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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 10:38 GMT
'TV chaos' feared at SA World Cup
South African woman looks at World Cup trophy
South Africans are looking forward to hosting the tournament
South Africa needs major investment in telecommunications if broadcasts of the 2010 football World Cup are to succeed, parliament has heard.

National broadcast infrastructure company Sentech warned of chaos if the 30-year-old TV infrastructure failed, as spare parts were not available.

A report to parliament's communications committee said billions of rand were needed to prevent such a failure.

South Africa will be the first African country to host the World Cup.

High-definition TV

Sentech chairman Colin Hickling said spares were no longer made for outdated and almost redundant equipment, resulting in repairs that took a long time.

"The pool of technicians available to maintain the equipment is almost depleted as many have reached retirement age," Mr Hickling told the parliamentary committee.

Sentech tower
Sentech runs the infrastructure used by TV and telecoms companies

Fifa wants the World Cup to be broadcast in high-definition television but state-owned Sentech fears this may not be possible.

It has been asking for extra funds for several years but the government has turned down previous requests, reports the Business Day newspaper.

Mr Hickling also said more investment would be needed to reduce the cost of broadband and telecommunications.

This is a government target under its Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative, which is aimed at reducing the cost of doing business in South Africa.

There is also mounting concern about the state of the country's electricity supply network.

The Western Cape province, which includes Cape Town, has been suffering a series of power-cuts which are also blamed on ageing infrastructure.

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