6 February 2009
The true legacy of the 2010 Fifa World Cup “will be in our ability to showcase South African and African hospitality and humanity – to change once and for all perceptions of our country and our continent among the peoples of the world,” President Kgalema Motlanthe said in Cape Town on Friday.
Delivering his state of the nation address in Parliament, Motlanthe urged all South Africans to join in and help showcase the country as the “rainbow nation” that it is.
The President said South Africa’s preparations for hosting both the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup and 2010 Fifa World Cup were well on track.
“Virtually all the projects and plans are completed or nearing completion – from stadiums, transport infrastructure, security measures and issues of accommodation to health and immigration plans – confirming the confidence of the global soccer fraternity that ours will be a truly successful tournament,” he said.
South Africa’s hosting of the two football tournaments would provide, at minimum, a temporary boost to capital inflows and domestic economic growth, the President added.
Transport, tourism, and the informal sector – or “second economy” – would benefit directly from the massive influx of tourists destined for South Africa’s shores.
The Confederations Cup will be hosted in four South African cities from 14 to 28 June, followed by the World Cup, which will take place in nine host cities from 11 June to 11 July 2010.
Motlanthe praised the national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, for their recent performances. Bafana Bafana have notched up five wins in a row against Malawi, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon and more recently Zambia.
“We believe that, after five consecutive wins, the national soccer team is now more confidently gearing itself to perform above expectations!”
At the same time, Motlanthe congratulated South Africa’s sportsmen and women for their performances over the past year.
“Special accolades are due to our cricket team, which has climbed to the apex of global rankings. We are of course rugby world champions; Giniel de Villiers and his team have won the Dakar Rally; our Paralympians continue to do us proud; and our under-20 soccer team did quite well in [qualifying for the 2009 World Cup Youth Championship],” he said.