SOUTH Africa might bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula revealed, echoing President Jacob Zuma’s indication in 2013 that the country would be “very happy” to host the global athletics feast in 10 years.
“2024 is what we’re looking at,” Sapa quotes Mbalula as saying at the ministerial briefing by governance and administration ministers in Parliament.
He effectively repeated similar statements on Tuesday that he made in Johannesburg earlier this month, when he also indicated South Africa would put in a bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, scheduled to be hosted in Africa.
While Mbalula yesterday de- clined to identify a city to host the 2024 Olympics, last September he reportedly hinted that Durban could be a candidate. In 2011, South Africa’s Olympic authorities entered Durban into the race to host the 2020 Olympic Games, but withdrew the bid over costs.
A year later, in 2012, the SA Olympic Committee launched a feasibility study on bidding for the 2024 Olympics. While South Africa successfully hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the 2004 Olympics bid by Cape Town was trumped by Athens.
During a visit to Japan in June 2013, Zuma was quoted telling the Japan National Press Club: “I think South Africa will be very happy to host the Olympics. We have, I think, sufficient facilities to do so.”
It is understood the international bidding for the 2024 Olympics will open in 2015. Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 2016 Olympics, followed by Tokyo in 2020.
The briefing highlighted South Africa’s role in sports globally and on the African continent. While South Africa is putting its 2010 Fifa World Cup experience to good use in Brazil, which hosts the soccer extravaganza in a few months, South Africa also assisted Mozambique in hosting the All Africa Games and Mali with the Africa Cup of Nations, while it most recently hosted the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and the Orange African Nations Championship (Chan).