Jacob Zuma, the President of South Africa's governing political party, the African National Congress (ANC), met FIFA President Joseph Blatter at the Home of FIFA today. Mr Zuma, staying in Zurich for professional reasons, took the opportunity to pay a courtesy visit to world football's governing body.
The talks between Mr Blatter and Mr Zuma were held in a frank and cordial atmosphere. They centred on the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and the ongoing preparations for FIFA's flagship competition.
Congratulating Jacob Zuma first on his election to the ANC presidency in December 2007, Mr Blatter stated: "Today I am very happy to welcome ANC President Zuma to the home of world football. I was also pleased to hear from him that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is fully supported by all political and governmental authorities and indeed the entire population of South Africa."
Jacob Zuma echoed these sentiments and assured FIFA of his personal as well as the ANC's and the government's entire commitment to staging a successful FIFA World Cup™: "I had a very warm welcome today. Adding to what President Mbeki and the government have said, I am happy to give you the assurance of our full support for the FIFA World Cup with continuity ensured in all key areas."
Posing with the FIFA President behind the FIFA World Cup Trophy, Mr Zuma smiled when he stated that touching the coveted trophy "certainly is a good omen".
FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke emphasised that South Africa was on track with its preparations: "We are very pleased with the progress of the work and can see that the South African Local Organising Committee and all stakeholders are putting in the permanent effort needed."
Other topics touched upon were the successful staging of the preliminary draw in November 2007 in Durban, which is part of the KwaZulu Natal region from where Jacob Zuma hails, and also the current political situation in South Africa. Mr Zuma reiterated the earlier statements he had made at a public appearance in Switzerland, pointing out that the South African government and state utility Eskom were working hand in hand to solve the problems and confirmed that "the 2010 FIFA World Cup will not be affected".