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The Pieter-Dirk Uys Interview

Project 2010, 5 March 2008

Pieter-Dirk Uys is South Africa's most famous satirist. He is particularly well known for his character Evita Bezuidenhout, the former ambassadress of Bapetikosweti — a fictitious Bantustan or black homeland during the apartheid era. Uys who has exposed the absurdity of the former government's racial policies, is also outspoken about the 2010 World Cup (he has suggested that the stadiums should be built at the airports so foreign visitors wouldn't have to enter South Africa). Project 2010 asked him...

You have just returned from a trip to Germany. Is there anything we can learn from Germany in terms of hosting a World Cup?

Planning, planning, planning. And discipline. The bigger picture should remain in our focus. It is a window for South Africa to show its maturity and optimism. We are far too negative about 2010 because all we see is corruption and incompetence.

Do you think the world has recognised that the tournament is coming to Africa for the first time?

I don't think the world cares where it is. They want a good time. We need to make sure that they can come to us and watch top class soccer without being robbed, raped and murdered in the process. It will also help if their candles don't blow out in the winds of change. Hello Escom?

Do you have any suggestions for ensuring that the hundreds of thousands of visitors will be safe?

Start practising now. We have enough visitors to work on between now and 2010. We also have our own people to consider. If we focus everything as an investment for only the foreigners and ignore the needs of our own society, it won't work. Government has shown it is unable to lead clearly, so society must take over here. Unity in tourism is a start. We must also remember the World Cup will happen at the height of winter! It's a nightmare. What else can we offer the people other than CNN in their hotel rooms? Theatre. Cabaret. Music.

If you were the head of the Local Organising Committee, what would you do differently?

Make membership of the Committee voluntary so that no one walks away with the millions in salary and kickbacks that should be used to get the toilets to work at the stadiums. Less meetings and more vision. Leave political correctness for political balance.

If you were invited to dinner with Fifa President Sepp Blatter, what would you tell him?

Go home and let us get on with what we do best: creating order out of chaos.

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from 2008