Speech by the honourable premier of the Northern Cape, MRS Hazel Jenkins, on the occasion of the 50 day countdown celebration held in Kimberley on 21 APRIL 2010

The President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma;
The SAFA President, Mr Kirsten Nematandani;
The CEO of the Local Organising Committee, Mr Danny Jordaan;
SAFA NEC Member, Mr J Koopman;
Members of the Executive Council;
The Honourable Executive Mayor of the Frances Baard District Municipality, Mr Achmat Florence;
The Honourable Mayor of Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, Mr Patrick Everyday;
All Mayors and Municipal Councillors;
All NGO’s and strategic partners;
Members of the local and global football fraternity;
Members of the media fraternity
Esteemed Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Welcome to each and every one of you to Kimberley, the city of firsts, and the Northern Cape Province. I am certain that all the people, especially those from the Northern Cape who have converged on this venue will agree with me when I make the claim that April 21st 2010, marks one of the most important and exciting days in the social and sporting calendar of Kimberley and the people of the Northern Cape Province at large.
On a personal level, especially over the past few weeks, I, like many South Africans, have become obsessed with time. What seemed a dream or a fantasy is being tangibly felt. That abstract, elusive thing called time is upon us – for it is time, ladies and gentlemen!
Without sounding overly pedantic, and by way of a quick calculation just before this address, I can reliably inform you that we have 1200 hours left prior to the commencement of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, 1200 hours, which in essence translates to 50 days! My obsession with time will continue until I witness, with bated breath, together with the global audience, the historic kick-off between our very own Bafana Bafana and Mexico at Soccer City on 11 June 2010 at 16:00.
Reverting to my positive obsessiveness about time, we as a government collective, can assure all South Africans, and indeed the rest of the world, that South Africa is ready, the Northern Cape is ready and Kimberley is ready!

Firstly, in terms of safety during the World Cup, South Africa is guaranteed to be the safest place on the planet. As a reassurance to the world, I repeat: that for the duration of the World Cup, South Africa is guaranteed to be the safest place on the planet. Period.

Besides the total number of 200 000 South African Police Force members who will be on duty before the tournament even begins, the SAPF will be complemented by members of international law enforcement agencies to ensure a trouble-free World Cup, as stated by SAPF General Bheki Cele, who has pledged that the tournament will be a resounding success and without any problems.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we, as government, wish to categorically state that we are ready for any challenge to our safety and security from whatever quarter, and we assure all the visitors converging on our beautiful land: “You will be safe and secure.”

All our stadiums have been completed in accordance with FIFA’s stringent requirements well before schedule and each and every one of them are of a world class standard. So serious has been our approach to the World Cup, that over and above the renovations that have been effected to our major airports, even the one in Potchefstroom has been upgraded to facilitate the Spanish National Soccer Team’s trips to and from match venues.
On this note I can advise Brazil, the next host country when the World Cup will be held in 2014, with a deep and sincere sense of modesty that in your preparations for the global showpiece, we, as South Africans, can willingly impart the expertise and knowledge we have gained during the 2010 World Cup. Besides the building of the world class stadia, the World Cup has afforded us the opportunity to improve our infrastructure networks, enhance our intelligence gathering systems and inculcate a sense of deep patriotism in the majority of our people.

I can confidently and without any hesitation whatsoever remark that the 2010 World Cup is second only to that glorious Wednesday on 27 April 1994 when multitudes of our countrymen and women thronged the polling booths across the length and breadth of South Africa to taste freedom, the rule of law and democracy in our very lifetime. Which South African would dare to forget that watershed day in our history or endeavour to erase it from our collective memory as a Nation?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the host country for the 2014 FIFA World Cup is Brazil and while in no way compromising or attempting to strain our already strong fraternal relations, I with all due respect can teasingly remark that after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, you have huge boots to fill!
Sports authorities and analysts predict that although the 2006 Germany World Cup was attended by more than 3 million people and close to 6 billion people watched the soccer spectacular on television around the world, this record is on course to be broken in 50 days time when our Mother Continent hosts its first World Cup on South African soil.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we believe that the 2010 version of the FIFA World Cup will be the most resoundingly successful event in modern sporting history! It will be an event to behold beyond our lifetime.

