Entries tagged with “labour legislation”.
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Sunday 1st January 2012 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Looking at 2012, I consulted some Numerology sites, and I was reminded of the prediction that the world will end on 21 December this year, an interesting focus to start the year with, and encouraging one to make the most of this year. Adding up the numbers in 2012, giving a total of 5, the emphasis this year will be one of Change, Change and Change, as one site wrote. A political change is forecast for the USA, more natural disasters are predicted, and the world economy looks to remain shaky. We enter the Year of the Dragon later this month, being the 5th and a very powerful sign in the Chinese calendar, signalling change, power, and improvement.
What does that mean for us:
* Tourism from Europe and the UK will remain depressed. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her New Year’s Eve address last night that this year will be even tougher than last year, but she has promised to do everything in her power to stabilise the Euro, introduced ten years ago today, and to build a stronger bond in the European Union. The UK market is likely to remain depressed, and no great increase in tourism numbers can be expected, with the exception of February, a popular travel month for Britons who like to get away from a bitterly cold winter, and who like to celebrate ‘Valentine’s Month’ in the Cape. Bookings for February already look promising for Whale Cottage Camps Bay. August has become a relatively good tourism month, despite it still being winter, with many Europeans coming on holiday. This year this period coincides with the Olympic Games in London, which may reduce tourism numbers in the first half of the month.
* South Africans will remain the foundation of tourism this year, and the summer season will end early, with Easter falling on the first weekend of April. However, there are six public holidays falling on weekdays this year, and these are normally good for tourism business. A 5-day long weekend, from 27 April to 1 May, could be a last summer highlight for the hospitality industry.
Other predictions we would like to see become reality are the following:
* Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited being amalgamated in one private sector driven body, to prevent the current duplication of marketing activity and spend, with sharper strategic and marketing thinking. Cape Town Routes Unlimited will be incorporated into Wesgro in April. There is no sign of the new Cape Town Tourism “You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town” campaign or its effect, which was launched locally with great fanfare at the AGM in October, and internationally at World Travel Market in London in November. Any work that Cape Town Tourism’s UK trade and media representative may be doing is not bearing fruit. Its Australian consultant Ian Macfarlane seems to have vanished, his contract having ended last month. Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is on maternity leave, and one can speculate that no marketing of Cape Town will happen until she returns, if the past month is anything to go by. We would like to see a greater transparency by Cape Town Tourism in how it is spending its members’ and Cape Town ratepayers monies (R40 million), information which Mrs Helmbold has refused to release to date!
* A new Eat Out editor and Top 10 restaurant judge, given that the current incumbent has lost credibility, and a fairer and transparent judging process.
* Better support of Cape Town and Winelands restaurants by locals, especially in winter, when unbelievable specials are offered
* Better service in restaurants, shops, and in any other businesses dealing with the public. Franschhoek, for example, is fast losing its professional image due to poorly trained staff, often left to their own devices, without any management support.
* Better ability of businesses to accept service and other feedback, in the interest of improving things, rather than to be defensive and vindictive about it.
* A longer life for new restaurants, which means that they need to do better research to understand their market and potential diners before opening, and must build loyalty.
* A reorientation of when the country goes on holiday, and its bosses in particular. It seems crazy that businesses close on 15 December for 2 – 3 weeks, and that hospitality and tourism bureau management goes on leave, at a time when business is at its peak, instead of in winter, when business is at its poorest!
* A total revamp of labour legislation (a big dream, I know!), in discouraging employee departures without giving notice, greater checking of employee references, the development of a register of unreliable staff to the benefit of all employers, and a better balance in the rights of employers. If there is one aspect of business that most owners complain about and are most influenced by in terms of service delivery it is staff. Such changes may lead to higher employment.
* A better rates dispensation by municipalities, to recognise that most accommodation establishments and other tourism businesses operate at 50 % occupancy at best in winter, yet must pay rates in full.
* More responsible reporting about the state of tourism in the Cape by the media and tourism bodies, and to not exaggerate its status.
* More responsible behaviour in terms of the effect that our lifestyle has on climate change, the negative effects of which were well demonstrated in 2011.
* More kindness and niceness to others, putting the ‘social’ back into Social Media!
We wish all our guests, suppliers, staff, tourism colleagues, friends, and readers a successful, healthy, and bubbly 2012!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Tuesday 19th October 2010 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
My previous visit to Jardine, soon after George Jardine had left to start his new Stellenbosch restaurant Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, was not as excellent as I had expected, feeling that George Jardine had left a gap that new chef Eric Bulpitt still needed to grow into. Our return visit last week shows that Chef Eric has got there, and that George Jardine is no longer expected nor ‘present’ at Jardine. The advertised three course Spring Special meal is in fact a 7-course one, thereby offering excellent value.
