After strikes, now land claim threatens World Cup stadium progress

Other News Materials 1 May 2008 03:30 (UTC +04:00)

After several strikes threatened the progress at the World Cup stadium in Nelspruit that is in the process of being built, a legal case could now cause further delays, the dpa reported.

A South African High Court is to rule on May 13 in a case brought by the family who owned the land on which the stadium is being built, South African media reported on Wednesday.

The family is claiming that officials had no right to sell the land to the Mbombela consortium, who bought the land for a symbolic price of 1 Rand (12 cents).

"The officials had no legal right to sell the land for the owners and certainly not for such a price," a lawyer acting for the previous owners said.

"If the court rules in our favour, the deed of sale will be void and the stadium will belong to the Matsafeni family," he said.

Building at the stadium has often been interrupted by workers striking for better working conditions, which they have been given.

South Africa will become the first African country to host the World Cup in 2010 and the Confederations Cup a year earlier, but their preparations have been questioned by both local and international media.

Port Elizabeth has still not been confirmed as a venue for the Confederations Cup as organizers fear that it might not be ready and the final decision is now expected to be taken on May 5 or May 6. If the city is scrapped, only four venues will be used for the tournament, which is considered as a test run for the World Cup.

Although a recent survey has shown that a majority of the population believes that the stadiums will be completed on time, there is some concern about the energy situation, that has seen large parts of the country experiencing power shortages and black-outs.

Business Day newspaper said on Wednesday that another survey showed that just 36 per cent of South Africans in urban areas believe the country will not be able to cope with the demand for electricity during the World Cup.