SA’s bid book ‘embarrassment’

2010-06-12 00:00

THE bid document that secured South Africa the Fifa World Cup and served as the blueprint for the country’s 2010 plans is being “kept under lock and key”.

No reasons have been given for the secrecy surrounding the document, but there are suggestions the South Africa 2010 Bid Book — completed in 2003 — is being kept from view because the estimates it contains of the eventual cost of the tournament to taxpayers are staggeringly inaccurate.

The 1 000-page Bid Book and a dozen annexures of government guarantees and commercial contracts detailing every aspect of South Africa’s 2010 plans was presented to Fifa president Sepp Blatter in Zurich in September 2003.

Since then, it has become almost impossible to obtain.

Professor Richard Tomlinson, one of the co-authors of a Human Sciences Research Council study, Development and Dreams — The Urban Legacy of the 2010 Football World Cup, believes the secrecy surrounding the Bid Book is because “figures [of costs involved] were so out … that it is an embarrassment to all concerned.”

A copy of the Book seen by Beeld estimates that stadium upgrades and construction would cost only R1,2 billion. In fact, the stadiums cost R16,5 billion.

The construction of Green Point stadium in Cape Town alone has cost R4,51 billion.

The Bid Book also proposed that Durban’s King’s Park stadium be upgraded by R54 million, far less than the R3,1 billion eventually spent on the new Moses Mabhida stadium.

The refurbishment of Soccer City was estimated at R220 million, but when it was finally completed, taxpayers had coughed up R3,3 billion.

Government spending on the World Cup is expected to be in excess of R40 billion while the Bid Book grossly underestimated the cost at R3 billion.

Tomlinson said officials with access to the Bid Book were wary of openly sharing its contents.

“There is an environment of fear… If you are outspoken or provide information that is not to the liking of Fifa or the Local Organising Committee (LOC), you are cut out of the loop. It is very overt.”

Tomlinson noted that “by 2005 [the Bid Book] had become unavailable and, from the point of view of the host cities approached, embargoed”.

Fifa LOC spokesman Rich Mkhondo — who was first approached late last year by Beeld with questions about the Bid Book and its whereabouts — said this week he had no idea where it was.

“As far as I know, the Bid Book is under lock and key somewhere in one of the departments, I don’t know where. If you can call me at the end of the World Cup, it will be easier and quicker. It should be a public document.”

In a speech before departing Zurich in 2003, then deputy president Jacob Zuma said government was “determined to make available whatever resources are needed to win this bid”.

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