Sport and Recreation: Deputy Minister's Budget Speech


27 May 2008



27 MAY 2008

Madam Speaker
Honourable Members

As South Africans, we face many and varied challenges, collectively. One such a challenge is to transform South Africa into a country that belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity. In fact, it remains our fundamental mandate. To succeed in this, we must use all tools at our disposal, including and more particularly sport and recreation, to transform and develop all parts of our country and people, in line with our Constitution.

The future of our sport has to be built on the foundations of the dreams we seek to achieve.  It is about moulding a future for sport and our sportspeople based on amongst others;

Worldwide respect – respect which we have to earn;
Building our nation and reinforcing social cohesion bearing in mind that
we cannot celebrate social cohesion only when we win world cups. Social cohesion must be part of our everyday sporting activities and lifestyles;
Access to sport and recreation for all our people to achieve their potential;
Highly skilled, qualified coaches who are regarded as professionals and indispensable to the development of athletes throughout the sports spectrum supported by scientific, medical and technological expertise;
Physical educators and recreation specialists joining hands with sport leaders to ensure a seamless development system for our athletes; and
Ethical conduct built on our national values of respect for others, tolerance of diversity, equity and generosity throughout sport and recreation;

In line with the need for a sports plan, we also have a need for a facilities plan.  We have said on numerous occasions that we need facilities in the right places to be able to transform our sport.  This remains true today. It is unfortunate that undertakings made in this House that the funding for sport and recreation facilities would be ring-fenced have not materialised.  This has led to facilities being provided in areas that are comparatively rich in facilities.  It is laughable that MIG funding is used to upgrade Orlando Stadium when our rural citizens are crying out for basic, I repeat, basic multi-purpose facilities. I draw the House’s attention to the fact that, during the 4-year period starting 2001/2002, when SRSA received funds for the Building for Sport and Recreation Programme, we built 363 basic sport and recreation facilities where they were most needed.  As part of the MIG funding since 2004 to date, only 45 facilities have been built. To address this, a Cabinet Memo, to have the BSRP restored to us, will shortly be discussed within the Government clusters.

We have also applied significant energy to sport in our schools following the signing of the Framework on Collaboration in March 2005. 

We cannot deny that the implementation of the Framework has had teething problems. Despite this, it is critical that our nursery of future sports – and other – talent is supported in every way possible.  We have worked hard on addressing some of the challenges. There is more to be done in this regard, but I am confident that we will be able to meet those challenges.  It is sad that a decision to withdraw from NACOC was made, without consulting the Executive Authority. The Minister correctly directed that we revive our representation at NACOC and to this end; we thank our colleagues in Education for their support.  Physical Education still remains a challenge to us all. Although some time has been allowed for it, our dream is for physical education to become a stand-alone subject in all our schools.

Research in the UK since 2002 shows that “Specialist Sports Schools” and schools with physical education and a sport focus have shown improved academic results and reported reductions in truancy – this is why we are so committed to ensure that physical education and sport become stand alone!

There is no question that physical education is the competence of our sister department.  However, as SRSA we can and will assist. To this end, we have already committed that all teaching materials we have on our books for physical education must be made available to the Department of Education.  It is important that, in bringing physical education back into the curriculum, we ensure a quality experience for our children.  We need to ensure that our educators are able to help children develop their motor learning skills and their basic fitness because a good foundation technique is critical to the child’s future development.  Once the learner is identified as having talent, through collaboration with our national federations, we need to place them with provincial academies and develop that talent.  This must be done in close cooperation with the Department of Education, the national federations and our tertiary institutions, which hold the expert knowledge of sports science and medicine.

In the spirit of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, we launched the South African Schools Soccer World Cup together with the Department of Education in partnership with the SABC and the FIFA 2010 World Cup Organising Committee.
This tournament for U14 and U18 boys and girls will hopefully mobilize our communities from now until the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This project will be linked with other 2010 legacy projects such as the Supersport 1 million-ball project for schools, which, in addition to
the training of volunteers, will contribute to a lasting legacy.

