Cape Town – The Mother City is preparing for a party expected to draw over 60 000 people to celebrate the opening of the World Cup on Thursday, the City of Cape Town said.
Roads in and around the city centre will close from 14:00 to midnight to make way for a FIFA World Cup street festival.
Up to 17 000 people were expected to attend the event at the official Grand Parade Fan Fest site, with another 50 000 people expected to gather in the city centre for the “Welcome the World to the Mother City” street festival.
Roads affected were Keizergracht, Buitenkant, Darling, Plein, Parade, Corporation, Burg, Wale, Bloem and Green, Cape Town Traffic Services chief inspector Merle Lourens said.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused by these street closures and wish to thank all Capetonians in advance for their co-operation,” said Lourens.
“To minimise traffic disruptions, Cape Town Traffic Services will be on duty to redirect motorists and pedestrians. There will also be sufficient signage advising alternative routes.”
Festivities would kick off at 14:00 and would include a lighting show at City Hall at 19:00 and a parade by 2 000 entertainers through the city streets from 19:30.
“This party promises to be bigger, better and safer that any of the city’s previous parties,” said Cape Town executive mayor Dan Plato.
The 2 000-strong parade would see musicians, soccer players, ballet dancers, marimba bands and drag queens, marching along Darling, Adderley and Wale streets, before coming to a close at Queen Victoria Street.
From 21:00 until midnight, top South African musicians were expected to entertain the crowds at the Grand Parade fan site.
Residents and businesses in the affected areas would be subject to access control measures during the closures