Many of us still have vivid memories of a day in May 2004, when an envelope was opened: South Africa! Wow, 2010 is here!
Who would have believed it? Imagine we are a decade into the new millennium! And South Africa, who just sixteen (16) years ago was a pariah amongst the world’s nations, will now be hosting the biggest social extravaganza in the world, the FIFA World Cup!
We can all be proud of the pace and stability with which our beautiful country is developing and rapidly taking its place on the world stage.
The City Of Johannesburg is one of the host cities for the FIFA World Cup. In addition it is where FIFA decided to station their headquarters for the World Cup, which will become the head office for SAFA after the World Cup.
The national stadium, ‘Soccer City’ has found its place on Johannesburg’s skyline and an even firmer place in the hearts of Joburg’s residents. The opening and final matches of the World Cup will be in Johannesburg. Johannesburg is humbled and excited that it has been chosen for these immense honours and prestige.
We know that there are a few in and outside our country that will be mischievously asking is South Africa and Johannesburg ready? To these doom-seekers, our response is that the spirit and determination, the warmth and hospitality, the men and women are ready!
This optimism is based on my intimate knowledge of the people who work for Johannesburg its departments and entities. I have had the special pleasure of communicating and working with some of the city’s most skillful, committed, and talented people.
The Chair and Board members, the Managing Director, and management staff of the Roads Agency, are aware of the extent of my regard for their sage counsel and respect for their commitment and hard work. But today’s message is not for them. It is for those men and women who make the JRA look good – the general staff of the Johannesburg Roads Agency.
I am proud of the manner in which you have taken on the task to make Johannesburg a world-class African city for all: rich and poor, young and old, black and white. Everybody knows how it should be done, and how it should have been done. Many are quick to point their finger at another. Very few pick up their hand to volunteer to do the work, roll-up their sleeves and dirty their hands. The JRA staff are those very few, those diamonds in the rough. In the pages that follow you will see but a sliver of the work achieved by JRA, the traffic calming measures, better drainage, pedestrian crossings, the townships are becoming suburbs before our very eyes. But they will be the first to tell you that there is so much more to be done.
These men and women of JRA inspire me everyday to do more. They give me the absolute confidence that we will achieve our goals, and we will have fun as we go about achieving them!
May I remind you to welcome our visitors with the transport values shouting loudly through everything you say and do – Accountability, co-operation, honesty, respect and Ubuntu.
That is why I can state with absolute and overflowing confidence:
Ke Nako! We are ready! Bring on the World Cup!
Bring It On !!!