Early 2020 Games Shock as South Africa Say they Won’t Bid

May 26, 2011

The shock news has broken today, May 26, that South Africa will not launch a bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics after the Government decided that it was not the right time.

The decision comes just days after senior South African official and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sam Ramsamay had claimed that a decision on whether to bid for the Games would be made within a month.

South Africa’s Cabinet has acted early, saying it had considered a request by the National Olympic committee to bid for 2020, but “has decided that it is better for the country to consolidate the gains of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for now”.

Ramsamy had stated earlier this week that they would not bid unless they have the full support of President Jacob Zuma and the rest of South Africa’s Government. The decision has come as a big surprise to the athletics world with Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth all interested in bidding for the event following South Africa’s success in hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

It is understood that the Government were worried about the estimated US$50m it would cost just to put forward a bid.

Government spokesman Jimmy Manyi following a Cabinet meeting: “It is better to consolidate the gains of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for now and rather focus the country’s attention on the delivery of basic services to all South Africans.

“I think the cost of the bid would have been about $50 million and you know how many RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) houses we could build with that.”

The decision leaves the way open for Casablanca in Morocco to launch a bid to become the first African city to host the Games after South Africa, even prior to the launch of the bidding process, was seen as an early favourite to stage the Games.

The IOC officially launched the bid process on Monday (May 22) with Rome the only confirmed city so far. The Japanese capital of Tokyo is also expected to join the tender after the city of Hiroshima withdrew its potential candidacy earlier in the week.