- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Green light for transport upgrade for the World Cup
- Date: 21st April 2010
- Summary: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (APRIL 20, 2010) (REUTERS) ***CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** JOURNALISTS AT TRAIN TERMINAL TECHNICIAN TALKING ON THE PHONE AT TRAIN TERMINAL GAUTRAIN APPROACHING THE PLATFORM WOMAN DRIVING THE TRAIN PEOPLE SEATED ON THE TRAIN (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, GAUTRAIN MANAGEMENT AGENCY, JACK VAN DER MERWE, SAYING: "As you can see there is a hype of activities we still have a lot to do to finish off at the stations but we hope to have it ready for opening over the weekend of the 5th and 6th of June and having passengers on from the 8th of June onwards." VIEW FROM THE TRAIN TRAIN TRACKS JOURNALISTS GETTING OFF THE GAUTRAIN INTERIOR OF THE O.R TAMBO AIRPORT PEOPLE AT THE AIRPORT VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WITH LUGGAGE WAITING AT THE AIRPORT SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA UNVEILING THE PLAQUE CLOSE UP OF THE PLAQUE (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA, SAYING: "When we say we are ready for the tournament it is not just rhetoric we mean what we are saying." PEOPLE CLAPPING (SOUNDBITE) (English) SOUTH AFRIFA PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA, SAYING: "We have a comprehensive security plan which includes addressing terror threats, hooliganism and general crime. There are national and provincial security joint operations which include collaboration of security issues at these levels to ensure safety and security during the tournament." PEOPLE LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY MINISTER, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT, JEREMY CRONIN, SAYING: "I am not a specialist, I don't think is anybody here a specialist on volcanoes, I'm not sure of Sepp Blatter has any influence over volcanoes, he seems to have a lot of influence. Let's not speculate, we are ready for the event that we intend to host here in South Africa and let's all hope that by that stage the volcano ash and so forth will have cleared but we are certainly ready." JOURNALISTS AND GUESTS WATCHING THE VIDEO
- Embargoed: 6th May 2010 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Transport
- Reuters ID: LVAEDW7BE8KVMTX1Y94AYRDMZYCE
- Story Text: South Africa on Tuesday (April 20) unveiled a 19 billion rand ($2.5 billion) transport upgrade for the World Cup including revamped airports, a high speed urban train and a new bus system.
Officials denied too much had been spent on the soccer spectacular, saying the new infrastructure would leave a lasting legacy in a country where the majority black population was starved of public transport under apartheid.
Journalists travelled on the gleaming new Gautrain, which will link the posh district of Sandton, where many World Cup fans will stay, and the airport.
The train would run on this leg before the World Cup, starting on June 11, officials said. It will be expanded to central Johannesburg and Pretoria next year.
"As you can see there is a hype of activities, we still have a lot to do to finish off at the stations but we hope to have it ready for opening over the weekend of the 5th and 6th of June and having passengers on from the 8th of June onwards," said CEO of Gautrain Management Agency Jack Van Der Merwe, South African President Jacob Zuma opened the greatly expanded Johannesburg airport -- already Africa's biggest -- which officials said would handle 28 million passengers a year and more than 60 flights a day.
"When we say we are ready for the tournament it is not just rhetoric we mean what we are saying," Zuma stressed.
Soccer's governing body, FIFA, last year flagged transport as a concern but officials said the system was ready and would be able to handle the world's most-watched sporting event.
"I don't think anybody here is a specialist on volcanoes, I'm not sure of Sepp Blatter has any influence over volcanoes, he seems to have a lot of influence.
"Let's not speculate, we are ready for the event that we intend to host here in South Africa and let's all hope that by that stage the volcano ash and so forth will have cleared but we are certainly ready," Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin said.
Airports in Cape Town and other host cities have also been refurbished and a brand new one built in Durban.
According to Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele 570 buses had been purchased for the World Cup, 110 of them to provide an inter-city service.
The number of foreign fans expected was recently sharply cut from 450,000 to 200,000 because of the world economic crisis, high costs and alarmist reporting about violent crime.
But officials denied this may result in over-investment in the World Cup because the transport system would remain for the future and extra planes were being leased rather than purchased.
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