Soweto is ready and waiting
Johannesburg - Preparations for the inaugural Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day are on
track, sport minister Fikile Mbalula has said on Thursday.
"It's going to be spectacular in terms of sports and
performances," Mbalula told reporters at FNB stadium in Soweto.
"We are ready. For the first time we will be bringing premier sporting
codes on the same field on the same day."
The event on Saturday would feature a Bafana Bafana match against Burkina
Faso and the Springboks playing against Argentina.
The celebration would start
with a dinner on Friday evening to raise funds for the Nelson Mandela
Former presidents Thabo Mbeki and FW de Klerk, and deputy president Kgalema
Motlanthe were among the invited guests.
There would be a parade by South Africa's sport stars from all sporting
codes, said Mbalula. These would include former long distance runner Elana
Meyer, swimmer Chad le Clos, former middle-distance runner Hezekiel Sepeng, and
former swimmer Penny Heyns.
"The champions will come to pay tribute to the role that Madiba's magic
has inspired all of them to overcome personal obstacles, and triumph on the
Passenger Rail Agency of SA chief executive Lucky Montana said the agency
had made trains available to transport fans to the event for free.
"We have made capacity for 40 000 people from across the country.
"Trains will haul people in from everywhere... 50 buses will also be available
to shuttle fans," he said.
The field would be converted from a soccer pitch to a rugby field within
minutes immediately after the Bafana Bafana game, Jacques Grobbelaar of Stadium
Management SA said.
Workers demonstrated on the field how quickly the conversion would happen on
"It is not a long process... the conversion of the field, the removal
of the soccer goal posts to make way for rugby can be done within five
minutes," he said.
A concert would take place Saturday evening. On the line-up are DJ Black
Coffee, Zahara, Toya Delazy, Mafikizolo, Kurt Darren, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Salif
Keita, and Elvis Blue.
At least 12 500 private security guards, 600 SAPS officers, and the
Johannesburg metro police would be on duty.
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