Sunday, February 22, 2009

Construction of 2010 stadium delayed by strikes

I got into a heated debate with a commenter recently who'd stated that all the stadiums would be finished 18 months before opening day 'on schedule', despite the fact that with just 473 days till the opening game, that means less than 16 months left and no new stadiums are ready.

I think what most people fail to comprehend is that no right-thinking proud South African really wants the WC2010 to be a failure. Deep down, most want it to be a success but objectors like me really do not care either way. Many people, mainly white, have serious reservations about the way things are going in South Africa and the WC2010 presents itself as a perfect opportunity to demonstrate their dissatisfaction.

Like blacks and the ANC did when they were not happy with the state of affairs in South Africa, many people are doing the same now using a major sporting opportunity where so much interest is focused on the country to highlight the myriad serious social and political problems facing it. First off, there is racial discrimination. Many people feel like second-class citizens (this includes whites, Indians and coloureds) and thus this event is unimportant while they do not feel fully part of society. It does not belong to them. Then there is crime which is at abnormal levels. No normal sport in a abnormal country, remember that ANC slogan?

Then there is the cost. What good is spending billions on an international sporting showpiece when more than 20 million people live in abject poverty? What good is pretending that the New! Improved! South Africa! is a fully non-racial democracy when the opposite is the case? What good is pretending everything is going swimmingly with this new non-racial utopia at the foot of the African continent when crime, corruption and reverse racism is rampant? How do we get our voices heard?

What we do know is that WC2010 will mainly benefit the few elites in the ANC - and the idea of having it was to pretend to the world how well an African country was being run, how in addition it could also manage an event of this magnitude. It is a feather preening exercise for the new black elites, nothing more, nothing less.

It will mean nothing for the prosperity and wellbeing of the people of South Africa when the Fifa and media circus has left town. We will have spent billions we did not have on glimmering white elephants that most people cannot afford to attend. It will cost millions more each year to maintain. The fact is the WC2010 has been an unmitigated waste of taxpayers' money. It will not improve the standing of the country and actually may prove the tipping point where the reputation of the country is left in tatters.

What we needed to do was focus on tackling crime and serious social issues and consolidating a truly non-racial democracy. Only once we had turned that page should we have considered hosting the World Cup.

I predict regrettably that the WC2010 will be a failure and we will be embarrassed before the world. Unfortunately that thought probably hasn't crossed the minds of the black elite and I doubt very much they care. "There's money to be made in them thar hills" is all they will be thinking. You need a conscience to care about people and the country, and the ANC has none. How different it would have been had we started this national journey as equal citizens each made to feel fully part of the process, where BEE, affirmative action and ANC cronyism hadn't played a part.

Thus, as a second-class citizen, discriminated and excluded as I am from the many business opportunities presented by this event and other spheres of South African society, try as I might I cannot and do not view this event as mine therefore I wash my hands of it.

Construction of one of South Africa's 2010 World Cup stadiums will miss its completion deadline after hundreds of workers were fired for going on an illegal strike, a spokesman for the contractor said Thursday.

The delay comes ahead of Friday's start of ticket sales for the event, which is being held in Africa for the first time.

Eugene du Toit, spokesman for the Mbombela Stadium Joint Venture, said the stadium in the eastern town of Nelspruit would not be completed by April as planned. Instead it would now be finished toward the end of the year, six months before South Africa is to stage the event.

No comment was immediately available from FIFA on the delay.

Stadium construction in South Africa has been plagued by delays and industrial unrest. But initial fears that the venues would not be ready in time have eased as most building is on schedule.

Du Toit, from Basil Read construction company, said about 400 workers were dismissed on Monday after violating an agreement preventing them from striking.

"As a contractor, it has been quite a setback," he said.

Du Toit said police were at the site and construction had resumed as normal.

He said workers were demanding a 70,000 rand (about $7,000) bonus fee because the project was nearing completion.

The construction of the stadium has been derailed by a number of strikes since work began about two years ago.

Last year, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced that the more than 20,000 workers building South Africa's World Cup stadiums will get free match tickets.

10 Opinion(s):

Vince R said...

