World Cup fever hots up for Cape Town

Party time as city hosts 2010 draw

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - XOLANI MBANJWA and SAPA

THE City of Cape Town is ready to host the fi­nal draw for the 2010 World Cup next month, mayor Dan Plato said.

“The city will be pulling out all the stops to demon­strate its pro­fes­sion­al­ism, cre­ativ­ity and ex­per­tise through this once in-a life­time op­por­tu­nity,” he said yes­ter­day. The event was a “dream be­com­ing a re­al­ity”.

The draw takes place on De­cem­ber 4 and will de­ter­mine the match sched­ule for the 32 teams par­tic­i­pat­ing.

It will take place at the Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre and be broad­cast to 200 coun­tries. Plato said a se­ries of cel­e­bra­tory events lead­ing up to it had been planned.

On Novem­ber 29, the tra­di­tional switch­ing on of fes­ti­val lights in Ad­der­ley Street in the city cen­tre would take place. About 100 000 lo­cals and vis­i­tors are ex­pected to at­tend the event. The street would be turned into a pedes­trian zone, Plato said.

Two days later, Plato will hold a wel­com­ing cer­e­mony for Fifa del­e­gates at the Noon Gun on Sig­nal Hill.

A street party, themed “Cape Town Loves Foot­ball” will be held in Long Street in cen­tral Cape Town at the same time as the draw.

On De­cem­ber 5 500 in­ter­na­tional jour­nal­ists get to con­tinue the party, as a beach func­tion is held in their hon­our at Maiden’s Cove.

Mean­while, the gov­ern­ment has promised a truly “African” World Cup, re­as­sur­ing that se­cu­rity, event man­age­ment and other lo­gis­ti­cal ar­range­ments were in place.

An in­ter-min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment spokesman Themba Maseko, met yes­ter­day af­ter eval­u­at­ing the coun­try’s se­cu­rity ar­range­ments, pro­to­col ser­vices, and na­tional dis­as­ter man­age­ment.

The com­mit­tee was chaired by Deputy Pres­i­dent Kgalema Mot­lanthe.

Se­cu­rity prepa­ra­tions were un­der way in all prov­inces and host cities.

“Th­ese in­clude train­ing of of­fi­cers re­spon­si­ble for com­mand and con­trol cen­tres, gen­eral polic­ing, crowd con­trol and spe­cialised units re­spon­si­ble for airspace con­trol, or­gan­ised crime, counter-ter­ror­ism and hu­man traf­fick­ing,” said Maseko.

Na­tional guide­lines for dis­as­ter man­age­ment would be dis­trib­uted to all prov­inces to pre­pare for “any even­tu­al­ity”, said Maseko.

Mot­lanthe said he had also vis­ited Mpumalanga host city, the Mbombela mu­nic­i­pal­ity, to help solve prob­lems such as two schools shut down by sta­dium con­struc­tors.

“Two schools were taken over by construction com­pa­nies to serve as a stor­age fa­cil­ity for doc­u­men­ta­tion, equip­ment and so on.

“The stu­dents ( from the schools) were moved else­where in the area. New schools will be built and they will be ready by, March 31, at the lat­est,” said Mot­lanthe.

His visit came as dis­grun­tled Mat­safeni res­i­dents protested against the gov­ern­ment not keep­ing its prom­ises to build the schools.

Mot­lanthe said it was still “early days” to quan­tify the amount of money to be gen­er­ated for host­ing the tour­na­ment.

The gov­ern­ment would also en­sure that the multi­bil­lion­rand sta­di­ums built for the event would not be­come “white ele­phants” af­ter the World Cup.

A multi-pronged se­cu­rity plan, which has been en­dorsed by Fifa, would also ad­dress hooli­gan­ism.

The SA Po­lice Ser­vice was spending R640 mil­lion to de­ploy 41 000 trained po­lice of­fi­cers in­clud­ing 10 000 po­lice re­servists.

Coun­tries com­pet­ing in the show­piece would bring at least two of their own po­lice of­fi­cers to guard play­ers and as­sist in trans­la­tions.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa said ear­lier this week that In­ter­pol, the in­ter­na­tional po­lice or­gan­i­sa­tion, would also set up offices in the coun­try.

READY: Mayor Dan Plato

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