Rugby World Cup bid kicks off

Dur­ban is more than ready for sport­ing event

Sunday Tribune - - NEWS - LUNGANI ZUNGU

WE ARE READY.” This was the word from the Kwazulu-na­tal govern­ment and the city of Dur­ban ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023 bid com­mit­tee pre­sent­ing its bid doc­u­ment to­mor­row in Lon­don.

The an­nounce­ment on which coun­try was to host the spec­ta­cle will be made on Novem­ber 15 by the In­ter­na­tional Rugby Board which will re­ceive pre­sen­ta­tions at the Royal Gar­den Ho­tel, Kens­ing­ton.

South Africa hosted the tournament in 1995 and sub­se­quently clinched the cov­eted Webb Ellis Tro­phy, as the cham­pi­ons.

Even though the Spring­bok team may have come un­stuck against a pow­er­ful All Blacks con­tin­gent last week­end, when they suf­fered their worst ever loss (57-0), there has been over­whelm­ing lo­cal support for the com­pe­ti­tion’s re­turn to Africa.

Premier Wil­lies Mchunu said: “As the KZN govern­ment, we will be guided by the na­tional govern­ment on the way for­ward.

“By and large, host­ing the Rugby World Cup in 2023 will in­deed present end­less so­cio-eco­nomic devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for this prov­ince.

“The Rugby World Cup would present the pro­vin­cial govern­ment with the op­por­tu­nity to show­case the prov­ince’s nat­u­ral re­sources, a tapestry of cul­tures, its rich his­tory and her­itage.

“And, in­deed, mag­nif­i­cent to­pog­ra­phy that fea­tures ever­green val­leys, eter­nally laugh­ing wa­ter­falls and at­trac­tive beaches all ready to wel­come both busi­ness and or­di­nary tourists,” Mchunu said.

While the coun­try waited with bated breath, Mchunu said: “As we ap­proach this global event, we need to re­flect on the road that the in­ter­na­tional sports com­mu­nity has trav­elled with our pathfind­ers of democ­racy and free­dom. These in­clude Nel­son Man­dela, who used sport as a tool to unite our peo­ple across all racial lines.”

Mchunu said the tournament would help in forg­ing so­cial co­he­sion in the prov­ince.

“We will use this World Cup to unite our peo­ple and pro­mote pa­tri­o­tism.”

Head of Dur­ban Tourism Phillip Sit­hole said the city was “ever ready” to host any in­ter­na­tional event like the Rugby World Cup.

“We have hosted in­ter­na­tional visi­tors be­fore and we proved that we are ca­pa­ble.

“If we win the bid, this would put Dur­ban on the in­ter­na­tional map once again,” he said.

Asked about the state of readi­ness, he said: “We have enough rooms to house visi­tors and play­ers. Our transport sys­tem is top class. We have proven from past events that safety and se­cu­rity is our pri­or­ity.”

If South Africa won the bid, the tournament would have an es­ti­mated R4.5 bil­lion cash in­jec­tion for Dur­ban of the es­ti­mated R27.3bn the coun­try is set to bank.

Dur­ban’s Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium, which hosted matches dur­ing the Fifa 2010 World Cup, would be among the host sta­di­ums.the tournament would come with 6 404 tem­po­rary and per­ma­nent jobs for Dur­ban peo­ple.

The more than month-long tournament would also see ur­ban and town­ship-based restau­rants like Max’s Life­style in um­lazi, south­ern Dur­ban, ben­e­fit­ing, said the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of SA Rugby, Jurie Roux.

“Lo­cal busi­nesses across var­i­ous sec­tors will cer­tainly ben­e­fit in terms of di­rect, in­di­rect and in­duced eco­nomic im­pact.

“For ex­am­ple, a vis­i­tor buy­ing a meal at Max’s Life­style in um­lazi con­sti­tutes di­rect spend. In­di­rect im­pact is what the res­tau­rant spends buy­ing meat and in­gre­di­ents from lo­cal sup­pli­ers, and in­duced im­pact would be the money wait­ers earn to spend in lo­cal shops as a re­sult of their em­ploy­ment and tips.”

Roux said some tick­ets for pool matches would be dis­trib­uted to NGOS, schools and clubs, “to en­sure op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple from poorer com­mu­ni­ties to en­joy the event”.

Max’s Life­style owner, Max Mqadi, said: “We are al­ways ready to host in­ter­na­tional tourists and if we win the bid, we will ex­cel with our ser­vice.”

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa led the del­e­ga­tion which in­cluded the pres­i­dent of SA Rugby, Mark Alexan­der. They de­parted on Fri­day. Alexan­der said they were pleased with the support they had been given by dif­fer­ent sec­tors in­clud­ing govern­ment.

The bid com­mit­tee pleaded with the coun­try to rally be­hind it us­ing the #South Africa2023.

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