Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Another Look at South Africa Stadium Debate

We've got more voices on the ongoing debate of "are all these stadiums worth the money ... in a poor country?"

It is a Reuters piece picked up today by the Johannesburg Times.

It pegs the cost of new stadiums for South Africa 2010 -- and there are (gulp) 10 of them ... at $1.7 billion -- up dramatically from the original estimate of $390 million.

We've got both sides talking.

On one side are the people who look at South Africa's shanty towns and AIDS epidemic and wonder how the nation's rulers can look at the country's blight and sleep at night, knowing so much has been spent on stadiums. When all figure to be underutilized and some hardly used at all, once the 2010 World Cup is over. Yes, the word is "white elephants" for the kind of massive projects that never pay for themselves.

On the other side are those who say Africa -- the whole continent -- needs a success, and the cost is almost irrelevant.

No less a personage than Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel peace prize laureate, is in favor of the expenditure.

Said Tutu: "With all the negative things taking place in Africa, this is a superb moment for us. If there are going to be white elephants, so be it."

OK then. For more, go to the story.

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