Address by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on the occasion of the 2010 Bid Final Banquet, Sandton Convention Centre, 3 August 2005

Programme Director,
Honourable Ministers, Deputy Ministers,
The President of SAFA, Mr Molefi Oliphant,
The Chairperson of the 2010 Local Organising Committee, Dr Irvin Khoza,
The CEO of the 2010 Local Organising Committee, Mr Danny Jordaan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the Media,

I am delighted to have the honour to be part of this joyous occasion this evening.

As a sport loving nation, who will ever forget 15 May 2004?

This is the day that will be long remembered by all South Africans for generations to come. This was also the day when the eyes of 800 million Africans were focused on Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) House in Zurich, Switzerland.

We waited in tense expectation to see which African country would be granted the privilege of hosting the 2010 World Soccer Cup. We all remember the scenes of joy and celebration that greeted the announcement that South Africa would host the biggest global sporting event.

This celebration was even more special since, for the first time in the 100 year history of FIFA, a World Cup is to be hosted on the African continent.

As a country, we take pride in the confidence that FIFA and the international community has demonstrated in South Africa and Africa. The decision by FIFA was a vote of confidence in the capacity of South Africa and the African continent to stage an excellent World Cup.

We will not only live up to the mandate entrusted to us but will make the World Cup the most memorable African experience.

In its first eleven years of freedom, South Africa has proved that it is a dependable, secure and enthusiastic host of major world events and conferences. During this time we have successfully hosted the Rugby World Cup, All Africa Games, Africa Cup of Nations, World Conference against Racism, World Summit on Sustainable Development, launch of the Africa Union and the Cricket World Cup.

We are confident that South Africa will again rise to the challenge and successfully host the soccer World Cup in 2010.

Whilst we celebrate our success, we should also seize the opportunities. At the international level we should strive to:

  • Showcase South Africa,Äôs progress to the world in terms of its strengths and successes as a way of repositioning and marketing ourselves abroad,
  • Put Africa on the world map to reverse the negative perceptions associated with the continent, especially in the global and domestic media discourse,
  • Seek support and learn of the rich experiences from countries that have successfully hosted events of this magnitude,
  • Take fullest advantage of this world platform to the maximum in showcasing our rich diversity, personality and values.

At the domestic level we should strive to:

  • Generate and sustain the enthusiasm of South Africans for the World Cup event.
  • Leverage these World Cup opportunities to mobilise the public to contribute to the building of a better South Africa and a better world.
  • Create awareness and keep the South African public informed of the Soccer World Cup 2010 developments and the processes.
  • Manage people,Äôs expectations and perceptions and articulate their roles and the benefits (both tangible and intangible) that would accrue to the country from the World Cup event
  • Mobilise the public for support and participation in the preparations and hosting of the World Cup.

As a partner in hosting 2010, government has committed itself without qualification through the guarantees and every resource necessary submitted to FIFA Executive Committee, to assure the world of our ability to stage the Soccer World Cup. The country has world-class stadiums, infrastructure, skills and expertise in place to take up this challenge.

Support structures have also been set up to take the challenge forward. An Inter-Ministerial Committee has been appointed by the President to assist the LOC.

An Inter-Departmental Co-ordinating Task Team under the leadership of the Department of Sports and Recreation has also been established to coordinate and serve the communication aspects of the whole project.

The Department has also been facilitating interactions with South African Football Association (SAFA), FIFA and South Africa,Äôs liaison with other countries that have the experience in hosting such sporting events.

Tonight we express gratitude to all South Africans, Africans and the world. We wish to thank all the people of South Africa for their unqualified support through out the bidding process, we are also thankful for the support of our continent and our friends in other countries, without which we could not have been granted the privilege of hosting the spectacular world event.

We call on all South Africans to ensure that this greatest sporting event further strengthens national pride and patriotism and further secures our country,Äôs place in the hearts and minds of the world.

The hosting of the World Cup will also contribute to the development of South Africa, the Southern African region and the continent as a whole by making a practical contribution to the achievement of African ideals and fostering African development.

For us this is an African event in line with the imperatives of New Partnership for Africa,Äôs Development (NEPAD) and the goals of the African Union.

Let us, as we celebrate, be mindful of the mandate that the world has entrusted to us. This huge responsibility requires hard work and the contributions of all South Africans to ensure that we are prepared for 2010.

We call upon all sectors of society to lend a hand to make sure that we set new standards in hosting a tournament that will be followed by billions across the world. All official partners, local suppliers, donors and investors should join hands with government and FIFA and all those involved in official structures to ensure that nothing is left to chance.

The enthusiasm our people showed in support of the bid must now translate into practical preparation and action.

We should not lower our guard just because we have won the bid and successfully hosted other events. Let us get down to work and do what the world is expecting of us.

Let us capture the spirit of 1994, when we showed the world that, uniting in our diversity, we can move mountains.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency
3 August 2005

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