A media conference called by Dr Laurine Platzky, Western Cape Deputy Director-General Governance & Integration and 2010 FIFA World Cup Co-ordinator, and the World Future Society of South Africa, on Monday highlighted the way forward for South Africa in the next twenty years. The positive ethos and energy generated by the World Cup will stand South Africa in good stead to maintain its level of excellence into the future, said the speakers.
Mike Lee, Founder of the World Future Society of South Africa, focused on the legacies of the World Cup. The Rainbow Nation-building benefit is an “historic bridge”, connecting South Africans. It is a “moment in our destiny”, and paves the path to our country’s future, he said. He highlighted five priorities for South Africa for the period until 2030 : 1. Improve the country’s ethics and standards 2. An economy growing at 7% per annum, to “meaningfully reduce poverty and unemployment” 3.The education system must be reformed 4. The ecosystem must be rescued 5. The country must undergo an energy revolution, moving away from coal-based energy to renewable and nuclear energy. “The World Cup has renewed our licence to dream”, Lee said.
Dr Platzky focused on the legacy of the World Cup, and this was the infrastructure improvements, she said, Cape Town Stadium having become an iconic asset of the province. She admonished local businesses for not having embraced the event well enough in bidding for the manufacture of memorabilia and clothing, rather than letting the contracts go to the Far East. She said that the construction and hospitality industries had been the biggest winners of the World Cup, and stated that South Africa had been cushioned from the worst ravages of the recession because of hosting the World Cup. The event has also led to “social cohesion”, creating an exceptional memory for school children, who will remember the event for their rest of their lifetime, and who also had the opportunity to learn about 31 other participating countries in their school projects, and also about other cities and towns in South Africa. The legacy of the World Cup is also environmental, she said, with 41 “Green Goal” projects focusing on the long-term sustainability environmentally. These projects will be taken to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup as well. She also mentioned that South Africans should proudly take recognition for their achievements in hosting the World Cup so successfully, rather than sitting back for the international media to tell us so.
Guy Lundy is the CEO of Accelerate Cape Town, and his first observation was the good winter weather during the World Cup â€“ 5 sunny days and only 3 rainy days on match days – proving that Cape Town should not have tourism seasonality. He also felt that ex-South Africans should no longer have to be apologetic about their country of origin, and should be proudly calling themselves “South Africans living abroad”. He predicted an increase in wine sales due to the World Cup, and Cape Town’s marketability as a skills outsourcing centre. He predicted that the World Cup would improve Cape Town’s chances of winning the 2014 World Design Capital bid. The World Cup must lead to greater job creation, he said, and South Africans must become more positive, in not always waiting for the next disaster. He said the country had an enormous potential to improve due to the World Cup.
Merle O’Brien is the Deputy President of the World Future Society, and spoke about the World Cup “gees” creating “social cohesion”, in making a collective “we” nation and society of South Africans. The ethos of South Africans now would be Ubuntu and Ke Nako, the human spirit that will connect locals that are no longer commercially-driven but rather spirit-driven.
In question time, Dr Platzky was challenged about the duplicity of market research which is currently taking place in Cape Town (the Western Cape Province, Cape Town Routes Unlimited, the City of Cape Town, and Cape Town Tourism), all conducting unprofessional informal research and using these results to make media announcements on the basis thereof. She agreed that the 50 interviews done by her department at the airport last week “was a bit of a joke” (even though the “9/10 rating” became the lead front-page story of the Cape Times). She confirmed that professional research would be conducted to establish the benefits of the World Cup for Cape Town and the Western Cape.
More details about the World Future Society of South Africa can be found at www.wfs-sa.com.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com