South Africa no longer deserves to host 2010 World Cup


South Africa no longer deserves to host 2010 World CupSouth Africa has forfeited the right to stage the 2010 football World Cup. By supporting and sustaining the holocaust unfolding in Zimbabwe, the Government has aligned itself with the ranks of evil. It is one thing to refuse to intervene when cruelty is rife in a neighbouring country, quite another to fuel it with sympathetic words, pathetic policies and required resources. President Mbeki has repeatedly defended his friend in Zimbabwe at international meetings and before his electorate.

Doubtless he is protecting his left flank, but his refusal to condemn Mugabe's murderous regime and willingness to supply it with free electricity, fuel and food used for political purposes paints him as either a knave or a fool. At best he has fallen under the spell of a cunning man prepared to kill every enemy and to destroy the country in his charge in order to sustain his invidious regime.

It is inconceivable that a prestigious football event can be held in a country that holds hands with wickedness, a country trying to turn back the human tide of misery that pours in every day from Zimbabwe, risking the crocodiles in the Limpopo and the guards at Beit bridge, in a desperate attempt not so much to find a better life as to survive another week. Nor are these refugees merely the flotsam and jetsam of a floundering nation. Many of them are teachers, bankers and other professionals reduced to despair by an engineered economic collapse. Meanwhile the African National Congress (ANC) claims it cannot interfere in the affairs of another state, an opinion that thankfully does not extend to Darfur or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Everyone pretends that recent elections in Zimbabwe were legitimate. Of course it is a lie.

Nor is there any sign of improvement. Last week Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) said that it supported the government and people of Zimbabwe. Astonishingly the 'leaders' concerned managed to keep a straight face whilst uttering these oxymoronic words. The Zimbabewean government and people have been at war for 6 years. Mbeki was appointed as mediator between the SADC and Zanu PF. It is an astonishing choice. Mugabe has been running rings around him for years.

Accordingly Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has no choice but to find a new location for the tournament. Some argue that sport and politics must be kept apart, holding them partly responsbile for the current collapse in sporting ethics. However the ANC cannot complain. Indeed, they argued strongly in favour of sport and politics being brought together whilst trying to bring apartheid to its knees. Presented with the current barbarism in Zimbabwe they will surely understand the outrage and the conviction that sporting links must be broken not just with Zimbabwe but also with its closest ally. After all, the point of boycotts is to make an impact. Mugabe stopped caring about anything except himself a long time ago. South Africa cares about its position in the world, and its role in Africa.

President Mbeki and his cohorts must accept some of the blame for a viciousness designed to keep a sick and spiteful old man in power. Mbeki has bought into the anti-colonial furphy. Doubtless he is contemplating some distant vision of an African renaissance but millions are dying or fleeing and a fine country is turning into a cesspit. Mbeki's influence is clear. He has persuaded Mugabe to hold the next Presidential election in 2008 and not 2010 in order to avoid clashing with the World Cup.

Mbeki's discrete diplomacy has been a dismal failure and his reputation has not survived his association with the old warhorse to the north. The common man came to him and was met with aristocratic disdain. He says that he feels Zimbabwe's pain. It is not Zimbabwe that is in pain, but the men and women who have been betrayed by its ruler.

South Africa no longer deserves to host 2010 World CupBrutality is rife in Zimbabwe. Mugabe will kill and scare as many opponents as he can before the 2008 elections and will then argue that the vote was not rigged. Recently 15 men and one woman bashed Sekai Holland, a brave woman protesting about her government. Her beating, carried out by drug-crazed youths supported by the dreaded and ubiquitous CIO, was merely the latest example of the nastiness of the regime Just in case the rage expressed in this column seems too raw let me quote from the latest medical report on this indomitable woman:

"Sekai has had further operations to put pins and a plate in her broken arm, they have reset her broken leg (that had pins and plate inserted in Harare), and has had skin grafting on one leg to repair flesh destroyed by a whip used by her torturers. She is in excellent spirits in spite of her injuries, knowing what an impact this appalling brutality has had on the outside world, and that she faced down the 15 men and one woman who brutalised her without once begging for mercy."

