Cape Town – A vigorous marketing campaign for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON will be rolled out in the coming weeks, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Wednesday.
Replying to questions in the National Assembly, Mbalula said host cities would spend in excess of R132m on the soccer tournament.
“Durban is spending R28m, Rustenburg R25m, Nelson Mandela Bay R27m, Johannesburg R18.5m, and Bombela R33.8m,” he told MPs.
It was unclear whether cities would pay from their own budgets, or whether the funding would come from the R205m the government has set aside for the event.
Democratic Alliance MP Graham McKenzie pushed for clear answers.
“What we are trying to do is get to the bottom-line figure on what cities themselves are paying without benefit and what they are receiving from government so we get a total package,” McKenzie said.
Mbalula said the Treasury and local government would share the costs.
The only municipality which would be exempt was the cash-strapped Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, which would receive funds from the Eastern Cape government and the Treasury.
Mbalula was asked to assure MPs that the estimated loss of R40m should Bafana Bafana be knocked out in the AFCON group stages of the tournament, would not balloon.
“We will ensure that through marketing that we will throughout the event see it is well attended and we’ll be able to address whatever shortfall that is there,” said Mbalula.
The minister agreed with a DA MP that not much had been done with regard to major marketing campaigns, and educating people about xenophobia.
“I think it is not going to be razzmatazz, but a humdinger so brace yourselves for that because we are approaching some exciting times,” said Mbalula.
On the treatment of other African teams following the stoning of a bus transporting the Zambian soccer team last week,
Mbalula said an anti-xenophobia campaign would be rolled out in collaboration with the Confederation of African Football.
This would ensure that South Africans bought more tickets and supported the tournament.
“The stoning of the bus by two small boys: that is a naughty act. With regard to security, we are not leaving anything to chance with regard to AFCON,” said Mbalula.