Minister of Sport and Recreation Budget speech & responses by DA and IFP
06 May 2016
Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile Mbalula, gave his Budget Vote speech on the 6 May 2016
Theme: Consolidating the base: advancing sport development and transformation!
- Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation in South Africa, Mr. Gert Oosthuizen
- The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation, Ms Beauty Dlulane
- The MECs for Sport and Recreation from various provinces
- Honourable Members
- The Director-General of Sport and Recreation in South Africa, Mr Alec Moemi
- President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), Mr. Gideon Sam and SASCOC Board Members
- Distinguished guests
- Ladies and Gentlemen
This occasion serves as a constant reminder of our historic mission and pledge to the people of South Africa never to dishonour cause of freedom. This morning we are taking liberty and advantage of the 20th anniversary since the momentous adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa as we present to this august house the Budget Statement for the 2016/17 financial year, Vote Number 40.
We reached this junction enthused by the clarion call of our Government to together join hands as we move South Africa forward. We are ever-advancing in our collective efforts to implement the National Development Plan Vision 2030. We are unremitting in the ossification of key priority areas laid bare in our Medium-Term Strategic Framework over the 2014 to 2019 period.
We are firm in our resolve of leveraging sport as a catalyst to execute on the Nine-Point Plan critical to growing and transforming the economy, creating jobs and attracting investment, outlined by the President during the State of the Nation Address. We will on this platform elaborate on our initiatives and cross-cutting programmes geared towards accelerating implementation of Government programmes of action. This is not athletic verbosity but real action.
Honourable Members join me in welcoming and congratulating the MECs for Sport and Recreation and Arts and Culture from the Free State, Gauteng and North West Provinces. The MECs have already hit the road running and have been an integral part of our MINMECs and roll-out plans in the provinces.
Sports delivery landscape
Honourable members we are delivering sport under conditions not chosen by ourselves. Our sport delivery system is impacted by budget constraints and the absence of adequate equitable share to implement the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) as adopted by the sports movement and approved by the Cabinet.
Our Department is indefatigably soldiering on by designing innovative mechanisms and conceptualising funding models to ensure that the strategic goals of optimising citizens’ access to sport and recreation; transformation of the sector; and supporting athletes to achieve international success are not compromised. Key to these implementation mechanisms are partnerships with provincial and local spheres of government and other national government departments, particularly the signatories to Outcome 14 Delivery Agreement. Sport is a site for intense struggles.
The total budget allocation for the national Department of Sport and Recreation in South Africa for the 2016/2017 financial year stands at One Billion and Twenty Eight Million having gone up only by R48, 1m from the previous year’s allocation of R979.4 million.
We are proud to inform you that the Boxing is Back Project was rolled out in 7 of our 9 Provinces. As indicated last year that I will resuscitate boxing from the doll-drums and return it to its former glory. I return to this house to announce that I have accomplished that mission. Boxing has returned live on Television. The Giant has been awakened. Siyaqhuba!
Boxing blackout on television is a thing of the past. To date Boxing enjoys the highest women viewership than any other sporting code. Since the first broadcast in June to date, the programme has been viewed by over 1,3 million households. Some of the key successes include the opportunity for revenue generation for Boxing South Africa, and opportunities for upcoming promoters, boxers and dedicated slots for women boxers. In order for boxing to maintain the momentum gained last year, I have allocated an additional R11 million to Boxing South Africa (BSA) budgeted for 2016/17 financial year.
Building on the inaugural Recognition of Women in Sport Programme hosted during government’s Women’s month programme in 2014 to honour the role of women in sport, we hosted a similar event in August 2015. In keeping with Government’s 2015 theme “Women United in moving South Africa Forward”, the overarching objective of this prestigious programme is to encourage women participation and to highlight and celebrate the role which women play across the entire value chain of sport.
