By CLARE NULLIS
The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 25, 2006; 2:43 PM
CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- The South African government plans to spend $1.9 billion on new stadiums and related infrastructure for the 2010 World Cup.
Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told parliament Wednesday that preparations for the tournament _ the first to be held in Africa _ were one of the country's top spending priorities for the next three years.
"The hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup provides South Africa and the region with a one-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase our land and our hospitality in a sporting festival that knows no bounds," Manuel said.
A FIFA delegation was in the gallery as he presented his midterm budget through 2009-10.
"This is a good day for South Africa and a good day for the 2010 World Cup," FIFA spokesman Markus Siegler said.
Manuel promised to boost spending on the criminal justice system and recruit an additional 10,000 police officers by 2010 to increase their presence on the streets. The transport ministry is upgrading the nation's airports and building a new one in Durban to deal with the expected 450,000 foreign tourists.
It is spending $640 million to improve the railway network and nearly $1 billion to modernize the fleet of aging minibus taxis. Another $1.1 billion will be spent to build or upgrade 10 stadiums.
Johannesburg will host the opening match and the final, while Cape Town and Durban will host semifinal matches. The other venues are Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, Nelspruit, Bloemfontein, Polokwane and Rustenberg.