Hon Speaker, hon Chairperson of the NCOP, Deputy President of the Republic, Kgalema Motlanthe, hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Ministers and Premiers, Deputy Ministers, hon members, MECs and mayors of host cities, the SA Football Association president, Mr Kirsten Nematandani, chairperson of the 2010 Local Organising Committee, Dr Irvin Khoza, and members of the committee, the entire soccer fraternity, His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu, fellow South Africans, it is slightly more than a month since the final whistle that ended the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup tournament. We gather today to celebrate this outstanding African success story. There could not have been a better platform to thank South Africans for this outstanding achievement than in Parliament before the elected representatives of our people.
Six years ago, when we won the rights to host the tournament, the task seemed too huge. Many wondered if an African country could make a success of the biggest sporting event in the world. Indeed, others even suggested that there should be a Plan B, as they could not believe we were capable of pulling off such a massive project. Working together as South Africans, we have proved that we are a nation of winners. It is only fitting, hon Speaker, that we spend time today discussing this phenomenal, historic achievement.
According to Fifa, more than 3 million spectators attended the 64 matches of the tournament. This was the third highest aggregate attendance behind the 1994 Fifa World Cup in the United States, and the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany. [Applause.] This figure includes the millions of people who watched World Cup games at Fan Fests, fan parks and public viewing areas across the country and in various cities around the world. It has also been acknowledged that our fan parks were so huge that they resembled mini- stadiums, something which did not happen in other host countries. [Applause.] Government recorded that more than 1,4 million foreigners visited the country during the tournament. The systems which we had put in place to control the movement of people worked seamlessly and efficiently.
But our people, black and white, are the true stars of the tournament. The proud display of our rainbow nation flags did not only demonstrate that we have the brightest and most beautiful flag in the world, but also demonstrated amazing patriotism. [Applause.] The World Cup tournament revealed that South Africans are capable of working together in unity. It also proved that they are proud to be South Africans. When our people were asked to wear Bafana Bafana jerseys on Fridays to promote the team and the tournament, they responded in an overwhelming manner.
Nothing stood out like the opening match on 11 June 2010. The colourful South Africans beautified the roads leading to Soccer City. The rainbow flag flew all over the country - a proud nation in a celebratory fever! We never thought it possible before the World Cup that South Africans could demonstrate their love for this country and one another in that manner. It certainly gave us hope for the future. Indeed, Fifa remarked that South Africans were the best hosts ever, given the manner in which they actively participated in the tournament. [Applause.]
We were moved by how parents took small children to soccer matches, even in the evenings, braving cold weather to support Bafana Bafana and, later, other teams. This proved that our people had faith in our security systems, faith in the logistical arrangements, and faith in the ability of their country to host the event successfully.
It is estimated that half a billion viewers around the world watched the opening ceremony on 11 June 2010. [Applause.] That was the most powerful marketing opportunity for this young democracy. It was worth every penny spent on the tournament.
South Africans truly defied stereotypes during this tournament. We saw young white South Africans proudly wearing their national colours, walking around singing and blowing their vuvuzelas outside Soccer City. This is the Soccer City near Soweto that could in the past have been said to be a no-go zone due to the compartmentalisation of our residential areas, and even sports, as a legacy of apartheid. And then the Blue Bulls went to Soweto, crushing even more stereotypes. [Applause.] The support for the national team, Bafana Bafana, until it bowed out fighting in Bloemfontein after teaching France the basics of football, is a powerful lesson in national solidarity. [Applause.] We are making great progress in achieving social cohesion. We must celebrate and build on this mood and spirit.
As political representatives, we must not fail our people. We all recall that special moment when former President Nelson Mandela triumphantly moved the South African masses and the world at Soccer City at the conclusion of the tournament on 11 July. He was saluting the masses for a job well done. Our performance had been outstanding. We made him and all his peers, living and departed, very proud. [Applause.]
With regard to the economic impact, South Africa has demonstrated that it has the infrastructure and the capability to warrant serious investment consideration. It is still too early for a precise indication of the benefits the 2010 World Cup will have on our economy. However, it is clear that a healthy return on investment is expected on the R33 billion spent on transport infrastructure, telecommunications and stadiums. It is estimated that the tournament will add 0,4% to the country's real gross domestic product.
Another important factor is that the successful hosting of the event, in the midst of a global economic downturn, clearly proves the economic prowess of the country. We have earned the reputation of being a country that can deliver on its undertakings. The World Cup has opened the country to further investment, growth in trade and economic opportunities. It has also opened up opportunities to improve the way we deliver services. We reiterate that we view the tournament not as an end in itself, but as a catalyst for development whose benefits will be felt long after the final whistle.
The 2010 Fifa World Cup Inter-Ministerial Committee is currently collating all reports on the tournament. This will enable us to be comprehensive in utilising the lessons from this tournament in our work as we move forward.