Our intention is to place women in sport on the same pedestal as women in other sectors and strata of society as the entire nation celebrate their achievements during the month of August. The 2015 awards ceremony recognised and celebrated women’s excellence in sport, as well as their achievement and their contribution to nation building and social cohesion. The Minister’s Awards went to Zanele Situ, Faith Sibeko, Zola (Budd) Pieterse, Hestrie (Cloete) Els, and Geraldine Pillay.
In pursuit of excellence and quality
The time has come to pull all stops and ensure that our sporting codes live up to our mantle of a winning nation. Among many achievements that we are proud of, as a country, we celebrated the success of Team South Africa that participated on the continent in 2015 in the 11th African Games in Brazzaville. Team SA finished in 3rd place with 122 medals, after Egypt with 217 medals and Nigeria with 144 medals.
As we strive for access and demographic representation we are equally unflinching in our drive for excellence and quality in all dimensions of our transformation agenda. Those who seek to dichotomise high standards and access are hypocrites who want to maintain their privileged status quo. They must come out of the apartheid and capitalist enclave and smell the coffee.
South Africa is changing for better! Walala wasala. There is neither contradiction nor Chinese wall between access or quality of opportunity and excellence. Instead the two are mutually re-enforcing each other and dialectically interconnected.
The achievement of two consecutive two clean audit reports by the Department Sport and Recreation is testimony to this progressive thinking and never-die-attitude to debunk the stereotyping of African Governments. This is quality of opportunity, excellence epitomised. Asante Sana!
Keep up the good work Department of Sport and Recreation. Lets us continue making meaningful changes in the lives of our people beyond counting cents and rands.
Government support to the sport sector
It is our mission to safeguard sport as it is equally our preoccupation to place the interests of athletes at the centre of our development and excellence programmes. To this end we continue funding the qualifying National Federations according to the Recognised Sport Bodies Grant Framework. Funding is provided across two tiers: guaranteed funding, fundamentally for administration, and conditional funding, which constitutes the bulk of the funding that addresses governance, transformation, and performance. We have allocated an amount of R113.3 million for transfers to National Federations in this financial year.
We are putting our money where our mouth is! The total allocation for athletes support programme and the promotion of elite athletes is R91, 1 million, having gone up by R15, 1 million from the previous year’s allocation of R76 million.
Inspite of budget cuts we are allocating a total of R137, 6 million, having gone down by R10, 9 million from the previous year’s allocation of R148, 5 million. This allocation is earmarked for the development of an integrated support system to enhance the delivery of sport.
In keeping with our commitment to support the sector, enhancing provisioning of strategic leadership, management and support services, we are making an allocation of R134, 9 million, having gone up by R15 million from the previous year’s allocation of R119, 9 million. This will see the heightened political work and support being provided to National Federations and the Sport Sector as a whole by the Ministry and senior leadership of the Department.
We will to provide support to 40 athletes to enable them break the barrier to access the SASCOC’s High Performance Programme, aptly entitled Operation Excellence (OPEX for short). SASCOC will prepare Team South Africa in collaboration with our National Federations to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games beginning in August. In this regard SASCOC will receive its allocation of R8 million, as well as an additional allocation for advanced preparations for targeted athletes who have good medal potential in Brazil based on the assessments of the training and preparatory needs over and above the support provided through the various sporting federations for final preparations.
As Government, we are doing everything in our power to ensure that our athletes fly the South African flag high and collect medals that will put smiles on the faces of this sport–loving nation. In this regard, we have set a target of 8 medals for SASCOC in the 2016 edition of the Olympic Games, up from the medal tally achieved in London.
I am delighted to announce Hockey as the National Federation of the Year in 2016. As result of the Federation’s new status, Hockey will receive a substantial additional allocation of R10 million as well as further support to assist it improve and professionalize its operations. A New Hockey Premier League will be launched as a result of this work, consistent with our commitment to professionalise sport in our country beyond only the major codes.
This record of sport delivery is unprecedented. It is contrary to the propaganda of detractors who project us as a stick wielding government, hell-bent on punishing the federations without any incentives. Nothing can be farther from the truth.
