World Cup offers more than sporting glory: SA envoy

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Ratubatsi Super Moloi, the South African Ambassador to Vietnam, tells Thanh Nien Weekly hosting the World Cup will deliver long-term socio-economic benefits to the nation

South Africa and indeed Africa is extremely proud to be hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, especially as it is the first African nation ever to hold this prestigious event on the African continent.

When Nelson Mandela was released from his 27-year jail sentence in February 1990, few people in football envisaged the World Cup being staged in South Africa. Some 11.7 billion rand has been invested in the transport infrastructure program to ensure the smooth movement of fans, teams and media. The 2010 FIFA World Cup transport projects are an integrated part of the government's overall investment in transport, which is revolutionizing our transport system for the long-term benefit of commuters and the economy.

Our roads, rail and bus route upgrades will provide an integrated transport system. This includes innovations like Rapid Rail and bus rapid transit systems, which include special public transport lanes and interchange nodes for commuters to switch from one form of transport to another. The 2010 FIFA World CupTM will pioneer the use of integrated electronic ticketing, which will see commuters using one ticket to access buses, trains and taxis.

The satellite teleport and telecommunications infrastructure for the World Cup will support a transmission capacity of 40 gigabytes per second and will be used after 2010 to provide broadband services. The International Broadcast Center in Johannesburg will be the media nerve centre, receiving broadcast transmissions from the stadiums and distributing them across the globe.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup will also accelerate the improvement of South Africa's emergency medical services: two well-equipped communications centers worth 37 million rand are being established in each province for real-time coordination of emergency vehicles to the nearest available emergency center, some 8 million rand are being invested to upgrade emergency centers, and medical helicopter services will be extended to all.

Some 1.5-billion rand is being invested in upgrading the ports of entry, and preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup are improving immigration procedures for the smooth entry and exit of people in and out of the country. We will have event-specific visas that will enable ticket holders to enter the country with ease. This includes speeding up immigration processes at ports of entry through "fast-track" lanes and advanced passenger processing in which travelers are checked before they board the airplane to their destination.

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