The construction of the stadiums faced many challenges, including strikes in July when more than 70,000 workers asked for salary hikes, countrywide blackouts in January 2008 that crippled the economy, budget deficits and sometimes unpredictable weather.
"It has been a roller-coaster ride. Sometimes we were happy and most
times saddened by the criticism and the pessimism but we always knew we
would be ready on time," local organising committee spokesman Rich
Mkhondo told AFP.
Mkhondo said five new and five renovated stadiums were now more than 95
per cent complete and the final touches were being applied, such as
security barriers, planting trees, roads leading to the stadium and
parking lot paving.
To win the confidence of the local and international community in advance
was not easy as many times the capacity of South Africa to deliver
world-class tournament infrastructure was scrutinised.
The country's readiness for the world's biggest sports spectacular was
also questioned when the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth,
which cost 2.1 billion rand (US $282 million dollars, 189 million),
missed its construction deadline for the curtain-raiser Confederations
Cup during June.
Instead, renovated stadiums such as Pretoria, Rustenburg (north-west) and Bloemfontein (central) stole PE's limelight.
Since then the stadium was the first to be ready for the World Cup.
Other challenges the stadiums faced were public protests.
Greenpoint stadium in Cape Town, one of the semi-final venues, faced
fierce competition when residents opposed the development and took the
municipality to court.
"We overcame tremendous challenges because in the beginning some
residents were opposed to the development (stadium) and tried to stop
construction through legal process but lost," Cape Town World cup 2010
spokesman Pieter Cronje said.
In Nelspruit, township residents protested outside the stadium,
demanding a school be built. Authorities said construction of a new school would start this week and finish in March.
The stadium architecture had an African feel with roof poles resembled
giraffe while criss-crossed black and white seating resembled zebra
Soccer City in Johannesburg, venue for the June 11 opening match and
the final on July 11, will seat 91,000 spectators and resembles a
calabash while Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane is inspired by the
local Baobab tree.
However, there are question around government spending about 10 billion
Rands (€857 million), excluding host city contributions, in a
country where poverty affects 43 per cent of the population.
Mkhondo said all the stadiums had sustainability programmes beyond 2010.
"Before we gave the go ahead to cities to build stadium we asked them [about] long-term plans to utilise them and were satisfied. Most of
them will be turned into multi-purpose centres," he said.
Peter Pedroncelli, Goal.com