Manuel finds extra $3bn for event: South Africa's finance minister has dug deeply into his 2008/09 budget to reinforce sectors most critical to the success of the 2010 soccer World Cup. Tom Nevin reports.

Author:Nevin, Tom
Position:WORLD CUP WATCH
 
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An additional R21bn ($3bn) is to be pumped into public transport and security services "with the upcoming World Cup in mind" finance minister Trevor Manuel told Parliament--R11bn ($1.6bn) more has been earmarked for transport upgrades while another R10bn ($1.4bn) being channelled into added security.

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Making this announcement, finance minister Trevor Manuel added that the reforms would go well beyond the requirements for 2010 and were central to the modernisation and sustain-ability of urban environments.

At the same time, Danny Jordaan, head of South Africa's Local Organising Committee (LOC) 2010, took a swing at the media saying its handling of the rash of power outages was bigger than the problem itself, and LOC chairman, Irvin Khoza, added a sinister twist by suggesting that damaging media reports always coincide with visits to South Africa of important Fifa delegations. Manuel said: "Investments in public transport, which are made in partnership with our cities, are already beginning to reshape the urban landscape."

Independently, transport minister Jeff Radebe confirmed that South Africa would acquire 60 new trains, 500 luxury coaches and 10,000 out-of-the-box minibus taxis as part of its multibillion rand transport sector makeover for the Cup. Gauteng, the province most in need of maintenance and new road catch-up, would spend $3.1bn on its highways alone, Radebe pledged.

Manuel said the government's extra $1.4bn would go into "intensifying its fight against crime". This will allow police numbers to be increased to more than 200,000 in 2010, along with the installation of 40 new police stations and adding a further 18,000 prison spaces. While Manuel and Radebe tackled two of the issues most troubling to a successful South African-run World Cup, President Thabo Mbeki locked horns with the third when he roundly dismissed speculation that the event would be affected by the country's ongoing electricity crisis.

"'The current challenges we are facing have led some elsewhere in the world once more to question whether we will be able to host these tournaments, both the World Cup and 2009 Confederations Cup, successfully," he said. "Our...

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