Environmental group opposes 2010 football World Cup


By Marie V. Thesbjerg
The troubled Cape Town preparations for the 2010 football World Cup face further problems as an environmental group opposes the construction of a stadium in Cape Town and threatens the city with legal action.

Preparations for the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa have met resistance. Most recently, the Cape Town Environmental Protection Association (CEPA) has challenged the preparations, opposing the building of a new Green Point stadium in Cape Town to host the semi-finals of the 2010 football World Cup.

The city could face legal action as a review application, to be heard in the Cape Town High Court, is still pending, the South African newspaper Cape Times reports.

The CEPA calls the new stadium "nothing less than a monstrous carbuncle that will mar the face of the renowned beauty of Cape Town."

 The CEPA says it is taking action in the public interest and fights for the environmental and administrative justice rights under the constitution that have been violated.

The CEPA's move is the most significant step to date by a civic group opposed to the project. All previous threats of legal action have been defused.

Central to the CEPA's argument is that the approvals for the project have all been inconsistent with the constitution, the National Environmental Management Act, the Environmental Conservation Act, the Promotion of the Administrative Justice Act, the Land Use Planning Ordinance and the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act.

The organisation says while it is in support of the event itself, the building of a new stadium would be a gross misuse of public funds.

The government is not pleased with the threats made by the CEPA. 

“I am disappointed by these few who are attempting to sabotage the hosting of this tournament. We are not going to allow these things to divert us,” Provincial and Local Government Minister, Sydney Mufamadi, said to the newspaper Business Day.

Despite the possible legal action, the city has demolished most of the old stadium. The CEPA is opposing the construction work already ongoing, as they are not yet approved. The process of breaking down the stadium is already far advanced, and the stadium is 90% demolished.

The Cape Town Civil Society-City-wide forum supports the CEPA's proposed legal action. The group, which represents 179 civic organisations, said in a letter to the CEPA that the decision to build the stadium in Green Point was made in an "authoritarian and dictatorial" manner without proper and inclusive public participation.

According to City manager, Achmat Ebrahim, the stadium at Green Point and supporting infrastructure for 2010 is the single biggest capital project Cape Town has ever undertaken. If the CEPA is successful in stopping constructions of the Rand 2.85 billion stadium, it will mean a loss of at least Rand 500 million. The city would also lose billions in investment in infrastructure and private sector investments, Pieter Cronje, the 2010 project spokesman said.


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