The 2010 soccer World Cup South Africa’s profile. However, a US investigation into corruption at Fifa has found that our government paid a $10-million bribe for the honour of hosting it. Ten officials were arrested on Wednesday, but not everyone involved in the scandal has been arrested – yet. In particular, co-conspirators No. 16 and No. 15, two “high-ranking South African officials” involved in the bid committee and local organising committee, have yet to be named. ZILUNGILE MNISI found out how Durbanites feel about the situation.
Nadia de Kock, 21, student, Queensburg (Seaview)
We want to know who the corrupt people are. As much as the Fifa investigation has shed insight, we still want to know the culprits. This thing just takes away how I felt about the World Cup back in 2010, because now I know that we did not really earn the privilege of hosting it – instead, we have people who had to pay for it to be hosted here. So, basically, we bought the World Cup with our tax money, money that could have been used for better things that needed attention. Come to think of it, judging by the corruption in this country, even if they did not bribe someone for it to be hosted here, the money would still have into gone to someone’s pocket through another strategy.
Preleen Alexandria, 21, Queensburg (Shallcross)
So much money, apart from the money they used to bribe the Fifa board, was spent on the tournament. A lot of infrastructure had to be upgraded. The building of stadiums itself was a huge expense, and now that I have learnt there was a bribe to begin with – it infuriates me. The government could have used the money spent building stadiums to upgrade our railway systems, for example – something that was already there. The World Cup was fun and all, but this new information just changes everything, because I realise that we would have survived without the World Cup. We didn’t really have to host it if we didn’t deserve to.
As a result of what I saw in the media, they have already arrested ten people and I feel that the rest have to be exposed too. They must be named and shamed because, in reality, the World Cup has put us in debt. For the next 30 years, children that are yet to be born will still have to pay a debt left by a World Cup they never saw. It would have been a better story if Fifa had initially funded us with the money that was used on infrastructure, then given us 30 years to repay the money. That way, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but now the money is already gone.
Lwazi Thango, 27, IT specialist, Westville
To be honest, if I was in charge of the organisation, I would have also paid for South Africa to host the tournament. Looking at the infrastructure that came with us hosting the World Cup, I would have even preferred for us to have hosted the World Cup in 2006. That way, we would have made so much progress back in 2006. As much as we may complain about the bribe issue, we should look on the bright side of things. For example, here in Durban the People Mover mode of transport wouldn’t have been as successful as it is. We also benefited greatly, because even today we are still using services that were initiated in 2010 due to the World Cup.
Lisanne Lazarus, 19, student, Amanzimtoti
I think there should also be an investigation into the bribery in South Africa, since for now the US has launched an investigation. The public protector should look into this – just like any other corruption case – because, after all, the money that was used was from the state. I do not understand why they felt hosting the World Cup was so important, even to the extent of bribing officials. It was just a soccer tournament, so many more important things could have been done to benefit citizens. Hosting the World Cup itself came with expenses and now there is this new information about bribes. The culprits should be exposed once and for all.