2010-07-21 18:55Email | Print
Cape Town (AFP)
Cape Town - It would be "fantastic" to host the Olympic Games, but Cape Town was not ready to make a bid, mayoral committee member for economic development Felicity Purchase said on Wednesday.
"I don't want to be negative, but I don't think in the short term we are ready yet to do an Olympic bid," she said at a media briefing in the city.
"We will be looking at that, and have a committee that will [consider the issue] shortly. But to be quite honest with you, I think it is premature."
South Africa’s Olympic governing body last week announced it would formally oversee a bid for the 2020 Games and encouraged potential host cities to come forward.
This followed President Jacob Zuma's assertion following the Soccer World Cup that South Africa could do a similarly excellent job in 2020.
Purchase said the city needed to complete a study currently under way on the economic implications for Cape Town of the recent soccer world cup.
It also needed to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of an Olympics, look at the Olympic bid book, and conduct a "gap analysis" of what was required and what could be achieved in a given time.
Cape Town was "short of venues", including a really good athletics track.
"The Olympic Games would be fantastic. The reality of it is that we are not there yet," she said.
The fact that the Games was a one-city event was also a problem for Cape Town, as this meant limited support from national government.
"People that have hosted these big events say that the return on the investment is far greater for small events [held] in a regular sustainable way than for a mega-event," she said.
"Yes, you achieve a lot, and there's a lot of legacy that comes with it.
"And that is the benefit of the [soccer] World Cup for us. But realistically, can we afford it, having to deliver all those things that are required for an Olympics, now?
"I can honestly say, I don't think so."
The city had to see what the needs in its communities were, over and above what the Olympics required, then evaluate what would be best for the people of Cape Town.
Asked what had changed since the city made a bid 20 years ago, she said: "We were naive."
Cape Town lost out to Athens in its bid to host the 2004 Olympics.
That bid was initiated in 1990 by businessman Raymond Ackerman, who devoted considerable time and funding to the initiative before it was taken over by the city council and South Africa's national Olympic committee.
No African city has staged the Games.