I was interested in the four week period that Chef Eric had recently spent at Noma in Copenhagen, the number one of the San Pellogrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World and a 2-star Michelin restaurant. It was Chef Eric’s choice as restaurant ‘mecca’, for its focus on ‘natural’ gastronomy, and he worked there without pay, and in the company of many other chefs from around the world, to undergo a ‘learnership’ in this renowned restaurant. The first influence that Noma has had on Chef Eric is sourcing ingredients from nature, by foraging with his team in The Glen as well as in Newlands Forest, to find herbs and plants for his dishes, including wood sorrell, chickweed, Cape Chamomile, and nasturtiums. He also learnt about flavour combinations. The goal orientation of a restaurant such as Noma, which is based on focus and excellent organisation, was a further impactful influence, which Chef Eric wants to strengthen across the board at Jardine Restaurant. He described it as being almost “militaristic”, with strict rules and regulations to work by. He noted how the labour legislation differs in Denmark, in that one can fire staff if they do not deliver, and this is accepted by the staff, unlike South Africa and its restrictive labour law.
Other than the hostess Christina, who seemed to know who I was without welcoming me by name and therefore coming across as unfriendly, the service from new Manager Simon Widdison (Johan Terblanche has moved across to be the Manager at Tokara, which opens today) was friendly, as was that of Hannes the waiter (although he must please learn to not stretch across customers to place the fork on the left, and was not quite au fait about wine and food details). The biggest surprise of all was how friendly and relaxed Jaap-Henk Koelewijn (what an apt surname!), the sommelier, has become. The waiter had incorrectly indicated that the Jardine Shiraz was from Le Riche, to which I said yes immediately, when it was actually from Cederberg. Jaap-Henk immediately offered to replace it with Hartenberg at the Jardine price, and had no problem in pouring the wine at the table and allowing me to taste it first.
In coming to try the 3-course Spring Special running until the end of October, at a most reasonable R180, one does not expect any extras. We were therefore most surprised that we were served three pre-starters, and an amuse bouche, prior to the three course meal, making it a 7-course meal. The first dish to arrive was interesting-looking deep-fried tapioca over which frozen goat’s cheese had been grated. I associate tapioca with ‘pudding’, and not favourably from my childhood, so I was a bit nervous about trying it. I felt it to be a little dry, and so only had a taste of it. The second dish was vetkoek with a gorgonzola centre, which my son loved and I did not at all, finding it rather bland. What I loved was the third treat, being a most unusual Kingklip crisp made by dusting the thinnest slice of the fish in tapioca flour, and serving it with a ponzu dressing, made from citrus and soya. My ‘Larousse Gastronomique’ defines tapioca as follows: A starchy food extracted from the roots of the manioc plant, which is hydrated, cooked, then ground. It is used mainly for thickening soups and broths and making milk puddings and other desserts”. Clearly this is an ingredient that Chef Eric loves. The amuse bouche was a cauliflower spuma, with a very delicate and light taste on top, and a spicy taste underneath.
The three course Spring Special only has one choice per course, and last Friday it was a Confit duck leg terrine served with spicy orange and naartjie chutney as starter; the main course was sirloin steak served with smoked mash, spinach and carrot puree; and the dessert was a selection of three sorbets and ice creams. The duck terrine was served in a circular slice, quite coarse and crumbly, and bound by a leaf. I had it with the lovely Cape seedloaf. My son preferred to not eat the terrine, and Chef Eric made him a Vegetable Patch starter from their a la carte menu, a most beautifully presented Spring-looking collection of baby beetroot, butternut, cherry tomatoes, parsnip, buffalo mozzarella, and a watercress emulsion, on ‘mushroom soil’, resembling that in texture, and made by drying mushrooms, grinding them, and then adding butter and herbs.
I had asked the kitchen to take the photographs for me, due to the softer lighting at our table, and this may have been the reason why both our steaks had lost their temperature when brought to the table. They were immediately replaced, and were excellent, two small pieces, with wonderful carrot puree and spinach, decorated with tiny nasturtium leaves, foraged by Chef Eric and his team earlier that day. The smoked mash was good, but I would have preferred it plain, as the smoked taste was too dominant. The dessert sorbet and ice cream choices were lemon and thyme, espresso coffee and chocolate, coconut milk yoghurt and chilli, and pear and glÃ¼hwein. I felt that of all the dishes served, the desserts allowed Chef Eric’s creativity to come to the fore the most, with the unsual combination of flavours, and beautiful presentation with a ‘birdseed’ crisp on a patterned square plate.
The winelist has a black leather cover too, reminding me of that at Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, and its first page contains the names of the artists whose work is on display in the restaurant and for sale. Its introduction states that the winelist is a personal selection of wines to complement the ‘gastronomic feast’. Wines by the glass include Colmant Brut (R65); Sterhuis Blanc de Blanc (R55); Jardine Unwooded Chardonnay, which comes from Vriesenhof (R30); Lammershoek Roulette Blanc (R45), Trizanne Sauvignon Blanc (R45); Jardine Shiraz (which comes from Cederberg, and costs R 40); La Motte Millennium (R45); Sterhuis Merlot (R45); and Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc (R45). The Shiraz selection ranges from MAN Vintners at R95, to Luddite at R450, the Jardine costing R160, Hartenberg R330, and Miglarina R250.
