KZN premier hosts foreign dignitaries ahead of Durban’s last game

2010-07-08 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal government hosted the last of its pre-match functions at the revamped Durban harbour yesterday.

The Office of the Premier has hosted similar functions at all six of the previous World Cup matches played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, with the aim of persuading foreign dignitaries to consider the province for investment after the World Cup ends.

Guests included government officials from Germany and Spain and a group of Bangladeshi businessmen.

President Jacob Zuma made an appearance at the function and was treated to a warm reception by the estimated 500 people present.

They were shown a short film about the potential business opportunities on offer in the province.

KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize addressed the gathering and heaped praise on the successful hosting of the World Cup by Durban and KZN.

“Some of the most significant World Cup matches have been played in Durban,” he said, “This [the pre-match functions] has provided us with a magnificent opportunity to make new friends and make many friends.

“We thank all of you who have visited the province and the country for your friendliness. It has been a privilege to host the world.”

The premier then introduced Zuma, who expressed his satisfaction with the way that the province and the country have embraced hosting the biggest sporting event in the world.

“We tried once and failed to host the World Cup,” said Zuma.“We got it on our second try and even then people were asking themselves if Africa had the capabilities to host such a prestigious event.

“Since then I have been told by Danny [Jordaan, CEO of the Local Organising Committee] that those very people who doubted us have admitted that they were wrong.”

Zuma emphasised that the job of hosting the tournament is not yet complete.

“On the day of the final, when the winning team is awarded the trophy, that is when South Africa can look back and say that it has done a sterling job of hosting the World Cup.”

The function ended with guests holding tickets for the semi-final being shuttled to the Moses Mabhida Stadium. Guests without tickets were able to watch the Spain-Germany game on a big screen specially erected in the harbour.

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