jordaan said that South Africa had received 160 000 German visitors in the last three months of 2009, 300 000 from England and 30 000 from Switzerland. Tourism officials were hopeful of developing new markets such as Russia.

Dr Jordaan reviewed the status of both existing and new stadiums. All were basically ready. The pitches were of good quality. The new stadiums would surprise the world. The stadiums at Cape Town and Durban had been described as being amongst the best in the world. The Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg would host the opening match on 11 June 2010. This would feature the South African team, but their opponents were still to be determined at the draw. The following weekend South Africa would be playing a friendly against Japan in the new stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Dr Jordaan said that there had been a massive budget for transport. Money had been spent on upgrades to airports and roads. Cities had established bus rapid transport systems. Trains were being revamped. Information technology systems were being put in place to service the expected 15 000 journalists who would be in attendance. The total spending was in the region of R31 billion.

Dr Jordaan said that 46 000 hotel rooms had already been contracted against a total requirement of 53 000. There was no question that the target would be reached. There were 22 new hotels.

Dr Jordaan said that the sale of tickets was proceeding well. Residents of the United States of America (USA) had bought 86 000 tickets and the United Kingdom 50 000. Despite not qualifying, Canada had bought 11 000 tickets and Israel 9 000. Eighteen thousand had been sold in Australia. He felt that many of these might have been bought by South Africans living abroad. Construction workers would be given 40 000 tickets and FIFA's commercial partners would receive 80 000. Many of these would be distributed on a social responsibility basis.

Dr Jordaan said that the price of a Category 4 ticket for the group matches was US$ 20. The same price would apply to persons in wheelchairs with the bonus that the assistant pushing them would be admitted at no extra charge. The second phase of ticket sales would be completed by 16 November 2009, and the third phase would commence after the draw. Contrary to reports, there were still a significant number of tickets available.

Dr Jordaan said that there had been 68 000 applications for the volunteer programme. There had been great interest from Nigeria and the USA. The ESPN television network of the USA was bringing a crew of 200 people. There had been applications from virtually every country on the planet.

Dr Jordaan said that spending on safety and security was R1.3 billion. An additional 41 000 policemen had been appointed. Equipment such as remotely piloted aircraft, water cannons and metal detectors had been purchased. The LOC had worked with disabled organisations to ensure that each stadium could accommodate people with disabilities.

Dr Jordaan said that one of the goals was to leave an African legacy. There would be a major investment in education. Football would benefit from a programme which had seen 53 artificial pitches being laid. Centres for education and health had been established with football as the central theme.

Dr Jordaan said that there would be two official public viewing areas in Johannesburg and one in each of the other host cities. The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) was assisting with the development of public viewing areas all over the country.

Dr Jordaan said that the draw would take place on 4 December. All 32 qualifying teams would be represented. A thousand members of the media were expected and two thousand guests. This in itself would be a world-class event.

Dr Jordaan affirmed that the kick-off would be on 11 June 2010. The country had complied with all of FIFA's requirements. South Africa was ready.

Discussion
Mr D Bloem (COPE) asked how ready the South African team was. He had a specific proposal that South Africa should be represented by the Orlando Pirates team.

Mr Kirsten Nematandani (President, SAFA) said that the Bafana Bafana team had to tap into their own minds to be successful. A small difference in attitude could lead to a big difference in results. He was of the school of thought of seeing a glass as being half full rather than half empty. President Zuma had great hope and had an aspiration to see Bennie McCarthy back in the team as defenders were scared of him. He was optimistic. The Korean team had been little known when they had co-hosted the 2002 event. The fans had given them overwhelming support. The Football Friday initiative had been launched to raise awareness and the public must support it.  The more people said that South Africa would fail, the more likely they would. The team would make the nation proud. They would be practising like soldiers. Training camps would be held in Brazil and Germany.

Dr Khoza said that SAFA needed the co-operation of the clubs to make these camps a success.
 
