Soccer fans urged to use public transport for final match

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Johannesburg - If you're going to the final of the World Cup use public transport and get there early.

That was the advice from government when the traffic management plans for the final day of the World Cup on Sunday were announced in Sandton.

Determined not to see a repeat of the congestion leading to Soccer City during the opening of the World Cup, law enforcement agencies will be closely monitoring the province roads and restricting access to certain areas.

Gauteng's MEC for Roads and Transport, Bheki Nkosi, said there was serious traffic congestion at the start of the tournament because soccer fans chose to use their cars to get to Soccer City.

"This led to challenges besetting traffic flow and it became a logistic nightmare to control traffic," he added.

Gauteng Government, FIFA and the Organising Committee have decided on stricter traffic management measures to ensure that fans arrive on time for the final match of the tournament.

"The new measures will involve the closure of certain roads around Soccer City, parts of the N1 highway, Sandton and Pretoria from 14:30 on match day.

"This will enable us to facilitate smooth movement of fans, including VIPs to the stadium. A number of heads of state will also be attending the closing ceremony and the final," Nkosi said.

Only cars with accreditation will be allowed to travel in the areas affected by the road closures.

The MEC warned that motorists who disobeyed the special World Cup traffic regulations would have their vehicles impounded and could also face heavy fines.

"Once again we appeal to all fans to use public transport to travel to and from the stadium. Our efficient public transport is available in form of trains, buses and minibus taxis," he said.

Authorities are not taking any chances and have already had a practice run at the weekend, Chris Ngcobo, head of Johannesburg Metro Police, said.

He explained that authorities will carry out soft blocks - a system where roads will close temporarily in order for convoys to pass and once they had, the road would be re-opened to the public.

Residents of the affected areas will be allowed in but will be escorted to their homes by traffic officials.

Ngcobo said SAPS, Metro police from Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, provincial disaster management and volunteers would work together to ensure a free flow of traffic.

Lucky Mabasa, head of Gauteng Traffic Operations said at the start of the tournament there was major congestion from Sandton to Soccer City and that was one of the reasons authorities were concentrating on the area.

A large FIFA delegation would also be traveling to the stadium from Sandton.

Mabasa said at past matches there were as many 25 000 cars at Soccer City.