SWC boosted SA: Mbalula

2013-04-19 18:05
Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The 2010 Fifa World Cup had improved the country's infrastructure in various sectors, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Friday.

"There were important injections of infrastructure in this country that have been seen," he said.

"World-class stadia were built, road, airports, renovation of retail stations, exciting legacies and projects, and promotion of the country's beauty and culture."

He was speaking at a New Age breakfast briefing in Sandton, Johannesburg, after a government report into the global football showpiece was released on Thursday.

"Five new stadiums were built, five stadiums were upgraded, 32 training sites were upgraded and 25 new hotels were built," Mbalula said.

He said the tournament had contributed R55.7 billion to the country's economy and generated over 400,000 jobs.

"South Africa was awarded by the International Institute for Tourism as the number one mega sporting events destination in the world. That was confirmed beyond reasonable doubt by work done during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

"We survived the recent recession because we were cushioned by investments that took place around the World Cup."

While thousands of jobs were created ahead of the tournament, Mbalula believed the real benefits of hosting the competition were long-term.

"The hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup acted as a catalyst to fast-track many projects that benefited the country long after the tournament ended."

While South Africa successfully hosted the Rugby World Cup (1995), Cricket World Cup (2007) and various other international tournaments, Mbalula said a bid to host the first Olympic Games in Africa needed to be put on hold.

"We want to focus first on what needs to be done to benefit us from the World Cup, but the possibility to host the Olympics in future will be there.

"We've had a recession, and we face a whole number of challenges to meet basic needs, so we must accelerate the projection of infrastructure from the World Cup."

Read more on:    fikile mbalula  |  soccer

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