12 June 2009
South Africa is a country that can be counted on to deliver, says President Jacob Zuma. “When given a challenge, we always rise to the occasion,” Zuma said during a tour of Cape Town’s Greenpoint Stadium to mark the one-year countdown to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Addressing a crowd of dignitaries, construction workers and football fans at the World Cup venue on Thursday, Zuma said that all systems were on track to deliver a successful tournament, despite the world once believing that South Africa could not do it.
“But we said, ‘Yes, we can’, and now we have proved to the world that South Africans are special people who rise to the occasion.”
At the heart of South Africa’s readiness were the thousands of workers whose hard work had gone into building the infrastructure for the World Cup, Zuma said. These workers had made history with their enthusiasm, sweat and hard work.
“You have made us proud. Thanks for a job well done,” the President said.
President Jacob Zuma kicks of the 2010 World Cup countdown at Green Point Stadium, 11 June 2009. Click arrow to play video.
Siyanda Jaxu, a junior engineer who was given the afternoon off to attend Thursday’s ceremony, told BuaNews he was proud to be part of the project.
“I feel so proud of myself,” Jaxu said. “I have learnt so much and have gathered so much experience in the time I have been working on the stadium. I am looking forward to watching the games from the stadium that I helped build.’
Industrial relations officer Marco Matshoba said working on the stadium was an experience he would never forget. “Having the President here today, and listening to what he has to say, gives us all extra motivation and an extra push to ensure that everything stays on track,” Matshoba said.
Green Point Stadium is 70% complete and will be ready for the World Cup by December.
Regarding the national team, Bafana Bafana, Zuma said he could guarantee that they would surprise the world. “They are South Africans, and once we are given a challenge we rise to the occasion.”
Zuma launched the one year to 2010 countdown by kicking a soccer ball from the sand that will soon home to a football pitch grown to Fifa regulations.
The City of Cape Town, represented by the stadium’s only woman crane operator, Zoliswa Gila, gave Zuma a pair of gold-coloured soccer boots.
Gila said she had dreamt of becoming a pilot, but could not afford flying lessons. Instead, she had decided to become a crane operator, allowing her to work at heights of up to 80 metres above the ground.