Champagne flowed and balloons were released into the sky as the new Cape Town Stadium was officially handed over to the City of Cape Town on a perfect summer afternoon on 14 December 2009.
At a ceremony in front of over 200 invited guests and the media representatives from around the world, Executive Mayor Alderman Dan Plato, received the keys to the stadium and proudly declared that "this stadium is ready to welcome the world".
He said the ceremony was to "celebrate the new stadium and also the city" and later kicked a soccer ball around the new pitch.
The state-of-the-art stadium - which will seat 68,000 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and will host eight matches, including a semi-final - was completed on schedule, just 32 months after the first sod was turned.
Plato said the R4.5-billion stadium was the biggest project of its kind ever undertaken in Cape Town, and is regarded as a triumph in both design and construction, despite some challenges during the construction period.
"But it has been worth the wait. Capetonians are proud of it, and pictures of it are being e-mailed around the world.
According to Mike Marsden, Executive Director for Service Delivery Integration, the target completion date was achieved through a "magnificent team effort" and thanked all those involved in the stadium, including the main building contractors, Murray & Roberts and WBHO and their "committed and dedicated workforce" of 2 500, as well as the professional team and City professional team.
The key issues in getting it ready in time included resolve, resources and skills, he said. "It's a remarkable achievement."
Marsden added that the structure is a "stadium of beauty" comparable to iconic structures elsewhere, such as the Sydney Opera House and Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. "This stadium will be identifiable with Cape Town," he said.
Plato described the stadium as a "wonderful piece of art" and said it has a "grand, spacious, timeless design".
"I can assure the whole world that this stadium will be a legacy for the entire country. Cape Town Stadium is set to be one of the world's sporting landmarks. In this very arena, the best of the world will do battle. It will also be the iconic image of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™."
Plato also reiterated that it is a stadium for all Capetonians, not just for those in Green Point, where it is situated.
"People of Cape Town, this is your stadium, it is our stadium. I hope it will give us all the joy and the pleasure we deserve. This stadium is ready for the world.”