Facilities and grassroot sport development
Honourable Members during our Budget Vote Debate in the preceding year we signalled our intention to undertake broader Sport Facilities Audit Project. I am proud to announce that we have completed the first phase of the Facilities Count. This count provides us with a baseline of facilities’ information that enables us in decision-making regarding facilities provision.
The project will be expanded in 2016/17 to ensure that more detailed information about the facilities is sourced. The Sport Facilities Audit project is aimed at assisting government to provide sport facilities where they are needed the most. The Sport Infrastructure Support programme has a budget allocation of R16.3 million in 2016/17. Therefore, for the first time, the total allocation for Programme 5 stands at R16, 3 million.
I am overjoyed to announce that after a long protracted struggle, we succeeded in convincing both the National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance to allocate and set aside an amount of three hundred million rands from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) funds, outside of the formula, in the 2016/17 financial year for refurbishment and building of facilities. This will be a pilot project will demonstrate to the National treasury that pulling together of resources was the best methodology to address the following:
1. Facilities backlogs,
2. Ensure benefits derived from economies of scale,
3. Resolve imbalances posed by the equitable share formula,
4. Ensure compliance with the national Norms and Standards as set out in the National Facilities Plan, and
5. Lastly resolve the maintenance curse facing smaller municipalities.
The implementation of this pilot project is already underway with our Department working in collaboration with the National Treasury, the Department of Cooperative Governance, provincial governments and the relevant local authorities. The roll-out of facilities and refurbishment work apart from contributing to increased access and active lifestyles, have a positive impact on employment at a local spheres of government and communities. Chairperson Siyasebenza asidlali!
National School Sport Programme
40% of our Conditional Grant is allocated to the National School Sport Programme as a demonstration of our seriousness to bolster the National School Sport Programme because it is the bedrock of sport development trajectory. This programme will can only succeed with close cooperation between provincial and national governments.
School sport remains a core deliverable for SRSA in 2016/17. The Department remains committed to maximizing access to sport, recreation and physical activity in every school in South Africa. We are looking at immediate interventions to ensure functionality of the programme in all schools. This programme will remain the flagship programme in the Department with the focus being devoted to the school leagues which will culminate in the National School Sport Championships.
As of the beginning of 2016, we now have three championship seasons, namely Autumn, Winter, and Summer. The autumn season has seen the hosting of Athletics for primary and for secondary schools in March this year. Support is provided to Sports Coaches Outreach (SCORE) to sustain coaching programmes for the sport and recreation sector, and during 2016/17 resources will be provided to train 5 000 thousand coaches. This will boost the capacity of the sector to deliver quality programmes, especially needed to strengthen school sport.
Sport transformation and development
Chairperson, since I made the announcement of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on the Transformation in Sport in South Africa and the announcement of the Transformation Barometer on the 25 April 2016, I have been denigrated, insulted and called with the K word by some white supremist. Without wasting yours and my valuable time, I am eagerly awaiting the Human Rights Commission ruling on this nauseating and blatant racism.
For us there is no turning back on transformation and I am forging ahead with the penalties imposed on athletics, cricket netball and rugby netball based on their failure to meet their own set targets.
I have signed a Memoranda of Agreement with each of the aforementioned federations and I expect them to act on their commitments. I will be signing memoranda of agreements with the 14 federations that were part of the 2015/2016 transformation audit report. I also expect them to set their own targets against which we will measure their performance on an annual basis. In sport today you must either shape up or shape out.
I welcome SASCOC’s intended intervention to assist the various codes to meet their transformation targets. Much as we accept and welcome the strides made within the sports movement towards unity and democratization, we stand here to reject and rise in protest against the existing dual sports system. One characterized by a handful of sporting codes that play and thrive in the first economy, on the one hand, and another of sporting codes perpetually playing in the second economy and struggling to break the apartheid iron grip. This is the historical injustice we must fight tooth and nail and destroy brick by brick as we lay the ghost of Verwoerd to rest.
