2010 Soccer World Cup arrangements for Disabled persons: SA Disabled Alliance & host city briefings

Sports, Arts and Culture

10 May 2010
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed on challenges affecting persons with disabilities for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. The South African Disabled Alliance was not satisfied with arrangements for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Building standards required that a minimum of 0.5% of seating in the stadiums be reserved for the disabled, but this had not been done. Some stadiums could expand the disabled seating to get closer to the requirement but there might be complications with ticket sales. Inspection of the stadiums had revealed deficiencies in the location of disabled seating, poor signage and some other dangerous conditions.

All the host cities had been invited to the meeting to brief the Committee, but several were absent. The Committee decided that all host cities had to send their evacuation and transport plans to the Organising Committee for evaluation. Although the stadiums had been completed, there were some snags which were being sorted out. The audit should be done after these repairs were complete and should be a joint undertaking between the host cities and the disabled organisations.
There was some confusion over the number of tickets which had been sold. In some cases host cities felt that too many disabled seats had been provided for the expected demand. The responsibility for making any modifications to the stadiums to accommodate more disabled seating was debated.

There seemed to be a communications gap between the Organising Committee and the host cities. Information was not flowing freely and the Organising Committee was accused of misleading the meeting.

The host cities that were present briefed the Members on their readiness to accommodate disabled spectators. There were categories of disabled persons who did not require special seating. The stadiums had generally been designed to make provision for wheelchairs to be accommodated in various locations. The need for sign language interpreters was also raised.

It was agreed that urgent further discussion was needed. Although the World Cup was the immediate priority the legacy issues had to be considered as well, and there was a feeling that the increase in capacity for the disabled could be addressed after the tournament.

Meeting report

2010 Soccer World Cup: Challenges for persons with disability
Chairperson’s opening remarks

The Chairperson said that the construction of the 2010 World Cup stadiums had produced an issue for persons with disabilities. The Building Construction Act was clear on the access of all persons to all public facilities. The Committee had been given information by the stadium owners and the World Cup Organising Committee (LOC), but representatives of the disabled population present to set out the problems.

The Chairperson went on to criticise the South African Football Association (SAFA) over their lack of ownership. Foreign coaches were the order of the day in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). Even the national team had a foreign coach. Surely there were other coaches. SAFA was a law unto itself.

Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) noted that for many years SAFA had employed a foreigner as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He did not know how a suitable candidate could not be found amongst the 48 million population of South Africa. Now that a black South African had been appointed as CEO he was doing well. SuperSport United was a fine example of a team winning the PSL consistently under the guidance of a local coach. He feared that now that Platinum Stars had appointed a white CEO the black coach would be dismissed. Their were too many foreign players in the PSL. This was why the national team was struggling.

The Chairperson said that the national coach was left with only about 90 players to choose from. The Committee would have to meet with the PSL. An important question to answer was why Bafana Bafana lacked quality strikers.

He was proud of the Proteas despite their loss to the Pakistanis the previous day.

South African Disabled Alliance (SADA): Briefing on access to stadiums by persons with disability
Mr Muzi Nkosi, Representative of the South African Disabled Alliance said that the Disabled Alliance (SADA) had not been satisfied with reports submitted by the host cities, had been disappointed in the meeting the previous month, and noted that there were just thirty days before the World Cup started.

Mr Paul Thompson, Director, Host City Consultants, said that there had been a high level review of the World Cup stadiums. There had not been a detailed audit. Two presentations had been made to the Local Organising Committee (LOC). Other areas needed to be addressed. These included the stadium surrounds.  Information that had appeared on FIFA's website had not been addressed. The FIFA associate Match was saying that all of the wheelchair seating was sold out during the first phase of ticket sales. Transport for the disabled was a problem. Not enough detail had been provided on the stadium precincts. Not enough was known about the fan parks. Universal access was needed. There were many categories of people with disability who would require assistance.

Mr Thompson said that guidelines for the development of stadiums were issued in 2006. Building regulations had to be followed. The technical requirements of FIFA also had to be incorporated into the guidelines. The LOC guideline was that between 1 and 0.5% of the stadium's seating capacity had to be reserved for wheelchair-bound spectators. An equal number of seats had to be provided for their assistants. There was a clear requirement in the building regulations for 0.5% of seating space for wheelchairs.

