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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 17:52 GMT 18:52 UK
SA dismisses World Cup doubts
Mandela, Tutu with WC trophy
South Africa will host the continent's first ever World Cup finals

South Africa's cabinet has dismissed concerns about the country's readiness to host the 2010 World Cup.

The newly-elected mayor of Cape Town, the country's second largest city, caused a furore by criticising plans for a new stadium in the city for the tournament.

Helen Zille, of the opposition Democratic Alliance, questioned whether the city can afford its estimated US$165.5 million contribution to the stadium's construction while poor residents remain homeless.

"Cabinet expressed its disappointment at recent statements by public officials in various capacities regarding the country's readiness to host the 2010 World Cup," the government's chief spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe told reporters.

"Negative public communication, aimed at accessing resources or any other purpose, does not help the image of the country nor does it in any case reflect the true state of affairs."

South Africa, with the continent's biggest economy, will be the first African nation to host the World Cup.

Netshitenzhe said the cabinet on Wednesday had noted comments by communications firm Sentech, that South Africa's ageing transmission network would require massive investment for it to be able to broadcast the tournament to a global audience.

"We all need to ensure that our pronouncements are based on fact," he said.

Two new stadiums will be built and eight will be upgraded in time for the 2010 tournament.

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