However, while waiting for that report, we already have some very good examples of excellence to build on. We already know that careful planning yielded good results in regard to safety and security. The diligent work that the police did was supported by the application of swift justice by World Cup-related courts. The Department of Justice is currently investigating whether the model of the World Cup courts can be incorporated into the country's criminal justice system.
Public transport formed the backbone of our transport plans for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and is one of the greatest successes of the tournament. Our integrated transport infrastructure and networks will improve the lives of South Africans for many years to come. The World Cup legacy will ensure that by 2020 more than 85% of any city's population will live within a kilometre of or closer to an integrated rapid public transport network feeder or corridor.
The impact on the country's tourism sector cannot be overestimated. Tourism establishments in areas that were not usually frequented by tourists were patronised by visitors who may recommend these to their families and friends back home. Small establishments, which would otherwise never have had the need to be graded, are now graded and are registered with the Tourism Council.
We have stated before that we want education to be a lasting legacy of the World Cup. On 11 July we hosted the Heads of State Education Summit in support of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the 1Goal: Education for All initiative. This included a renewed commitment to the Millennium Development Goal of ensuring that by 2015 all boys and girls complete primary schooling and girls enjoy the same access to education as boys. This democratic government has made huge strides in the provision of education to all our children. We currently have nearly universal enrolment in primary school and around 86% enrolment in high school. This compares favourably with international standards.
However, according to the General Household Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa, about 200 000 children in the 7-to-15-years age group are not attending school. Statistics South Africa found that youth on farms appear to be significantly more likely to be out of school than children living in traditional, formal or informal settlements. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is a problem particularly affecting coloured farming communities in the Western Cape. This is one of the vulnerable groups that we have to target in our universal access campaign.
We are attending to the factors that contribute to the drop-out rate around the country. These include lack of school fees, general poverty, lack of transport, teenage pregnancy, and inadequate schools servicing children with disabilities. We are working to expand access to secondary education and to increase our enrolment rate to 95% by 2014. We know that the challenge is not simply one of ensuring that young people have access to high schools, but also one of ensuring that they complete their National Senior Certificate. I urge all Members of Parliament to help us identify the affected children in their constituencies. Together we must ensure that every child is in school next year as part of the legacy of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup. [Applause.]
Apart from in education, there is a lot of other work for us to do, building on the successes and lessons of this tournament. There are houses to build and communities to strengthen. There are hospitals to improve. Most of all, we have to make sure that the economy grows strongly to support job creation.
We are incorporating the World Cup project management lessons into our new outcomes-based approach to governance. We cannot let these lessons go to waste; they must help us improve service delivery. These will be outlined once the Inter-Ministerial Committee presents its report.
Sport remains one of the greatest nation-builders. We wish to reiterate government's commitment to the development of football. We wish Safa the best of luck in its efforts to develop the game and inspire Bafana Bafana to greater heights. [Applause.] So you will agree with me that very few teams are going to play around with Bafana Bafana. They are very consistent, very organised, very hungry for goals, not shy, very clear. And we all have a responsibility to support Safa in its mammoth task.
While celebrating, let us remember that these achievements were not a miracle and did not happen by accident. Without the advent of democracy in 1994, after a relentless nonracial struggle, there would have been no World Cup event on South African soil. [Applause.] Today we celebrate the remarkable achievements of the South African people. It was not easy, but as South Africans we decided that the time had come to put the painful past behind us in 1994.
We must also acknowledge the contribution of the stalwarts who laid the foundation for the peaceful and nonracial society we live in today. These are leaders such as our stalwart, Comrade Walter Sisulu, uXhamela. We recall his profound statement in court during the Defiance Campaign, before being sentenced for a pass offence on 21 July 1952. He said:
As long as I enjoy the confidence of my people, and as long as there is a spark of life and energy in me, I shall fight with courage and determination for the abolition of discriminatory laws and for the freedom of all South Africans irrespective of colour or creed.
[Applause.] With Xhamela, we thank all the selfless national heroes and heroines, from the 1912 generation to that of former President Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Amina Cachalia, Robert Sobukwe, Helen Suzman, Govan Mbeki and beyond. [Applause.] They sacrificed their comfort so that we could live in a united, nonracial, democratic and successful South Africa. We also celebrate the sterling work of all political parties in building the South Africa we live in today. It has not been easy over the years to undo the legacy of the past and build a new society. But we have tried our best, and are succeeding. Working together we have built a modern, stable and successful democracy. This made it easy for Molefi Oliphant, Irvin Khoza, Danny Jordaan and the whole team to argue strongly and convincingly their case for the hosting of the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup tournament in our country.
Together we have created a society founded on the values of human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms. It is a society that upholds nonracialism and nonsexism, as well as the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law. The Constitution that we crafted together proclaims a multiparty system of democratic government to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness. We have regular elections as required by the Constitution, and citizens have the opportunity of voting for the party of their choice to govern them.
