Cape Town - Millions in foreign revenue and the
disintegration of South Africa’s image and reputation.
This, according to
Professor Melville Saayman of the TREES (Tourism Research in Economic Environs
and Society) at the North-West University, is what the country stand to lose
after Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s announced that SA Rugby, Cricket South
Africa, Athletics South Africa and Netball South Africa are banned from bidding to host major
Mbalula cited the slow pace of
transformation in these codes for his decision. Saayman warns that this can
have disastrous effects:
“It is simple: the world does not need us.
We need the world. Mbalula’s decision severs the arteries that pump global
recognition, revenue and foreign investment into the country. There are
innumerable other options that will hasten what Mbalula calls a ‘slow rate of
transformation’. By hosting international sporting events we, as a country,
build our brand. We upgrade our infrastructure which creates jobs. We lure
tourists who spend their money on locally produced products and services,” says
“His announcement equates to nothing more
than a self-imposed sanction that will hurt those in need the most. Let’s take
street vendors as an example. They line the streets at sporting event and those
tourists, which will now be excluded, feed their families. Their communities.
“How are we, as a nation, suppose to grow
if we are not allowed to. It is a travesty. Thousands of potential tourist:
gone. Word of mouth about South Africa as an international tourist destination:
gone. The opportunity to have our landmarks, our facilities and our unique
culture broadcasted to a global audience: gone.
“Look at what the 1995 Rugby World Cup did
for us as a country. Look at what hosting the Soccer World Cup did for our
reputation as a country. The cricket in 2003 ... the possibility of hosting the
Olympics. Imagine that. What message does this send to the Olympic Games
bidding committee when we submit a proposal in the future. Might they not think
that the event will be boycotted if given to us.
“I cannot begin to describe the potential
damage this country will incur. Can we afford it? No. No we cannot."