Chairperson, transformation is a non-negotiable! As we emerge from the celebrations of freedom month, we must acknowledge that our journey to freedom in South Africa has seen us navigating countless contours and climbing many mountains.
There are still many rivers to cross and numerous mountains to climb in our task to address the historical imbalances and levelling the playing field. As I have indicated that we ourselves are seized with the implementation of the EPG Report on grassroots development, challenges within our school sport and club delivery system. We have mobilized the whole government machinery to work in unison so that we deliver on our part. That is the integral thread that runs through my speech this morning.
Towards an active nation and grass roots sport development
R648, 7 million of this budget has been allocated towards the provision of mass participation opportunities and recreation under the banner of our ACTIVE NATION programme. In practical terms, this means that 66% of our entire budget is channelled towards our development. This prioritization is not by coincidence or some miracle of nature. It is a deliberate and principled stance informed by our commitment that it is only through optimal investment towards development that we will truly achieve transformation in sport.
Honourable members, Cabinet declared an annual National Recreation Day for the first Friday of October each year. The 2016 National Recreation Day campaign will be expanded to corporate South Africa; tertiary institutions and communities at large, in order for a broader scope of South African citizens to embrace and participate in physical activities for fun and leisure. Provincial Departments of Sport and Recreation across the nine provinces will also put together programmes and awareness campaigns targeting all stakeholders in the nine provinces. We will further build on the Annual Big Walk as we this year target to break the barrier of 30 000 participants across all the provincial capitals of our country.
The Golden Games will continue in October 2016, in partnership with the Department of Social Development, although against a revised implementation plan and delivery methodology to accommodate budget cuts.
Approximately 3 000 youth, representing diverse cultural groupings, attend the National Youth Camps each year and the profile of the National Youth Camp will be elevated with targeted marketing campaigns.
As part of women empowerment and creating hope for young women all over the country and our quest to expand on the basket of Recreation programmes we offer, we will facilitate an expedition to Mount Everest, where the intention is to have the first black South African woman to summit. The Department is also facilitating an expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro. In partnership with the Mountain Club of South Africa, we will seek to encourage black South Africans to take interest in the recreational activity of Mountain Climbing. In pursuit of this objective, we will launch the 9 Summits Challenge for university students to participate through their university based Hiking Clubs for a Prize. This will entail, students having to climb all the highest peaks in all of our nine provinces.
Universities that manage to get more black students to summit all the 9 peaks within a period of 12 months will be rewarded with a prize. As part of reintroducing excitement and encouraging participation in sport and recreation, and also provide local entrepreneurs opportunities that can boost local economies, the Department will introduce a programme aptly named the Sports Buzz in the 2016/17 financial year. The programme entails 12 retro fitted kombis that will have a presence in all provinces with the intention of promoting sport, active and healthy lifestyles.
This bus that will also be accompanied by a sport mascot, intended to be a powerful tool to distribute information and promote sport and recreation in communities and mobilize such communities to take part. The bus will also assist in reaching the disadvantaged areas and rural communities of our country and support their participation through the distribution of sport equipment.
Chairperson, three days ago, we launched our Rural Sport Development Programme in Umtata in the Eastern Cape. The Programme is an off-shoot of a collaborative effort between relevant national government departments; South African Local Government Association, National House of Traditional Leaders, the sport federations, Sport Academies, academic institutions in close proximity to the targeted areas, as well as corporate institutions.
We are building a solid pipeline by growing and nurturing athletes who demonstrate potential and talent in the deep rural areas. We are doing it for ourselves. Siyaqhuba.
The Scientific Support Programme expenditure focuses onsupport to athletes and coaches through a sport science programme in partnership with selected schools and high performance centres. Our Team is also responsible for managing the Ministerial Sport Bursary Scheme. In this financial year, the potential new recruits who were identified during the 2015 national school sport championships will be immediately placed onto the Ministerial Sports Bursary programme. This is to ensure that the recruits, who finally enter the programme, are those who have the necessary endurance and talent to see them through to the elite level of participation.
