Africa Today blog

The flagship African show in Press TV

World Cup in South Africa: What lasting impact will the World Cup have on healing racial and economic divisions

Posted by AT on July 30, 2010

Africa Today 62

Broadcast Date: 22nd June 2010
Presenter: Vuyiswa
Thamsanqa Zhou
Political Commentator

Nobuhle khanyile
Community Activist

Skype or Phone:

Gillian Saunders
Director, Grant Thornton Strategic Solutions

Andile Mngxitama
Writer and Publisher

Part 1

When FIFA has packed up and left town, will SA be the better for the experience.? (world cup starts on June 11th, so its timely) or: Is the World Cup papering over the cracks in South Africa’s economic and racial landscape?

The imminent FIFA World Cup has brought out the best and worst in us. And while it is important for us to focus on all the amazing things that are happening in our country, to sweep all the embarrassing things under the carpet, even for four weeks, could do us more harm than good.

When the mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato announced that the toilets that remained exposed after an ANC Youth League-led rampage had been removed I was puzzled. The toilets had stood there uncovered, for years. Why the sudden attack of conscience on the city’s part?

It has been suggested that it did not look good for a city expecting hordes of World Cup tourists and media to have open toilets dotting township landscapes. It made sense to me.

So, in making sure that the world gets the best reception and is not confronted by awkward sights, the city could have muddied further its relationship with the poor.

Part 2

South Africa became the first African country to have won the rights to host the FIFA world cup when FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced the host country on 15th May 2004. Since the collapse of apartheid South Africa is hosting its second major event. Its first was the Rugby world cup in 1995 and the FIFA world cup is the second major sporting event in the country. South Africans received the announcement to host the event with joy due to the immense benefits to the country. Apart from putting the country on the world map, the event has boosted its tourism sector with an expected 40 percent increase. New jobs have been created for some 100,000 people and there has been some significant improvement in infrastructure development. Moreover, the FIFA world cup has been hailed, by many within South Africa, as a tool towards helping healing racial divisions within the country. Africa Today analyses what impact the World Cup might have towards healing racial and economic divisions within the country.

Part 3

South Africa is the largest economy in Africa and hosting the FIFA world cup has cost the country about 5 billion dollars. The country is expected to only rake in about 1.5 billion dollars. Many critics have condemned the government’s decision to host the event after ignoring the plight of ordinary South Africans who continue to live in poverty since the end of apartheid. Many still live in areas once designated for black people and have no direct benefit from the economic opportunities the event will create.

SOUNDBITE (English) Marietta Monagee, Relocation Camp Resident:
“They put us here because of the World Cup, because before they didn’t do things like this to us. So it’s like they want to clean the city and put us here in these areas so that the people don’t see how we struggle in the city areas.”

Meanwhile, security guards went on demonstration after the event got underway over pay and working conditions. They accused the government of negotiating a bad deal for them.

SOUNDBITE (English) Thandi Khlandkla, security worker:
“The money we are supposed to get, they are not giving us the money. So we want that money and we are planning to go on strike until this FIFA WorldCup ends on the 11th of July. We want our money. They are benefiting. They are rich, we are poor, we are not benefiting.

The three main areas organizers hope will transform the country are areas of tourism, investment and healing the racial divide that still hovers around the country. Will the world cup meet all these expectations the South African government is hoping for?

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