Mr Thompson said that the FIFA guidelines were based on a number of issues. There had to be access to and from the stadium for emergency services. The disabled were entitled to a good field of view. Ramps had to be provided. There should be different quality of seating space, just as there were different categories of seats. The disabled should be able to use any entrance. There should, however, be one dedicated entry gate. Wheelchair spectators should not be seated in a place where they could not be moved quickly. Seats should be provided on either side of the space reserved for the wheelchair to accommodate companions. Electric plugs were required. Toilet facilities and refreshment outlets were required. The Employment Equity Act and United Nations guidelines also had to be considered. The original assessment had been carried out in March.

Mr Thompson listed the number of wheelchair spaces which should be reserved at each stadium.  In each case the number of available seats was well below the requirement. In some cases space could be cleared for more wheelchairs. There was no undertaking from the stadiums to meet the minimum requirements. The Soccer City Stadium could accommodate more wheelchairs but only by locating them in hospitality areas. Only twelve wheelchair spaces were available at Loftus Versveld. Stadium management said that they could not accommodate any more as the seats were sold to debenture holders.

Mr Thompson said that SADA had looked at the stadiums late in 2009. Their itinerary had incorporated all the new stadiums and the rebuilt Soccer City. The stadiums at Mbombela (87%) and Polokwane (78%) were the closest to satisfy requirements. The average compliance rate was just 38%. They acknowledged that it would be too late to make major changes now, but they also had to consider the legacy issues. If seating space was converted to wheelchair areas this would mean that some of the seating space would have to be taken off the market. Platforms could be created for wheelchairs by removing current seating. The issues had been raised with Match.

Mr Thompson listed some of the problems. At Durban, the view of wheelchair spectators would be restricted by a handrail. Some of the surfaces were very slippery, particularly when wet. Stadium management was aware of this. At Loftus Versveld there was no provision for seating for companions. At the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium the seating area was on the wrong side of a walkway. Two of the access points were inaccessible to wheelchairs. Signage was a common problem. It was confusing and while standard signage may be used during the World Cup, it was unclear whether this would be retained. The condition of the paving around the stadiums was dangerous. Manholes were a hazard and there were many cases of poor maintenance. Handrails were often dangerous, with sharp edges. In some cases ramps were unguarded. There was a case where a walkway was dangerously low due to restricted headroom and stadium authorities had only marked this off with hazard tape. Toilet facilities did not meet specifications. Lift buttons were too high to be operated by a person in a wheelchair. The same applied to parking payment stations.

Mr Thompson said that SADA had no information on facilities for the hearing and vision impaired spectators. There was also not much information on the availability of transport for the disabled. The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality seemed to have the best system. The “Dial-a-Ride” service in Cape Town was contentious. It was already oversubscribed. The normal service might have to be withdrawn to service World Cup spectators. Transfer operators felt that there would be limited capacity in view of the number of tickets sold to disabled people. There was little information regarding precinct upgrades. Generally the new stadiums were more complaint than the existing stadiums but even the new ones were not fully compliant. There was no information on the fan parks.

Mr J McGluwa (ID) said that the work done to accommodate the disabled was heartening but was only a drop in the ocean. Something had to be done to make the venues disabled friendly. There was a problem with ticket sales for the disabled and he asked what the process was. People could not be asked if they were disabled when buying tickets. The ticket agents still had to be sure that applicants were indeed disabled. This was hard to police with internet sales. He did not want to see a situation where people posing as disabled took advantage of reserved seating.

The Chairperson noted that FIFA had been invited to attend this meeting.

Mr D Lee (DA) said that stadiums must be built according to specifications. He asked why deviations had been allowed. He asked when Mr Thompson had been appointed as a consultant.

Mr Thompson said that he was assisting the SADA. He had been appointed in September 2009 to assess the accessibility issue. He had nothing to do with the contractors.

The Chairperson asked what had led to Mr Thompson's appointment.

Mr Thompson said that he had been involved with SADA from time to time. The Alliance had become concerned with the non-compliance issue. There had been interaction in 2008 and a memorandum of understanding had been agreed to in September 2009. The consultants had then been appointed. They had compiled a questionnaire for the host cities but there had been no formal response except from Mbombela.

Mr Thompson added that the stadium plans had been signed off by the city inspectors. An investigation was needed. There was the same problem at airports. The Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) was riding roughshod over the regulations. There were long distances to walk.

Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) asked if the accessibility for the disabled was only a World Cup problem. He asked if there would be more flexibility with seating after the tournament. He asked if the regulations had been altered by pressure applied by the LOC or FIFA. He asked how many tickets for the disabled had been sold, and if these were in fact oversubscribed. The problem was not only in the stadiums. For example, it was a mammoth challenge for a disabled person to travel from Cape Town International Airport into the city.

