Mr Speaker, Sir,                                                                                                      3 June 2010
Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP,
Comrades and Honourable Members.

With the kick-off of the World Cup just a few days from now, we are about to reach the exciting climax of a long and arduous journey.

Thanks to our government;  the Local Organising Committee, the African Union and above all the people for the meticulous organisation thus far, the energy and patriotism that see us poised to deliver the best World Cup tournament ever!  Let us hope that the patriotism, energy and ingenuity that was unleashed in building the stadia and other related infrastructure will remain mobilised to solve the enormous developmental challenges still facing the majority of our people.  If we can sustain that, it will be the lasting legacy of the world cup in our country and continent.

In the euphoria of this moment we have forgotten about Charles Dempsey;  we are thrusting to the far corners of the nothingness those who were advocating a Plan B in Australia; those who said we will not have the money;  those who said that we will not meet deadlines and all the negative commentary we have had to put up with.  All these negatives, both at home and abroad are part of a historical question of whether we as Africans have an equal share in the brotherhood and sisterhood of mankind.

Whilst we wish all participating teams the best of luck, we can not disguise our partisan support for our national team, BAFANA BAFANA in particular and the African teams in general.

The generation of Roger Milla first and subsequently the youthful squad of Senegal have raised the African flag high.  The six African teams have a unique opportunity to raise the African flag even higher.  After all, all the major football leagues have African boys amongst their superstars.  The do it for their European teams, they can and should do it for the Continent.

It would be amiss if we do not thank FIFA for their steadfast support and guidance throughout the preparations and especially FIFA President Comrade Sepp Blatter.  His confidence and belief in us was singular and unwavering.   Comrade, you will live in the hearts and minds of our people for a long time to come.  You are truly a son of the soil.  A son of Africa!

As we enjoy the greatest sporting spectacle on earth, let us not forget that the world still exist around us with its thrills, dangers and misery.  Let us remember;  let us continue to raise our voices in support of the besieged but heroic people of Palestine.  After all, we are all Palestinians!  Long live Palestine!


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