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Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 10:24 GMT
'No doubts' over World Cup in SA
Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu with world cup
South Africa is gearing up to host the World Cup
South African President Thabo Mbeki has said he has "no doubts" that the country will host a successful football World Cup in 2010.

Some had suggested that the recent wave of devastating power cuts would affect the tournament - the first time it is to be held in Africa.

He apologised for the power "emergency" and said it would be resolved shortly.

Analysts say Mr Mbeki has cut an increasingly lonely figure since losing the ANC presidency to rival Jacob Zuma.

Deep rifts remain to be healed inside the ruling party following December's power struggle, which resulted in Mr Zuma and his allies taking most of the top jobs, BBC southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles says.

'Best ever'

Mr Mbeki was speaking in his annual state of the nation address, which our correspondent says was eagerly anticipated.

South African President Thabo Mbeki (16 December)
I am aware of the fact that many in our society are troubled by a deep sense of unease about where our country will be tomorrow
President Thabo Mbeki
"I have absolutely no doubt that we will honour our undertaking to Fifa and the world community of soccer players and lovers to create all the necessary conditions for the holding of the best ever Fifa Soccer World Cup tournament," he said.

He apologised for the scale of the problems caused by the power cuts and said they would be resolved "in a relatively short period".

"It is... necessary to take this opportunity to convey to the country the apologies of both the government and [state power utility] Eskom for the national emergency."

Mr Mbeki has faced calls from business leaders to act over the black-outs, which at one stage stopped production at some of the country's biggest gold and platinum mines.

He has overseen steady economic growth but critics say the benefits have not reached most people.

"I am aware of the fact that many in our society are troubled by a deep sense of unease about where our country will be tomorrow," he said.

Opposition Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said President Mbeki had not managed to calm the nerves of the South African nation.

The man who succeeded Nelson Mandela as president of South Africa is to step down next year after a decade in office.

After becoming ANC leader, Mr Zuma is favourite to become South Africa's next president in 2009, unless he is found guilty in his corruption trial which is due to begin in August.



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Thabo Mbeki delivering his state of the nation address



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