FIFA 2010 Financing

South Africa’s Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, addressed the nation on Wednesday 24 October 2006 regarding the country’s budget for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Fifteen billion rands has been allocated by the government for stadium construction and the improvement of infrastructure in preparation for the eagerly awaited 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Minister brought out that the country’s preparations for the presitigious event would take priority in the country’s spending for the 3 years leading up to the occasion. During his discourse Manuel said that hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup was affording South Africa with “a one-in-a-generation opportunity” to exhibit the country and its welcoming atmosphere. Sitting amongst the parliamentarians was a delegation from FIFA. Trevor Manuel also stated that spending by the government would grow by ZAR80 billion for the coming 3 years. That is the equivalent of US$10.3 billion or 8.2 billion euros. Along with improvements to South Africa’s infrastructure and sporting facilities, attention will also be placed on the country’s criminal justice system. Another 10 000 police officers are to be hired so as to fight crime that is presently plaguing South Africa.

Focus on South Africa’s infrastructure will be aimed at investment in transportation, electricity, housing and sanitation, all of which will positively affect poverty-stricken South Africans. Manuel pointed out that whilst we can look forward to this major event, we must not neglect the fact that thousands of South Africans are starving, dealing with diseases and living in uncomfortable conditions. In total, government spending will inrease from the current ZAR474.2 billion (approximately 48 billion euros or US$61 billion)to around 644 billion (approximately 66 billion euros or US$83 billion) by the year 2010. South Africa leads the continent as regards economic standing and the country’s economic growth should be up to 5.3% by the year 2009. Manuel also announced that tax revenues have gone beyond expectation, brining in ZAR30 billion this year.

South Africa’s government sees the FIFA World Cup as an opportunity for a lasting legacy. It is also certain to have a great effect on the currently floundering transportation system. Already the transport ministry has begun upgrading airports in South Africa so as to handle the expected 450 000 tourists that will visit in 2010. Five billion rands has be alloted to work on the railways and 8 billion rands to create a safer, more modern minibus taxi system.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup fever has certainly hit South Africa. Considered by many to be great economic opportunity, it certainly set to bring a number of improvements in the lives of many South Africans.