Mr J McGluwa (ID) had no doubt that South Africa was ready. He was more concerned about what would happen after the event. He asked if any attempt was being made to privatise the stadiums. They had been built by the taxpayer. He asked what the progress was with the Gautrain. He asked what the capacity of the public viewing areas would be and if the LOC was happy that these areas would be big enough.

Dr Khoza replied that the Gautrain was not a part of the bid book. The completion date was now only expected to be in October 2010. It was not a World Cup deliverable. The capacity of the public viewing areas would be 40 000. Security arrangements would be put in place. Some of the stadiums were privately owned while others were the property of the municipalities. Something would have to be done as a lot of government money had gone into them.

A Member asked about the ticket price categories. While Dr Jordaan was quoting a US Dollar price the people thought in Rand and cents. He asked what had been done to improve transport and signage. During the dry runs the signage had been poor. During some of these practice events learners had been given complimentary tickets. He asked if there was more potential for this.

Mr Nematandani replied that SAFA would consider providing tickets to learners for the upcoming friendly in Port Elizabeth depending on ticket sales.

Dr Khoza said that the exchange rate for tickets had been pegged at R7 to the Dollar. They had already sold 650 000 tickets, of which 340 000 had been sold in South Africa. They still had to intensify the campaign. He anticipated that some tickets would be returned by FIFA's international partners. This would make more tickets available for South Africans and Africans in general.

Dr Jordaan said that lessons had been learned regarding signage during the Confederations Cup. One of the major problems was confusing road signs. This was mainly due to the changes to names of towns. Directional signs on the road between Johannesburg and Nelspruit/Mbombela were not clear. A tourist flying to Port Elizabeth would see a sign on the airport building welcoming him to Nelson Mandela Bay. A traveller on the N1 would find himself 40 km from Polokwane at one stage and shortly afterwards 30 km from Pietersburg.

A Member said that she had listened to a similar presentation at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). She asked about the status of immigration control at the airports. She pointed out that incoming fans would need visas and were expected to have two blank pages in their passports. She asked if there would be any facilities at the airports to detain those who did not qualify for admittance to the country. She asked if there had been any operational analysis.

Dr Jordaan replied that the LOC had worked with the Department of International Relations. An announcement had been made that the issue of visas would be coupled to tickets. South Africa did not have diplomatic representation in all of the qualifying countries. South Africa was not well represented in parts of the Caribbean and Africa in particular. The question of the required blank pages in the passport might be a difficult one for those not aware of the requirement. Teams of people would be stationed at the airports to inform visitors. Embassies would be requested to alert applicants.

A Member asked if the LOC had done any marketing. He asked if any arrangements had been made regarding legacy projects for schoolchildren.

Dr Jordaan thanked the SAFA President for the complimentary tickets which had been given to learners. Marketing would accelerate after the draw when it would be known who would be playing where.

Mr Mbemba from Mpumalanga said that the World Cup would create an estimated 14 500 permanent jobs. He asked how many of these jobs had been realised to date. He asked how far the advanced transport arrangements were. He welcomed initiatives like the Gauride scheme which had been used during the Confederations Cup. There was no public transport in his province. He condemned an incident which had happened near the Mbombela stadium in October [Note: 200 protesters were angry because a school that was on the site of the Mbombela stadium had to moved]. He feared that merchandising at the event would be dominated by the big brand names. He referred to a television advertisement which had featured a number of grannies playing football. He asked what role there would be for the grannies.

Dr Jordaan said that there would be no curtain-raiser matches so it would not be possible to arrange games for the grannies. There was already a World Cup for schoolchildren so it might be possible to stage a World Cup for grannies. The tourism market would be developed extensively and this was a labour-intensive sector. Although the stadiums were all built, the workers would have developed skills which would give them a good chance of finding jobs elsewhere. He expected some of the jobs created would be permanent. The question of public transport in Mpumalanga would be revisited after the draw. The requirement would depend largely on which teams would play there as there were big differences in the number of fans for a match between Germany and Brazil compared to Serbia playing against Korea. A thousand buses would be provided and airports would be requested to provide after-hours service. During the Confederations Cup, Bloemfontein airport had extended its hours to cater for the movement of fans.

