World Cup dawns on S Africa - Al Jazeera English

World Cup dawns on S Africa

On June 11, history unfolded not only in South Africa, but across the world as millions of soccer fans watched the sport's premier tournament, held for the first time in Africa.

Danny Jordaan, head of South Africa's World Cup organising committee, has said that the competition will be "the best ever".

He said the tournament will be proof that Africa can keep its promises.

Jordaan compared the excitement felt in the country to the days when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in 1990, and South Africa's first ever free election in 1994.

He said that the tournament has brought down several remaining apartheid-era divisions.

Jordaan said Africa's first-ever football World Cup is a dream come true that will also help re-brand the continent.

But some public-sector unions rejected a government wage offer and, on Thursday, threatened public strikes during the World Cup.

The unions - which represent about 1.2 million nurses, police officers, teachers and government officials - rejected on Wednesday the government's 6.2 per cent wage offer, demanding an above inflation 8.5 per cent salary increase.

"If the conciliation efforts fail next Friday, we will have no choice but to strike in the middle of the World Cup," Manie de Clerq, secretary-general of the Public Servants Association, said.

Other union officials said they would strike only if all else failed.

"Strike action is our last resort and we are exploring opportunities," Sizwe Pamla, spokesperson of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union, said.

Photos from AFP, Getty, AwesomeSA and Shine 2010

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