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An expensive lesson for South Africa


Doomsday Sayers


In 20 days, the people of Maseru will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

If they knew any better they would wait 147 days to see the man himself return and hold a bigger celebration then.

A Christian organisation has put up billboards all over the capital saying the world will end on May 21, 2011.

We have also seen bumper stickers carrying the same messages on one or two cars in the city.

The organisation sponsoring the billboards, (familyradio.com), has even put up similar billboards in the United States and other countries across the world.

Clearly the people have money.

However, if the people making these predictions are so convinced of the accuracy of their message, then they surely wouldn’t mind sharing the money with the less-privileged members in our society right now. That way, our poor brothers and sisters can enjoy their last few days on earth in decent comfort.

Also, seeing as May 23 is the birthday for one of the directors at Newsmakers & Noisemakers, we think that some of that money should come our way too.

While the world is full of well-meaning Christians, it is our fear that this exercise is going to turn out much like the great disappointment of 1843 (google it, don’t ask us to tell you about it here) or the more recent Y2K doomsday gospel.

In both cases, there was a huge tide of belief, based on bogus and misplaced calculations, that the day of the Saviour’s return  had finally come.

While it is only human for each generation to want to see the rapture “in the flesh”, we think it is more prudent for people to wait upon the Lord as he himself said no one knows the day or the time He shall return.

So, for those who were thinking of spending big on Christmas for the last time, a little caution is advisable.

For sending our people into panic mode, the doomsday sayers at familyradio deserve our Noisemaker of the week award.



Qatar World Cup Bid

Assuming the world does not end next year, here is another important future date to think about.

On Thursday, Fifa announced that the Middle-east country of Qatar would host the 2022 World Cup.

At face value, the announcement might not have much meaning for the average African on the street, but we at Newsmakers & Noisemakers think African nations can draw a big lesson from it.

That lesson is in the art of sharing.

In its bid, Qatar proposed to build seven new stadia. The upper infrastructure of five of the new stadia will be disassembled after the World Cup and donated to countries with less developed sports infrastructure.

Literally five of the stadiums will be donated after the 2022 World Cup.

If one looks at the case of  South Africa right now, one cannot help but see the sheer genius of this plan.

As we write, big questions are being raised by our neighbours over where the money will come from to maintain the dazzling stadiums built for the World Cup.

Take the state-of-the-art Peter Mokaba Stadium, which has a capacity of 40 000 people. CNN reported this week that it will cost Polokwane R15 million annually to maintain this stadium alone. That’s nearly R200 million by the time the Cup is played in Qatar.

Imagine the savings South Africa would have made if it had planned its stadia such that they would be moved to other countries in the region.

Lesotho, for example, was in the process of renovating Setsoto Stadium at great cost. South Africa could have entered an arrangement with the country to buy, perhaps at subsidised cost, the infrastructure for the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth once the cup was finished.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s northern neighbour, Zimbabwe, also recently renovated its giant National Sports Stadium. Again this was done at great cost.

South Africa could have arranged the same deal for the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

These two alone would have saved the Polokwane and Port Elizabeth councils nearly half-a-billion rands over the next 15 years.

Lesotho and Zimbabwe would have benefited from getting state-of-the-art stadiums which are durable yet can also be dismantled — allowing for future renovations and alterations.

As things stand, all the countries named above have built new stadiums at great cost, only for some of them to turn into white elephants which will drain precious funds from taxpayers.

Well, so much for African unity. It’s food for thought for our leaders.

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