Eskom pulls the plug on 2010

The underperforming parastatal has done it again, but trying to dupe FIFA may have been a step too far.
Martin Czernowalow
By Martin Czernowalow, Contributor.
Johannesburg, 28 Nov 2007

I have never been in favour of SA hosting the World Cup. Plainly put, I simply don`t think we`re ready, or mature enough, to pull it off, and it is also questionable how economically viable such an event is for a host country.

Be that as it may, with much pomp and ceremony, SA held the preliminary draw in Durban last weekend. This was truly the country putting its best foot forward and, I believe, we really put on a good show for the world.

Watching the draw on Sunday, I started to think that perhaps we could actually get it right and I started to question whether I had been a bit too hasty in my criticism. After all, everything seems to be falling into place.

Ahead of the draw, Indian company Satyam was announced as the IT services provider for 2010, and various others, such as Telkom, MTN, Sony and Electronic Arts, have also cemented partnerships for the event. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has even managed to convince construction workers to get back to work, and various peripheral projects, such as the Gautrain, seem to be plodding along steadily.

All`s well then, right? Wrong!

Yesterday, that tasteless joke that is Eskom has undermined the entire 2010 effort with one quick phone call to FIFA. As you may recall, the so-called power utility started load-shedding again yesterday morning.

Dodging FIFA

That tasteless joke that is Eskom has undermined the entire 2010 effort with one quick phone call to FIFA.

Martin Czernowalow, news editor, ITWeb

I have it on good authority that an Eskom employee placed a call to FIFA`s Johannesburg offices enquiring where the organisation is based. The FIFA staffer responded that they are based at Nasrec, and asked why Eskom would need this information.

"Well, we`ve started load-shedding and we just wanted to know where the [visiting] FIFA delegation is, because we wouldn`t want to cut power in the area where they are," came the response.

So, one can conclude that government is trying to pull the wool over FIFA`s eyes, and is trying to dupe the high-level foreign delegates who are currently here. While, on the one hand, we put on a do to showcase our capabilities, on the other, we sneak around, trying to hide a big and obvious problem.

Sadly, the Eskom employee - not surprisingly - demonstrated the level of aptitude that is obviously a requirement to be in the employ of the parastatal. By phoning FIFA, this civil servant had tipped off the very people he was trying to con. By now, the call is most likely a punch-line in the corridors of the FIFA office, at best, or cause for slight panic, at worst.

This is nothing short of a travesty. The entire 2010 effort is a farce and I have to say again: we are NOT ready, or mature enough, to host the World Cup.

Naturally, in light of this, serious questions have to be asked. What else has government been hiding? What else has been crudely swept under the rug? What game is the state playing, really? Because it`s just not cricket. Well, carry on like that, and it certainly won`t be soccer either.

Oh, and thanks for the slap in the face of the ordinary South African. We can live with power interruptions - no apologies offered - but God forbid the rest of the world sees the pit we are fast becoming. Save the propaganda for someone else!

Mr Blatter, I hope you are aware of what`s going on, and have the good sense to pull the plug before this farce becomes an even bigger embarrassment. Sorry about all the hard work already put in by the Local Organising Committee and FIFA.

But perhaps all is not lost. I understand, from colleagues who have children, that "monkeynastics" is a locally-developed phenomenon that is the latest craze among kids. Perhaps we could live up to our true potential and hold a Monkeynastics World Cup instead. Would be fitting.