Good opinion Dobes.
I had been wondering about the reports of a "flood of tickets" that are being ordered as soon as they became available, so it was quite fortuitous that you posted this article. I checked the original post and the following sentence jumped out:
"Last year, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced that the more than 20,000 workers building South Africa's World Cup stadiums will get free match tickets".
Mmmm. Could these initial pre-emptive sales be a mere handout, purchased by Fifa as a PR exercise? I don't know, and maybe I'm just being a little on the conspirational side. What I do know, and it may be relevant, is that when the Beatles released their first record, still total unknowns, their manager Brian Epstein, went around to music stores and at considerable personal expense, purchased bucket loads of the stuff to boost sales figures.
Make up your own mind, the worm turneth.

Anonymous said...

Truth be told, South Africa will host this event come what may, but Africa will never host an event of this magnitude again.

Anonymous said...

I think the free tickets for the workers should only be valid at the stadiums they are working on!
They won't be going on strike then, the ungrateful b*stards.

Anonymous said...

You must have been shocked to see Loftus and Ellis Park being used for rugby super 14 after the exaggerated blog post about its readiness for 2010.

With regards to deadlines,there is the FIFA deadline and then theres the project deadline. If a project e.g. Mbombela misses its April deadline, its really not a train smash, its the end of year FIFA deadline which is important. Each project has its own deadline which in most cases is well before the FIFA deadline.

Anyway, here are the completion dates. Regardless of your "opinions" venues remain on track for 2009 completion.

Loftus Versfeld: March 2009
Ellis Park: February 2009
Royal Bafokeng: February 2009
Free State Stadium: February 2009

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium: June 2009
Soccer City Stadium: August 2009
Moses Mabhida Stadium: October 2009
Peter Mokaba Stadium: October 2009
Mbombela Stadium: November 2009
Green Point Stadium: 14 December 2009

I repeat, since you are following preparations so closely, why are there no blog posts when significant stadium milestones are reached?

It is important to reflect the reality is RSA, but you are only focusing on the negative. To provide a true picture of whats hapenning it would be nice of you to occasionally provide an update of the progress made rather than only writing an entry each time a strike takes place or a stadium is a week or 2 behind schedule.

Last week Green Point completed the lifting of its roof structure. I don't see any blog post about that.

I dare you. I will even provide the images of the stadium progress.

Anonymous said...

I'd be glad to. Instead of telling me anticipated completion dates, how about you show me pics or refer me to articles that show ribbon-cutting/ opening ceremonies? Until then, I remain sceptical. As for the rugby taking place, that has nothing to do with the renovations. Besides, I'm talking about the new stadiums mainly. I'd like to see them finished. Loftus and Ellis Park are existing stadiums being renovated and you can play games while the work is underway.

As for focusing on the negative, nah, there is plenty we do report on that is positive, you just haven't been reading the blog long enough but also, there isn't much positive coming out of SA so it hard to focus on the positive when the negative dominates. Send me clips, links, pics of opening ceremonies /opening games and I'll happily post it.

Joe King said...

Please explain how missing the project deadline is not important- Is the the way you clever civil engineers now do project planning. "Ag, don't worry we will tell them one thing and do another" - That is typical Africanisation which is the negative of "n Boer maak n plan!" Why does one have to settle for second best. If the comapnies miss the deadline, are they obliged to pay penalties. I doubt it because you do business the African way! That is where the problem lies. No more pride. gimme, gimme, gimme.....

People of South Africa said...,,2-7-1442_2474764,00.html

Anonymous said...

Hey PSA, how does a premier saying it will be completed actually mean it will be completed? In the new SA, seeing is truly believing.

Send me the links when the opening ceremonies take place and I'll match them with your list of NEW anticipated completion dates and we'll happily post it here.

The organising committee, the premiers and even the president have been telling us things were on schedule, on schedule, on schedule - what schedule? - when the dates simply keep getting pushed back.

Per your list; Ellis Park: February 2009, Royal Bafokeng: February 2009 - can we expect an official announcement or ceremony stating the stadiums are fully ready by 28 February 2009?

People of South Africa said...

Spoke to an engineer on site regarding Mbombela Stadium.
Roof concrete works complete. Realistic completion by mid July with final touches ready by end September for FIFA inspection in October.

Venue will be ready well before the FIFA handover February 2010.

Anonymous said...

You just don't get the point , do you.

You have your fancy job, your shiny 4x4 and your Plett timeshare so the the rest of the country can implode. How long do you think your little bubble will last? The country can NOT afford this extravagance, this money was desperately needed in our schools and hospitals.Enjoy your box seats while our pensioners spend 12 hours at a hospital to get even the most basic of medical attention.

I also notice you don't have the balls to post my comment on your site.