If one does not enjoy the Spring Special before the end of October, a steal at R180 for seven courses, one can order a 2-course meal at R240, or a 5-course one at R480.
Jardine is one of twenty finalists for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, and chef Eric is one of four chefs (with David Higgs, PJ Vadis and Chantel Dartnall) that will be cooking for the guests attending the Top 10 Awards ceremony. It is said that cooking at the Awards dinner is a sure-fire guarantee of making the Top 10 list, although Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly specifically denied this when she met with these chefs recently. With Chef Eric’s dedication to his craft, and his recent unpaid ‘learnership’ at Noma allowing him to re-invent himself after four years at Jardine Restaurant, he stands a good chance of making it onto the Top 10 list.
POSTSCRIPT 14/1: It has been announced that Jardine’s will close down at the end of February – its lease comes up for renewal then. The focus will be on Tokara in Stellenbosch. Part of the motivation is the departure of George Jardine to start his own restaurant, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine. Chef Eric Bulpitt will move to The Roundhouse.
POSTSCRIPT 28/2: Jardine has closed, without a whimper or a thank you for the client support from the management.
Jardine Restaurant, 185 Bree Street, Cape Town. Tel (021) 424-5640 www.jardineonbree.co.za (It is odd to see George Jardine’s photograph on the website, and to see him listed as an owner, when he is not involved in any apparant way. The website needs to be updated, reflecting the staff promotions and movements, including the Noma visit. The website could also do with an Image gallery, to show off Chef Eric’s cuisine creativity). Twitter @JardineCape Town. Tuesdays – Saturdays.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Monday 12th July 2010 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
The best compliment that FIFA could pay South Africa is the declaration by Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary-General, two weeks ago that “South Africa will always be a Plan B for any World Cup”, reports AFP, and an amazing compliment to the Local Organising Committee (LOC), as well as to South Africans across the board, in organising the best “party” in the world and showing the “gees” of our nation to our visitors and to our fellow countrymen.
FIFA praised the country for what it believes will have been a “perfect” World Cup. “If on July 11, we are on the same level as we are today (3 weeks ago), I would say it’s a perfect World Cup”, he said. Initial transport problems led to empty seats at the Opening Match in Johannesburg on 11 June, but these problems were quickly ironed out.
The World Cup has made South Africa and the continent of Africa “sexy”. At the TIME and CNN Global Forum, which was held in Cape Town two weeks ago, and was attended by a large number of the world’s global business leaders, South Africa’s smooth hosting of the World Cup had changed perceptions about the country and the continent, speakers said, reports The Sunday Independent. TIME editor Michael Elliot said that the country is riding an “extraordinary wave of energy and optimism”, and stated that South Africa is “on the verge of tremendous opportunity”.
So how has South Africa benefited from the World Cup? The benefits have been financial and emotional:
1. A legacy of infrastructure – I disliked the word “legacy” initially, when I heard politicians justify the billions of Rands to be spent, but now that legacy is concrete, with ten new or upgraded stadiums around the country, fantastic roadworks leading into Host Cities, and around the stadiums, airports of an international standard (almost all, given the embarrassing fiasco at King Shaka airport in Durban), a Gautrain in Johannesburg and a modernised train station in Cape Town, new modern buses, upgraded city pavements, city greening and new city artwork to beautify the Fan Walks.
2. The “gees” Ke Nako that was the theme of the World Cup grew throughout the World Cup into an unheard of spirit of national pride, surpassing that of the Rugby World Cup in 1995. The nation-building power of sport, first through the rugby match between the Stormers and the Blue Bulls in the Orlando Stadium, and the powerful bonding of South Africans in supporting the Bafana Bafana team, as well as them demonstrating the pride in their country via mirror socks, flags on the cars, and flags on their homes and businesses, has been one of the most wonderful benefits of the World Cup, and is likely to last well beyond the end of the World Cup. For the first time the country became proud citizens of their continent too, in supporting “BaGhana BaGhana”, when they were the final African team to play in the tournament. Many South Africans doubted their nation’s ability to host an event of this magnitude across nine different locations around the large country, but she has done her country proud. Locals are already calling for a regular way of displaying unity, by putting up flags, wearing the Bafana Bafana colours, or those of our country’s flag.
3. The improvement in South Africa’s image world-wide is the best legacy of all, and perhaps we needed to hear bluntly at the start of the World Cup how dimly we were viewed by the world. Whilst we hated her broadcasts, Emma Hurd of SkyNews was the wet blanket that reminded us day in and day out about how dreadful life can be for many of our citizens, but even then the TV station changed its tune, its broadcasts became more and more positive, and Ms Hurd’s focus moved more to the soccer and less on the social imbalances. Maybe it was a blessing that England fell out of the tournament so early on, which led to less interest in the World Cup reporting by the station. Reporter after reporter has written about how they feared coming to the country, having heard about its reputation of crime, AIDS, poverty, and even apartheid, but all wrote about how pleasantly surprised they were about the spirited and united nation they saw, and about the first class facilities they encountered. Not only South Africa but Africa benefited in image, as written above already. Africa has been the step-child of the world, and it was the “social responsibility ” of the world, and FIFA in particular, that saw South Africa awarded the rights to hosting the 2010 World Cup – a tremendous leap in faith for the body at the time, but a dividend that has paid off richly for FIFA President Sepp Blatter and his team, not just in terms of their revenue earned, but also in their image for having the faith and in sticking behind South Africa, denying that they ever had a Plan B and a Plan C.