On a lighter note and which is good news for our hospitality industry, Professor Matthew Lester from Rhodes University in his weekly column entitled ‘Tax Talk’ in the Sunday Times over the past weekend, remarked as follows on the 2010 FIFA World Cup:

“We are less than two months away from the kickoff of what is punted as the greatest sporting event South Africa will see in our lifetime. Even SA Breweries share price went up because we are going to drink so much that sin taxes will help narrow the public deficit.”
It is to our nation’s credit that the global recession did not hinder our country’s plans in terms of infrastructure development and general preparations.
Common and tangible targets that the 2010 FIFA World Cup offer has motivated South Africans to work together to overcome the current challenges.
For South Africa it is crucial that lasting foundations have been built for a successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as this event provides our Nation with another defining moment of similar magnitude to April 27, 1994.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this 50 Day Countdown event takes place just six days before that seminal moment in our country’s history, namely Freedom Day and kindly pardon me for stating that this is no strange coincidence, as we in the Northern Cape believe that it has been ordained from the good heavens up above! Our ancestors are certainly taking extremely good care of us!
Following our collective national effort in the build-up to the World Cup, we can, as a Nation, confidently assert that we are better positioned, more focused and optimally equipped to face the challenges ahead.

Kindly allow me to echo the sentiments of President Jacob Zuma when he remarked earlier today that the hosting of the World Cup has inevitably improved our country’s global competitiveness and in so doing has created a solid platform to facilitate job creation, GDP Growth and the fostering of greater social cohesion in South African society, thus both reinforcing and realizing our values of Ubuntu in celebrating our diversity for the common good of our beloved Motherland.

South Africa continues to sparkle on the international arena, especially with regard to sporting events.With the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup we will assume centre stage like never before, making us only the second country in the world to host the cricket, rugby, and now, the soccer World Cups. Maybe Steven Gerrard, the England soccer captain, could tell us who was the first country when he arrives in Mzansi!

Reflecting on the Rugby and Cricket World Cups, I can confidently say that although these two events proved to be resounding success stories, neither of these compare to the 2010 FIFA World Cup – an event that is truly global and all-encompassing in nature, scope and content.

The tournament is already proving to be a catalyst for a wide range of economic and social development initiatives and will provide a trajectory for further development of our sports facilities, transport network and telecommunications infrastructure, amongst others, and will indeed leave an indelible legacy for many years to come.

When the vuvuzela sounds on June 11, 2010, all South Africans and billions of people across the globe will heed its call without fail, knowing full well that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be the greatest sporting event the world has had the privilege to witness.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup is the most appropriate opportunity we have to tell the global community about the resilience of South Africans, our innate ability to unite people of all races and the numerous daily miracles that make South Africa the vibrant nation she is.
In essence the 2010 FIFA World Cup offers us an unrivalled opportunity to remind the world that our country is a world class destination for investment and travel as well as a source of quality products, new ideas and endless inspiration.

We are confident that South Africa will deliver a memorable World Cup in a unique and memorable style and ultimately our country and our continent will be the winners in more ways than one.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to reiterate that our democracy has primed itself to take full advantage of this defining milestone, namely the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. To this end I humbly beseech each and every South African to perceive the event as a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase our country to the world and as such we need to view it as a spring board to future growth, development and lasting prosperity.
In reinforcing President Jacob Zuma’s warm words of welcome to the Uruguayan National Football team, and as first citizen of this vast and beautiful province, our Uruguayan visitors have our unconditional endorsement to call the Northern Cape their home. Welcome, Uruguay, welcome!
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I had a sneak preview of this evening’s menu and the welcome cocktail is called the “Vuvuzela Slammer” and in my private thoughts which I wish to share with you I nurse the hope that at the end of the tournament (and I speak for all South Africans) we could all gather at this self same venue and partake in a sumptuous main course termed the “Bafana Bafana Bazooka”, after we had blown all the opposition away!

I thank you

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