Rugby World Cup bid kicks off
Durban is more than ready for sporting event
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.