With some critics questioning whether South African stadiums will be ready for the world cup in 2010, South Africa dispelled them by publishing that the 10 stadiums are close completion and that will bear comparison with the world best arenas.
In the wake of this controversy, the debate still continues over whether or not some of the now escalated budget of 13 billion rand ($1.7 billion) could have been used to help the army of poor who live in squalor 15 yeas after the end of apartheid. Many of the critics are saying that the money is being wasted and a much better use should have been place on alleviating poverty which feed South Africas’s frightening rate of violent crime by building millions of new houses to replace apartheid-era shanty towns and combating the world’s biggest HIV caseload. They charge that many of the stadiums will quickly become unused relics after the tournament.
The other side to this argument stresses on the fact that the Word cup in 2010 gives Africa a change to reverse stereotype of famine, pestilence and war that is still the blight of the continent. Nobel peace prize laureate and anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said the World Cup will have as big an impact for black people as the election of U.S. President Barack Obama and will give new pride to a still divided nation. “With all the negative things that are taking place in Africa, this is a superb moment for us. If we are going to have white elephants, so be it,” he said.
Another point is that the World Cup construction has cushioned South Africa from the global recession and will contribute close to 56 billion rand ($7.3 billion) to the economy. “It has been a huge blessing for South Africa in view of the recession,” said Gillian Saunders of business consultants Grant Thornton.
Regardless of the points laid out concerning the World Cup 2010 in Africa, one South African World Cup official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters: “Football means a lot to the people in our country. This is not a panacea but it has lifted our people’s psyche, lifted their belief in themselves.”
Let us know what you think about the South Africa hosting the World Cup this coming June.