Remarks by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, on a visit to the 2010 World Cup Legacy Projects in Polokwane, Limpopo Province
22 May 2010
The Mayor of Polokwane, Councillor Makunyane;
Members of the Executive Council;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Soccer legends and dignitaries;
The people of Limpopo:
We have gathered here on these grounds and in this beautiful city of Polokwane to say to South Africa and to the world, the Limpopo Province is ready to receive and host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Today marks only 19 days before history is made when our national team, Bafana Bafana, will be pitted against Mexico to mark the very first FIFA Soccer World Cup on the African soil.
In 22 days time this province hosts the game between Algeria and Slovenia for the first game in Polokwane.
As you know, Algeria is a member of the African ‘Six Pack’ competing teams that includes Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria and our very own Bafana Bafana.
This World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to demonstrate to the world that we are indeed a winning nation.
We have an opportunity to showcase our country in terms of its diversity, the warmth of the people, the different languages and cultures, the wildlife and much more.
In all you will have the opportunity and privilege of welcoming the following nations in this city: Algeria, Slovenia, France, Mexico, Greece, Argentina, Paraguay and New Zealand.
In this regard, the people of Limpopo and Polokwane will play an important role in the country’s hosting of the greatest sporting event on earth – the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
We should be ready to open our hearts and homes to our visitors from all over the world as part of building solidarity and friendship based on values of botho.
During my brief visit in the Province, I have experienced first-hand some of the legacy projects and the state of readiness of the Province for the World Cup.
Apart from the magnificent Peter Mokaba Stadium, I have also visited a few other World Cup-related projects, all of which have left me inspired and looking forward to the actual event.
Facilities like the Fan Park, where we are today, will provide people who may not get tickets with an opportunity to equally enjoy the games and be part of the experience of the biggest World Soccer Tournament.
Furthermore, I am encouraged by the road infrastructure which will certainly benefit all of us long after the World Cup is over.
I have seen first-hand how the World Cup in Polokwane, with the support of the rest of the people of the Province, will leave a lasting impression and a proud legacy for future generations.
I have no doubt Polokwane will make Limpopo, South Africa and Africa proud.
Now is the time for all of us to unite in the national interest and leave a lasting legacy – Fly the flag for South Africa now and beyond this tournament.
The eight competing countries that the City of Polokwane will be hosting and the millions of people watching on television worldwide will certainly know more about our province, country and people.
In a few weeks your province will host the World Football Player of the Year, Lionel Messi, and the likes of Thierry Henry, who are sure to showcase their skills right here in Polokwane.
We hope that all the regional structures of our national football federation will use this opportunity to nourish the beautiful game of football and get more of our local youngsters involved.
My messages to you are the following:
• Let us welcome the world to our country with pride and friendship;
• Let us show Botho and offer our visitors education and experience that they can take back home.
In conclusion, on behalf of government, I would like to thank all those involved in the preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
From the men and women who built our stadiums to the architects, the electricians, our construction workers, and everyone else involved in making sure this sporting spectacular will be the best.
Ke Nako! Rea leboga! Lo Livhuwo! Ikhensile ngompfu!
I thank you!