Bear in mind that Sekai Holland's case is known because she is known. Imagine what is happening to the more obscure of God's creations who speak out against tyranny. Recently a journalist was abducted and killed. Another was sacked for asking an awkward question at a press conference. Opposition activists are being hunted down by CIO agents driving around in cars, hiding behind dark glasses, consumed by evil, pouncing upon those daring to defy tyranny. Local outrage is needed. Sometimes it is heard, though seldom on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) which has become a tame mouthpiece of the government. Meanwhile inflation rages, starvation and sickness are widespread, repressives rule and Africa fiddles. And it is all Mr Blair's fault? Mugabe has been in power for 27 years.

The only course of action available to the rest of the world is to take the World Cup away from South Africa. Otherwise the grim prospect will be faced of an educated, warm, fundamentally decent people being forced back across the border to face further savagery even as Brazil and France play the beautiful game in a well furnished stadium. It is situation intolerable to those those who care more about humanity than political theory, those who refuse to be misled by silver tongues and demagoguery. It is a state of affairs inconceivable to those who care about sport.


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Existing comments

Stirring stuff. well said, too. Would FIFA have the guts to take the cup away?
peter evans | 17 April 2007

yes, take it away from them, give it to australia, we would do a great job.
andrew smythe | 17 April 2007

I am horrified by what is happening in Zimbabwe. Thank you for such a clear and concise article.
maryanne | 17 April 2007

I think the world cup should stay in Africa. Give it to Kenya or Egypt. They could manage to stage it, and by giving it to the north, a big slap in the face is delivered to the southern recalcitrants and evil doers who continue to do a pillage the society in which their own people live. Between Mbeki and Mugabe there is not much in the way of daylight.
john | 17 April 2007

Mbeki is a monster, denying AIDS, letting the country go to seed, letting people starve. How can he allow it? The shadow of mandela has been too much for him. Mugable is non compos mentis, clearly.But Mbeki seems like an urbane and informed individual. How can he do what he does?
andy johnson | 17 April 2007

Typical hysterical rubbish published by the Aussie press. What exactly do you think Mbeki should do? Invade Zim, or have you already forgotten the collective mess that the US, UK & Aus are wallowing in in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or maybe Mbeki should just switch off the power - I'm sure Mugabe has generators and equally sure millions of his citizens don't and will suffer even more. At the end of the day, change has to come from within, Zimbabweans must kick Mugabe out themselves, and ideally through the polls, not the barrel of a gun.
Ian | 17 April 2007

I would suggest Australians & the commentators they employ keep their thoughts to themselves when it comes to Mugabe. Was it not the Australian Fraser Government who was at the forefront of the drive to install the terrorist Mugabe as leader of that country? Did Fraser not call Mugabe "my dear friend"? And now you question the policies of another country? How foolish and unthinking you do appear.
Brian Mills | 17 April 2007

All utter balderdash. The one sane comment I have read so far is the one from "Ian". Do you really want to punish 300 million plus Africans for the misdeeds of one person??.

PeterM | 17 April 2007

I like Peter Roebuck's sentiment challenging South Africa's support for
Zimbabwe, but can we get away from them being "the ranks of evil". Bush
and the "evil empire" show how hard it is to negotiate at any stage
after opposing anyone as an ontological evil.
Bob W. | 18 April 2007

I am always amazed at how hypocrital you aussies are. While pointing fingers at apartheid South Africa only a few decades ago your local aboriginees had no rights. Now you complain about South Africa's handling of Mugabe due to human rights abuses. If you were so concerned about human rights why does your conservative government bend over backwards to conduct trade with China? You guys really are the yanks of the south Pacific in more than one way!
Michael | 20 April 2007

I agree, give the 2010 world cup to Australia. Our so called democracy is reversed aparheid. South Africa is not very safe at the moment. Black, Indian,Colored and Whites are all suffering under Mbeki and Mugabe's goverment. Anyone who thinks South Africa is this so called forgiving and caring country, is mentally unstable or just blind and see's with Mugabe's eye's.
Eddie | 16 August 2007

As much as I would hate to see SA lose the economic boom brought by 2010 I must agree that SA is complicit in sustaining this axis of evil in Africa and we disqualify ourselves from participation.
Paul Livesey | 08 April 2008

Well, there is a lot of truth in all this. I'm just not sure who should be throwing the stones. EVERY nation has had issues in their past, now that we try to change every one ignores their own short comings and points a finger at us. Give it a rest, Africa will sort itself out or burn out trying.
Jeffrey K. | 20 September 2008

i believe that everyone should have a unicorn that is sparklyy(: you know...whate'er, whate'er.
shaniqua | 19 May 2010

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