SA to bid for 2023 Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup - []

Cabinet has approved South Africa to submit its bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC), says Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.

“Cabinet has approved the overall proposed package for this tournament which is an economic bid, that would minimise the demands on the fiscus as well as stimulate economic activity employment and empowerment,” Minister Dlodlo said on Thursday.

She was addressing a media briefing in Tshwane on the outcomes of a Cabinet meeting that took place on Tuesday.

According to the Minister, the tournament is expected to stimulate the country’s economy by supporting government priorities, especially as it relates to preferential procurement and adherence to the Sport Transformation Charter and the sharing of the profits derived. 

An independent Economic Impact Assessment commissioned by the South African Rugby Union (SARU), indicates a direct, indirect and induced economic impact of R27 billion over the two months of tournament related activity.

The assessment further states about 38 600 jobs with a payroll of R4.4 billion, R5.7 billion to low income families, R11 billion direct spend, about 200 000 foreign tourists to arrive for the tournament and estimated tax benefits to government of R1.4 billion.

“A successful bid by South Africa would consolidate its track record of successfully hosting mega events as well as positioning the country in the global mind-set as a winning nation and a leading sport tourism destination – with tourism having being identified as a national economic priority for job creation,” Sports and Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi said.

Transformation targets

Last year, the Minister of Sports took a decision to ban four sporting federations including rugby from bidding and hosting global events as they had failed to meet their own set transformation targets.

Minister Nxesi told reporters that the ban for rugby has been lifted.

“A report by… independent experts was presented to us. We have studied the report which was able to show that SARU has been able to meet its own targets of transformation. We will continue to assess them on annual basis on further targets… because we believe that transformation is a process, it is not an event,” Minister Nxesi said.

SA technically superior

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said that South Africa has a very competitive bid and it was technically superior.

“We will be able to host probably one of the best World Cups ever because we have the legacy of the stadiums that were built in 2010.

“In terms of our budget and budget approvals for the next couple of years we do have contingency within those budgets to upgrade those stadiums and to make sure that they are kept up to standard in terms of their pitches,” Roux said.

He said the pitches will be taken out and new ones will be put in for the event.

“We have all of the other infrastructure and we believe in terms our price parity, compared to Europe that we can provide the same hotels at the third of the price at three times the size of the hotel of Europe,” he said.

Furthermore, tickets to watch the games will be affordable for both South Africans and the rest of the world, Roux said.

The outcome of the bid will be announced in November with Ireland and France being the other bidders.

Lasting legacy

Minister Dlodlo said Cabinet has approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on WRC 2023 and it will direct the bidding process for the RWC 2023, as well as ensure the country benefits economically from this event.

“Sports is said to be one of the most effective drivers of nation-building and the rugby sports programmes would enhance social cohesion. The programmes to be rolled out throughout the country leading to 2023 will leave a lasting legacy for the development of rugby in underprivileged communities,” Minister Dlodlo said.