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It has been an excellent year
21 December 2010
The magnificent FNB Stadium

From the spectacular World Cup to awards from the United Nations and other international bodies, Joburg has indeed done itself proud in 2010.

EXCELLENCE: that’s what the City of Joburg demonstrated in June and July when it hosted the successful FIFA 2010 World Cup™.

Hundreds of thousands of people visited the city of gold, chilled in its many restaurants and pubs, visited its great tourist attractions, enjoyed the hospitality of Joburgers, and went home certain that Joburg was a city of energy and exuberance.

“Most citizens would agree that this has been indeed an exciting and eventful year,” says Executive Mayor Amos Masondo in his year-end statement.

 

The 2010 Fifa World Cup opening ceremony (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)
The 2010 Fifa World Cup opening ceremony (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)

 

Joburg hosted the opening and closing World Cup matches, and another 13, of the total of 32 games played in the country.

“In this city, in spite of the enormous pressure to deliver a successful soccer tournament, we were also able to carry out our normal standard delivery of services such as water, electricity, sanitation, removal and management of waste, enforcement of by-laws, emergency services, health at our clinics and others,” continues Masondo.

“This city is about people. It is about grappling with all challenges, especially those that affect the poor. Together, let us make Joburg even greater.”

Joburg was the only city in the country with two stadiums for the fans to catch the action – Ellis Park, now Coca-Cola Park, and Soccer City, now the FNB Stadium.

The spectacular Soccer City was built almost from scratch and can seat around 90 000 spectators, while Ellis Park was revamped to accommodate 62 000 spectators.

In addition, Joburg got a wonderful legacy from the World Cup of several other stadiums that were upgraded - Orlando, Rand, Rabie Ridge, Dobsonville, Cecil Payne, Ruimsig, Wits University and the University of Johannesburg.

Welcoming the visitors
The city went all out to welcome its visitors. Flags greeted them on the way in from the airport; public gardens and roadsides were planted with vibrant swathes of flowers; parks were spruced up and new ones created; the city centre was scrubbed, and residents were on their best behaviour.

 

Street sellers were quick to catch onto the World Cup fever
Street sellers were quick to catch onto the World Cup fever

 

Joburgers joined in the vibe. Mini flags and mirror gloves appeared on vehicles all over the city, and vuvuzelas could be heard, blasting their support atany time of the day. Flags appeared on the balconies of people’s homes. People wore their makarapas proudly.

Street sellers hawked colourful flags, vuvuzelas and other World Cup paraphenalia, cajoling drivers and pedestrians into buying their wares. Giant soccer balls appeared, the biggest on the Telkom Tower in Hillbrow, where it still sits, 200 metres in the air. The SABC tower block in Auckland Park displayed a huge flag, some 15 storeys high.

The City created two fan parks for its residents: Elkah Stadium in Soweto and Innes Free Park in Sandton, with a public viewing area on Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown. Large screen TVs were installed in nine township parks to allow some of Joburg's poorer communities to watch all the football action.

The Johannesburg Tourism Company estimated that about one million visitors touched down in the city, soaking up the fun of the World Cup.

And those visitors loved Jozi. An American fan, Ryan Littman-Quim, had this to say: "[Joburg] people are very friendly and this is a cool place. I was in Soweto the other day at Elkah Stadium at the FIFA Fan Fest™ for the Bafana Bafana match against Uruguay. It was cool, man. The locals are friendly; it's a nice place.”

Rea Vaya buses
And to move all the fans around, the City had its brand-new Rea Vaya or Bus Rapid Transit system up and running, launched in August 2009. The buses moved thousands of fans down to Soccer City and back.

 

Rea Vaya took fans to the games
Rea Vaya took fans to the games

 

By the end of 2010, the full Phase 1A was operational, with several feeder routes open, the latest being Dobsonville to Maponya Mall, in Soweto. There are now some 10 Rea Vaya stations up and running in the CBD.

More stations are set to open in 2011.

Most productive metro
Joburg was also rated the most productive metro in the country by the Municipal Productivity Index.

The four-year-old index, which is produced by Municipal IQ, a specialised local government data and intelligence service, measures South Africa’s most productive areas in which to work, live and invest.

The award is based on five elements: poverty levels and the municipal response to poverty; access to a minimum level of municipal services; economic intelligence, which is infrastructure used by residents to participate in the economy; financial governance and expenditure levels by the local council; and vacancy rates in the municipality.

And to make the City even more productive, other developments were launched. In July a new electricity substation in Midrand was unveiled, expected to alleviate the electricity supply shortfall in the area.

