The recent Cricket World Cup brought in the region of R1-billion into the South African economy, says Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour, who told Members of Parliament on Tuesday that South Africa was now casting its net for the 2020 Olympic Games and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
”It is estimated that about 20 000 foreign spectators visited our shores to watch the Cricket World Cup. That translates into close to 3 500 jobs.”
The minister said that initial estimates indicated the economic benefits of the event ”amount to some R1 billion. It proves that sport has a role to play in pushing back the frontiers of poverty”.
Speaking in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) at Parliament on Tuesday during the policy debate on his budget, the minister said: ”The consequences of the huge influx of spectators from abroad has assisted us as a department and as an institution generally, to address one of the major challenges of our times in South Africa, that of job-creation and poverty relief.”
The minister reported that the sports department had hosted a successful conference on developing a strategy for bidding for and hosting major international sports events.
”I am happy to confirm that we reached consensus about approaching bids in an orderly fashion to ensure that we develop the capacity, incrementally, to host larger and more complex events to enable us, eventually, to present the biggest spectacle of world sports, the Olympic Games, some time in the future.”
”During the conference we committed ourselves to prioritise bids to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and to give consideration to the 2020 Olympic Games. Of course, events take place in cities and towns and local and provincial authorities have a critical role to play in any international event that we plan to host.”
He told NCOP members: ”I am encouraged by the trend in certain national federations to host some of their international events in cities and towns that do not often have such opportunities.”
Examples include the last two Davis Cup matches hosted in Nelspruit (Mpumalanga) and Polokwane (Limpopo), the World Shooting Championships in Limpopo, and the Bafana Bafana games in Port Elizabeth and East London. I-Net Bridge