Mr Thompson replied that SADA was monitoring the ticket sales process. They were concerned that it was not possible to buy wheelchair tickets live. It was now possible to buy tickets on line but previously disabled tickets had only been available through First National Bank branches. They had sold out quickly. The deal was that two tickets were sold for the price of one. SADA was concerned that people might be buying for the wrong reasons. A verification process had been instituted. Purchasers would have to prove that they were in fact disabled. There could be a problem with the actual purchase.

Mr Dikgacwi said that the Committee had met the LOC. These issues had been raised. He asked if the LOC had no jurisdiction over the host cities. This was one of many serious issues. The presentation should have listed the problems at each stadium.

Mr Thompson replied that there was a report for each of the new stadiums. The existing stadiums would be visited later. Video recordings of problem areas had been made.

Mr Lee sensed that feedback from the host cities was a problem.

The Chairperson asked if the matter had been raised with the Presidency and the Department of Public Works. He asked which host cities SADA had engaged with, and what the response had been.

Mr Thompson replied that SADA had raised this with various Ministers.

Mr Nkosi said that they had never approached the host cities. They had worked through the LOC and assumed that the LOC would make that engagement. They had written to the Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities (WCPD). There had been no proper response from FIFA.

The Chairperson said that the letter had been referred to the various departments. SADA had succeeded in its own way. He expected that the departments would revert to the author. He noted that no expansion seemed to be possible at Ellis Park and the Free State Stadium.

Mr Thompson said that SADA wanted to take issue with the other eight stadiums which had the ability to increase the capacity for disabled spectators. Match had conducted audits at all venues. The requirements had not been met. All stadiums could double their capacity. The host cities needed to agree to this.

The Chairperson was aware of the ticketing problem. It was difficult for people in the rural areas to access the ticketing system. A strategic intervention was needed. It was not correct that people could be taking disabled tickets without any requirement to furnish medical proof of their alleged condition. He asked if there were any concrete answers to this.

Mr D Blanckensee, Chief Organiser: Competitions, LOC, said that Match had identified possible imposters and had withdrawn their tickets. The host cities would have to agree to various levels of work. This might involve the unbolting of seats and creation of platforms. The cities would need to respond. Each city had gone with its own stadium design. The initial questionnaire had been sent before his appointment in 2008. He could not say from his own experience if the host cities had responded to it but he was given to understand that they had not. An inspection tour had been undertaken. SADA had been invited to send their consultant. Mr Thompson had been part of the delegation that had visited the six new stadiums. He assumed that the others had been checked out before the Confederations Cup in 2009. A detailed report had been compiled and submitted to the host cities. The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality was happy with the report and one other city had responded. Both had made presentations to the LOC in response but no detailed report had yet been received.

Ms S Maubul, Chief Director: 2010, City of Johannesburg, said that Members must understand the historical context. The City of Johannesburg had embarked on a planning process. Preliminary plans for Soccer City had been approved a month before the City went to tender. At that stage the calculation was that there should be a legacy of 128 disabled seats. There were 230 hospitality boxes and provision was made for 190 disabled people. There was wheelchair access in the VIP areas. By September 2009 construction was complete. The consultants had used the green guide. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system would be operational in the stadium precinct. Consideration was given to the number of physically impaired people who would be using the public transport.

The Chairperson said that there could have been more specifics on what the system looked like. The question of transport had to be addressed as well as the issue of facilities. It was necessary to look beyond 2010.

Mr Nkosi said that the BRT had a minimum level of accessibility. However, it did not operate in all areas. There was a lack of communication on the details of the service that would be offered.

The Chairperson said there would be protest action in all the host cities. Local radio stations would be a good means of communicating to the community. People would be asking questions of the host city.

Mr Thompson asked if Johannesburg was committed to providing an extra 179 seats for disabled persons.

The Chairperson suggested that this should be discussed with Match.

Ms Maubul noted that she had walked through the stadium. The city did undertake to provide the extra seating.

Mr Mzdisi ka Toni, Representative, Disabled People South Africa, asked about the safety evacuation plan. A clearer plan was needed. Disabled People South Africa (DPSA) had made a recommendation. They could work with Match on the question of tickets. Some of his colleagues had bought tickets but did not know where they would be seated in the stadium. People were confused as to where they would be sitting.

