The following is an extract from a speech made by City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, at an event today to honour 60 Olympians and Paralympians.
What an amazing occasion this is today.
I am so grateful for this opportunity for us to come together and celebrate the success of our own residents.
I want to thank each and every athlete, coach, and members of the various supporting teams present here today.
Thank you for inspiring us.
Thank you for you for letting us celebrate your success with you.
Thank you for bringing us together.Sport has once more shown us that we are able to rise above our differences when we focus on that which brings us together.
This is important because we all have a role to play in building an inclusive city.
We all have the opportunity to experience this moment which helps us create a shared heritage.
I also want to thank the athletes for the example which they have set for all the young people in our city.
You have proved that when our dreams are met with hard work, success will follow.
When we reopened the Green Point Athletics Track last year, we wanted it to enable our children to feel as if their dreams are within reach.
I said that the scale and quality of this stadium will mean that school children will be able to perform on the same track as Olympic athletes.
I also said that the young girls and boys who are dreaming of becoming the next global athletics icons now have the opportunity to make that dream a reality.
I hope that they see all our athletes present here today as a reminder that it is indeed possible.
I want to give all the Paralympians a special mention today as well.
You have taught us a very important lesson about not just overcoming life’s obstacles, but excelling despite those obstacles.
Thank you for showing us the power of sheer determination and a can-do attitude.
Another special mention goes out to our World Champion, Wayde Van Niekerk.
Through striving to be your best, you have become the best, and given us all a heightened sense of pride.
The values you espouse – those of humility, love and respect for your family – as well as using the opportunities you have been granted, sets the most amazing example to our sons and daughters.
In a time when the youth are facing incredible challenges, you gave us the gift of hope.
If everyone in our city is encouraged to be the best that they can be and they take up opportunities, our great city will truly be made even greater.
And so we feel that it would be a fitting tribute to rename the Green Point Athletics Track the Wayde van Niekerk Athletics Track.
In terms of due process, we have received the required proposal from Premier Helen Zille.
Next, a public participation process will follow, which will most likely take place from mid-November.
I would like to encourage everyone to participate in this process so that everyone’s voices can be heard.
Advertisements with all the details will be placed in local community papers.
Thereafter the Naming Committee, which is a multi-party committee, will discuss the results and make a recommendation to me, based on the outcome of the public participation process.
I will then make a recommendation to full council where all councillors will be given the opportunity to vote.
If the majority of councillors are in agreement, they will vote to pass the renaming.
Therefore by February, this could very well be the Wayde van Niekerk Athletics Track.
My hope is that when young and old drive past, attend events, or even participate on the track, they will be able to look at this stadium and be reminded of Wayde’s success.
May this track then stand as a monument of all that is indeed achievable.
I thank you all for coming out today so that we can celebrate together once more.