We did it by the book ... or did we?
Not all promises in Bid Book will be honoured, writes Janet Smith
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.
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.