The potential recruits will undergo various tests at the National Training Centre (NTC) as a last phase of qualification for placement into the programme. The sub-programme, together with the relevant province and sports focus schools will work collaboratively to develop talented athletes, who are placed in the Sport Focus Schools. As part of our job creation programme, we will this year, launch the Sport Outreach Programme (for unemployed graduates who are qualified in Sports Science or Sports Management) to run sports programmes in schools, in addition to supporting community clubs. This programme is aligned to the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) (Social Sector) coordinated by the Department of Social Development.
Through this programme we will recruit unemployed graduates that are based in the rural communities of the Free State, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Northern Cape and the North West province. One hundred unemployed graduates will be recruited, trained and placed within selected districts during the first part of the 2016/17 financial year. At a national level SRSA will lobby to have the current EPWP initiatives of the provincial departments of sport and recreation more closely aligned to the objectives of the National Sport and Recreation Plan, as well as the National Development Plan.
Honourable Members I would like to thank the Deputy Minister of Sport Recreation Mr. Gert Oosthuizen for his support over the years. A word of profound appreciation goes the Director- General of Sport and Recreation, Mr. Alec Moemi and his Team for their sterling work and placing our Department in the frontline of service delivery.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Budget Debate On Vote 40: Sport And Recreation
Budget Vote Debate- Extended Public Committee National Assembly MR KP Sithole, MP
Transformation in sports has been an issue of on-going contention since our transition to democracy in 1994. Initially it was agreed that a quota system would be implemented which would assist in speeding up this process by providing previously disadvantaged black sportsmen and women with opportunities so as to bridge the divide created under apartheid.
Twenty years on and transformation is still lacking because it is not being addressed from the ground-up but rather from a top-down approach. All we are witnessing today is apartheid in reverse, when what we should be seeing is the implementation of platforms and infrastructure that promote, nurture and develop junior sports levels throughout the country. Sporting academies all over South Africa should be the norm and not the exception.
This will transform sport in South Africa. This will make sport truly representative. If we can identify and nurture sports talent from a young age, sports transformation will naturally occur. But this entails a commitment from the Department to ensure that sports facilities, equipment and coaches are available and accessible throughout the country and especially in our schools, in both rural and urban areas. Sports focus models must also receive greater capacitation
Honourable Chairperson, if the Department of Sports and Recreation and the Department of Basic Education fail to implement a sporting code in our schools, how do we expect to see any real transformation, especially in our rural areas.
Withdrawing funding from major sports bodies will not magically transform sports in South Africa Honourable Minister. It will only hurt sports! Your punitive measures are ill-advised and reminiscent of apartheid style thinking. The IFP urges that you seriously reconsider this position in the interests of South African sport.
South Africa is home to great sports talent. In Johannesburg there is a boxing club called Golden Gloves which has been in operation since 1977. This club has nurtured and developed world class black boxers, yet they cannot get Departmental assistance for equipment that they desperately require. I have written to the Minister in this regard last year already, and to date I have not even had the courtesy of a response. Do you intend to respond to me any time soon Honourable Minister?
Ngicela uNggonggoshe wezemidlalo nokuncebeleka ehle kuleli hhashi aligibele liphezulu kakhulu lizokuwisa. Ezemidlalo zidinga ungqongqoshe ongagqagqamuki kodwa olalelayo. Lelibhanoyi oligibele lizophahlaka ubadinge labantu obabukela phansi.
The Inkatha Freedom Party supports the budget vote debate.
I thank you.
The ANC has failed black athletes: Solomon Malatsi DA Shadow Minister of Sport and Recreation
I would like to dedicate this speech to Banyana Banyana, who qualified for their second successive Olympic Games.
To the national Women’s Sevens rugby team for winning their first tournament trophy in Hong Kong last month.
To the female national cricket team for clinching an historic first series win against West Indies.
And most importantly, to all the female athletes who continue to excel in their respective codes despite their lack of resources.
We draw inspiration from their victories in the midst of adversities to dismantle gender inequality in sports.
