Mbalula’s ban on bidding will mean the loss of million/reputation

Johan Van Zyl -- Wed, 05/18/2016 - 09:00

Mbalula’s ban on bidding will mean the loss of millions/reputation

Millions in foreign revenue and the disintegration of image and reputation. This, according to Prof Melville Saayman from the research unit TREES at the North-West University (NWU), is what the country stand to lose after Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced that SA Rugby, Cricket South Africa and Athletics South Africa are banned from bidding to host major sporting events. 

Mbalula cited the slow pace of transformation in these codes for his decision. Prof Saayman from TREES (Tourism Research in Economic Environs and Society) 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 Prof Saayman. 

“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.”