Cost of World Cup begins to worry South Africa
When the initial estimate of World Cup stadium costs was made by South Africa, it was set at some R2-3 billion.
That was at the time of the country’s success in winning the bid ahead of its fellow African competitors in 2004, some six years before the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.
For months, officials have been predicting the final bill will come in around R13 billion. It is an staggering increase that has never got anything but a flimsy explanation over the last few years.
The economic recession, the price of steel, the volatile South African currency (the Rand) were all cited but never was a detailed explanation offered over the massive escalation.
Admittedly the stadium plan at the time of the R2-3 billion price range changed considerably in the subsequent years; two new stadiums were added to the original plans and the showpiece Soccer City venue given a whole new architectural feel.
Few in South Africa have ever questioned the additional costs, not even those who have felt a sporting spectacle should never have been allowed to take much needed cash away from sorting out the long-standing legacy of decades of Apartheid.
The Treasury seemed consistently happy to be doling out the cash. Up until now though. A probe from the Competition Commission in South Africa is to investigate the allocation of the construction tenders after all the cost escalations.
It might seem a little belated given that the last phase of stadium building is now underway and the venues are due to ready in December.
A country like South Africa needs the World Cup but there is a limit to how much they can pay out for a month-long party, particularly if it is to the detriment of millions of citizens who still have so little.