Whites want cup success as much as other races – study
“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.