We did it by the book ... or did we?

Not all prom­ises in Bid Book will be hon­oured, writes Janet Smith

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - ISSUES -

DANNY Jor­daan and Es­sop Pa­had re­hearsed their speeches care­fully. It had been a long day of prepa­ra­tions in a Zurich ho­tel room with Irvin Khoza and sports min­is­ter Ng­conde Bal­four. African foot­ball su­per­star Abedi Pele, who had signed on as an am­bas­sador for South Africa’s bid, was there. So was Kaizer Mo­taung.

The 1 000-page Bid Book had be­come their Bi­ble. It was a dream and it was a war-plan, and on Septem­ber 29, 2003 – a pleas­ant au­tumn day in the Swiss city – all that was left was the pol­ish­ing of it.

As chair­man of South Africa’s 2010 Bid Com­pany, Khoza would have to con­trol any edge he felt dur­ing the dry run. He, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Danny Jor­daan and cabi­net min­is­ters Pa­had and Bal­four would only have ex­actly 30 min­utes to present. Then ri­vals Tu­nisia, Libya, Morocco and Nige­ria – who would lis­ten to SA’s bid – would get their turn, not know­ing yet that Libya would be dis­qual­i­fied be­fore vot­ing started and that Egypt would not re­ceive a sin­gle vote.

The Bid Book was not a po­etic tome, but it held the room. The Fifa in­spec­tion team would call the bid “ex­cel­lent”, and later rate our fa­cil­i­ties as the best of the five com­pet­ing coun­tries.

Back home, it was an­other po­lit­i­cal time and an­other coun­try, and the nation was not par­tic­u­larly aware of the 1pm show­case that Septem­ber. The fol­low­ing morn­ing, there would only be time to ad­just their ties be­fore Khoza and his com­mit­tee shook Fifa pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter’s hand at the Fed­er­a­tion In­ter­na­tionale de Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion’s au­di­to­rium and got started. The pre­sen­ta­tion would launch with a recorded mes­sage from Pres­i­dent Thabo Mbeki. Then Pa­had, the Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency, would be­gin.

There was real re­spon­si­bil­ity for Jor­daan and the rest of the team. Those 30 min­utes were not about beg­ging, but there was an in­her­ent plea. This would af­ter all be the sec­ond time, in the same au­di­to­rium. The last time our coun­try’s case had been put there, it had be­come a house of pain, the out­come agonising.

South Africa’s en­tire bid com­mit­tee had been left bruised and in shock when Ocea­nia of­fi­cial Charles Dempsey over­looked his man­date from his fed­er­a­tion for the 2006 World Cup. He had been in­structed to vote for South Africa should Eng­land lose out in the early rounds, but would later say he had felt un­der such enor­mous pres­sure that he ab­stained from the fi­nal vote when the 24 mem­bers of Fifa gath­ered to de­cide by se­cret bal­lot.

Ger­many – neck-and-neck with us up to the last mo­ments – won by de­fault, but the tragedy would be fol­lowed by an im­por­tant moment that re­flected on Jor­daan’s per­sonal moral­ity. When he be­came the CEO of the Lo­cal Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee for 2010, he vis­ited Dempsey, who had been tur ned into a her mit be­cause of his choice. Jor­daan in­vited him to at­tend the World Cup as a spe­cial guest this year, but Dempsey died two years ago at 86, re­demp­tion un­ful­filled.

This story is an im­por­tant part of the lore of the 2010 bid.

When Jor­daan, Khoza, Pa­had and Bal­four were re­hears­ing, Bid Book in hand, in the ho­tel room in 2003, they were tak­ing for­ward an eight-year dream, and try­ing to over­come that first atro­cious dis­ap­point­ment in 2000.

It had been an over­whelm­ing race, an emo­tional rush since 1997 when Safa’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee had first adopted a res­o­lu­tion for the 2006 World Cup, be­fore Bafana Bafana stunned the con­ti­nent by win­ning the African Cup of Na­tions.

Safa set up a Sec­tion 21 com­pany to get things go­ing, and the lob­by­ing from then was fu­ri­ous and of­ten bit­ter, with nascent po­lit­i­cal re­la­tion­ships on the con­ti­nent be­ing tested as govern­ment and sport­ing of­fi­cials reached out. Those kinds of com­plex­i­ties were also dis­trac­tions in 2003 – both bids dogged by Morocco.

The first time around, CAF for­got to en­dorse South Africa as the lone bid­der, and that left Ra­bat open to an­nounce its can­di­dacy for the World Cup in 2006. The North African coun­try did the same thing for 2010, and ul­ti­mately South Africa beat it by 14-10 in the fi­nal vote to be­come the first African coun­try to host the event.

