OPINION: South Africa stands a better-than-good chance of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup and, at face value, this is good for the country.
The Rugby World Cup Board has recommended that the World Rugby Council award the tournament to South Africa when they meet next week.
If successful, Durban will get to see some of the action, with some of the pool matches and a quarter-final match being played at the Moses Mahbida stadium.
If the research is true, South Africa will benefit to the tune of just over R27 billion from hosting the tournament. Durban’s slice would be in the order of R4.5 billion.
It will cost little to host from an infrastructure point of view because, thanks to the 2010 Soccer World Cup, we already have eight modern stadiums around the country that can host the matches.
However, the government will have to provide a financial guarantee of just under R3 billion.
The news that the world cup could be coming our way has been warmly welcomed by all and sundry. Even those who opposed Durban hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games have given the Rugby World Cup the thumbs up.
Let us reflect on those games. We won the rights to host the Commonwealth Games back in September 2015.
It was going to cost us just over R8 billion and was expected to generate more than R11 billion in direct spending as athletes, coaches, delegations, spectators and tourists visited the city -certainly a positive economic impact.
And that’s not counting the benefits the Commonwealth Games would have had for a number of the smaller sporting codes, and the fact that the exposure would have given Durban a tourism boost for years to come.
However, earlier this year we had to give up hosting the games because they were deemed to be too expensive.
Back then our finance minister was Pravin Gordhan, and our budget deficit stood at R149 billion. That was 3.1% of GDP.
According to our latest finance minister, Malusi Gigaba, our budget deficit has widened to 4.3% of the GDP. Put simply, we are spending many more billions than we have.
So, given our worsening financial situation, how can we afford a Rugby World Cup when we could not afford a Commonwealth Games?