Archive for January, 2010

Is South Africa ready for World Cup 2010?

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

This is one of the questions I ask myself quite often. And my answer is: it’s still a long way to go!

I came to this conclusion when having a look at the following points:

  • Stadiums: I’ve so far seen five stadiums and all have one thing in common: construction companies are still working. But let’s have a closer look…
    • Soccer-City-Stadium: this stadium has been renovated completely. It’s the stadium that has most work left to be done. Streets around it are still being built and most of the stairways do not yet exist. The stadium itself is ready.
    • Ellis-Park-Stadium: the stadium is ready. Some minor work is still ongoing.
    • Loftus-Versfeld-Stadium: it’s the same like for Ellis-Park-Stadium.
    • Green-Point-Stadium: around the stadium work is still going on
    • Nelson-Mandela-Bay-Stadium: Although they are already playing a football match in the stadium next weekend, the area around the stadium needs a lot of work.
  • Transportation:
    • Public Transport: New bus stops have been erected in Johannesburg. Several hundreds of buses have been bought (although they still look very old…). But I doubt that they will be enough to transport 94.000 people to Soccer-City-Stadium or 70.000 to Ellis-Park-Stadium.
      The Loftus-Versfeld-Stadium already has a railway station. So, I guess that it is capable to transport the spectators to the stadium and back.
      Cape Town: Green Point bus terminal is there but not yet in use. On the nearby Main Road buses are circulating but they will not be able to transport all fans.
      Port Elizabeth: Um, is there anything near the stadium? I only saw the stadium from one side, so I cannot tell if there is anything like a bus stop.
    • Streets: The highways around Johannesburg and Tshwane are still being upgraded. I don’t think that work will be finished by June. The existing highways have not the best standard. Especially when it’s dark and raining, it’s nearly impossible to see the road marking. Holes in the streets don’t make driving easier. Very positive is the fact that there are road signs for the hotels on the highway as well as in the city.
      The streets in Cape Town are much better than in the Jo’burg area. Driving comes close to what I am used from Europe.
      Port Elizabeth’s streets are something in between Jo’burg and Cape Town. Sometimes they are really good, sometimes they are crap.
  • Safety: If you ask white people everything is extremely bad, if you ask black people it’s not too bad except from some areas. My personal feeling is that you really have to know where you can go and where not. Tourist areas are quite safe, in all other areas you have to be really careful. Even in the city centre of Tshwane I didn’t feel very comfortable. But if you follow some rules, you will be fine.
    In Cape Town, the general impression is that it is safer than in Jo’burg or Tshwane. But still you have to be careful.
    Port Elizabeth: Well done! Place the stadium into a warehouse district where you cannot feel safe at all. I didn’t feel comfortable at all when getting to the stadium (and I was in the car!).  Port Elizabeth CBD is said to be quite dangerous (good chance of  a robbery…).

On my trip, I will be in two more host cities (Cape Town, Port Elizabeth). What will the situation there be like?

Post updated with impressions from Cape Town.

Post updated with impressions from Port Elizabeth.

Horror stories

Monday, January 4th, 2010

On today’s flight from Sydney to Johannesburg, I had quite a lot South Africans around me. So, I asked them about the safety in South Africa.

I expected they would tell me that it’s not as worse as described in the guide. But I was wrong.

One guy told me about two incidents in his family:

  1. the husband of his niece was shot three times in his stomach in a robbery (the man died within no time)
  2. he once was in his cottage near Cape Town with the family when he heard something. His daughter went into the living room. There a burglar shot three times. Luckily, the first two attempts were not successful as no bullet went off. The third was successful but the daughter had already left the room. He then went outside to house where the guy shot at him but hit only the car which was in between

I was also told that car hijackings are common all over South Africa and people are killed for just a mobile phone.

For me this was quite a shock as they described the situation even more dangerous than in the guide. But they always said: use common sense, that’s the most important.

So, I keep fingers crossed!