Pretoria - The Department of Arts and Culture has set aside R59 million to fund several World Cup related events to take place across the country during the tournament that gets underway in a week, Minister Lulu Xingwana said on Thursday.
A further R127 million has been earmarked for at least 29 infrastructure development projects that will serve as part of the legacy of the FIFA World Cup.
These include the "my 2010 schools projects" aimed at mobilising learners on the importance of South Africa hosting the world cup.
Xingwana said at a press conference that the department had received applications for funding from various provinces, host cities and cultural institutions wishing to take part in world cup -related events. "We believe the projects will go a long way in our national effort to fast-track job creation and rural development," she said.
Millions of Rands have already been channeled towards the 'Fly the Flag' campaign aimed at promoting patriotism among South Africans in the period leading to the world cup. Xingwana said while the campaign is centred on increasing enthusiasm about the tournament, it has also presented an opportunity to educate people about the issues of protocol relating to the flag and the national anthem. Many of the projects could expose thousands of foreign visitors to the "delights, sounds and textures of South Africa".
Funds will also be made available on projects that will focus on unearthing talent in indigenous music and dance.
"We are also providing opportunities for those in the cities and rural areas to further their careers and even create their own businesses. It is important that those involved in the projects get the benefits of their efforts," Xingwana said.
The department, together with the City of Johannesburg and the Local Organising Committee, have also contributed R40 million each to be used for the World Cup opening and closing ceremonies.
Meanwhile, Xingwana has moved to allay any fears that the upcoming FIFA World Cup kick off concert could be disrupted following calls of a boycott by the Creative Union of South Africa.
The union has argued for more local artists to be included on the concert line up. She said police will have to deal with anyone planning to cause disruption during the concert to take place at Orlando Stadium on 10 June.
"My department and my ministry are happy with the number of South African artists that have been included and we support the concert and there is nothing more we can do.
"This is also the position of Cabinet and Minister Nathi Mthethwa as a member of that Cabinet will ensure that police deal with anyone who would disrupt that concert or any FIFA event," said Xingwana.