News24

Protests during SWC unlikely

2010-03-19 17:00

Johannesburg - Service delivery protests during the World Cup were unlikely, an interim ministerial committee said on Friday.

Briefing media on World Cup preparations, Sports Minister Makhenkesi Stofile said people had the right to protest but the committee believed residents would be caught up in soccer fever and would not use the opportunity to disrupt the sporting event.

"As the ultimate optimist I am absolutely convinced that no right thinking South African will attempt to disrupt the World Cup."

He said an impending national strike by the taxi industry was not their concern.

This was despite violent protests by the industry in Johannesburg over the weekend.

The taxi industry had said government had not clarified if it would be involved in the World Cup, but Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said they would meet the industry next week to outline plans.

"They were involved in the Confederations Cup and they will be fully involved in the World Cup."

Warm welcome for fans


Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said hosting of the World Cup offered an opportunity to improve services and they were eager to show the world that the country was emerging from the racial divide of the apartheid area.

"Let them all come and they will receive a warm welcome."

Motlanthe said Fifa had invited former president Nelson Mandela to attend the opening ceremony and "God willing" his health would make it possible to do so.

When asked by a journalist from South America, part of a large contingent of journalists from that country, if Motlanthe preferred soccer to politics, he said like football, politics was a team game and that in many ways football was a philosophy of life.