We are clear:  educators must run sport in schools.  We will continue to encourage the national federations to take responsibility for sport in schools with the committees of educators who bring so much experience and energy to our federations.  We need a seamless process to ensure that our children and youth get the full benefit of sport for competition and recreation, without having to understand who controls what aspect of the sport.

The Minister and I have both been fortunate to identify talent on our forays into our rural areas. Talent, which has not come to the notice of the Federations.  We are therefore pushing our Department hard to establish a SRSA club to take such athletes into the system to be developed.

We will then hand them over to the Federations who are important partners to the process. Our aim is to ensure that we leave no stone unturned in our continuing search for success.

On the issue of the national academy, we have agreed that the best way forward is for us to use the expertise available and de-centralise the services provided to our elite and sub-elite athletes to where they live and train.  To sustain this, we have brought on stream all our tertiary institutions with the 19 identified priority sports. 

We are delighted that the appeal by Oscar Pistorius against his ban from participating in IAAF events and therefore the Olympic Games was successful, but we are distressed that the scientific research supporting the appeal was done via institutions in the United States.  It is an indictment that our own research institutions were not the first to put up their hands and offer assistance in this specialised area. This was a wake up call for us.

We need to find the support systems with the private sector, the Departments of Education and Science and Technology, to do cutting edge research in a proactive and not reactive way.  This is a critical area we need to address. We should also apply the research done to develop our sporting potential. Sadly, this has not happened yet!

Mentioning Oscar brings me to address our hopes for our Olympic and Paralympic athletes as they begin their final preparations for the Beijing Games.  There is no doubt that our teams will carry our flag high but there is also no doubt that our hosts will be difficult to beat on their home ground.  We hope that the Chinese nation will be kind to us during the 10-year celebrations of diplomatic relations between our two countries and allow us to reach the medal podium in most of our events – that would certainly promote good diplomatic relations!  Natalie du Toit continues to inspire our nation and I extend my heartfelt congratulations, to her on attaining her dream.  She has worked hard to achieve her goal and she is a great role model for our youth – and perhaps some of us who are not so youthful any more!

We have other international commitments this year with the Commonwealth Youth Games and the Zone VI U20 Youth Games which we are hosting in Tlokwe from 7 to 17 October 2008.  I take this opportunity to ask you to pencil these dates into your diaries so that we can project a South African show of force both on and off the field.  These Games in 7 sports, athletics (including track events for the visually impaired), swimming, basketball, boxing, soccer, netball, and tennis, are of a developmental nature and will attract the best U20 athletes in our country to compete against our friends from SADC.  We will welcome 10 nations to South Africa bringing almost 1 600 athletes together for 10 days of top class competition, cultural exchange and social cohesion, thus contributing to NEPAD in a very real way.  We hope that these Games will add to other efforts to establish friendships across the borders and help fight xenophobia in our country and elsewhere on the continent. 

I would like to thank our colleagues from the Ministry of Defence for their assistance in accommodating the teams at their installation in Tlokwe, the Tlokwe Municipality, the North West Province and Noth West University for their support in this endeavour – it is a wonderful example of one of our up and coming towns enjoying the benefits of sports tourism.  Tlokwe, with support from the National Lottery, must benefit from the legacy of these Games through infrastructure upgrading, new equipment, new skills, national pride as well as inward investment with local businesses benefiting from increased opportunities.  When we talk about a legacy for 2010, people will appreciate that legacy is not just about mega sports events but also about regional and local events.

Over the past decade, UN agencies, international sport federations, international non-governmental organizations and grassroots organizations have been using sport as a tool for development and peace.

These efforts led the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace to conclude in 2003 that, in addition to sport’s inherent benefits, well-designed sport-based initiatives can be powerful, practical, and cost-effective tools to achieve development and peace objectives.

Thus, it is not just the “glamorous” things that we are targeting but also the necessities.  Our department has started work in earnest to identify ways to promote sport for peace and sport for development at home and in our neighbouring countries.  For too long, we have watched from the safety of South Africa the ravages of war and civil strife as sportspeople. It is time that we contribute to the rehabilitation of societies through sport and recreation. The time has come that we share what we know to be the benefits of sport in creating social cohesion, addressing social exclusion, anti-social behaviour and healthy lifestyles.  The focus should not remain only with sports development but using sport to develop the person and the nation. 

