World Cup legacy


World Cup 'turning point' for South Africa

SA rapid rail operator looks to expand

South Africa's Gautrain: Africa's first high-speed urban rail link (Photo: Gautrain Rapid Rail Link)

18 June 2010

As the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ unfolds in South Africa, the international community is not only watching the action on the pitch; they are also witnessing a South Africa that is continuing to emerge as a competitive 21st century economy, says consulting firm Deloitte.

According to the Deloitte report "2010 Fifa World Cup: A Turning Point for South Africa", South Africa is reaping the rewards of hosting the Cup, including infrastructure improvements, an economic boost, and an increase in national pride.

"South Africa has been likened to a mix of the developed and developing world," Deloitte Southern Africa public sector industry leader Lwazi Bam said in a statement this week.

"On the one hand, a strong technological and economic base put it on a par with the well-developed nations of the world," Bam said. "On the other, infrastructure shortfalls have contributed to keeping it from realising its full economic potential.

"This major global event is a catalyst for much-needed infrastructure improvements."

Strengthened transport system

The need to move tens of thousands of fans, teams, and accompanying support personnel rapidly from one place to another prioritised the strengthening of South Africa's transportation system.

The country completed much of the first section of its new high-speed Gautrain passenger railway and added bus lines. Highways were upgraded, and the city of Durban was able to finish the country's first new greenfield airport in five decades.

These infrastructure projects had increased employment opportunities and provided workers long-term skills and training, Deloitte said.

"South Africa has already realised many of the benefits hoped for by any national host of a major international sporting event," said Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu global public sector industry leader Greg Pellegrino.

"The event has provided a boost to national infrastructure improvements, increased employment during the global financial crisis, and provided a unifying rallying point for a still-developing nation."

Environmentally friendlier

One of the challenges in building the infrastructure for the event was generating power without an unduly adverse environmental impact. New stadium facilities include such environmentally-friendly features as natural ventilation and rain water capture systems.

In addition, host cities have undertaken large-scale tree-planting projects in an effort to soak up excess carbon dioxide. As a coal-dependent economy, South African faces challenges; however, these steps move the country toward greener energy sources.

Important precedent

To ensure security, the minister of police has consulted with officials from more than 30 different countries whose nationals are in the country, resulting in an unprecedented level of international cooperation.

Seeking to balance a welcoming atmosphere with rigorous security standards, 40 000 police officers, 25% of the country's total force, have been assigned to the Cup. All of these activities have required a renewed spirit of cooperation between national and local agencies and departments.

"Moving the Fifa World Cup from a developed economy such as Germany to an emerging economy such as South Africa, and to a continent that has never hosted the Cup, creates an important precedent for future hosts such as Brazil in 2014," Pellegrino said.

SAinfo reporter

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