Minister Dlamini Zuma’s Address at the Launch of the MTN FIFA World Cup Campaign, 3 March 2009, Johannesburg

Programme Director
CEO of MTN, Phuthuma Nhleko
Chairperson of the LOC, Dr. Irvin Khoza
Members and directors of MTN
Members of the LOC present with us today
Distinguished ladies and Gentlemen
Members of the Media

It is a great honour and a privilege for me to participate in and address this inaugural launch of the MTN FIFA World CUP Campaign. Indeed as we participate in this MTN FIFA World Cup Campaign, we pay tribute to the millions of our people who daily roll up their sleeves to ensure the success of the historic African 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In this regard, we salute the workers of our country who despite their challenges, toil day and night to ensure the readiness of our stadia, rail, roads and telecommunication throughout the length and breadth of our country for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

We thank the women of our country, the youth, the students, professionals, religious communities, the sporting fraternity and all other organised formations of our people who stand ready to open up their homes to welcome the multitudes of the peoples of the world as they descend on our country to participate in the 2010 FIFA World Cup events.

By our actions in among others the launch of the MTN FIFA World Cup Campaign today, we convey without fear of contradiction an unequivocal message to the peoples of Africa and indeed the rest of humanity our readiness to host this most beautiful spectacle of the world- the FIFA World Cup.

We do so fully aware of the massive Afro-pessimist propaganda campaigns launched in various parts of the world against our country and its people essentially questioning our ability to host this FIFA World Cup.

We know and know too well that whatever we have done individually and collectively to make the 2010 FIFA World Cup a success, we have dealt a massive blow to the wishes of those who seek to perpetuate negative stereotypes of African people in particular and the African continent in general.

Accordingly, we reiterate our gratitude to FIFA President Sepp Blatter and members of the FIFA Governing Body for the confidence thrust upon our government and its people to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup on our shores and on behalf of the entire African continent.

Once more we express acknowledge the critical role played by our own Irvin Khoza, Danny Jordaan, Molefi Oliphant and other members of the Local Organising Committee to bring the 2010 FIFA World Cup to our country.

Most certainly we cannot but pay homage to our Nobel Laureates former President Nelson Mandela, FW De Klerk, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and our immediate former President Thabo Mbeki for the sterling role they played in helping to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup bid for our country and indeed the African continent. We dare not fail them!

In this context we look forward to hosting a conference on our shores to highlight the role of soccer in helping to create a climate for peace and stability in our continent.

This conference as you probably are aware will bring together among others Members of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Nobel Peace Laureates including Nelson Mandela, FW De Klerk and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Members of the FIFA World Cup Executive Committee, the Local Organising Committee and representatives of our own government.

The launch today of the MTN FIFA World Cup Campaign must necessarily be viewed within the context of all national efforts aimed at making the 2010 FIFA World Cup indeed one of the great successes the world has ever witnessed.

The MTN FIFA World Cup Campaign like all other national efforts provide us with a unique and an excellent opportunity to highlight the beauty of our country, ubuntu and the inner warmth of our people.

But most importantly it is a statement of confidence in the ability of our Local Organising Committee, the government and people of our country to prepare for and stage a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Through its US$65 million sponsorship, its malaria-reduction partnership programme, network coverage of the World Cup through mobile phones to millions of people around Africa and the Middle East,  MTN FIFA World Cup Campaign correctly adds to the great momentum of the people of our country and the rest of the African continent to make a success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It is indeed one of the great building blocs in our national efforts towards the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.  

The MTN FIFA World Cup Campaign should therefore serve as a catalyst for all private sector initiatives to unleash the creativity of our people and to create the necessary climate of excitement and anticipation of the success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

It should serve to prick the conscience of all other private sector participants to ask the fundamental question, not of what we can gain from the 2010 FIFA World Cup but what we indeed can do individually and collectively to make the 2010 FIFA World Cup a success and thus help bring glory and honour to our country, our people and indeed the rest of the African continent.

Like MTN and all other patriots, we cannot wait for 2010 to showcase to the people of the world that “we love our country and its peoples-all its peoples. It is a varied land of snow-capped mountain peaks, of deserts and sub-tropical greenery covering vast mineral resources. Its warm seas to the east and cold ones to the west contain also large animal and mineral resources”.

“Our peoples, with their varied cultures which are continuously mingling and interacting to their mutual enrichment, exhibit, despite their conditions, a great love for life and a sensitive joy in the creative and human endeavours of the peoples of the world, without exception”- Oliver Tambo UN General Assembly - 26 October 1976.

Indeed we are impatient for the dawn of 2010 to highlight to the peoples of the world progress made thus far in consolidating our democracy, in pushing back the frontiers of racism and sexism while showcasing what has been done “to ensure the young of our country have the best that mankind has produced, in which they are being taught to love the people of all races, to defend the equality of the peoples, to honour creative labour, to uphold the oneness of mankind and to hate untruths,

Yet the critical question we all must ask is what we can do to utilise the opportunities that will be created by the 2010 FIFA World Cup as well as the forthcoming 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup to push back the frontiers of poverty and under-development that afflict not only our country, but our region and the rest of the African continent?

Coming against the background of the current global financial and economic crisis, what is it that we ought to do to mitigate the negative effects of this global economic downturn particularly on the most vulnerable and poor communities of our country?

Indeed what is it that we should collectively do to maximise benefits from the FIFA World Cup including the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup to consolidate the macro-economic stability of our country, which has cushioned our country from the most devastating effects of the global downturn?

I am certain that working together we can do more in mobilising the resources of our country to ensure that the 2010 FIFA World Cup adds to the momentum of achieving our national objective of creating a better life for all our people and an improvement in the quality of life for all South Africans.

Together with FIFA, we have launched a series of 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Projects in several parts of our continent as part of the recognition that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is indeed an African World Cup.

Indeed working together with the rest of the SADC-member-states, we are looking into various projects including UNIVISA and the possible utilisation of regional stadia for training facilities to ensure that the 2010 FIFA World Cup benefits not only the people of our country but indeed the people of our region and helps to add to the momentum of regional integration as a prelude to the attainment of the continental political and economic integration.

Let us all emulate the MTN clarion call- We can’t wait, Lets Go 2010- and state without equivocation that together we can do more to make our country and is people, the people of our region, the African continent and the African Diaspora proud by making the 2010 FIFA World Cup a uniquely African event and one of the best ever organised FIFA World Cup.

I thank you.

 

 

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