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Prayer, party to keep gees alive

2010-07-14 10:35

Johannesburg – National prayer and a party would keep the World Cup spirit alive in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma told the SABC in an interview on Tuesday.

"We must maintain this spirit. It's not something you can buy," Zuma said.

"Government is working on a prayer on how to sustain this. I think it is important as a nation that we have a national prayer to thank God for helping us with this success.

"I think we also need a day, a big day, where we have a national party, a festival to be for all of us to say thank you South Africans, thank you Africa, thank you everyone."

Zuma said the 2010 World Cup had proved that the country was prepared to host major international events.

South Africa would now prepare a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics with Durban or Cape Town as the likely cities to apply.

Proved a point

"Africa is ready to be part of the family of regions and the world to handle these major events. We have proved the point."

Asked how hosting these major events would help alleviate poverty – one of the government's major goals – Zuma replied that they would attract foreign investment, infrastructure and provide jobs.

"I think I can say without a doubt that South Africa will never be the same again.

"I think the legacy is the continued enthusiasm and vigour when we do things... Let us use this experience to deliver on other things," he said.

Zuma argued that the World Cup had already helped the government tackle another of its goals: crime.

"During the tournament, because of the number of police, this visibility, there was no crime," said Zuma.

"That we're going to get rid of crime; you can't just say it's a possibility."

Conspiracy

He claimed that some of the reported crime, such as an England fan's invasion of his team's locker room and a hotel robbery of one team, were part of a conspiracy to embarrass the country.

"They were trying to create the impression that we are (overrun) with crime," said Zuma.

He also denied reports of xenophobia and attributed attacks on foreign shopkeepers in Western Cape to "criminals".

He claimed that those who attacked foreigners were not acting out of xenophobia but were taking advantage of "rumours".

"(They) are riding the rumours that were there and then make people to fear... therefore creating (the impression) as if there was xenophobia.

"I don't believe that South Africans who have received the world so warmly could overnight change. This must be a thing that was created by some elements," said Zuma.

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