In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
Shosholoza reverberated throughout the stadium. The construction workers were singing. The German Chancellor was clapping and smiling. Danny Jordaan was beaming. The weather was damp and grey.
It was dark outside the marquee pitched in the middle of the rising landmark that is going to be the centre of the main events of the World Cup in 2010.
Such was the mood on Friday evening when German chancellor Angela Merkel visited the headquarters of the Organising Committee for a presentation by Tumi Makgabo and a tour of Soccer City.
Merkel was accompanied by several cabinet ministers, football officials and a sizable media contingent from Germany. She started at our offices for a few formalities and then proceeded to the construction site.
The media, her officials and some of us were worried that it was getting dark and it was threatening to rain, but still she insisted on visiting the stadium.
"A time to make friends", the slogan for the 2006 German World Cup, came to life when Merkel went walkabout, greeting and chatting to some of the workers, indeed showing the friendly side to her stature and personality.
She was very positive and constructive in her remarks about South Africa's preparations for the World Cup in 2010.
She was also very informed about our activities as some of her compatriots involved in the 2006 World Cup, such as Herr Horst Schmidt, friend and adviser to the LOC and regular visitor to the country, must have briefed her. We really appreciated her gesture to visit us as well as her pledge to continue supporting our efforts to host the best World Cup ever.
It is with that kind of support and confidence that we are hosting a delegation of operational experts from Fifa this week.
The members represent various fields of expertise such as accommodation, broadcasting, hospitality, protocol, competitions, marketing, security, ticketing etc.
We have been taking them around the country, starting first with Joburg where they were exposed to the city's accommodation, transport, information technology and broadcasting plans.
On Tuesday they visited Cape Town where work began six months ago. Cape Town boasts the largest number of hotel beds in the country and we learn that they have at least eight new hotels planned for the city just in time for 2010.
The city also has impressive transport plans and the advantage of the close proximity of the stadium to the various hotels in the city bowl.
The delegation is in Nelson Mandela Bay and will proceed to Durban where a number of working meetings are going to be held.
This inspection tour is a routine visit and is very important to both Fifa and the LOC in that it offers us an opportunity to appraise each other of our expectations, requirements and deliverables.
It also offers us an opportunity to know each other personally as people who are finally going to deliver the World Cup.
I must once again commend the various host city officials who always go the extra mile to make sure that these visits deliver beyond expectations. Well done!
l Tim Modise is the 2010 World Cup SA LOC's head of communications. - For your suggestions and more on 2010 e-mailTimM@2010saloc.com