World Cup 2010: is Johannesburg ready?

With the World Cup barely two weeks away, Johannesburg has shifted into high gear to get ready.

The city’s 2010 FIFA World Cup page proudly proclaims that a huge amount of effort and money has been spent on cleaning up the city and improving infrastructure. It has spent 1.2 billion rand ($151 million) to revamp Soccer City, a giant stadium where the opening ceremony and final game will be held. Billions have also gone into other stadiums and city infrastructure.

But a report by Business Day newspaper has found the city still hasn’t finished fixing roads between the main venues, the airport, and the hotel district. It’s an open question whether these will be done in time to deal with the huge increase in traffic once the World cup gets started. Another problem is transportation for the fans. The special transport set up between the airport and the fan park won’t run at night, forcing people to use public transport.

At least fans will be going to a place that was named the city with the lowest cost of living in a 2009 survey, and if they don’t find the savings being passed onto them, they can always get away from the crowds and visit Mozambique like many South Africans are doing this year.