Mr A Mlangeni (ANC) thanked the LOC for a wonderful presentation. He had been a Pirates supporter since the inception of the club. Bafana Bafana must however represent the whole country. It was clear that the LOC was hard at work and wonderful facilities were being provided. The results were clear in the visible improvement to roads, airports and other infrastructure elements. A lot had been written about ordinary people who would want to be vendors at the stadiums. He asked if there was any finality on this question. On the issue of accommodation, a number of bed and breakfast facilities had been established. There were also a number of people planning to rent out their homes. He asked what the criteria were to qualify as accredited accommodation facilities. He said that the Portfolio Committee should have complimentary tickets for the opening match and the final in the President's suite.

Dr Jordaan had spoken to the Minister of Arts and Culture regarding food sales. The resulting proposal was that villages should be created. The action in the stadiums would only be for 90 minutes on match days, while the envisaged centres would attract business every day. He had also met with the Minister of Tourism. A special portal would be created where owners of bed and breakfast establishments and private home-owners could advertise their facilities. The 45 000 room requirement was an event-specific requirement for the FIFA family. Most of the fans would be looking for less formal, cheaper accommodation. Information about such accommodation had to be made available.

A Member asked what the response had been in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the rest of Africa in terms of ticket sales. He was concerned that the South African players might engage in bargaining over their match fees before the games.

Dr Jordaan said that sales of tickets in Africa were not what the LOC had hoped for. However, there had been significant sales in Ghana and Kenya. He felt that people in other countries were waiting to see whether their teams would qualify first. They would try to improve the marketing in Africa.

Mr Nemantandani said that the South African players would sign an agreement before entering the training camp. Match fees would be capped. He did not anticipate any challenges to this.

A Member asked about the availability of fuel. In Durban there was no pipeline between the airport and the refinery.

Dr Jordaan said that the stadiums would be using generator power. Sufficient fuel stocks would be kept on site. There would be additional fuel requirements for transport in the host cities.

A Member bemoaned the fact that peace did not make big news. He thanked the leadership for the way they had resolved the SAFA Presidential elections.

A Member asked what provision was being made for special courts. There might be language problems.

Dr Jordaan replied that fan embassies would be set up that would help with overcoming language barriers. Special courts would be set up. It would be essential to deal with problems regarding foreign fans or ambush marketing immediately. On fan trains, one of the carriages would be equipped as a charge office with holding cells.

A Member noted how hotel rates had increased. She asked if these tariffs would be reduced to more normal prices after the World Cup.

Dr Jordaan replied that exploitative hotel rates had been raised with the industry. Tourists would not return if they felt that they were being ripped off. The LOC would continue to engage with the industry. During the European Championships in Portugal during 2004 hotel prices had increased by between 300 and 500%.

Ms Monyobe (COPE) asked if vuvuzelas would be permitted in the stadiums. South African players were used to them. She asked if FIFA would allow them.

Dr Jordaan said that the vuvuzela must be allowed. In terms of the FIFA rules it was defined as a missile and was therefore banned. The LOC had tried to argue the case for the vuvuzela as a musical instrument and they would therefore be tolerated. However, if one was thrown onto the field than they would certainly be banned. European players did not like them as the players could not hear over the constant noise. He did not think too much of that argument as he had been at the Aztec Stadium in Mexico where over 100 000 fans, without any musical instruments, had made a deafening noise.

Mr D Lee (DA) congratulated the LOC team. That persons who were poles apart politically, such as himself and Mr Komphela, could unite in such a venture was the essence of democracy. There were so many legacy projects. The World Cup would be a platform to project the image of the country. The democratic model should be projected into Africa.

Dr Jordaan agreed that the South African democracy should be deepened and strengthened. South Africa must show the world an example of democracy at work.

Mr Komphela thanked all present for an enriching discussion. He noted that there had been a provision for 30% of all commercial activities to be directed to small, medium and micro enterprises. He wondered who would be reaping the benefits. This was the subject for a later discussion.

The meeting was adjourned.

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