4. The control over crime was a surprise even for South Africans. The cancellation of the contract between the FIFA Local Organising Committee and Stallion Security at the Cape Town and Durban stadiums was no security loss at all, and the police did an outstanding job in handling the security of the stadiums, as well as of the Host Cities in general, with high police visibility, and a marked reduction in crime in general. Western Cape Premier Helen Zille told the Cape Town Press Club that a BBC interviewer had expressed his surprise to her about not seeing the “expected crime wave”, reports the Weekend Argus. Never before had such visible policing been seen, not only in and around the stadiums, but generally in city streets and in shopping malls. One wondered where they had been hidden all these years, and hopes they will remain. South Africa was not prepared to compromise safety, its biggest vulnerability, and I experienced what I first thought was a crazy safety procedure to have my car security-checked at the Green Point Traffic Department, with a car search, a sniffer dog search, a search underneath the car, and a personal security check, then a blue light escort into the stadium. Special World Cup law courts also acted immediately on World Cup-related crimes, and meted out harsh fines and penalties for theft and other crimes, and the incident of the British fan entering the England team changing room, and the subsequent admission of guilt payment by the Sunday Mirror reporter related to this matter, attracted varying reaction to the harshness of the fines.
5. Whilst South Africa was shunned as a “rip-off” country for its cost of flights, accommodation, transport and World Cup packages prior to the World Cup, due to the 30 % commission add-on by FIFA hospitality and ticketing agency MATCH to already high prices of flights, accommodation and transport, the prices of all of these aspects of the World Cup quickly dropped when MATCH cancelled the bulk of its booked rooms, and SAA cancelled the seats MATCH had booked. It was unheard of that accommodation rates dropped during a world event, but pricing is about supply and demand, and the lower than expected demand necessitated the decrease in rates, which did increase last-minute bookings to some extent. It was gratifying to see soccer fans book their own accommodation, preferring to book more reasonably priced guest houses. It is hoped that the world will forget its initial image of our country in this regard.
6. The biggest surprise for locals was the power and fun of the Fan Walk in Cape Town. It appeared that this may have been the only city in South Africa to have one. Despite one’s scepticism of the concept initially, given Cape Town’s winter weather, not even rain could deter ticket holders and even towards the end, on a sunny afternoon, Capetonians without tickets from walking the Walk. The flags put up everywhere became a trademark, and made Cape Town look festive, and one hopes they will stay, and give a nostalgic memory of the biggest party Cape Town has ever experienced.
7. South Africa has new tourism icons, the very beautifully designed stadiums becoming tourism assets in their own rights. The Soccer City, Durban, Cape Town and Nelspruit stadiums in particular are beautifully designed. Cape Town had a Big Six it marketed – now it has the Big Seven, the Cape Town Stadium added, which became the backdrop to most broadcasts from the city.
8. If it has not been said above, the interpersonal tolerance between South Africans seems to have improved, and small courtesies towards other pedestrians, motorists and shoppers are manifestations of the wonderful spirit of “South Africanism”.
9. “White” South Africans have caught the soccer spirit, and the majority never were interested in this sport. One never thought that locals would rush off in such large numbers to buy their match tickets online, and to queue for tickets at FIFA outlets in Host Cities, even camping outside the doors the night before. More than 3 million tickets were sold, and about two-thirds went to South Africans. We all became enraptured with the game, and all learnt new terminology about soccer (although most of us still do not know if it is ‘soccer’ or ‘football’ that we have been watching!). We got to know the names of new soccer heroes – Diego Forlan, Thomas Mueller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, and many more, for their performance on the pitches.
10. School children but also adults learnt about geography in terms of the participating nations, so that Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia, and the South American countries of Uruguay and Paraguay could be placed. Nestle ran a “Children of the World” promotion, with information about different participating countries on their Smarties boxes. Hopefully South Africa featured on the atlas of children and residents of the world community whilst they watched the many matches in the past month, and saw their countries’ TV stations present documentaries about our country. We got to know the flags of participating nations.
11. Musically, life will never be the same, the vuvuzela being synonymous with the 2010 World Cup, and will no doubt be the “spirit maker” at future sporting events around the world. Loved and hated, the “toot toot” during broadcasts and live matches were part of this sporting event. FIFA President Blatter refused to have it banned, when called upon to do so by the world media and by players, who said that they could not hear their coaches and the referees. The world’s largest vuvuzela was erected on Cape Town’s unfinished highway for World Cup sponsor Hyundai. Two songs will go down in World Cup history – “Waka Waka” by Shakira, much scorned when it first received airplay on radio, but now synonymous with the event, South Africa, and even Africa – as well as K’Naan’s “Waving Flags”.
