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World Cup has boosted South Africa, says president

Updated: 2010-07-07 16:37
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World Cup has boosted South Africa, says president

South African President Jacob Zuma speaks next to FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) during the opening of the Football for Hope festival 2010 in Alexandra township near Johannesburg, July 4, 2010. [Agencies]

JOHANNESBURG - South African President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that the FIFA World Cup has created thousands of jobs, boosted South Africa's economy and provided good returns on investment.

Addressing an international investment conference in Cape Town, Zuma said South Africa's investments included 33 billion rands (US$4.4 billion) spent on transport infrastructure, telecommunications and stadiums.

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According to the South African Press Association (SAPA), he said the investment in stadiums created an estimated 66,000 new construction jobs.

The 1.3 billion rands (US$173,000) spent on safety and security included a permanent addition of 40,000 new policemen and women.

"We have had a most successful and exciting time for three weeks," he said.

"It has been a grueling emotional rollercoaster for all 32 nations that have been participating. And the fun, the color and the glory have never stopped since the beginning."

South Africa had wanted to challenge all stereotypes about Africa. "We decided to bid for this World Cup because we wanted to show that Africa could do it," he said.

The South African government also wanted to market South Africa as the gateway to the continent and as a key actor on the international stage, Zuma said.

For the past three weeks, the international media spotlight had been on South Africa.

"The world has seen this country in a different light. They have seen the warm, friendly people. They have seen the precision when it comes to planning and logistical arrangements," SAPA reported him as saying. They world had also seen the efficiency of South Africa security and infrastructure.

"Basically, our planning over many years is paying off and we are happy." The social benefits are priceless. We have seen remarkable unity, patriotism and solidarity being displayed by South Africans, which has never been witnessed before."

Zuma said this augured well for the consolidation of reconciliation and friendship for the young nation.

"We intend to build on this achievement," he said.

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Host Cities

Rustenburg: In the heart of the savannah bushveld, brimming with natural beauty at the foot of the Magaliesburg Mountains.

Johannesburg: Pulsating with energy and drive, Johannesburg is a hub of culture and excitement.

Cape Town

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