World Cup: SA’s guarantees rapped

This emerged in Parliament this week during public hearings on the Second 2010 World Cup Special Measures Bill, needed to put in place measures to monitor agreements made with Fifa.

The trade and industry department has asked two parliamentary committees hearing submissions to scrap a clause that exempts Fifa and its official beer sponsor for the 2010 tournament, Budweiser, from restrictions on marketing, distribution and consumption of liquor for the duration of the tournament.

During hearings yesterday, MPs from the National Assembly sports committee and the National Council of Provinces education and recreation committee wanted to know how hosting the World Cup would benefit the previously disadvantaged, and to what extent empowerment had been taken into account when reaching an agreement with Fifa.

Others wanted to know whether the scrapping of the marketing clause would be in conflict with guarantees already signed.

The impasse over the Bill has highlighted deepseated differences between the sport and recreation department, which is sponsoring the Bill, and trade and industry, which insists empowerment and liquor marketing rules apply also to Fifa and Budweiser.

Both Sports Minister Makenkhesi Stofile and Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa are likely to be called to address Parliament’s sports committee on the issue before a final decision on the key clause is made.

Macdonald Netshitenzhe, director of commercial law and policy at trade and industry, said that when the guarantee was given to Fifa it was not said that there were no applicable laws in SA that the world soccer governing body would have to comply with.

He said the Liquor Act required applicants for licences to give commitments in terms of empowerment and to make provision for new entrants to the liquor industry.

“If we pass the Bill as is, it will, in reality, be suspending the BEE requirements,” Netshitenzhe said.

He noted further that the law did not allow the marketing of liquor to minors and, if the Bill was passed in its present form, “if they target minors there will be nothing we can do about it”.

He said that in discussions with Fifa and the local organising committee for 2010 it was never said that compliance with these laws would be suspended.

The problem clause, however, effectively grants such an exemption to Fifa and its “designated commercial affiliates”.

When asked who had given the guarantee to Fifa, Netshitenzhe indicated that it had been signed by the ministers of health and of agriculture, even though liquor issues were the competence of trade and industry.

The department also dealt with empowerment compliance, and there had not given an undertaking to overlook the law.

African National Congress MP Patrick Chauke said now that the Bills were in the domain of Parliament, “we will come up with our own solution”.

He said it was clear the relevant ministers would have to put their positions to Parliament.

He had earlier argued that the cricket and rugby world cups in South Africa had not helped previously disadvantaged people.

Netshitenzhe said there was an agreement that 30 percent of the local organising committee’s R2,9 billion budget would go to previously disadvantaged suppliers. ‘ Business Day.

July 2006
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