12. It is the future tourism legacy that will hopefully benefit the country, in that it will attract tourists to our country in future. Due to the improvement in South Africa’s image and the wonderful documentaries about South Africa (for example German TV station ZDF dedicated hours of coverage of South Africa, using our ex-Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss, speaking her best possible German – she is engaged to a German), one can hope for an influx of tourists for years to come, but one must be realistic about the depressed economy internationally, and even locally, said our Governor of the Reserve Bank Gill Marcus last week.
13. If there is one name we will never forget in the context of the World Cup, it is the by now well-known Paul the Octopus from Oberhausen in Germany, who correctly predicted 5 wins and 2 losses for Germany, as well as the win for Spain against the Netherlands in the Final. He even has a Twitter page @PPsychicOctopus, which surpassed 500 Followers in just four days.
14. The media coverage for South Africa has been phenominal, many countries sending media representatives not only reporting about the soccer but also doing documentaries about the cities in which they were based. The BBC had a special Studio built on top of the Somerset Hospital, giving it a fantastic view of a beautiful Table Mountain on the one side, and of the beautiful Cape Town Stadium on the other side. An hour after the Final last night, ZDF was still broadcasting about South Africa and the World Cup, recapping the highlights of the sport event and of the country. Even normally cynical Oliver Kahn, who was a co-presenter, praised the organisation, hospitality, friendliness and lack of hooliganism of our host country. ZDF probably was the TV station that gave our country the most, and most positive, TV coverage. The Final is expected to have been seen by 700 million TV viewers around the world last night.
15. The power of the endorsement in terms of VIP attendance at the matches is unmeasurable, and those celebrities that are on Twitter, Paris Hilton and Shakira for example, who expressed their delight, spread the word even further. Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel, Queen Sofia of Spain, her son Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia, Holland’s Crown Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Maxima, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock, German President Christian Wulff, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Luia da Silva, Charlize Theron, Morgan Freeman, Mick Jagger, Kimora Lee Simons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Andrea Bocelli, Franz Beckenbauer, injured ex-German captain Michael Ballack, Bill Clinton, David Beckham, will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas, Naomi Campbell, Princes William and Harry, London Mayor Boris Johnson and many more attended the matches over the past month.
16. Despite the winter timing of the tournament, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth’s weather generally played ball. Cape Town had three rain days during matches, and challenged the perception of Johannesburgers that it rains all the time.
17. The smooth logistical running of the World Cup has opened up the country to bid for other events, and the 2020 Olympics is the next event the country has been invited to bid for. IOC President Jacques Rogge has been in the country for more than a week, and has been warmly recommended the country by his friend FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
18. Social media marketing received a tremendous boost during the World Cup, and peaked on 11 June, the start of the World Cup. Only one event challenged interest in the early part of the event, being the engagement of South African Charlene Wittstock to Prince Albert of Monaco. As soon as the USA and England teams were eliminated, web traffic fell dramatically, partly though due to the problems with the SEACOM cable for those websites that are hosted overseas by their servers. Yet action on Twitter never let off, and whenever a goal was scored, Twitter crashed. Twitter users followed soccer stars they had not previously heard of, and even Sepp Blatter opened a Twitter page (@SeppBlatter).
19. The initial high airline ticket prices encouraged many locals as well as tourists to drive between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, and also to other parts of the country, to save on costs, thus supporting tourism in smaller towns and cities that were not Host Cities. One hopes that this will lead to a rediscovery of the Garden Route, an area that has suffered badly as far as tourism goes in the past three years.
20. One can be grateful from a business perspective that the World Cup did take place in winter, a normally quiet period, therefore not influencing productivity, or lack of, badly on match days, and on Bafana Bafana match days specifically, which saw shops and businesses close early. This is compared to many companies that close for their Christmas/New Year break, when Cape Town is at its busiest.
21. The surprise benefits of coming to the country for the international soccer fans was the beauty of the country, and in Cape Town the fans were surprised about what special beauty the city offers – the mountains, the sea, the wildlife at Cape Point, and the winelands.
22. Soccer fans that arrived without tickets and locals enjoyed the “gees” at the Host Cities’ Fan Parks, many offering top notch musical entertainment every day, and broadcasting all matches. In early days the Fan Park on the Grand Parade had to be closed, due to over-capacity. Other fans went pub-hopping, Long Street being popular for this, with numerous bars and restaurants with televisions. The V&A Waterfront was another popular destination, and every restaurant agreed to install TV sets for the duration of the World Cup. Paulaner Brauhaus and other hospitality marquees set up at the Clocktower side of the V&A did extremely well, and I personally queued at the Paulaner Brauhaus for as long as 2 hours for the semi-final between Germany and Spain. The law of supply and demand forced greedy hospitality marquee owners to radically reduce their entrance fees, where these were charged, from over R 100 per person, to about R 20.
