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State of readiness for the 2010 Soccer World Cup

Statement by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms. H. Jenkins - GWK PARK STADIUM
25 MAY 2010

It is now 16 days before we deliver the 2010 FIFA World Cup to thousands of overseas spectators and a global television audience. FIFA 2010 will be another unforgettable, massive football festival for all soccer fans, administrators and players. With only sixteen days left we are grateful to share with you the joy, passion and excitement of the Fifa World Cup.

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South Africa is the first African country to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup starting from 11 June to 11 July 2010 and it will be the very first time in the History of FIFA that an African Country, our very own country, South Africa, will be the host to the greatest sporting spectacle known to mankind.
The hosting of this sporting spectacle, will be the biggest and most exciting one ever, and will leave a legacy unparalleled to no other, a legacy that will probably not be repeated in our life-time.

This World Cup has indeed excited our people and inspired them with tons of hope. It has unleashed the energy and creativity of all sectors of our society. It has led to the delivery of infrastructure like stadia, roads, airports and communication systems. Such infrastructure created jobs, contributed to the growth in economy in spite of the global recession and to social transformation. But above all, it boosted the morale of the nation, improved our image internationally and contributed immensely towards social cohesion and nation building.

On the matter of nation building it is apt to note and acknowledge that for the first time ever, a major Super 14 rugby game was played in the centre of Soweto, the soccer home of Orlando Pirates football club. At the Orlando Stadium White and Black South Africans came together and it was their common love for sport that rose above whatever differences they might have. This was nation building in its truest and purest form.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup provides Africa with an opportunity to demonstrate to the entire world the pivotal role of sport in uniting diverse cultures, fostering unity and promoting peace.

Given the continent’s history of conflict and instability, the 2010 FIFA World Cup has become a symbol of peace in Africa, and should be used to usher in a new era of unity and stability on the continent.
All of us are aware by now that the Uruguayan National Football team will set up camp in Kimberley for the duration of the Fifa World Cup. This is an incredible achievement for us taking into account that some of the hosting Cities did not manage to attract teams to set up base camp in their provinces.

Over the past few months the Province has been hard at work not only to ensure that we host a successful base camp but that the Fifa World Cup also leaves behind a legacy for the people of the Province. We recently played host to the 50 Day Countdown to kickoff event and showcased our Province’s to deliver successfully on major events.

Ladies and Gentlemen, merely being here this evening is another reaffirmation of our readiness to deliver on the commitments we made in hosting the Uruguayan Football team as well as making this World Cup a memorable occasion for everyone.
The hosting of a World Cup team brings a number of benefits to the people of the Northern Cape. The tourist potential to the Province is enormous in that we will be provided with an opportunity to profile the Northern Cape as a desired destination to the followers of the team. This will include many more benefits derived out of the indirect impact of the event such as the change of perceptions that large numbers of foreign investors hold on Africa and South Africa.

For the soccer loving people of the Northern Cape that will not be in a position to experience the thrill of watching their favourite teams compete in person, the Northern Cape Government will make available five Public Viewing Areas (PVAs) throughout the Province with another ten mobile PVA’s that will move from one centre to another at any given time. We have also procured equipment for ten indoor PVA’s at various Municipalities across the Province. The public viewing areas will emulate the atmosphere at the stadiums and it will afford soccer lovers to converge at a central point to watch all games live. At best, a public viewing event will provide an opportunity for large scale collective enjoyment of a world class event.
A public viewing event has the potential to foster social cohesion in that communities will be afforded the opportunity to contribute and participate. Numerous economic opportunities for SMMEs can bring direct benefit to the communities where PVAs are located.
Training and workshops for SMME’s were recently held in all five districts of the Province and these workshops attracted 250 beneficiaries. These SMME’s were trained on FIFA guidelines, customer care and business management. They will be placed at various PVA facilities and will trade in arts and crafts, food and beverages, accommodation and will provide entertainment at the PVA areas.
Safety and disaster management inspections have already been conducted at all outdoor venues. We are also pleased to announce that the Department of Social Development will deploy social workers to all PVA sites and we also urge parents to ensure that their children are looked after and in good care and that parents should at all times be aware of their whereabouts.

The scare of Human Trafficking necessitated that we beef up our security and we are also pleased to announce that the Departments of Social Development and Safety and Liaison have completed an anti child trafficking strategy. All concerned officials and organizations are ready and geared to implement the strategy.

The safety of our people and our guests is priority number one. Tourists and our own people should be free and safe to move around freely and to safely participate in all the festivities that will be on offer. All operational safety and security plans have been approved and the Provincial Joint Operations centre is in place,is fully functional and can effectively deal with any eventuality. Community Policing Forums have been activated and will play a pivotal role in ensuring safety and security in our neighbourhoods.
Despite the fact that schools will be closed for the duration of the World Cup, the Department of Social Development will supplement the school feeding scheme programme by running soup kitchens to ensure that needy school children get the nutrition they would have received during school hours.

Ladies and gentlemen, The 2010 FIFA World Cup creates an opportunity for the world to be exposed to the Northern Cape as a destination of choice for both leisure and business interests. The event is an unprecedented opportunity to make our Province a more widely known and better understood destination and will leave a tangible and lasting tourism legacy. The Northern Cape and our people are ready to welcome the international community to our Province with hospitality and openness.

