Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Blame games begin at home

As the world spotlights faded over Beijing with yesterday’s closing ceremony, some focus will shine on this southern tip of Africa and the build-up to 2010.

Is the Union Buildings starting to get the jitters and casting around for scapegoats in case of a less-than-perfect Soccer World Cup?

Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad told international media in the Chinese capital that some SA whites did not support Bafana Bafana and did not care whether the World Cup was held here or not.

He conceded that most whites did.

Here we go again.

What insider information does this loudmouth have to be able to make such sweeping and inaccurate statements? The only insider access he has is to his boss, Thabo Mbeki, for whom he acts as an echo chamber.

And as Mbeki has spent the past decade playing the race card at every opportunity, we surmise Pahad’s remarks had the President’s approval.

This newspaper [The Citizen] supports the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and will continue to do so, along with the vast majority of South Africans, soccer fans or not. It’s a chance for SA to shine again in every way – as we did with rugby in 1995 – to grow soccer at home and bring the nation together.

But we are not the government’s lapdogs, nor is the public. People are entitled to ask questions all the way and demand answers. This is not only their right, it is their democratic duty.

The Afrikanerbond has lodged a complaint of hate speech with the HRC against Pahad. They are entitled to do this. Pahad and the man who pulls his strings will thankfully be long gone before the opening whistle.

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