2008-11-30: The inaugural Wesbank Street Race in Soweto
Speaker's notes for Clr Rehana Moosajee, member of the Johannesburg mayoral committee for transport at the inaugural Wesbank Street Race in Soweto
MMC for Community Development: Cllr Nandi Mayathula-Khoza
Members of the Mayoral Committee
City Manager: Mr Mavela Dlamini
Wesbank CEO: Brian Riley
Wesbank General Manager Marketing: George Nyabadza,
Managers and Officials of Council
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Johannesburg is definitely a city where history is being made on a daily basis. It is a city of innovation, of new ideas, of entrepreneurs and of people willing to take calculated risks on novel concepts.
It is a world class, African city, with a growing reputation as a destination for trade, investment and tourism. Earlier this month MasterCard International named Johannesburg as the best centre for business on the continent of Africa. Only yesterday it was announced that we have won the Vuna Award for the best managed metropolitan government in Gauteng for the second year in a row.
Johannesburg is also a city with a proven track record of hosting world class sporting events: the All Africa Games, Cricket World Cup, Rugby World Cup, and, soon, the jewel in the global sporting crown: the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
Today we bring together all these elements that make Johannesburg such a unique city: competence, skills, a proven track record, risk and innovation - as we launch an entirely new concept in motor-sport, namely, the Street Race.
For the first time ever, the streets of Soweto township, will be transformed into a competitive motor-racing track bringing the roars of muscle cars right into the heart of this historic and iconic part of Johannesburg.
I want to thank and congratulate Motorsport South Africa and the sponsors, WesBank, for their imagination and foresight to devise this unique race and to give the Soweto residents a taste of big-time motor racing. I am convinced that you will not be disappointed by the interest shown by the people of Soweto and by the excitement and enthusiasm generated by your presence here today.
It should be noted that today's event is only an appetizer: a preview of what we can expect when the main event is rolled out on Sunday 19 July next year. On that day, a number of streets in Soweto will be closed off and turned into a real race track.
This initiative by WesBank and Motorsport South Africa is the start of an exciting relationship between the Soweto community and the motor spor industry. I am pleased to say that the City of Johannesburg, together with the sponsors, the organisers and the Retail Motor Industry, are in talks to look at a possibility of establishing a motor sport skills academy in Soweto.
The academy will provide an opportunity for school leavers with the talent and a keen interest in motor sport to receive the necessary training, technical skills and support for a future career in motor sport.
Who knows, a future Formula 1 World Champion, the next Lewis Hamilton, may be standing here among us. If you put your mind to it and add hard work - you can achieve your dream.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me remind you that motor racing and driving cars at great speed should be done only by professionals with the necessary training and experience. The rest of us should abide by the speed limits and obey the rules of the road when we take to the streets of our city.
I want to make a special appeal to you to make the coming weeks a safe and secure festive season where road accidents are kept to a minimum and deaths and injuries eliminated. Be aware of the fact that the JMPD will be out in force over the festive period and that we will not hesitate to take strong action against drunk drivers, speedsters and those who disregard the basic rules of the road.
However, today, we can sit back and enjoy seeing the professional drivers in action. I trust that the WesBank Street Race will become a firm fixture on the annual motor sport calendar and once again reaffirm Johannesburg's reputation as a world class, African City.
I thank you.