Whites want cup suc­cess as much as other races – study

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - VIC­TO­RIA JOHN

“WHITE South Africans would like to see the coun­try’s host­ing of the event fail,” was the com­ment of Dr Es­sop Pa­had, a mem­ber of the 2010 World Cup or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, in 2008.

“Whites don’t even care that the World Cup is be­ing staged in South Africa,” he said at the Bei­jing Olympics.

But a study by the Hu­man Sciences Re­search Coun­cil (HSRC) shows this view is wrong.

“White South Africans – like oth­ers – are en­gaged in and care about the World Cup,” the sur­vey re­vealed.

Pa­had’s com­ments pro­voked so much con­tro­versy the Afrikanerbond lodged a com­plaint of hate speech against him with the SA Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion.

On a trip to Bei­jing to pro­mote the World Cup, Pa­had, then min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency un­der Thabo Mbeki, said: “Even though they are a mi­nor­ity, a lot of whites still don’t sup­port Bafana Bafana.”

Al­though Pa­had has since been re­moved from his po­si­tion af­ter Ja­cob Zuma’s elec­tion, one of his tasks at the time was to en­sure a suc­cess­ful World Cup. But op­po­si­tion par­ties slammed what the HSRC called “a prom­i­nent gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial un­der min­ing in­ter­na­tional con­fi­dence and, more im­por­tantly, ef­forts to pro­mote na­tional unity”.

By analysing at­ti­tudes to the World Cup over the past three years, Udesh Pil­lay, Ben Roberts and Orli Bass of the HSRC con­fronted “mis­con­cep­tions about South Africans’ at­ti­tudes to the World Cup”.

The HSRC study de­scribed Pa­had’s state­ments as a “rip in the weave of mul­ti­cul­tural post-apartheid iden­tity”. It found in the past three years at least 95 per­cent of white South Africans had con­sis­tently be­lieved the coun­try would ben­e­fit from host­ing the world soc­cer event.

Fa­cil­i­ta­tors of the sur­vey, which in­volved 3 300 re­spon­dents, said: “Im­plicit in the no­tion of care, are el­e­ments of con­cern, worry and even trou­ble, but also pride and an­tic­i­pa­tion.”

The sur­vey showed that 74 per­cent of South Africans be­lieved the top three ben­e­fits to emerge from host­ing the World Cup would be eco­nomic growth, job cre­ation and putting South Africa on the in­ter­na­tional map.

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