South African World Cup Stadium Costs Highlight Neighboring Poverty

The costs of a new stadium built for this year's World Cup in Nelspruit, South Africa have heightened tensions between the city's poor and its leading officials.
March 15, 2010, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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The new stadium will be used for just four of the tournament's 64 games, which begin in June. The total cost of the stadium is $137 million -- in a country with unemployment near 25% and more than half of the population living below the poverty line.

"The people who live nearby, proud as they are to host soccer's greatest event, also wonder: How could there be money for a 46,000-seat stadium while many of them still fetch water from dirty puddles and live without electricity or toilets?

The 2010 World Cup is meant to display South Africa at its very best: a modern, prosperous nation friendly to commerce, tourists and democratic ideals. This is the first time the event will be held in Africa, and it was buoyantly suggested by the former president, Thabo Mbeki, that the competition was a milestone for the entire continent, 'sending ripples of confidence from the Cape to Cairo.'"

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Published on Friday, March 12, 2010 in The New York Times
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