Inter-Ministerial Committee briefing on 2010 World Cup
18 Mar 2010
The Minister of Sports and Recreation, Mr Makenkesi Stofile, briefed the media on the outcomes of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC’s) latest meeting.
Q: The taxi industry has indicated that they have been excluded from the economic space and especially the World Cup, any comment on that?
A: The Minister of Transport, Mr Sbu Ndebele, replied that the taxi industry was fully involved in the Confederations Cup and would continue to do so at the World Cup. Negotiations were ongoing with the industry and they would be fully involved otherwise how else would fans be transported.
Q: Are there any concerns about the impact of the service delivery protests and the threats that they will be ongoing during the World Cup?
A: The Minister of Sports and Recreation acknoiwled that the people of South Africa had concerns about the issue of slow service delivery. At one stage, the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) had threatened to disrupt the World Cup but after engaging with the relevant authorities they have now abandoned that idea. No right thinking South African would try and disrupt any World Cup activities.
Q: Are there any concerns about the lower than expected ticket sales and how they will reflect the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA)?
A: The Minister replied that the economic situation had changed since South Africa was awarded host status. There needed to be a realistic review of previous projections within the context of the present day situation. FIFA have had to also review the method of ticket sales as well as the pricing. The tickets sold to date as well as those that would be sold would not embarrass FIFA or South Africa.
Q: What does the Government expect this World Cup to give to South Africa?
A: The Minister replied that the first thing that the government wanted was for South Africa and Africa to benefit. The second thing was for the image of South Africa to be projected to the world. The other expectation was that there would be an acceleration of some government projects. The World Cup would also provide an opportunity for there to be impressive stadia in the rural areas such as in Rustenburg and Limpopo.
Q: This question is addressed to the Deputy President. Do you think that South Africa made a great sacrifice financially (to host the World Cup) and don’t you think that the money would have been better spent on social activities?
A: Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, Deputy President, admitted that there were always competing needs. Hosting the World Cup offered (the government) an opportunity to accelerate development as well as to inspire social cohesion. The World Cup also helped South Africa to respond to the global economic crisis. By the time the global meltdown began, South Africa had already invested heavily in road and stadia construction. Many jobs had been created in the construction industry.
Q: The question is also for the Deputy President. Can the World Cup demonstrate to the world that the apartheid wounds have been healed?
A: The Deputy President replied that indeed the World Cup would serve as a stage to demonstrate that the divisions created under apartheid would be healed. Healing was a process and that was why the World Cup was being embraced by South Africans as an opportunity for social cohesion. Sport was by its nature a unifying activity and this was a welcome opportunity.
Q: If there was to be an incident during the World Cup do you think that South Africa would be persecuted because of its past and would it be exaggerated because it was South Africa?
A: The Deputy President replied that the question was speculative and would be left for the media to judge. The advantage of having journalists from all over the World would be that the basic facts would not be lost. The matter would be covered from different perspectives and hopefully be balanced.
Q: What do you think would be the impact if Bafana Bafana did not make it to the second round and would Nelson Mandel’s image be used to help the World Cup; would he make an appearance during the finals?
A: The Deputy President replied that Bafana Bafana would have home ground advantage and it was hoped that at least this would help them into the second round. The national team had one of the best international coaches and he would shake them into a lethal combination. If Bafana Bafana failed to make it to the second round, then the other 5 African teams would be supported. Nelson Mandela was central during the bid process and he had been invited by FIFA for the opening game, he is of advanced age and God willing with his health intact he would make an appearance.
Q: What message does the Deputy President have for the world? Will you invite them to come to South Africa to watch the World Cup?
A: The Deputy President said that South Africa was ready to host the World Cup and all were welcome to come and enjoy the country.
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