By Duncan Mackay

South_Africa_flagMay 26 - South Africa will not launch a bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics after the Government decided that it was not the right time, it has been announced today.

South Africa's Cabinet said it had considered a request by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) to bid for 2020, but "has decided that it is better for the country to consolidate the gains of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for now".

Sam Ramsamy, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), had told insidethegames earlier this week that they would not bid unless they have the full support of President Jacob Zuma and the rest of South Africa's Government.

Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth were all interested in bidding.

But it is understood that the Government were worried about the estimated $50 million (£31 million) it would cost just to bid.

"It is better to consolidate the gains of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for now and rather focus the country's attention on the delivery of basic services to all South Africans," said Government spokesman Jimmy Manyi following the Cabinet meeting.

"I think the cost of the bid would have been about $50 million and you know how many RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) houses we could build with that."

The Sascoc claimed that they respected the Government's decision.

"We at Sascoc have always said that government backing was absolutely crucial," said Gideon Sam, the Sascoc President, in a statement. 

"We could only move forward on this bid if the Government had a big appetite for the bid.

"So life will go on at Olympic House.

"If the call is for bigger priorities such as better service delivery and the likes then we must support them.

"We are comfortable with their decision,

The decision leaves the way open for Casablanca in Morocco to launch a bid to become the first African city to host the Games.

The IOC officially launched the bid process on Monday (May 22) with Rome the only confirmed city so far.

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