The Chairperson said that he would return to this issue in his closing remarks. If someone in a wheelchair bought a ticket he or she would be entitled to bring in a companion. Where that person sat was another matter. Communication was important. Seats should be in front of the designated area so that passing traffic would be behind the seated spectators. Category 2 seating had been allocated for the wheelchair areas at Category 4 prices.

Mr Blanckensee said that the overlay was an LOC project. They could not be committed to the expense of modifying the stadiums by some other body.

The Chairperson said that when inviting the LOC to attend the meeting, he had told Dr Jordaan and the municipalities that those attending the meeting should be decision makers. If this was not the case then this meeting would be just another talk shop.

Mr Blanckensee said that the overlay would be a temporary infrastructure. It would not serve the disabled to provide a temporary solution.

Ms Maubul returned to the Match ticketing process. Match must show where the permanent seating was. Match had said that they would do this. The delay was worrying as the city was about to hand the stadium over to FIFA.

The Chairperson emphasised that any views should be raised at this forum. The Committee would make a decision on behalf of SADA. There should be negotiation on the temporary measures. The parties needed to find agreement on these problems.

Mr Thompson said that he had a mandate from SADA to accept the revised seating numbers as indicated in the presentation. It would be good if the host cities could make these changes permanent.

Mr Blanckensee said that the presentation showed that the stadiums were not compliant. He could not see why the LOC should be expected to make them compliant. The host cities had the responsibility of fixing defects.

Ms Maubul said that Johannesburg had submitted its plans to the LOC in 2006 already. For ease of evacuation the seats for the physically impaired were located at the middle level of the stadium. These areas had the biggest evacuation routes. The evacuation plan was in hand. The only way to increase the number of disabled seats would be to locate them higher in the stadium. This would complicate the evacuation issue.

The Chairperson said that the Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Act had been passed before the most recent recess. It spoke clearly to the evacuation requirement. The law would deal with transgressions. He was sure that Johannesburg could comply. The Soccer City Stadium would continue to host major events after the World Cup.

Mr Lee asked if there were specifications for stadiums. He asked if this would include the number of seats for the disabled. He wanted to know who was responsible for the building.

The Chairperson said that this is why the host cities had been invited to the meeting. They were the custodians of the facilities built in their areas. There were different technical aspects.

Ms Maubul said that disabled seating was not a requirement. The figure of 0.5 to 1% was only a guideline. The building of Soccer City would not have been approved if this had been the case. FIFA had published its own technical guidelines. The cities would give assistance. They would address the issue of disabled seating in their legacy plans.

The Chairperson said that it would be fine to address this as a legacy issue. The 2008 submission was not a requirement. The Committee was wasting its time by discussing the issue in this depth. Transport issues needed to be communicated to the public.

Mr Thompson replied that SADA had asked the cities for a report. The transport plans needed to be communicated. A statement had been made. Clear, detailed information was required.

The Chairperson pointed out that the host cities needed assistance in preparing the information. The cities knew where the strategic areas were.

Presentation by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality
Mr Errol Heynes, Executive Director 2010, Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, said that the stadium in Port Elizabeth was the first to be completed. The process had been rushed as the goal was to have the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium ready for the Confederations Cup. There was no way that the city would have passed the plan for the stadium if it would not be compliant. There were many emerging issues such as accessibility for the disabled and the environment. There were no clear indicators which had led to the city employ consultants. After completion of construction, test events had been held from June 2009 onwards. They had engaged with the local bodies representing the disabled to test their systems. Issues had arisen regarding parking and signage. These matters had been worked on. They had only become aware of the number of seats for disabled persons in September 2009. Investigation of the technical regulations had shown that the disabled allocation was not a law but a guideline only.

The Chairperson said that this was right, but municipalities were dodging the realities. The law referred to minimum reasonable accommodation. This was a vague concept. The intention was to make reasonable accommodation for the disabled. The figure was a minimum, but the law was very clear.

Mr Heynes said that they would move towards achieving the target of 0.5%. However, not all people with disabilities required special seating. For example, there was no reason why a blind person could not use an ordinary seat. If the extra seating space for wheelchairs was not needed then the seats could be sold to the general public. He asked what would happen if the demand was less than 0.5%.

Mr Heynes acknowledged a complaint about the stadium precinct. There were some challenges. The height of hand rails could be adjusted. Some issues had been identified during the test events. The transport system was designed to work with a roll-on / roll-off ramp for easy access onto and off the buses. The transport system was still not operational. However, he was confident that the stadium in Port Elizabeth was the most compliant. That city had worked closely with the disabled community. The city officials were not experts but the test process had assisted tremendously. Temporary signage was being used. A contract had been issued for permanent, compliant signage. The disaster plan had been tested in September and October 2009. An assessment was being completed. Issues had been raised in the report and were being addressed.

