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BRT first phase to be rolled out - 29 April 2009

Johannesburg – With just 45 days to go until the start of the FIFA Confederations Cup – the roll-out of the first phase of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System will be on time for the tournament.

Transport Minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday ”the infrastructure for the BRT system is going ahead unabated.”

He restated that the key routes for the first phase of the BRT system will be operational come kick-off in June.

The BRT routes for Phase 1A will run from Regina Mundi to Orlando where it will link the stadium in Orlando to Soweto. The BRT routes will also run from Soweto, along Pat Mbatha Highway, to the Inner City, along Market and Commissioner Streets.

The two loops in the inner city will link the stadium in Orlando to the stadium in Ellis Park by passing through the Joubert Park area.

Mr Radebe was confident that a meeting scheduled after 9 May between President-elect Jacob Zuma and taxi operators will see all problems resolved.

Last month in Gauteng, thousands of taxi drivers embarked on a one-day strike against government's BRT system. They accused the government’s BRT system of stealing business from them.

Mr Radebe told the taxi operators at the time that the BRT system will be a win-win situation for all South Africans. He restated that the taxi operators would suffer no loss of profit or jobs.

He told the media that the first phase of the BRT, which will run from 1 June, was expected to have an annual revenue of R1.5 billion.

“This meant taxi operators involved in BRT companies would share an expected profit of R150 million amongst themselves,” he said.

Moving on to financial standing of the committee, LOC Chief Executive Officer, Danny Jordaan said the organising committee had "very healthy finances" at the moment.

FIFA secretary-general Jérôme Valcke shared the same sentiments as Dr Jordaan, adding that “its the first time the LOC has so much money in their account.”

Mr Valcke further said that precautions would be taken against Swine Flu to ensure it had no impact on the Confederations Cup.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the LOC Board further announced that former deputy Finance Minister Jabu Moleketi has been re-appointed to the FIFA World Cup board of directors.

Mr Moleketi lost his position on the board in the wake of his resignation from his post in government, September last year.

Other new government representatives on the board include Deputy Safety and Security Minister Susan Shabangu, Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Sue van der Merwe and Provincial and Local Government Minister Sicelo Shiceka.

To ensure that the soccer event is a success, it was also announced that the southern African countries have pledged to help ensure an adequate power supply for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) made the pledge in Maputo, Mozambique.

Countries that make up the SAPP include Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Their support would help ensure a reliable electricity supply during the 2009 Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

Commercial agreements would be negotiated and signed separately between the various SAPP members and Eskom.

A targeted amount of the power supplied would be “green power”.

On safety issues the LOC revealed that about 8 000 members of the police, army, metro police and emergency services would be in host cities, during the tournament. At stadiums and precincts 3 445 security officials would be on duty.

These would be made up of private security guards and people currently being trained to receive professional accreditation in the security industry.

At least 700 of these stewards and private security guards would be in action on match days. On volunteers, the committee revealed that of the 4 000 volunteers selected for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2 000 have already received event and job-specific inductions in Johannesburg and Tshwane/Pretoria, with training scheduled for Rustenburg and Mangaung/Bloemfontein in May.

Volunteers will assist the LOC and FIFA in areas such as transport, media, ushering services, administration, spectator services and language support.

In all, the LOC Board was happy with the progress made in preparation and stressed that the South African football fans needed to get their tickets early and needed to arrive at stadiums well ahead of kick-off and sit in the seats allocated to them.

“Our next major task is now to ensure that as many South African football fans as possible get to see world-class football at the Confederations Cup, this while in distinctive African fashion ensuring that the event is a unique and unforgettable experience,” said LOC Chairman Dr Irvin Khoza.

[ By Bathandwa Mbola - BuaNews ]