Govt assesses preparation for World Cup

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The official report released this week, which assessed progress in preparations, said that so far some R20-billion had been allocated for stadium, transport and other infrastructure.

When it bid to host the soccer showcase, estimates made in 2004 for the cost of hosting the event were as little as R3-billion.

But since then, plans have become more ambitious - new stadiums are being built in Durban and Cape Town which were not initially scheduled - and the price of cement and other raw materials has risen.

The government has also decided to use the event as a catalyst for massive spending on badly needed transport infrastructure like roads, railways and airports, as well as beefing up police numbers and equipment.

After a slow start, stadium construction is generally on track, although there are concerns that the Port Elizabeth stadium may not be ready in time for the 2009 Confederations Cup.

The lack of efficient public transport remains a big headache.