South Africans were today assured every cent of investment in infrastructure ahead of the 2010 World Cup would equip the economy to grow into the future.
Addressing an audience at Indaba 2010 Monhla Hlahla, chief executive officer of the Airports Company of South Africa, said, while his country was not looking to compete with Europe, this FIFA World Cup offering an exciting opportunity.
Pictured: Monhla Hlahla, chief executive officer of the Airports Company of South Africa, addressing the media this morning
“South Africa needs these airports and these temples of football,” she said referring to the ten football stadiums the organising committee handed over to FIFA recently ahead of the kick-off in 30 days.
Ms Hlahla was speaking at a Media Face Off at Durban’s new Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Moderated by well-known South African journalist, John Perlman, and BBC World Africa Business Report anchor, Komla Dumor, more than 400 journalists attended.
“The stadiums will be put to work to service the demands of tourism and other industries to grow the economy and to continue creating jobs into the future,” added Ms Hlahla.
“A nation’s transport infrastructure is the place where tourists and the national economy meet for growth.”
The sentiments echoed those expressed by president Jacob Zuma, who officially opened the Indaba travel conference on Saturday.
“The World Cup will forever change the world’s perception of South Africa – it is in our hands to make this the best World Cup ever,” said president Zuma.
“The World Cup has changed the face of this country. Not only has it revatilised our economy, but it has given impetus to infrastructural development and job creation.
“It is estimated that over 3.6 million additional job opportunities will be created during the tournament. This is a welcome boost for the industry and for many South Africans.
“Of particular importance to millions of South Africans and also to visitors to our country is the revitalised of our public transport network.”
President went on to cite improvements made to South Africa’s broadcasting and information technology infrastructure as further evidence of the World Cup’s influence.