Media: 2010 legacy sweet for some, bitter for many

14 06 2011

THE most obvious “spectacle” of the international event’s legacy is the Cape Town Stadium, its indelible mark fixed on the city’s skyline.

The 55 000-seat stadium has been used for various events, including sports, international concerts, and private functions. Its running costs, however, have been a major liability for the city, with former operating company Sail StadeFrance pulling out of the lease agreement because of the risks of unprofitability.

According to city spokes-man Pieter Cronje, a budget of R57 million had been allocated for July 2011 to June 2012.

Close to the stadium, the Green Point Urban park is another legacy left by the event. With its biodiversity garden and educational features, it has proven popular among affluent Capetonians.

It has, however, failed to attract visitors from other parts of the city. By lunch time on Freedom Day this year, the only “black township residents” present were a security guard and gardener.

Plans are now afoot to restore the athletics track, sports field and clubhouses.

Another legacy left by the world event was the restructuring of both the M5/Koeberg and Hospital Bend interchanges. Cronje said traffic flow as a result had also “improved significantly”.

The Grand Parade was also upgraded, and pedestrian bridges across Buitengracht Street were constructed, while further afield, the Athlone Stadium was improved, though only minimally after Athlone’s appointment as the flagship stadium was lost to Cape Town Stadium.

While the upgrade had been in the pipeline, it was in the end only prepared as a training ground.

The city’s transport system has also benefited as a result of the World Cup, and while some conflicts have arisen with taxi operators and other industry stakeholders, public transport has improved.

On the tourism side, too, the spin-offs were positive.

Researchers at Grant Thornton say that, second only to Gauteng which drew 223 039 tourists, the Western Cape drew 108 384.

They also found that the V&A Waterfront reached a peak of 115 000 visitors a day, whereas the previous peak was 87 000 a day.

“The World Cup provided the world with a different perspective of South Africa, showcasing our cities – their growing infrastructure, people and vibrant cultures,” said Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold.

But, she says, little has been done at a national level to capitalise on this marketing legacy since the World Cup.

A joint marketing alliance between Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, launched at Indaba this year, will focus on urban tourism and lobby for a more representative marketing exposure of urban South Africa.

For many on the sidelines of this deeply divided city, however, the legacy of the Fifa World Cup is a bitter pill to swallow.

For Mncedisi Twalo, chairperson of the Western Cape Anti Eviction Campaign, the international event was “very sad” for many reasons.

The R4.5bn spent on the stadium “could have been used to better the lives of people living in extreme poverty”, while enforced by-laws spelt the end of a livelihood for many informal traders and hawkers.

“So many people were evicted in town, and closed down their businesses, because of the World Cup. It has been very difficult for them to recover from that economic blow,” he said.

“And many street kids were also evicted because they don’t make the city look nice.”

He said places like Blikkiesdorp and Tsunami had been used as “dumping grounds” by the city, and were built deliberately to hide the “gap between the rich and the poor” with many relocated to hide them from the public eye.

tanya.farber@inl.co.za

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