The Province also offers exceptional value for money and a quality travel experience, combined with a range of activities and attractions. Over the past few months we undertook outward excursions to various countries to extensively market our tourism packages to potential tourists and possible investors that will create a number of employment opportunities for our people.
The next step of engagement beyond 2010 will be to ensure the realization of the Legacy Projects: a multi-purpose sport complex, the upgrade of the NC Theatre and the establishment of a Sports Science Institute.

The Multi-Purpose Sports Complex will include facilities for all recognized sport activities accredited at national level and comprise of mainly the following: soccer, rugby, cricket, swimming, hockey, athletics, netball, cycling, tennis, basketball, squash, gymnastics and martial arts. The Complex will include a Sport Science Centre, administrative offices which will include the headquarters of Sport Federations and on site facilities like pavilions, flood lights, ablution blocks, security offices and media facilities.
The ailing bulk infrastructure network will receive attenti

on. Major upgrades are in the pipeline to upgrade our water and sewerage network. We can already see the benefits with the various road works being completed and new pedestrian and cycle paths being completed in and around the city. The greening and beautification of the city and suburbs add to the appeal of the city to tourists. It is just up to us to maintain it and it is my appeal to all people of our province to own these projects and initiatives and keep it in peak condition.

The smaller airports in Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, East London, as well as Kimberly and Upington have been upgraded and are an important link into the integrated transport approach for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Our own integrated transport plan has been completed and approved. The rail and road transport system will also play a significant role in transporting spectators and fans between host cities on match days.

Ladies and gentlemen, our health facilities – both hospitals and clinics – are ready for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Africa is ready to provide health services of an international standard to football fans that travel to the country. Our health facilities are in line with our health infrastructure guarantees that were made to FIFA on being awarded the tournament. A comprehensive health and medical response service will be available on a 24-hour basis for the duration of the tournament. South Africa's state of readiness for health care was tested during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup with great success.

A comprehensive health and medical response system is available in different areas for the duration of the tournament. The National Health Operations Centre will be a link to all provinces, ensuring real-time monitoring, collating and reporting on the roll-out of the health plan, as well as the occurrence of any incidents. Medical response personnel will be deployed on the most frequently used routes during the event.

Our soccer loving school children have also benefitted and will continue to benefit from our hosting the Uruguayan National Teams. Soccer clinics hosted by soccer greats like Lucas “Rhoo” Radebe, Doctor Khumalo and soccer legends from Africa were recently conducted for various learners from across the Province and it is our sincere wish that more of these invaluable coaching clinics will be held in future. Learners will also be presented with an opportunity to go and watch soccer matches with soccer tickets being made available to them by Coca Cola and Adidas.

I now want to draw our attention to the base camp status and the Uruguayan team requirements. In order to comply with FIFA standards,GWK Park required certain areas to be upgraded. The main areas that needed attention were the pitches and the lighting as well as minor repairs to the cloak rooms. The pitches had to be laid out with rye grass and replaced with kikuyu grass. The upgrades took place in phases and the pitches are now complemented with electronic irrigation. These upgrades took place well ahead of time and these pitches can be compared with the very top pitches in the country.

During the 50 Day countdown of which we had the honour and privilege to host, a friendly match was played between a Northern Cape Under Seventeen team and the South African Under Seventeen’s which led to requests for more professional games to be hosted at the GWK. We will pursue the possibility to bring first class soccer action to the people of the Northern Cape.

Fifa standards for stadium lighting are set at 1 500 lux but due to the fact that the Province did not have a facility to host any rugby or soccer matches in the evenings, we negotiated a ten year use of the stadium and took a decision to upgrade the lights to 1 500 lux. This will make it possible to have televised soccer and rugby matches.

Twelve local labourers were utilised for the duration of the project and they received training on electric reticulation, cable installation and electrical mast assembly. As part of preparing them for their next job opportunity they were also taken through health and safety training. The upgraded facility is in line with the required energy saving measures.

As part of the Uruguayan Football team requirements, structural changes were effected at the Protea Hotel at the Big Hole so as to make provision for a gymnasium, humidity room, treatment rooms, games room, kit room and a multi-functional tent and braai area. Agreements are in place with Virgin Active to ensure that the team stays in peak condition throughout the tournament.

Ladies and gentlemen in conclusion I feel very proud and indeed honoured to be part of this once in a lifetime event. It is a moment that we all will savour for the rest of our lives and one we will proudly relate to our children and grandchildren to come. I am also humbled to have been part of a team who worked tirelessly and selflessly to ensure that we are part of the greatest sporting event on the planet. Wherever we look we can see it, we can experience the excitement and soon we will witness it.Feel it ,it is here!
At this point I would like to pause and convey my gratitude to all who have made this possible. To my esteemed colleagues in the Executive, officials, the Business sector and all the people who have made this a reality, I say thank you.

Ladies and Gentlemen we are all so very proud of all the individual and collective achievements in making the Northern Cape the home away from home for the Uruguayan National Team. For those fortunate enough to be present in the great stadiums of our beautiful country, please exercise caution and restraint and be ambassadors for the sport and your country. Those not so fortunate should not despair as we will be bringing the great sporting spectacle right to your doorsteps.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no doubt that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is here. We are ready and we will host the best tournament the world has ever seen. We will raise the bar to unprecedented heights and it is my sincere wish and prayer that Tata Nelson Mandela will, like he did in 1995 with the Webb Ellis Trophy, hold aloft the Jules Rimet Trophy come 12 July. Viva Bafana Bafana Viva.

I thank you.

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