Cablegate: Cape Town to Launch Its Carnival in 2010

R 250728Z NOV 08


E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) While some are asking the question will South Africa be ready
to host the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup; the Best Mayor in the World
is displaying a "bring 'em on" attitude. On a windy, chilly
evening, Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille, leader of the newly
re-launched Democratic Alliance, hosted a "community event" with
full diplomatic corps presence. She used the thinly disguised
street fest as an opportunity to announce to the representatives of
the world "CAPE TOWN CARNIVAL 2010."

2. (U) The atmosphere was already carnival like with feathers,
boas, colorful dress, and music and dancing of all types. The
newest 2010 invitation to Cape Town will be set between two already
popular, big draw events. Set for March 12-14, 2010, Carnival Cape
Town will be a week-end long party between the Argus Cycle Tour and
the Two Oceans Marathon, and just months prior to the beginning of
the World Cup. Three purposes of the development of Carnival Cape
Town are: continued branding of Cape Town as a world-class
destination; an avenue to display Cape Town's wealth of talent and
cultural diversity; and the creation of additional jobs and economic
growth. Upon the announcement of the creation of more jobs, the
crowd cheered the loudest.

3. (U) At that point, Mayor Zille used the microphone to admonish
the city's youth to use this new opportunity to stay out of trouble,
to stay in school and to resist the drug trade and environment.
After Zille's speech, more cheers were heard from the audience.
Mayor Zille is known for her anti-drug advocacy in a city that has
been dubbed in a recent news article as the "epicentre of two
significant public health epidemics - methamphetamine abuse and
increasing HIV incidence."

4. (U) As the Mayor continued to detail the sponsorship, operation,
and contest-like nature of the Cape Town Carnival, most people
returned to the food, drinks and to talking amongst themselves. As
with most events, the topic of the discussion changed quickly to
politics. The Consul General continued to receive congratulatory
remarks for the successful, incident-free, U.S. Presidential
election. That comment was followed by the equally familiar, "what
does this mean for (South) Africa" question.

5. (U) Many, if not all, of the 210 City Councilors were present
along side the diplomatic corps members. The CG and the Consulate's
Management Officer used the occasion to engage several of the City
Council members. In a discussion with the Majority Whip (Democratic
Alliance) and the Councilor in charge of Safety and Security (United
Democratic Front), the question of the success of a coalition
government was raised. Both Councilors agreed that Cape Town has
been successful governing from a coalition base. They both felt
this model could be applied to the South African national
government. Asked if the same approach would be used with the new
ANC break-away party (COPE), both gleefully said it would probably
not happen in the 2009 election. However, they still insisted that
the Western Cape example could be the standard for the rest of the

6. (U) Comment. Cape Town seems poised to lead the nation's efforts
for a successful FIFA World Cup in 2010. The Mayor is courting even
more visitors to Cape Town during or shortly before the World Cup
event, that some believe will see at least 3 million additional
people inundating South Africa. The gutsy move will highlight
regional talent, use many of the rooms that are being developed for
the FIFA mega event, and create more jobs. Cape Town and the
Western Cape Province also seem poised to lead the way to a more
QWestern Cape Province also seem poised to lead the way to a more
participatory democracy in South Africa. End comment.

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