The institutions created through our democracy are stable and strong, and we have several checks and balances. We have a Parliament that provides oversight over the executive. We have an independent judiciary which is the final arbiter in all disputes. We have institutions such as the Public Protector, the SA Human Rights Commission, the Auditor-General and the Commission for Gender Equality, which keep a close watch, protecting the rights of all our people. It is these political achievements of our nation that enable us to stand before you today and say that we must collectively celebrate and claim the victory of successfully hosting the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup. The World Cup tournament has indeed been the pinnacle of success for this young democracy and that is due to our people.
In conclusion, allow me to thank the many who made a difference. We thank our Premiers and mayors in all the host cities for their sterling work. [Applause.] All three spheres of government are here to celebrate these achievements and that is why this debate is so special. We thank the children who acted as player escorts, adding a special touch to the tournament. [Applause.] We thank the selfless volunteers, construction workers, immigration officials, law enforcement officials, public transport workers, and, indeed, every South African, as all played a critical role. [Applause.]
We thank the religious community for their support. A national prayer service was hosted in the Free State and others took place in other parts of the country, demonstrating support of this tournament. [Applause.] They were all saying, "God, help us to have a successful tournament." And, indeed, God heard and answered very quickly. [Applause.] That is why even the criminals went on holiday. [Laughter.]
We congratulate Safa and the 2010 LOC, both the leadership and staff. [Applause.] They are the pioneers of this first Fifa Soccer World Cup tournament on South African soil. We are indebted to our Isithwalandwe, Madiba, who worked so tirelessly to make this dream come true. [Applause.]
We also recognise the contribution of the administration led by former President Thabo Mbeki who, working with the LOC, laid the basis for all the planning. [Applause.] We thank Archbishop Desmond Tutu and all in the 1Goal: Education for All initiative, for keeping that important legacy alive during the tournament. [Applause.]
We also acknowledge the soccer legends who are here today, who laid the foundation for a football nation, and who actively support the 1Goal: Education for All initiative. [Applause.] These include Mark Fish, Patson "Kamuzu" Banda, Doctor Khumalo, Kalusha Bwalya, Trott Moloto, Brian Tlale and Desiree Ellis. [Applause.] I cannot mention them all, but you know many of them. I remember one of them saying, "I wish I were a young man in order to participate." If indeed he had been there, he would have done wonders, but by the time he said this, the knees and the legs were no longer that fast. [Laughter.] We also acknowledge the Bafana Bafana captain, Aaron Mokoena, who is an outstanding and eloquent ambassador of the 1Goal: Education for All initiative. [Applause.]
We thank Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who showed character in his unwavering support for our country. [Applause.] He stood his ground, supporting South Africa in the midst of negativity and Afro-pessimism.
We thank the media, especially the international media, which provided us with much international exposure, portraying our country accurately as a bastion of peace, stability, efficiency, success and achievement. [Applause.]
We thank the heads of state and governments from the African continent who made time to join us for the opening and closing ceremonies and various matches. In fact, Members of Parliament, no World Cup has ever had so many heads of state visit at one go as we did here. [Applause.] We had said this would be an African World Cup. They helped us to achieve that goal. It was indeed an African World Cup.
We are able to celebrate the fact that we have successfully changed stereotypes about the continent. Nobody can tell us that nothing good can come from Africa, or that we are the continent of wars, conflict and poverty. Wherever we go on the continent these days, we hear our African brothers and sisters thanking South Africa for proving Africa's capability. [Applause.] In fact, it is music to one's ears when one hears them saying that they feel so proud as Africans to be acknowledged when they go to big countries and cities and hear people talking well about Africa and South Africa. It's wonderful; it's good music.
We must have made former ANC president Pixley ka Isaka Seme very proud, because he was a believer in the African continent's ability to do something. In 1906, in his landmark article, The Regeneration of Africa, he said:
I would ask you not to compare Africa to Europe or to any other continent. I make this request not from any fear that such a comparison might bring humiliation upon Africa. The reason I have stated: a common standard is impossible!
Indeed, there can be no comparison, even if we say so ourselves.
We also thank heads of state and governments from all over the world who succeeded in participating as many times as possible, and visited our country to support their teams, or sent high-level representation. You must have noticed that there were some who were composed and diplomatic, but when goals were scored, they forgot about status! They jumped up and hugged people accidentally, or in whatever way. [Laughter.] It was fun; it was nice.
The South African spirit made even those who came here saying that they would be composed forget that , especially when they heard the vuvuzelas and everything. They just became South Africans. In fact, up to now, by the way, people are still asking, "Why didn't you bring the vuvuzelas?" At the SADC summit they were asking, "Where are the vuvuzelas?" [Laughter.] One head of state even told me that he went back with one that was decorated with beads, but he couldn't blow it. However, his children just blew it, and he says that he can't sleep lately - his children are blowing it all the time. In fact, some say we have invented something for the world.
The tournament has ended, but the legacy must live on and inspire us and the way we work. Let us take that spirit forward and use the lessons to build a better South Africa and a greater Africa! Nkosi Sikelela i-Africa! [God bless Africa!] I thank you. [Applause.]