FIFA World Cup Readiness Debate
Remarks by Eric Lucas MP



National Assembly: 3 June 2010


Honourable Speaker,


With the Fifa World Cup just seven days away it's good to see signs of a united South Africa with one goal in mind, which is the success of the World Cup! It's wonderful to see the colour, song and dance of all the South African people. The World Cup buzz has certainly affected or should I say 'infected' me, my family and my community. It is fantastic to be able to share that excitement with all South Africans, regardless of background, race or class.


I find it particularly satisfying to see the negative attitudes towards South Africa's ability to host the games crumble one by one. We are certainly not failing!


Our achievements are amazing. South Africa now has nine new stadia, which are of world class standard. Does that not make you proud? I am sure it does. The construction of the stadia has created many new jobs and has developed many new skills in the South African labour force. This is good for the future of our country.


It is the IFP's hope that effective maintenance and upgrading mechanisms of all these new developments are instituted in order to ensure that these facilities stay in tip top condition to be enjoyed by our children, our children's children and all following generations. If properly taken care of that could be a tangible inheritance that we leave to them to enjoy.


The Durban Stadium with its viewing arch and facility for bungee jumping, is an indication of futuristic thinking of how a stadium can be utilised to its fullest capacity. The road works around the stadiums and the cities have improved the transport infrastructure drastically. And other facilities constructed for people coming to the World Cup will certainly improve the quality of the lives of South Africans once the World Cup has ended.


This will also be an opportunity to 'sell' South Africa to the world.  For the duration of the World Cup and hopefully beyond all we South Africans have to become South African ambassadors by being helpful and treating people with kindness and respect, which will hopefully encourage them to make South Africa their next tourist destination. This will eventually be a major boost for tourism which will help strengthen our economy. I can only hope however that the South African Hotel Industry and certain transport service providers have learnt the negative lesson that comes with over-pricing their services thereby losing customers as perceptions of exploitation arise. It's unfortunately a very expensive lesson the whole country has to pay for. But let us hope it will never happen again.


The stage has been set for a wonderful World Cup and we know that Bafana Bafana will do us proud! And even though our chances of winning on paper don't seem very high we South Africans know what it means to struggle and come out victorious! Their underdog status might also make other teams under estimate their abilities. And we sitting on the sidelines have to play our part by cheering and supporting them to victory.


But the fact of the matter is that whether Bafana Bafana win or lose on the soccer field South Africa has won the World Cup. We won it when we won the bid. We won it again when we met deadlines set along the way for the success of the day. We win it everyday as the excitement to kick off draws nearer.


And mostly we win it by making sure all our guests feel at home with us during the World Cup.


Yes, South Africa has won the World Cup. But we will be depending on Bafana Bafana to keep the trophy in South Africa.


This is an African World Cup, and as Africans we have a different rhythm, a different climate and a unique way of doing things. Let us embrace our uniqueness and make this a proudly African World Cup


I thank you.


Mr Eric Lucas MP
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