23. FIFA must be congratulated on their determination in making this an excellent World Cup, and were based in Johannesburg for a number of years, to guide the management of the event. It gave us great confidence that the event would be a success, even though so many locals were sceptical. FIFA executives were also ruthless in their deadlines for the completion of the stadiums, and the infrastructure, which was excellent in making everything come together, even if it felt that some work was very much last minute. FIFA insisted on the police presence and the instant law courts, and they have dramatically reduced crime in the past four weeks.
The World Cup has not been super-perfect, and had some blemishes:
1. I have written copiously about MATCH, FIFA’s hospitality and ticketing agency, and its ruthless attempt at exploitation of the accommodation industry, which unfortunately backfired badly for the agency, for the accommodation industry and for the image of the country as far as affordability, or lack of, goes.
2. Many empty seats were visible, especially in the early matches, and were attributed to transport problems in Johannesburg at the first match, and to sponsors not allocating all their tickets.
3. The inability and thereafter late landing of four aircraft at King Shaka airport in Durban on the day that Germany played Spain was the biggest logistical blunder of the tournament, and left many German fans angry about the costs they had incurred to see the match. ACSA is offering a reported compensation of R400 per head!
4. Restaurant business dropped dramatically, and fine dining establishments that refused to succumb to TV sets lost business badly, especially on match days in their cities. Theatre and general entertainment also suffered, and the popular Jonny Cooper Orchestra closed down a show in Camps Bay two weeks ahead of schedule. Retail outlets did not gain from the World Cup, and the opposite probably is true. Sales of the Cape Times and Cape Argus have been said by its management to have been the worst ever in the past four weeks.
5. The negative media reporting focused on only one theme – the great divide that still remains in South Africa, between haves and have-nots, and the irony of the monies spent on the stadiums relative to the lack of proper housing for all of its population will have to be addressed. One hopes that the future impact on tourism, and resultant employment, will address this problem. But it will also mean a new attitude by employees to value their jobs and terms of employment.
6. The early exit of England in particular was damaging to tourism, as multitudes of fans were standing by to fly to South Africa to support their team. The England fans were the best for accommodation business, but their bookings were linked to their team’s playing schedule.
7. The biggest loser of the World Cup probably is FIFA itself, in terms of its image, Sepp Blatter having been booed at the Final and also on another occasion. FIFA also came under fire about its card-happy referees, the British referee Howard Webb setting the record for the highest number of cards, with 14 yellow cards and one red card during the wild Final match. The lack of technology to check on the admissibility of goals was also severely criticised.
8. FIFA’s technology also failed when demand for tickets became so great, that its system crashed on numerous occasions, a dent to its image of perfection and organisation.
9. The more than 25 000 volunteers that were appointed by FIFA and its LOC, were poorly utilised in terms of their skills and day-job capabilities and were extremely poorly managed. They were “employed” outside of the South African labour legislation, and had to sign for this in their contracts. They had tax deducted from their meal allowances when these were paid into their bank accounts. In Cape Town they were served disgustingly bad food for three days, and were not compensated for it in terms of their meal allowances. They did not all receive the designated volunteer clothing, even though it was ordered about 6 months ago when the volunteers were appointed. Volunteers attended three days of training in April plus a morning in May, and were not compensated. Huge dissatisfaction existed about the forced McDonald’s diet of R 60 per day, which the LOC would not alter at all, the most unhealthy food they could have been fed. The Green Point branch next to the stadium made a fortune out of this arrangement, yet their service and food quality was shocking – the Volunteer Co-ordinator had to call the branch regularly with complaints. Volunteers were forced to drink Coke, when many preferred water, Bonaqua being a Coca Cola brand too. Quotas were set for the amount of water and Coke that each volunteer had to receive. The Volunteer Farewell Function last week started two hours late, was badly organised, and lunch was served at 15h30, 1600 volunteers having to queue – many left at this stage. More than a month after starting to work as volunteers, they have not yet been paid, despite a promise that they would be (now they are due to be paid at the end of July!). Sadly, international volunteers left the country with an image of the poorest organisation of a World Cup relative to their experience of the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, a shame given that one third of the volunteers were from other countries around the world, and they will take this message back home with them. I kept hearing them say that this must be “an African way” of doing things, a perception I tried to correct whenever I heard it.
10. The FIFA sponsors Budweiser, McDonald’s and Coca Cola were not all positively received. Budweiser was only served inside the stadiums, and comments via Twitter were only negative about the beer. McDonald’s became a swearword amongst the volunteers, and even the police and media working close to the Stadium must have disliked receiving the poor quality and service for more than a month. Coca Cola became the butt of jokes about Paris Hilton getting the brand wrong when she was wrongfully arrested for smoking marijuana. The food sold by concessionaires inside the Stadium was poor.
10. FIFA also lost face when it fanatically reacted to ambush marketing, and the Kulula.com airline provoked FIFA in its newspaper ads. Bavaria beer is the best known brand in South Africa, due to FIFA’s reaction to the Dutch brewery’s ambush marketing inside the stadium in Durban.
11. Corruption in terms of Government departments and municipalities buying huge allocations of tickets has been hinted at, and no doubt further such claims will be written about in the media.