Mr Guy Davies, Access Consultant, Disability Solutions, said that he had consulted on the Port Elizabeth stadium. There had been no figures to work on regarding disabilities. The Cape Town Stadium had provision for 290 wheelchairs and the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium approximately 200. It was not so easy just to remove normal seats to create space. Disabled spectators should have the same range and choice of seats as the general public. It was possible to accommodate wheelchair spectators in the highest level of the stadium. Two very large ramps would facilitate entry and exit for the disabled. He had positioned himself in his wheelchair in the most difficult areas and was able to evacuate the stadium within the record time. In the Cape Town Stadium more lifts would be needed at level six. Regarding the walkway at Port Elizabeth, the area in question was reserved for wheelchair occupants and their assistants. It was not open to the general public and therefore the number of people walking in front of the spectators would be very limited.

Mr Heynes said that people would be walking in front of spectators in most locations. The area was dedicated to wheelchair users. There was a very wide area in front of the seating area.

The Chairperson said that if there was a disaster then people would be running. This would make it difficult for disabled people to exit the stadium. Sectors should not be dominated by disabled people. Evacuation from the higher levels of the stadiums would be difficult.

Mr Davies said that this was a very important point. The seating should be inclusive. The original plan was that all the wheelchair seating would be in one block. This had been done in Germany and did make for an easier design. However, the inclusive principle dictated that the disabled should have access to all areas. Wheelchair-bound people could then sit with friends and family.

Mr Thompson agreed that this was international best practice.

The Chairperson said that it had to be accepted that the cities had become involved at a late stage. The disabled were only brought on board at a late stage.

Mr Thompson said that the documents had been given to the LOC and host cities. There had been international laws in place for twenty years for cinemas and other public places. Match could give the hard facts. There were international guidelines for handrails, viewing angles and similar issues.

The Chairperson asked what had caused SADA to stop host cities from using other bodies. They had been brought on board late.

Mr Thompson said that the issues had been raised at the time in the presence of project officers. The disabled community had been assured that proper consultation would happen.

Mr Blanckensee said that the specifications had been shown in 2006. The LOC had sent them to the host cities. This included the disabled allocation of 0.5 to 1%. In 2009 a seat count revealed that the stadiums were not compliant. There had been at least two inspections where the 0.5% issue had been raised. The host cities had been informed.

Ms Maubul said that the House had been misled. Plans had gone through the LOC technical team. The same situation had arisen with problems surrounding electricity supplies. Match was not selling the seats in the suites. Plans had indicated the general seating area, hospitality suites and the VIP areas. The LOC had appointed a technical team. The issues had not been raised in the meeting with Mr Mumble.

The Chairperson said there was a need for proper meetings. He warned Mr Blanckensee that anyone misleading Parliament faced serious consequences. The issue must be discussed clearly. The participants had to agree on the principles. If the law had been undermined those responsible would be dealt with harshly. All had to abide with the law.

Mr McGluwa said that the Committee had an oversight role. It was clear that the disabled community had been betrayed. It was a nuisance to have to sit and listen to accusations being thrown around. Public hearings were needed after the World Cup.

Mr Dikgacwi noted that Mr Blanckensee had been appointed recently. Ms Maubul had been appointed earlier. The relevant parties should be called to meet with the Committee.

The Chairperson said that the disabled people had never been robbed by the host cities nor had they been betrayed by the Committee. The key question was the facilities provided to give the disabled fair access. He would not agree with the ID Member that the disabled had been betrayed.

Presentation by City of Cape Town
Mr Dave Hugo, Representative for City of Cape Town, said he wished to approach his presentation from a different angle. The City of Cape Town (CCT) had always taken the issue of universal access to the stadium seriously. Mr Davies had been appointed as a consultant and had taken the recommendations to heart. He summarised the qualifications of Mr Davies.

The Chairperson instructed Mr Hugo not to play off the two consultants.

Mr Hugo said that it had not been easy to comply with the recommendations. Mr Thompson's report was dated and an updated inspection was needed. Cape Town believed that its stadium was fully compliant. The precinct had been totally redeveloped. The Dial-a-Ride scheme was in place and would be fully operational. The rumours were wrong. The Integrated Rapid Transit (IRT) system was fully disabled friendly. The evacuation plan was being finalised.

