World Cup committee is elitist, says ANC Youth League

The aftermath of the bitter contest for African National Congress (ANC) leadership has spilled over to the 2010 Soccer World Cup local organising committee (LOC) boardroom.

The ANC Youth League, which helped Jacob Zuma defeat Thabo Mbeki for party presidency, now wants Mbeki’s confidant, Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad, out of the LOC and replaced by football personality Jomo Sono, whom the youth league says is more knowledgeable and passionate about the game.

“Pahad is one of the ministers who should be moved because he thinks the LOC should be run like government and knows nothing about football. We want people like Sono, who is very passionate about football. The current structure of the LOC is full of people who want to build their own legacy and use the 2010 event as a vehicle to create personal wealth,” said youth league spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

The youth league wrote a letter to Sport and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile, calling for a special summit in March with all the stakeholders and host cities to review the progress made by the 2010 LOC and to put forward proposals on how best to make the 2010 World Cup a successful event that will benefit South Africans, especially the youth.

Lerato Mogorosi, Stofile’s spokesperson, confirmed that the minister had received the letter.
“The minister cannot review the committee because it is a section 21 company [not for profit] and cannot interfere because he was invited [on the board] by the LOC board. They call the shots,” said Mogorosi.

Kodwa said the youth should be represented in the 2010 organising committee to ensure they benefit from the event.

“We raised this when the committee was established and we were promised by Danny Jordaan that this would be looked at, but nothing has materialised. 2010 is a project that went wrong from the beginning and this should change soon. The companies that win these big tenders for construction work should form joint ventures with youth companies and that is called youth empowerment,” said Kodwa.

“No host city has a vision or strategy for youth empowerment and the same applies to the 2010 local organising committee. The event should be about creating employment opportunities for the youth because young people will take part in the event,” he said.

The league described the committee as “elitist and out of touch”.

“There is simply no communication from the LOC and communities still don’t know what the 2010 World Cup is about. The only time there’s communication is when there is a strike. We have called for meetings on more than one occasion and only Jordaan attends, as if he’s the only one working for the LOC,” he said.

“The 2010 LOC is full of empty promises and we are tired of that; it’s about time things changed,” said Kodwa.

Committee spokesperson Tumi Makgabo said: “I’ve been advised to refer you to Irvin Khoza or Molefi Oliphant because ... from the ANCYL statement these are issues that need to be dealt with by the board.”

Khoza and Oliphant could not be reached for comment.

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