Two weeks ago, I was privileged to receive 672 soccer balls from the Japanese ambassador. I promised that the majority will be delivered for use in our identified poverty nodes.  This is an example of sport for peace at home and as Madiba said before he became President:  “ … where there is true peace, everyone is a winner … ”. This needs to be our guiding principle.

If we are to ensure we are a nation of winners, it is important for us to return to our roots. I have addressed the issue of sport in our schools.  However, we also need to thank our colleagues in the provinces for working to embed our mass participation programmes in our everyday lives.

 As the number of people participating in sport and recreation increases, we need to ensure that we do not lose sight of a quality experience for all participants. We need to implement different measures of success – not just how many people attended a community festival but how many come back and how their health has improved. 

I am reminded about the “Go Go Girls” in Limpopo, some of whom have been able to put aside their walking sticks and put their blood pressure pills back in the cupboard.  This is one part of the reason for us putting significant funding and human resources into our mass participation programme.  We, together with the national federations and the provinces, are striving to increase the number of wards in which we work from 36 hubs or wards in 2004 to 451 this year.  We will, as a result, increase the number of people involved.

Following a study done last year on the impact of our mass participation programme, it was found that 53% participants reported a decrease in “soft fabric crimes” and an increase in pro-social behaviour. 

In instances where community facilities are used, there is a growing sense of community ownership and a consequential decrease in vandalism of such facilities.  In some areas like Worcester, Frances Baard and Vryburg, the South African Police Services reported a decrease in gang violence and up to 15% drop in crime among the youth.

To further this positive development, we have developed partnerships with international organisations like the Burundian Cultural Association and the Maurice Freeman Recreation Centre. The aim is to organize the “Come and Play Games” in December for children under 15 years of age.  The event is envisaged to be part of the annual holiday programme with the aim to expose our children to cultural diversity and promote the environment of “ubuntu” in our society.
Development through education and training is critical not only to contribute to JIPSA, but also to provide opportunities for people. We have already made strides in this regard with basic coaching qualifications recognised by SAQA and implemented by training educators in soccer, netball, volleyball, athletics, cricket and rugby.  Going forward, we plan to develop a training course in good governance.
The qualification for volunteer services will be registered in time for training volunteers later this year in support of the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

Qualifications in technical officiating, coaching and administration will all be registered this year, thus providing a sound platform for upgrading skills in the sport sector.

I would like to pay tribute to my Minister who has guided me when I was a whip and he chief whip and who now continues to guide me in the complex and challenging world of sport and recreation.  His depth of knowledge continues to amaze me together with his work rate.  Minister Stofile has taken on the role of representing our continent on the Board of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

 This year he has also guided our colleagues in SADC through being the chairperson of the Zone VI of the Supreme Council of Sport in Africa.  Mfundisi – I greatly appreciate your wise counsel.

Madam Speaker, I have outlined some of our successes and our challenges to take sport and recreation to the next level.  It has not been an easy exercise with the restructuring of sport on all levels but it has been an exciting challenge.  It is an ongoing challenge, which, with the guidance of Minister Stofile, I relish and look forward to meeting with the support of the department and our clients.

In closing, I would like to remind us about the real public success last year. That was undoubtedly regaining the William Webb Ellis Trophy!  I hope sincerely that our Olympians and Paralympians will emulate their successes of 2004 and add to our national trophy cabinet with medals beside the Webb Ellis Trophy.  I enjoin those who are going out to represent our nation to do so with pride, dignity and in the spirit of Ubuntu.  In doing so, I urge our federations and sporting heroes not to let the opportunity slip through our fingers yet again to instil in our national psyche the ongoing contribution we must make to social cohesion.

Remember what a Greek philosopher in 400BC said:  “I would prefer even to fail with honour than to win by cheating”.  Having said that, winning is always good as we live out our motto of “Striving to create an active and winning nation".

I thank you.


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