Hop­ing a pow­er­ful foot­ball metaphor would add ap­pro­pri­ate sym­bol­ism, Jor­daan had di­vided his 2010 bid pre­sen­ta­tion into halves. The first de­scribed South Africa’s ca­pac­ity to or­gan­ise a World Cup – some­thing the 2006 Bid Book had done to great ac­claim. The sec­ond de­tailed com­merce and in­fra­struc­ture. The Bid Book it­self was heav­i­est for its four an­nex­ures rich in gover nment guar­an­tees and com­mer­cial con­tracts.

Once the splen­dours of win­ning the 2010 bid had set­tled when Blat­ter pulled South Africa’s name out of the hat in 2004, and the coun­try’s all­night par­ties had sub­sided, that Book was still the Bi­ble, and the govern­ment would be held re­spon­si­ble to Fifa for the 17 guar­an­tees in it re­lat­ing to the World Cup’s key el­e­ments.

Money, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty, mar­ket­ing rights, safety and se­cu­rity, health­care, trans­port and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions were the most crit­i­cal among the guar­an­tees that be­came an Act of Par­lia­ment in Septem­ber 2006. The govern­ment, in turn, held pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments and host cities re­spon­si­ble for ful­fill­ing obli­ga­tions around sta­di­ums, train­ing grounds, in­fra­struc­ture, fan parks, beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and mar­ket­ing. That Bid Book could not be tam­pered with.

So, as Khoza and Jor­daan con­tem­plate that af­ter­noon in Zurich when they were pre­par­ing ef­fec­tively for the ma­nia of yes­ter­day at Soc­cer City, they have surely kept those guar­an­tees in mind and feel sat­is­fied that most were met.

In­fra­struc­ture and con­struc­tion, for in­stance, have been given the high­est praise, par­tic­u­larly in meet­ing the Bid Book’s prom­ises around build­ing five sta­di­ums and up­grad­ing an­other five.

Rich Mkhondo, chief com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer of the Lo­cal Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee, says there is sat­is­fac­tion that more than 20 000 jobs were cre­ated, giv­ing con­struc­tion work­ers ex­ten­sive skills train­ing for post2010. But the fact that sta­di­ums have been built, look world-class and are ready does not quite oblit­er­ate the me­mory of a cou­ple of years of labour is­sues and missed dead­lines,

The govern­ment sweated over its orig­i­nal mea­sure of its to­tal con­tri­bu­tion to in­fra­struc­ture and sta­di­ums, which started at R17.4 bil­lion. The biggest scan­dal was surely the Cape Town Sta­dium in Green Point, where con­struc­tion ended up cost­ing R4.5bn out of a na­tional bud­get of R8.4bn. Work­ers were out­raged and many res­i­dents won­dered why Athlone Sta­dium could not sim­ply have been up­graded.

The air­port-to-Sand­ton route of the R25bn Gau­train in Joburg is fi­nally op­er­a­tional, but that rapidrail project was also un­set­tled by prob­lems around wage is­sues and lurk­ing dead­line fears.

The full project, link­ing Pre­to­ria with Jo­han­nes­burg was not com­pleted in time. Its bud­get also bal­looned alarm­ingly.

Yet prob­a­bly the more glar­ing anom­aly has been around arts and cul­ture, where a 2010 task team was axed with­out a clear ex­pla­na­tion and some of the R150 mil­lion al­lo­cated for the World Cup seemed to van­ish. The min­is­ter, Lulu Xing­wana, was not open to dis­cus­sions about ru­mours of mis­man­age­ment, but the arts and cul­ture sec­tor was cer­tainly dam­aged by the lack of trans­parency.

Health­care, too, has been a per­pet­u­ally em­bat­tled zone. Pub­lic hos­pi­tals, some of which have en­trenched 2010 pro­to­col agree­ments, are strug­gling with equip­ment, clo­sures and labour con­cerns.

And there will be pres­sure on the govern­ment to meet its so­cial legacy ob­jec­tives, which should be the over­ar­ch­ing mir­a­cle of the World Cup’s sus­tain­able dream.

On Mon­day, July 12, when the dust set­tles, there will be many who think back to those hal­cyon days in Zurich and that beau­ti­ful Bid Book which promised so much. And the truth is they will feel hard done by.

PIC­TURE: AP

GOLDEN MOMENT: Nel­son Man­dela cel­e­brates with South African bid CEO Danny Jor­daan af­ter learn­ing South Africa would host the 2010 Fifa World Cup, in Zurich, Switzer­land on May 15, 2004.

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