11. Whilst the occupancy of accommodation establishments in Host Cities close to Stadiums was reasonable in the past 30 days (Whale Cottage Camps Bay at 71 %), the areas in smaller towns barely picked up any benefit in this period. Sadly, business in May was at its worst ever, and what income was made in June, was offset by the “vacuum-effect” of the World Cup in May.
12. Last, but not least, is the anti-climax of the month-long party having come to an end. The lives of many changed in the past month, with different habits, glued to television sets, children on holiday for 5 weeks, daily beer drinking habits having been developed, and the mundane side of life was set aside for the period. Reality strikes today!
POSTSCRIPT 18/7: FIFA gave South Africa a score of 9/10 for the hosting of the 2010 World Cup, reports The Times, up from the 7,5 rating for the hosting of the Confederations Cup last year. FIFA President Blatter likened the score to a cum laude at university level. “The greatest memory is the willingness and commitment of South Africans to show the world their ability to host this World Cup with discipline and honour” Blatter said.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com
Saturday 10th July 2010 - Posted by Chris von Ulmenstein
Never in the history of World Cup soccer has a “player” made world TV and newspaper headlines as has Paul the psychic octopus. We nominate him for the Golden Ball Award for being the most on-the-ball player of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, having correctly predicted Germany’s four wins and two losses.
Paul lives in an aquarium in Oberhausen in Germany, but is British-born. He started duty in the UEFA Cup final in 2008, but made an error when he predicted that Germany would win against Spain. He was a little known player then, especially due to his incorrect prediction. But since the start of the 2010 World Cup he has been spot-on with the results of each match, predicting Germany’s wins over Australia, Ghana, England and Argentina, and its losses against Serbia and Spain.
All eyes will be on Paul as he predicts Germany to take 3rd place against Uruguay in Port Elizabeth today. He has also bravely stepped out of his league in predicting the winner of the World Cup Final to be Spain, in its match against Netherlands tomorrow.
Poor Paul is being heavily taxed, in that he is now being asked to predict all sorts of other things, such as whether German coach Joachim Loew will renew his contract.
Paul has become such a talked-about VIP that he has his own Twitter page now (@PPsychicOctopus), and boy can he Tweet non-stop, usually putting some “biped” down when he/she make comments he does not like, and just in general, when he feels like it. He is a cheeky opinionated chap! He attracted 422 followers in just 2 days, and is hoping for 1000 by tomorrow. He picks up almost every mention about himself on Twitter, and then replies to it. He has been featured on CNN, ZDF, BBC and SkyNews, and made the front page of the Cape Times and Germany’s Bild, and no doubt many more international and local newspapers.
While I am having fun, I am awarding some other unofficial 2010 World Cup awards:
Goldie Locks Award: goes to Diego Forlan of Uruguay, who has beautiful blond hair kept in place with a blue aliceband, and has the most beautiful blue eyes, for sure the most beautiful soccer player in the World Cup (on the other hand, Wayne Rooney has already been selected by the media as the ‘ugliest’ player of the soccer tournament)
Golden Trend Award: Cristiano Ronaldo receives this award, for his black nailpolished toes, as seen on German TV station ZDF yesterday
Golden Coach Award: superstitious German coach Joachim Loew wearing his beautiful blue jersey at every match in which Germany played, and refusing to wash it to not break the luck of his team, that is until it lost against Spain this week. He was by far the best looking coach of all teams.
Golden Moneybags Award without a doubt goes to FIFA and its President Sepp Blatter, for taking all its money out of South Africa, untaxed as per its contract with the South African government, especially all the MATCH booking monies. Ticket sales will have largely been received by credit card in Switzerland anyway.
Golden Service Award goes to the 25 000 or so volunteers at 10 stadiums and at the Fan Parks in Host Cities, as well as at airports and FIFA-designated hotels, who worked for a pittance of R 100 per day, irrespective of how long their working hours were. Volunteers were specifically forced to sign away their rights to protection under South Africa’s labour legislation, such is the power of FIFA! Volunteers were not even allowed to receive a copy of their 4-page contract. Volunteers were the machine that made the running of the World Cup smooth and largely incident-free, in offering Spectator Services, Language Support, Transportation, Accreditation, Hospitality, IT and Telecommunications, and many more services to make the World Cup happen. The ridiculously low “stipend” has to be taxed, at least 30 % being deducted, even for the meal allowance when it was first paid into the bank, while FIFA patted itself on the back for its 25 % increase in its media and marketing income for this World Cup, and announcing that millions of dollars will be paid to Football Associations and its executive.
Golden Aches Award goes to the World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC), for forcing its 25 000 volunteers around the country to spend half of their R 120 daily meal allowance at a McDonald’s close by, for the past 40 days. The Green Point branch, which is right at the Stadium, made a fortune from the Cape Town LOC for daily vouchers to the value of R 60 – it could easily be R2 million – out of a blind loyalty to the fast food company’s sponsorship of the World Cup.