Mr Davies said that he did have a relevant Masters degree in disabled access. There were issues. The stadiums had been built in record time. As soon as FIFA had announced that South Africa would host the 2010 World Cup the host cities had gone to work. South Africans had been told that the stadiums would never be finished in time, but the seemingly-impossible had been done. The stadium in Port Elizabeth was the first to be finished and the Cape Town Stadium had been finished on time, although he did concede that there was still a lengthy list of snags. He pointed out that no building would ever be 100% compliant. Despite the issues raised he was satisfied overall. He said that a concert was being held at the stadium the following day. There would be some 200 participants, all of them disabled children. The teachers fully understood the requirements for the children. Apart from the participants there would be many disabled people in the audience. This would demonstrate the accessibility of the stadium. The Cape Town and Port Elizabeth stadiums were compliant. All the stadiums were reasonably compliant. He had seen the Wembley Stadium in England, which had been completed seven years behind schedule. The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff had won awards for its accessibility to the disabled. He had seen the German stadiums for the 2006 World Cup. Having seen all these international stadiums he was convinced that the Cape Town and Port Elizabeth stadiums were better.

Mr Thompson said that SADA had become engaged with the two stadiums because of numerous contraventions of the regulations. He referred to the areas marked off with hazard tape and the toilet configurations. These regulations had been in place since 1985. There was a need to move forward and spend money correctly.

The Chairperson said that the Committee needed specific points. It could then issue a directive and take follow-up action.

Mr Thompson said that a thorough audit was needed. Corrective measures could then be taken.

The Chairperson concluded that a general audit would give the way forward. The Committee would engage with this as a legacy issue.

Mr Hugo took issue with Mr Thompson's comments but would take the issue forward outside of the meeting.

Mr Davies said that the transport plan had been assessed after each test event. The City of Cape Town had acquired a number of low floor buses. He hoped that the vehicles would arrive in time. The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium had been planned in association with disabled organisations.

The Chairperson said that the simple basic requirements should be in place.

Mr Davies agreed with the process. The hazard tape mentioned by Mr Thompson had now been replaced by proper barriers. The audit should be conducted once all the initial snags had been fixed. Feedback was needed during the process.

Mr L Suka (ANC) said that the disability representatives should bring the audit from the end of the process. He asked why reference was being made to 1985. The country had moved a long way since then. There should be an audit of all stadiums so that budgets could be channelled in the right way. There was a time factor at present.

The Chairperson did not know what form the audit should take.

Mr Dikgacwi said it would be best if it was a joint audit by the various parties.

Mr Thompson asked if there was a transport plan for Cape Town. He asked if it could be made available as well as the evacuation plan.

Mr Davies agreed to provide this.

The Chairperson said that the evacuation plan must be complaint with the new law.

Mr Hugo suggested that the reports be channelled through the LOC.

Mr McGluwa said that it should be made a standard procedure that all host cities should provide the host cities with their transport and evacuation plans.

The Chairperson agreed even though this was more than SADA had requested.

Presentation by Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenberg
Mr George Khunou, Managing Director, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, said that the situation in Rustenburg was unique. The municipality was the host city although the stadium was owned by a traditional structure. He took note of what SADA had said. Some issues could not be compromised. He asked how the additional 62 seats for the Royal Bafokeng Stadium would be provided. He asked if this would come from the FIFA overlay. He believed that an inspection had been done but had still not seen the report.

Mr Khunou said that there were problems with the municipality. It had now appointed its third co-ordinator. He suspected that the report might be gathering dust in someone's office. He wanted to respond to it. The transport plan had been concluded the previous week. It was in the interests of the Royal Bafokeng family to comply with requirements.

Mr Thompson said that there were serious defects at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium which needed to be addressed. It was possible to adjust the seating. A full audit was needed once the FIFA overlay was withdrawn.

Mr Lee posed a general question. He asked about the availability of parking bays for the disabled. There could be more disabled spectators for the reserved seating or there could be fewer. If there were fewer applications for the disabled seating than the capacity, he wondered if these seats would stand empty. He asked what would happen if there were more applications that could be accommodated.

The Chairperson said that this was a chicken and egg question.

Presentation by City of Johannesburg
Ms Maubul said that Johannesburg was addressing the issue of demand for disabled seats. Match was understanding the demand. Only 84 disabled tickets had been sold for matches at Soccer City before the start of the second phase of ticket sales. There were 500 parking bays reserved for the disabled. They would like to provide a pre-booked dial-a-ride service.

Mr Thompson disagreed. All accessible seats had already been sold at the major stadiums. The exceptions were Mbombela and Polokwane, but sales had been generally low there anyway.

