From Soccer City in Johannesburg, this is the Real Economy Report. Our top stories this week:
South Africa is declared ready to host the Soccer World Cup;
230 Mercedes-Benz buses have been received for the 2010 FIFA World Cup;
And, phase one of the Gautrain rapid-rail link will be ready by June.
Shannon de Ryhove:
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke says South Africa is 80% ready to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Dennis Ndaba compiled this report.
After a five-day tour involving seven flights and 26 busses to nine host cities in seven provinces with 114 fellow members of the media, Engineering News can attest that South Africa is ready to host the 2010 World Cup.
The tour started with a visit to Johannesburg's two stadiums - Soccer City and Ellis Park and ended at the Moses Mabhida stadium, in Durban.
Soccer City, Gauteng
The iconic calabash designed R1,56-billion Soccer City stadium is set to be the official host venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, and it is also the venue for the World Cup finals. The stadium is complete, but paving and landscaping need to be completed before the kick off in June 11.
Mbombela stadium, Nelspruit
It is a case of third time lucky for the 1,2-billion Mbombela stadium, in Mpumalanga in terms of pitch laying, as the new lush and green pitch laid a week ago - using only rye grass - is germinated well, to the relief and delight of the city's World Cup organisers, who have twice needed to dig up inadequate pitch because it contained 25% topsoil.
Cape Town Stadium
After a process of public consultation, the R4,4-billion Green Point Stadium has been named Cape Town stadium. The name is inclusive, meaning it is a stadium for all Cape Town's residents and visitors and it builds on Cape Town's established international reputation.
Shannon de Ryhove:
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and its bus operator subsidiary, Autopax, have received half of the 460 buses it ordered from Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) for use during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Irma Venter was there.
The buses would be used exclusively by World Cup ticketing and accommodation specialist Match and the Local Organising Committee for the duration of the global sports event. The buses, including 44 from another manufacturer, were financed through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services in a six-year deal worth R1,2-billion. The bus chassis were assembled at MBSA's East London bus plant, with most of the bus bodies built locally by Marcopolo. Of the 460 buses, 292 are semi-luxury coaches, and 168 luxury coaches. But what happens to these buses after the World Cup? Autopax CEO Saki Zamxaka explains.
Autopax CEO Saki Zamxaka
Local content on the semi-luxury coaches is 47%. In the case of the luxury buses the local content is 24%. The remaining 230 buses are to be delivered by May.
Shannon de Ryhove:
Construction of phase one of the Gautrain will be ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Irma Venter hitched a ride on the train as it was doing a test run, and spoke to project leader Jack van der Merwe.
The Gautrain should carry airport passengers to their Sandton hotels and back by June 8, just ahead of the June 11 kick-off. Ticket prices are estimated to be roughly R100 to R120 one-way. Phase two of the system will be more commuter-orientated, and will run between Tshwane and Johannesburg, and will only be ready in 2011. Van der Merwe explains the difference between the two links.
Gautrain Management Agency CEO Jack van der Merwe
The airport-link train is certainly that little bit more spacious than the commuter-link train. The top speed of the air-conditioned train is 160 km/h, which it reaches with ease as it speeds along the track between the 45m, 18-storey deep Sandton station and the elevated OR Tambo International Airport station. Passengers will not be able to eat or drink on the train. They will use preloaded contactless smart cards to pay for their train journey, for using the bus, as well as to park at the stations. The more services they use, the less they pay.
Forty buses, following dedicated routes, will also be used to ferry passengers to the stations and back.
These services will all be ready for the World Cup.
The journey from Sandton station to OR Tambo takes an effortless 14 minutes - much less than it would to guide a car through the notorious traffic jams around the airport.
Shannon de Ryhove:
And now for a sneak preview of this week's Engineering News magazine:
In our cover story, we take a trip on the Gautrain with the man who drove the 25,4-billion-rand project.
We report that soaring European demand for the new Polo is to benefit Volkswagen of South Africa's Uitenhage plant.
And, Airbus Military is in talks with the South African government regarding the cancellation of its order for eight A400M airlift aircraft.
And in Mining Weekly this week:
In this week's cover story, we report that government has drawn the line on illegal mining.
We report that project house TWP is building a gold plant in Zimbabwe on a build, own and operate basis with African Consolidated Resources.
And, the High Court of South Africa grants a 28-day extension to the judicial management order issued for DRDGold's Blyvooruitzicht mine.
That's Creamer Media's Real Economy Report. Join us again next week for more news and insight into South Africa's real economy.
Edited by: Shannon de Ryhove
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Polity & Multimedia
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