The South African Government today took stock of the country's ongoing preparations and state of readiness to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. And with 666 days to go before the country stages the historic first African FIFA World Cup, it proudly proclaimed that preparations for the tournament are proceeding smoothly and that South Africans are collectively rolling up their sleeves to ensure the event's success.

At a briefing today the South African Government said the country was hard at work preparing for what t he 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee (OC) still firmly believes will be the best FIFA World Cup ever. In a statement today the South African Government said it had formed "seamless partnerships" with the 2010 Organising Committee and many other departments tasked with organising the tournament, which would prove critical to the success of the delivery of the event.

A statement issued by the Government Communication and Information System said "the government of the Republic of South Africa is pleased with the progress being made so far and remains confident that all deadlines will be met."

"We are now undoubtedly in the delivery phase of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and tangible progress is being made in every corner of the country in preparation for the event," the OC's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Danny Jordaan, said in response to the Government statement.

"Government's report today is not only an indication of the progress made and of Government's commitment to deliver the event, but also its determination to monitor the progress made. And we are very happy that with every bit of progress made, it strengthens further the partnership between the Organising Committee and Governmnent. Government's statement today also shows that the country as a whole stands to benefit from the improved infrastructure being delivered as a result of the World Cup in a number of areas," Dr Jordaan added.

The South African Government statement said it "continues to believe that the country is on course to deliver on the guarantees we made to FIFA as part of our bid to stage this historic World Cup" and called on all South Africans to rally their efforts in their various areas of expertise to ensure the tournament's success.

Government said the 2010 Inter-Ministerial Committee had met recently and received a progress report from Government's 2010 Technical Coordinating Committee. The report indicated that preparations were proceeding well and most projects were still within targeted completion timeframes.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee was also briefed about progress being made in the construction of stadiums, with all indication that the country's stadiums, both for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will be completed in time to meet the FIFA deadlines.

Government also said it was pleased with preparations on other areas central to delivering a successful World Cup, such as safety and security and transport, and was also very happy with the enthusiastic response of South Africans to the call for volunteers for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009.

Over 25 000 South Africans have applied to volunteer at the tournament, which is being held from 14 June to 28 June 2009. "We want to commend the South African Government for its extraordinary support in realising our country's dream of making this event happen. Government's support has not only been financial, but every arm of Government has worked hand in hand with us at the Organising Committee on every facet of the World Cup process and Government has shown time and time its undoubted commitment and determination to successfully stage this event," said Dr Jordaan.