We published this series of articles five years ago. We think they are still relevant, so we are republishing them now.
By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (November 27th 2009)
Dangerous – Perish the Thought
“I don’t think that will be a problem,” said the CEO of South Africaʼs World Cup Dr Danny Jordaan boldly. He believes that fans will not come to his country for the World Cup, but that they will be safe. He dismissed suggestions that South Africa is a dangerous country and that visitors to the World Cup will not be safe.
“If that is true, how do you explain the fact that there are seven million tourists coming into the country”? he asks. “How do you explain that? How do you explain the fact that every aircraft to Johannesburg from London is full every time from Virgin Atlantic to South African Airways and now British Airways as well? All of them are full – every one”.
Jordaan is convinced that South Africa will host a successful and safe World Cup. “We have crime”, he says, “but so do you in Moss Side in Manchester, in Leeds and other places that we read about. We are safe. There is crime everywhere. You see knife murders and gun murders in London”.
Jordaan warms to his theme. “We read about it in South Africa”, he says, “but we have decided to challenge it. If somebody can tell me that there is no crime in London at all then at least we have discovered the British path to heaven, but I think that we have also showed that it is safe in South Africa”.
Jordaan has no truck with the view that South Africa is too dangerous a place to host the World Cup. “The England soccer team played there”, Jordaan said. “The England rugby team came to play here. Why would it be different if two million people come for a tournament like the World Cup? Why would it be different? I cannot understand that”.
He lists more examples of successfully hosted sporting events in his country. “We just hosted the 20/20 world cup and that was in September 2007, so I cannot understand, because Manchester United was coming here to South Africa”, Jordaan says. “Barcelona was here. Brasil played here. Argentina played here. Germany played here. The Netherlands played here. Sweden played here. Denmark played here and so the list goes on”.
And so it does. “A number of countries have played here so I don’t know why we can have all of these major internationals here, but somehow somebody knows it’s not going to be safe”, Jordaan says. “Yes we have crime. There are socio-economic challenges – the lack of housing, education, all of those and then we are dealing with those things”.