Monday, 15 October 2007

Mistaken Priorities Of Springbok Rugby Fans

I am a passionate South African rugby supporter. I will make every effort to watch every game and will engage in conversation around the team whenever I have the opportunity. With that out of the way, let me get to the reason for this post...

Yesterday's Sunday Times ran a story of how hundreds of Springbok supporters were paying sky-high prices for tickets for the World Cup Semi-Final and Final now that South Africa had progressed so far in the tournament. They quote prices of over R40 000 for tickets advertised on eBay and highlight several local travel agencies that have seen significant increased demand for packages ranging from R35 000 to R200 000. A group of 12 SA businessmen are forking out almost R72 000 a day to hire a 25m luxury yacht - R3000 per hour rate!

It is inconceivable to me that people are willing to take out second mortages on their homes to buy tickets for a rugby match. It concerns me deeply when corporate South Africa says there is no more money for social responsibility projects in the fields of education and health-care. Those travelling to Paris and spending these exorbitant amounts of money will argue that they are being patriotic by supporting their team in a major tournament. I would counter that by saying that true patriotism begins at home when those who have the resources contribute to the greater good of nation-building. Of course fingers will be pointed at those in positions of power who misuse public funds to their own end - yes, this needs to be dealt with severely but is the corruption of public officials sufficient cause to stop the rest of us working at making the country a better place for all?

I do not resent those who will be present at the World Cup final this coming Saturday when South Africa takes on the English. I do not sulk in my lounge armchair and wish that it was me who was there at the game. However, I do question the wisdom of those who in a rush of green-blooded patriotism risked everything to afford a ticket as much as I question those who are spending hundreds of thousands on luxury accommodation and thousands on a ticket to the game.

With recent studies showing that around 5.41 million people in South Africa are living with HIV(including 257,000 children) (source) , the massive housing backlog, the struggle to provide quality education for all children, the need for continued roll-out of basic services to rural areas and the concern for aging infrastructure, it is clear that government, corporate South Africa and individual citizens need to be prioritizing spending to provide 'a better life for all'. It is also clear that those in public office and corporate high office need to be held accountable for money spent inappropriately.

1 comment:

eishman said...

Bravely said. Welcome back!