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2008-04-21: Executive Mayor announces multi million rand upgrade for NASREC

THE Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Amos Masondo, today announced that the City would invest more than R120m to upgrade the Nasrec precinct south of Johannesburg's city centre to support the hosting of the International Broadcast Centre during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

He said the money will be used mainly to rent and upgrade the required halls and facilities from the Expo Centre, "In addition the City will provide various services relating to electricity installation, security and monitoring, waste removal, health and transport."

The City approved the Nasrec Precinct as a development node to bridge the apartheid spatial planning gap between the South and the North of Johannesburg in 2001. "This has resulted in amongst others, the private sector partnering with the City in investing R1 billion in the Nasrec Precinct for the development of 500 residential units and a four star hotel," he said.

Nasrec, one of the City's oldest and largest exhibition centres, will see thousands of broadcasters from around the world based there for six weeks during June/July 2010. Germany hosted 13,400 accredited TV commentators, camera crew - members and technical staff - at its International Broadcast Centre at the last 2006 FIFA World Cup.

"The IBC will be the pulse and the nerve centre for all TV operations during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Though a sophisticated network it will be linking the venues in South Africa to the rest of our football family all over the globe. This way it will also create a legacy, far beyond the event in terms of telecommunication infrastructure for the country," said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter in a video message to guests attending a function at Nasrec today (Monday 21 April 2008).

"So I say to the City of Johannesburg we have put our faith and our trust in you. You will deliver our beautiful game to all our fans, making sure they will experience everything about the 2010 FIFA World Cup, close to their hopes and their dreams," the FIFA President said in his message.

Dr Danny Jordaan, CEO of the FIFA World Cup Organising Committee said, "Today we bear witness to another major milestone on our joint journey towards 2010 with the announcement that Johannesburg will host this crucial operation centre and we are very confident that the City will fulfill this big responsibility admirably to upgrade Nasrec and to provide great accommodation and services in this precinct."

Johannesburg is already the primary broadcasting hub for international and local television and radio as well as home to almost 60% of all Information Communications and Technology (ICT) enterprises in South Africa. Included in the high-tech facilities that will be constructed at the IBC are satellite teleport and telecommunications infrastructure, which will support forty (40) gigabytes per second transmission capacity.

"When we look at the projected spend by the media contingent we proceed from the existing figure that business tourists to South Africa spend on average R2 002 per day. The estimated spend in Johannesburg in 2010 by foreign broadcaster contingent at the IBC is R209 million and the total direct spend that is projected in the City due to the hosting of the IBC is R319, 9 million," said Masondo.

The construction of the IBC and the redevelopment of Soccer City provide Joburg an additional thrust to its long-term plans to revitalise the south of Johannesburg.

"Many of you will be familiar with the significant changes that are taking place in Soweto with the tarring of all roads, the rapid construction of shopping centres and entertainment complexes and the growth of opportunities in commercial activities. These developments in the Nasrec Precinct will, no doubt, accelerate the 'rise of the South,' " Masondo said.

"In this City, we do not regard the 2010 FIFA World Cup as a once-off event but that a considerable portion of our planning goes into ensuring that it will leave a legacy for the people of our City. Every Rand we spend on infrastructure and operations will bring lasting benefits to Johannesburg, its residents and its future growth and development," he said.