We are ready for the world, says SA govt

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pretoria - Years of hard work is expected to reap its rewards today when the soccer World Cup kicks off on South African soil.

It is a day the South African Government believes will go down in history books.

"Today, Friday 11 June 2010, marks a significant milestone in the history of post-apartheid South Africa," Government Spokesman Themba Maseko said.

The start of the soccer World Cup represents a culmination of 16 years of toiling that all started with former president Nelson Mandela's vision of a free and democratic South Africa, he added.

As the historic moment dawns, Maseko said government was fully satisfied that the country was ready to put on a show the rest of the world was not likely to forget.

"Government has fulfilled all its obligations, working together with the Organising Committee to ensure that the country's overall state of readiness for this, the biggest sporting event in the world, meets FIFA requirements."

While government departments have done their bit, ordinary South Africans have also thrown their weight and passion behind the tournament.

"Government commends the South African population for their support both during the past six years of preparations for the event and in the run-up to the kick-off.

"The recent display of a new sense of national pride augurs well for nation-building, and it is also a reassuring sign to international visitors that South Africans are warm and welcoming," Maseko said.

The opening match of the World Cup had significance beyond South Africa's borders and would mark the beginning of the changes to the script on Africa, he added.

Maseko was optimistic that the success of the World Cup would change perceptions and challenge stereotypes on Africa.

"It is now up to South Africans to become good hosts, sustain the current positive climate and make a resounding success of this African World Cup. Ke Nako: Celebrate Africa's Humanity!"