The Chairperson said that this was not true. He did not want to discuss this matter at present.

Mr Thompson suggested that the basis for the discrepancy was the proposed extra seating.

The Chairperson said that one could not argue that way. The Committee could not go to that level. It needed to interact with the information at hand. In principle, it had been said that the disabled seating was sold out, but this was not true.

Mr Thompson said that Match should be involved as well. He had been told by Match that no more tickets were available at various meetings with the LOC.

Mr Suka acknowledged the strides that had been taken on the report. All persons had to feel that they were part of the World Cup. Tickets and marketing should not be a one-way process. Figures of available seats could never be conclusive. Mr Thompson must acknowledge where progress had been made.

Mr Lebo Mahoko, Representative for Mangaung Host City, said that even when Bloemfontein hosted a full stadium for soccer matches, there had never been more than thirty disabled tickets sold. Rugby matches never attracted a full house. He felt that the current number of 82 seats was sufficient.

The Chairperson said that the demand must be assessed accurately. SADA was dealing with a backlog and things were starting to happen now. The host cities were working on repairs to the stadium precincts. It was not impossible to adjust the number of seats.

Mr McGluwa drew the analogy that in an equestrian race, if one’s vision was obscured by the dust, one could not see if the beasts being ridden were horses or donkeys. This was only revealed when the dust had settled after the race. The betrayal really lay in the lack of communication to the disabled.

Mr Mahoko asked if there were any sign language interpreters in Parliament.

The Chairperson replied that there were not.

Mr Mahoko said that the SADA report was only addressing part of the problem. They had been found wanting on the deaf issue. They had met with the Free State Deaf Association. This illustrated problems which had not been understood before. A full-time sign language interpreter had been appointed.

Mr ka Toni said that the deaf were part of SADA. Mr Thompson had raised the matter of sign language. A lot of education was needed.

The Chairperson said that they needed to work a little harder.

Mr ka Toni said that DPSA had engaged with the LOC on the issue of volunteers. They were not getting any information.

Mr Blanckensee said that the matter had been discussed with SADA. A module had been included in the volunteer training programme. This would be presented within the last three weeks before the tournament.

The Chairperson said there should have been targeted recruitment of volunteers proficient in sign language. The training was becoming very general. It was a real issue. One could not be said to be “learning” every day. At some stage one must pass a test.

Presentation by Mangaung Host City
Mr Mahoko said that the report focused predominantly on the needs of the wheelchair users. This was worrying. They had requested the inspection findings. The Mangaung delegation wanted to bring the answers to any questions which might be raised. Instead they had to rely on their own consultants. There had been a lack of signage but this would be completed by 19 May. The distance from the disabled parking to the wheelchair ramp was 70 metres. This was a long way.

Mr Mahoko said that the alarm button in the lift was too high for a wheelchair occupant. They had engaged with Otis, the supplier, on this matter. The bar counter in the VIP area was too high. Short people were also regarded as disabled. Generally the Free State Stadium had been given the green light and was fairly accessible. Where they could not overcome the problems, ushers would be used to assist. The evacuation plan was in place. The plans would be made available. They were not 100% compliant, but the municipality would act on any advice offered.

Mr Blanckensee said that he had not seen the reports yet. The payment of Mr Thompson's professional fee was an issue. The report would only be released once he had been paid.

The Chairperson said that the municipality could not be expected to bear the costs. Those that commissioned Mr Thompson should make the payment.

Mr Blanckensee said that he did not believe that reports had been done on the existing stadiums.

Mr Mahoko said that Mangaung had been told that they could not get the report until Mr Thompson had been paid. He asked if payment could be put above the interests of the disabled. He thought that they could pay later.

The Chairperson said that these were the concerns of SADA. Parliament did not have time to wait for payment. The payment could be sorted out later. The commissioning agent must pay Mr Thompson.

Ms Kedibore Choene, Portfolio Sports Manager, Mangaung, said that there were only about thirty disabled soccer lovers in Bloemfontein. Provision would be made in the fan parks to accommodate the disabled. There was support for this from the Free State government. It might be more comfortable for disabled fans to watch matches at the public viewing areas (PVAs) than at the stadium.

Mr Thompson said that the report included provisions for signage. There had been no response.  The Deaf Federation had included as a high priority a request that messages should be conveyed by signing on the big screen. They had raised the request for sign language to be part of the volunteer training. He had no knowledge of the arrangements at the fan parks.

