20 August 2010
Political parties across the spectrum have echoed President Jacob Zuma’s praise for South Africans, attributing the success of the 2010 Fifa World Cup to the passon and patriotic spirit of ordinary citizens of the country.
During Wednesday’s joint sitting of Parliament to debate the successful hosting of the World Cup, the people of South Africa emerged as the true stars of the tournament, and were lauded for their contribution by Zuma and political party leaders alike.
Democratic Alliance leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said the single greatest achievement of the World Cup was the way it had changed stereotypes.
“We demonstrated that Africa is not ‘the hopeless continent’ that The Economist magazine said we were 10 years ago,” Zille said. “We showed the Afro-pessimists that we have enormous potential. And we started to believe ourselves again.”
The leader of the African Christian Democratic Party, Kenneth Meshoe, said the World Cup went beyond all expectations. “Yes, Africa did it and South Africa did it in style.”
The World Cup brought with it a sense of joy and harmony that South Africans had never experienced before, Meshoe said, added that the image of country had been improved immeasurably thanks to the success of the tournament.
Royith Bhoola of the Minority Front said South Africa had gained the respect of the world when Sepp Blatter gave the country a near-perfect 9 out of 10 for its hosting of the event.
“Our organisational ability in sport goes to show that we are a nation that we can be proud of,” Bhoola said, adding that the success of the World Cup had renewed faith and hope in South Africa.
“Accolades must be awarded to all South Africans, who showed the true spirit of brotherhood and patriotism,” he said.
Freedom Front Plus leader and Deputy Agriculture Minister Pieter Mulder thanked South Africans who had dared to dream that the country could host the World Cup, quoting Robert Goddard of the American space programme, who said: “Every dream is a joke, until the first person accomplishes it.”
Mulder pointed out that most journalists both internationally and locally, pessimistic about the country’s ability to host the World Cup before the tournament began, had only positive things to say about South Africa once the soccer spectacle was over.