City Power budgeted R68-million for the substation, and hopes it will encourage investment in the area and boost economic growth.

Soweto
Growth in Soweto took a step forward with the launch of the Soweto Empowerment Zone (SEZ) in Diepkloof in May.

 

Soweto's biggest mixed-use development, Orlando Ekhaya
Soweto's biggest mixed-use development, Orlando Ekhaya

 

The SEZ is an industrial park that it is hoped will attract, develop and support black economic empowerment businesses; ensure small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) from Soweto will be the primary beneficiaries; and use procurement to support the viability of SMMEs. The Greater Soweto Business Forum will recommend suitable SMMEs to form part of the zone. This will depend on the demand and the type of products that are going to be produced.

The biggest development in the city, Orlando Ekhaya in Soweto, has begun in earnest. The R1-billion development is a joint project between the City and the private sector.

Orlando Ekhaya will comprise 60ha of land, consisting of three levels of shops and restaurants within the old power station, with a townhouse development immediately behind this, a bird sanctuary and a generous walkway around the dam, with jetties for water sports.

And to make sure Soweto looks good, Masondo proudly planted the 200 000th tree in April, part of the City’s efforts to green the southern suburbs of Joburg.

Municipal awards
The City’s municipal-owned entities have also been rewarded for their efforts this year. City Parks has picked up a number of awards in acknowledgement of its work.

 

The Diepkloof Xtreme Park, another win for City Parks
The Diepkloof Xtreme Park, another win for City Parks

 

In November, City Parks received the gold award at the UN-endorsed Liveable Communities (LivCom) Awards in Chicago. The award recognises City Parks’ focus on overturning the environmental disparities in Joburg. The programme, Bridging the Green Divide 2010 Greening the City, is a major effort to green Johannesburg, at the same time contributing to the protection of the global climate.

City Parks embarked on a programme of building more regional parks, planting more trees, beautifying road islands in its efforts to green the Joburg landscape. Part of the greening initiative were the Dorothy Nyembe Environmental Education Centre in Soweto, Ivory Park, the Greening of Soweto and the Thokoza Park//Moroko Dam rehabilitation, which all received gold awards.

The utility won LivCom awards in 2007 and 2008.

The Johannesburg Tourism Company recently received a Diamond Arrow at the Africa Leaders and Achievers ceremony. It is the highest award in any category – the group received it for being the company that had done the most in Joburg in 2010 to promote tourism and conservation.

The City also got first place Honourable Mention in the 2010 Sustainable Transport Award by the international Institute for Transportation and Development Policy for the successful implementation of the first phase of Rea Vaya.

Johannesburg Water received a prestigious Blue Drop award for 2009/10 from the Department of Water Affairs. The awards are made after annual scientific research, testing and assessing water quality from 787 municipal water authorities. Joburg scored 98,4 percent.

Another City entity, the Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco), brought home the United Nations 2010 Scroll of Honour in October. Joshco won the award for providing innovative housing for about 30 000 Joburg citizens.

It was not only the City that got recognition: the third annual Halala Joburg Awards were handed out in May, acknowledged enterprising individuals and companies that have pushed the boundaries of restoration, revitalisation and upliftment in the city.

New parks and clinics
A new park in Claremont West was opened in October.

During the two-week greening and beautifying initiative, 650 learners from Helpmekaar College in Braamfontein transformed a dead space into a park with 300 newly planted trees, playground equipment, a water feature, an amphitheatre, a mini soccer field, seven braai facilities, painted murals and large areas of landscaped lawn. The park now offers time-out space to residents of some 700 low-cost houses in the area.

By July, 670 trees had been planted in the new Tsutsumani Park in Alexandra, to mark Nelson Mandela Day.

On a further green note, solar water heaters and insulated ceilings were supplied to 700 RDP homes in Cosmo City. Partly funded by the Danish Development Agency, it was part of a R15-million climate change mini-programme for Joburg, with the City contributing R9-million.

The City also opened a number of new clinics - Nokuphila Clinic in Dobsonville, OR Tambo Clinic in Diepsloot, Protea Glen Clinic in Soweto, Sophiatown and Riverlea clinics, while a refurbished Zone 2 Meadowlands Clinic and a revamped Windsor Clinic were unveiled. In addition, the Zandspruit Clinic received a comprehensive new Aids treatment centre.

“We continue to be a world-class African city, a city of the future. We continue to strive for a society that is united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous. We continue to build a city that is green, clean and safe,” concludes Masondo.

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