The Chairperson said that the fan parks were a FIFA responsibility. The PVAs would be run by the municipalities in locations of their choice. Parliament had the information. There would be ten fan parks in the host cities but many PVAs across the country.

Mr Thompson was not at liberty to communicate directly with the host cities. There was a non-disclosure clause in his contract. He assumed that the information given was correct.

Mr Mahoko wanted to ensure that there would be compliance. Mr Thompson was welcome to contact him at any time. Any information provided would be valuable.

The Chairperson said that Mr Thompson was only able to communicate through the fixed channels.

Ms Choene said that it was wrong for Mr Thompson to expect Mangaung to be accountable to him. The disabled people should be enabled to watch matches. The host city did not have to account to anybody.

The Chairperson said that Mr Thompson was saying that he had no information on the fan parks. This was the responsibility of FIFA, not the host city.

Mr Dikgacwi said that there was an impression being created that the municipality did not care. This was not true. The fault lay with the LOC. No municipality was receiving correspondence. The lines of communication had to be open.

Mr Suka said that the current meeting was a dry run for a serious meeting that must follow. The host cities had made great strides. There might be missed communication here and there. The Committee needed to meet with the technocrats and see the reports.

Mr Blanckensee said that the FIFA Fan Fests were a direct contract between FIFA and the host cities. The Minister had requested reports but was only involved as a conduit of information.

The Chairperson asked Mr Blanckensee to convey a message to the powers that be. Fan parks would comply with the letter of the law. This was not the domain of the LOC and FIFA. Safety issues had to be respected. Safety was non-negotiable. The PVAs also had to be safe, but these were the domain of the municipalities.

Mr J van der Linde (DA) said that he had been at a meeting the previous week. He asked the organisers to consider the safety of animals. Massive fireworks displays had been planned for Bloemfontein, close to the zoo.

The Chairperson said that this was not the first time such things had happened. He was sure that the organisers would be mindful of the animals.

Mr ka Toni appreciated the chance to share in the transformation agenda for South Africa. People were being given a chance to listen to each other. He wanted to go back and report to DPSA. Information would be sent to all their people. It was a complex exercise to access tickets. DPSA wanted to co-operate with Match and the host cities regarding tickets. Information should be provided and DPSA wanted to take its share of the responsibility.

Mr Blanckensee did not want to leave the wrong impression. The stadiums for the World Cup were the most accessible ever built. They were moving from excellence to perfection.

Mr Thompson said that process was moving forward.

The Chairperson said that the City of Johannesburg must work through Mr Blanckensee to clarify the areas of responsibility. This discussion must take place as soon as possible. The issue of expanding the number of seats affected all venues except Ellis Park and Bloemfontein. Trust would emerge from this meeting.

Mr Thompson noted that several host cities were not present. There should be a strong communication sent to them to attend any further meeting. No excuses could be accepted. This should happen in the following week.

The Chairperson said that there were no other problems. He agreed on the need for discussion on the issue of seats for disabled persons. It was a matter between the host cities and SADA. There was no resistance from SADA. The host cities were prepared to help but faced constraints. The issue of access to stadiums was not uniform. The meeting agreed that host cities and SADA should conduct a joint audit to evaluate the legacy programme. When the audit was complete then the parties could come to Parliament where a binding agreement could be reached. This would be monitored by government.

Mr Komphela said that the dilemma was that disabled people were not accountable to the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA). As soon as the audit was done it the debate should be handed over to the right Minister and Department. The stadiums were within the competency of SRSA. A joint meeting was needed as the Committee was disabled. There was a lot of communication with all host cities on transport and ticketing information. Dates had to be given.

The Chairperson said that SADA was telling the LOC that they wanted a concrete discussion on how many tickets were available for disabled persons. There was general agreement. There was an attempt to have reasonable accommodation at all stadiums. The deficiencies in signage were not a major problem. There was an issue over transport but there was reasonable accommodation in all nine host cities.

Mr Thompson said that provision must be made for those with hearing and sight impairments.

The Chairperson said that this should be communicated through the host cities. Measures were needed within stadiums to ensure freedom of movement. The main thing was that the host cities had done well. Communication with the LOC was bad. There was full agreement from Members of the Committee. The Committee would give the benefit of the doubt to the missing host cities on this occasion. If they failed to respond to the next invitation a summons would follow. It was a matter of national interest.

Mr Nkosi that some structures had been created. There was a need to improve communication. The disabled community had no intention to disrupt the World Cup.

The Chairperson said that the parties would be informed about the next meeting.

The meeting was adjourned.


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