Honourable members, it is important that we create an enabling environment for female athletes to prosper in.
Because female athletes are under-represented in the leadership of sports federations. They are too under-resourced to compete fairly against counterparts from the rest of the world.
And they are underpaid for representing their national teams even when they keep achieving better results.
These challenges are real. Therefore, we should refrain from sugarcoating them. The reality is that the demographics of our sports teams – from the boardrooms to the playing fields – don’t reflect the diversity of talent that is available in our rainbow nation.
The board leaderships of sports federations – from SARU to Swimming SA – reflect 1960s rock ‘n roll boy bands.
Even in instances where they can appoint private individuals to their independent committees, they still sideline female professionals.
When we interrogated SARU about the fact that it has not one woman on its committee, their excuse was “asina mali.”
When we repeatedly advised SAFA to pump up the cheese for Banyana Banyana’s match fees, their excuse was “asina mali.”
When we demand answers from Swimming SA on their gender equality programme, their excuse is also “asina mali.”
It is a shame that two decades after Penny Heyns won two medals at the Atlanta Olympics, not a single female swimmer will represent our country at the Rio Olympic Games.
Honourable Members, if we are serious about achieving genuine transformation, we should be determined to attain gender equality in sports.
22 years after our first democratic elections, the ANC government has done little to redress the legacy of apartheid spatial planning with regards to the provision of sports facilities.
Instead, astro-turf football pitches are built at Nkandla where they are not used.
The DA, as part of its founding values, upholds and cherishes diversity. We want all sporting teams to reflect all the people who call South Africa home.
We want this to be done by the sustained and rapid development of sporting infrastructure, and grassroots development in those communities who still carry the burden of decades of underinvestment in sports facilities.
Because we know that if every child is given an equal opportunity to pursue the code they are talented in and given fair opportunities to compete and prove their excellence against their peers, every team would reflect our beautiful nation.
The Minister recently placed the blame for slow transformation on sport federations, banning them from bidding for major sporting events.
But the question that must be asked is what the ANC government has done to create opportunities for young black South Africans to play sport?
The answer is: very little.
According to the Department of Basic Education’s 2015 National Education Infrastructure Management System 9 966 public schools out of a total of just over 24 000 don’t have a single sports facility. To put this in perspective:
- Out of 1 762 public schools with sports facilities in Mpumalanga, only 1 has a rugby field, and only 14 have a swimming pool.
- Out of 1 227 public schools with sports facilities in the Free State, only 36 have a rugby field and only 17 have swimming pools.
To makes matters worse:
- 3 245 public schools in the Eastern Cape don’t have a single sporting facility.
- 3 207 public schools in Kwazulu-Natal don’t have a single sporting facility, and
- 1 230 public schools in Limpopo don’t have a single damn sporting facility!
So it is the ANC government that continues to deny millions of poor black youngsters the opportunity to play sports at school and in their communities.
It is ANC Premiers and Mayors who waste money allocated to build and maintain sports facilities by spending it on electioneering.
Honourable Members, talent identification in sports is the bedrock of a successful sports plan.
Dr Ross Tucker, a professor in exercise physiology, argues that “optimal talent identification is merely the first step in the process that sees talented athletes first being identified, then trained and managed until the highest levels of sporting performance are reached.”
It requires establishing a network of qualified sports scouts trained in modern technical developments in sports, sports medication, nutritional services and life skills for their metamorphosis from amateurs to professional athletes.
If this is done well, with the right support and political will across all spheres of government it can, and it will, produce hundreds of champions.
And for someone with future presidential ambitions like you, Minister, maybe, just maybe, this could kickstart your campaign.
Honourable members, we need a paradigm shift in sports leadership if we are to succeed.
We need a new generation of sports leaders and administrators, not blessers like the CEO of SASCOC who cruise in business class while athletes suffer.
We need a new generation of sports leaders who, unlike Danny Jordaan, won’t diminish their roles to mere “hobbies” when they ought to be accounting to the athletes they represent.
