Address in the Debate: Budget Vote 19 - Sport and Recreation by the UDM President (22 April 2010)


Chairperson, honourable Minister and Deputy Minister, and honourable Members

The UDM supports budget vote 19.

We should be proud of South Africans from all corners who have played their part in convincing the world that we as a developing country have the ability to host a successful Fifa World Cup tournament.

However we must concede that the road to this point has not been an easy one. It must be remembered that we had severe lack of facilities and infrastructure for football as a result of the policies of separate development. Even today, we are still facing infrastructure backlogs in previously neglected areas.

Nevertheless, we must extend our gratitude to previous administrators. The likes of George Thabe, Bra Stix Morewa, Abdul Bhamjee, Cyril Kobus, the Federations League of Danny Jordaan, Kaizer Motaung, Molefe Oliphant and Irvin Khoza played a role in keeping football alive in this country despite the restrictions of Apartheid.

It was a privilege for me to work with some of them while I was still the manager of Tembu Royals FC. Although I was not part of their executive, we did consult from time-to-time on a number of issues.

The highlight of my encounters with them, in particular Stix Morewa and Kaizer Motaung, was when they tasked me to request former President Mbeki and his colleagues in 1990 to attend a match at the FNB Stadium. The intention was to brief them about the state of football in South Africa. Indeed President Mbeki did attend and was accompanied by Aziz Pahad amongst others. And the rest is history.

Part of this history is that South African football, under Bra Stix Morewa’s leadership, the South African soccer fraternity met with the top FIFA leadership and Mr Havelange the FIFA President in the early 1990’s when they visited South Africa. Those efforts by Bra Stix ultimately led to us winning the right to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup. This campaign would not have succeeded without the support of the democratic government, especially the hands-on role played by successive Presidents of the Republic.

We would be making a big mistake if we don’t thank the sponsors, who under difficult conditions managed to nurture and assist football prior to the advent of democracy. It is because of people who resisted Apartheid, such as former FNB CEO Chris Ball and Mr Fletcher who pumped lots of funds into the Smirnoff League, that football was developed and great players were given the opportunity to play. The initiative and vision of Abdul Bhamjee, Cyril Kobus and Kaizer Motaung to build FNB Stadium has culminated in the world class venue that we see today.

I thank you.