Golden Handcuff Award goes to the S A Police Services for safeguarding South Africa and the soccer fans, and for taking over the security services when Stallion Security staff striked in Cape Town and in Durban at the start of the World Cup. They were patient, dedicated and worked in the pouring rain in Cape Town at three of the matches, and in cold winter conditions for the other five matches, as well as on non-match days, checking bags and other belongings, keeping everyone inside the Stadium safe.
Golden Key Award goes to FIFA and the LOC, for forbidding its volunteers to criticise the two bodies whilst they were on duty, as per the volunteer contract. What they did not understand was the power of word-of-mouth, aggrieved volunteers talking to each other and posting comments on the Cape Town Volunteers blog www.ctvolunteers2010.wordpress.com. E-mails were sent to other volunteers, and one even approached the Weekend Argus about the McDonald’s forced-diet, that uniforms were not supplied to all volunteers in the 5 weeks of them doing duty, prejudicing some in not working inside the stadiums and therefore not seeing all the matches, and that transport problems meant that volunteers stood in the rain and cold waiting for transportation to take them home after matches.
Golden “Gees” Award goes to all South Africans, who become ‘Proudly South African’ in the past month, becoming soccer fans (who was it that said that ‘White’ South Africans do not support soccer and do not watch local matches?) in addition to loving rugby; who went to watch the Stormers and the Blue Bulls play at Orlando Stadium in Soweto (I mean, have you ever?!) and loved the “gees” there just a short while prior to the start of the World Cup; for walking the Fan Walk (153 000 in Cape Town last Saturday alone) and calling for the Fan Walk to become a permanent feature, locals requesting Capetonians to walk it once a month; for the loyal support for Bafana Bafana, a team we scorned and mocked prior to the World Cup, but who did us proud; and made us proud Africans, supporting BaGhana BaGhana when this was the last African team left in the tournament.
Golden Liquid Award goes to the beer producers and all the staff at pubs and restaurants around the country who made sure that soccer fans remained liquid, either to celebrate or commiserate their teams’ performance! Vaughn Johnson’s Wine Shop sold 10 000 beer cans in the 4 hours prior to the England versus Algeria match in Cape Town, he says.
Golden Balls-Up Award goes to ACSA Durban for damaging the image of the country when flights bringing German and Spain fans to Durban on Tuesday after the match had finished, due to a congestion of aeroplanes at the new King Shaka airport in the city, reportedly due to private jets clogging up the parking bays and refusing to move their planes, the FIFA one being one of them! Not surprisingly FIFA and the LOC have distanced themselves from any responsibility for this mess-up.
Golden Fans Award goes to all the wonderful soccer fans, both local and international, that became infected with the “gees” of the World Cup, who got to endure the vuvuzelas and even bought their own, for dressing up in wigs, painting their faces, and proudly wearing their country’s flags – I can see a whole new fashion trend in proudly-South African colours. They brought their dollars, pounds and Euros, and bought beers, ate at restaurants (manly pizzas, burgers and steaks), stayed at good value guest houses and did some sightseeing locally. They showed up FIFA’s MATCH by making their own accommodation bookings (at non-MATCH guest houses) and by buying their own match tickets, instead of falling for MATCH packages.
Golden Rip-Off Award goes to MATCH, the hospitality and ticketing agency of FIFA, which conned the accommodation industry for a second World Cup, promising good accommodation returns, forcing establishments to give 80 % of their rooms, promising not to cancel rooms as it did in Germany four years before, and for adding an unjustified 30 % commission to accommodation rates, giving South Africa an unfortunate image of “rip-off pricing” in the European and English media, thereby keeping soccer fans away from the country. As if this was not bad enough, the unfortunate accommodation establishments that signed with MATCH received the majority of their rooms back, just a few weeks before the start of the World Cup.
Golden City Award goes to Cape Town, which to date has had the highest number of goals scored (22) of all stadiums, and has achieved the highest occupancy of stadium seats, said Cape Town Stadium Venue Manager Terral Cullen at a Volunteer Farewell Lunch earlier this week. The Stadium was moved a few meters and a new one built, for the benefit of the view from it onto Table Mountain. Ironically it was not the mountain that became the focus of the world media, but it was the Stadium itself that formed the backdrop for report after report about our beautiful city and the matches that were taking place. Even the sport commentators would refer to the beauty of the city during their match commentary. President Zuma claimed it as the best World Cup city, and FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said the Cape Town Stadium had the best pitch and was the most perfect stadium, so much so that the Olympic Committee has requested Cape Town to bid for the 2020 Olympic Games. What an accolade! Sepp Blatter has taken IOC President Rogge around Cape Town, and personally has recommended the city. We know that what President Blatter wants, he gets!
Golden Card Award goes to the World Cup referees who loved the red and yellow ones, waving them at players at great regularity, and influencing outcomes of matches as a result – Klose and Mueller’s red and yellow cards were examples for the German team.
Golden Flop Award goes to all soccer players who collapsed every time another player bumped into them – from a distance many of them looked like primadonnas, hoping for a free kick whenever they flopped onto the grass
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com