Transport system ready for 2010 - Ndebele

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has assured the British public that South Africa's transport sector is ready for the first ever FIFA World Cup on African soil.

Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) World Service in London on Wednesday, Ndebele said that from arriving in South Africa to getting to matches - the country was ready to deliver.

He said visitors would be able to make use of taxis, buses, passenger rail, luxury coaches, tour packages, private car-hire companies and domestic aviation.

"South Africa will temporarily increase its operational capacity for distance travel, primarily by making available additional vehicles and improving operational efficiencies," Ndebele explained.

He said it was the responsibility of the department to deliver fans, media, players and officials in luxury, comfort and safety from the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the stadium and back.

"A match between 22 players, officiated by a referee and his assistants is only but a practice match if there are no fans in the stadium. It is the responsibility of transport to ensure that a dull match played to an empty stadium becomes a place of excitement because tens of thousands of fans have been transported to the stadium.

"It is our responsibility to fill those stadiums by providing the convenience of transport," said Ndebele.

He said that rail would serve as the backbone of the transport system during the World Cup.

"We have committed that by 2010 there will be a train available every five minutes in peak times and train services 14 to 16 hours a day," he said, adding that during the event a commuter should not expect to wait more than five minutes for transport.

The South African government is using the World Cup to spur a revolution in South African's transport system through investments in road infrastructure, rail upgrades, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems, inner-city mobility systems, airport-city links and intelligent transport systems.

"One of the greatest legacies of this World Cup is already there for all to see: the stadiums, the reconstructed roads and rail.

"The public transport system will become the biggest legacy of this world cup. After this World Cup, South Africa will never be the same. In the end it will not matter if we get beaten 6-0, we already are winners," the minister said

Minister Ndebele was in the country to attend the 26th Assembly of the International Maritime Organisation which aims to address international issues and challenges concerning the maritime.