Debate on Preparations for Soccer World Cup, contribution by Mr SZ Ntapane, UDM Member in the National Assembly (10 November 2009)

Mr Speaker and honourable Members,

The country has managed thus far to stay on schedule with its preparations for the 2010 World Cup. We need to congratulate the many thousands of South Africans who have already contributed to ensuring that next year’s event will be a sporting and tourism spectacle.

All the stadiums seem to be ready or very near completion and now our focus must shift to other logistical and infrastructure issues.

Our two foremost concerns now are transport and accommodation. The latter seems to be under control at the moment, but we should not underestimate the huge demand that there will be for accommodation. It also means that we will have to guard against greedy and unscrupulous people exploiting foreign visitors by providing them inferior accommodation at astronomical prices. We need to ensure that there are proper channels, perhaps a hotline, to ensure that exploitative behaviour can be addressed swiftly. The mere existence of such a hotline will serve as deterrent.

The bigger concern at the moment, however, is the question of transport. The Confederations Cup demonstrated that there are still issues surrounding the park-and-ride facilities. Another concern is the BRT implementation which has been badly received by the taxi industry due to a lack of consultation by Government.

Finally, we need to be sure that Government is properly prepared for the inherent security risks of hosting such a large event. There are risks posed by international terrorism, so-called “soccer hooligans”, as well as the domestic security situation surrounding community protests. In all of these cases, proper preparation is critical. This is an example – on an international scale – of prevention being better than cure. We need to do everything in our power to ensure that none of these potential risks come to pass.

I thank you.

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