R461 million for Afcon ‘money well spent’

2012-10-25 12:30

The Africa Cup of Nations is set to cost South Africa R461 million when it is hosted here next year but this will be money well spent, Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene has said.

Nene, who also sits on the tournament’s local organising committee, addressed journalists at a briefing this morning, ahead of the tabling of Treasury’s medium-term budget policy statement in Parliament.

“Anyone who knows what the benefits of sports in the country is would not regard this as a vanity project,” he said.

Nene added the hosting of the cup on home soil next year will also mean the investment in football stadiums during the 2010 Soccer World Cup would have been worthwhile.

He added that the bare minimum was budgeted for the tournament at a time when Treasury was urging government departments to save.

“What we have approved as funding for the Afcon we have cut to the bone,” he said.

“We expect you (the media) and oversight structures to hold us to account for the spending.”

He also said South Africa will draw on the lessons it had learnt from the 2010 tournament.

The announcements of the costs, which were part of Treasury’s adjustments budget because they were unforeseen, comes a day after preparations for the tournament kicked off in Durban with a draw to determine which countries would play in which groups.

The tournament, which was initially set to take place in South Africa in 2017, was moved forward to 2013 after the host country for next year’s tournament, Libya, was deemed politically too unstable to host the tournament.

The money will be spent as follows:

» Home affairs gets R15 million for dedicated airport lanes for staff and spectators, to strengthen law enforcement for illegal immigrants, and for a 24-hour support centre for airlines, foreign missions, ports of entry, spectators and Confederation of African Football members;

» International relations and cooperation gets R18 million for protocol services;

» Government communications gets R10 million for communications services;

» Arts and culture gets R18.5 million for the production of creative programmes in respect of the final draw, and opening and closing ceremonies;

» Health gets R15 million for health and medical services;

» Sport gets R213.165 million to be spent on host cities (R123.1 million), operational costs for the local organising committee (R84 million), and for carrying out its duties in hosting the tournament (R6 million); and

» Police gets R165.4 million for security.

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