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Van Schalkwyk: Teams and management of ICC Cricket World Cup (08/02/2003)

8th February 2003

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Date: 08/02/2003
Source: Western Cape Provincial Government
Title: Van Schalkwyk: Teams and management of ICC Cricket World Cup


SPEECH BY WESTERN CAPE PREMIER MARTHINUS VAN SCHALKWYK ADDRESSING THE TEAMS AND MANAGEMENT OF THE 2003 ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP, Cape Town, 8 February 2003

THE WESTERN CAPE WELCOMES THE WORLD

The years of planning are over. The months of training and preparation are past. The last-minute changes have been made. The 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup has arrived.

Let no one underestimate the significance of this event to South Africa and South Africans. Not since 1995, when we hosted the Rugby World Cup, has our nation been so profoundly united by the anticipation of a single event.

In the same way that South Africans from every community embraced that competition, and made it a force for national unity, so too have we seen the passion and the pride swell in the hearts of our people, in the build-up to this Cricket World Cup.

Dusty rural fields have become makeshift pitches for the sporting dreams of our aspiring young talent. Hotels, guesthouses, and the homes of ordinary South Africans have been thrown open to welcome our guests with the warmth of African hospitality. Stadiums have been carefully prepared. Cities and towns have laid out their finest. It is time.

As the eyes of the world turn to South Africa, and we become the focus of attention for more than a billion television viewers, it is clear that this opportunity for South Africa comes at a most significant point in our history. On 27 April we will enter the tenth year of South African democracy. We will celebrate a decade of delivery and commemorate the 1994 crossroads which brought us back into the world. What better way to celebrate a return to the world, than with the world itself?

Many of you here today are new to the Western Cape. As you travelled to join us at this event you may have noticed one or two of our more famous landmarks. When I return from frequent trips to other parts of South Africa, or abroad, I am constantly reminded of how privileged we are to live in the Western Cape, and to be South African.

When you first approach the Cape and you look down, the first thing you see is rural splendour as breathtaking as any of the most beautiful places on earth. You fly over the farms that form the breadbasket of our nation. You pass over the towns and villages, whose histories and cultures complete the rich tapestry of life in the Western Cape.

Next you see our world-famous wine lands - coloured by the vines and hundreds of years of practised tradition, just before you glimpse the gleaming white stretches of sand which frame our two oceans. As you fly into Cape Town the impressions come faster and begin to blur - Table Mountain, Cape Point, Robben Island, the Cape Flats and then you are here.

On behalf of our Provincial Government and all of the people of the Western Cape it is my great pleasure to say to you: Welcome to our home. Welkom by ons. Ndiyanamkela kweli khaya lethu.

Although it may seem that the southern tip of Africa is a long way removed from your native soil, you will soon find that people who arrive as visitors to the Western Cape, leave as ambassadors for our province. We welcome you as our guests, and our friends.

The people of our province, from every community and every background, are proud and excited to be your hosts for the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup.

We wish every player and every team the greatest success in the contests that lie ahead. As you walk out onto the pitch, please know that you carry with you the goodwill of 42 million South Africans. That having been said, you will have to excuse us for also having our favourite to win.

To Shaun and our boys I want to say: everything of the best - you carry our hopes on your shoulders and our support at your backs. To Dr Ali Bacher and his organising team: our sincere congratulations on all of the hard work so far - you have done every South African proud. To all of our guests, viewers and visitors - enjoy the cricket, enjoy the fun and enjoy the Western Cape.

2/10/03 Riaan Aucamp
Source: Western Cape Provincial Government (http://www.westerncape.gov.za)
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