This is the same ghost president of SAFA who is bound to miss the third successive FIFA meeting since the US attorney general’s indictment was released.
We need a new generation of sports administrators who, unlike the CEO of SARU, will at all times exude exemplary ethical leadership.
We need a new generation of sports politicians who are obsessed with fighting for the rights of our athletes rather than advancing their insatiable thirst for milking freebies from sports federations.
As for the nice time-loving ANC members of the portfolio committee who have accepted the 10 day junket, all with business class flights, to Rio from SASCOC under the pretext of an oversight exercise, shame on you!
Know that you’ve taken away over R210 000 from SASCOC, that could have been used to support our elite athletes.
Nonetheless, we wish you a pleasant holiday in Rio.
You will need it after the thumping you will get at the polls on the 3rd of August.
In conclusion, I would like to wish all our athletes who have qualified for the Rio Olympics well for the Games.
We hope that they will make the country proud, and most importantly, enjoy the experience of competing on the most prestigious sports stage in the world.
Sports need Government support; not interference: Darren Bergman DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation
The DA wants all young South Africans, regardless of the circumstance of their birth, to be able to become a provincial or national sportsman. Many careers never made it, because of the terrible legacy of the past.
Our record and our written input on transformation will speak for itself. The DA are the most faithful supporters of transformation in sports. We share the vision of the father of our nation – Madiba – that sport has the ability to unite.
Our vision as the DA is to see that sports in our country become successful both locally and internationally, not because of Government interference but because of Government support.
When the transformation policy was brought to our committee, backed by the Minister, I warned that this was not a transformation policy but a plain lazy quota system.
During the last Super Rugby weekend, we saw our SA teams suffer unprecedented losses in the current competition. Could this have been attributed to our Minister’s press conference and twitter rants?
It wouldn’t be the first time players are verbally abused by the Minister. Players that stay and play in this country, regardless of their colour or gender, not being lured by the lucrative contracts offered overseas, are committed to playing and striving for the ultimate prize of playing for their country. Surely they deserve a level of respect too.
Let me make it clear today because I know that members from the other side will try accuse the DA of racism and anti-transformation because that is clearly the theme they have tried to run in all other EPC debates with scant regard for the issues at hand.
Before blaming everyone else, we need to ensure that as a Government we have played our part in transformation too.
As government, we provide an enabling environment by ensuring that sports is sustainable. For a sport to be truly sustainable it needs three critical outputs. It has to be profitable or have secure funding; it has to have a pool of talent that continues to grow; and finally it needs support.
A budget serious on transformation would require an estimated R10bn over 3 years to effect full delivery. We don’t get anywhere near that figure and when our most important item in the budget only increases by 1,7% then the good story that we always try sell becomes just that … a story.
We want sporting codes to be fully transformed, but they are handicapped before they even begin by the fact that around the country the schools that are fortunate enough to have playing fields have a ratio of 1 rugby field for every school that has 3 soccer fields. The figures are worse for cricket.
The amount of players being drawn to soccer in their formative years far exceeds that of any other of the penalised codes by nature of the resources provided. Therefore to blame unions on transformation and not take responsibility as a Government is hypocritical.
Apartheid can never and must never be forgotten. We must learn from these atrocities so that we can never repeat them. This evil system created a massive inequality vacuum. However, 21 years down the line, there is a point whereby Government needs to concede that current transformation failures are also as a result of a lack of current service delivery.
Indeed, transformation must take place, it must take place swiftly, and it must be sustainable. We must protect our players by ensuring any player that takes to a field in the international arena is secure in the comfort that they are there on merit.
Transformation must not just focus on players but also sponsorship and support. During a live rugby match the stadiums are usually filled with more than 80% white supporters and at public schools the participation is skewed again. We as a committee need to ensure that we create equal playing fields and that we provide the platform for mass participation. Unions can play a part too by hosting matches near communities that are disadvantaged by transport and proximity to increase the attraction to sports.
I am surprised at the careless reaction by the minister on the EPC report. He and members of the sporting committee backed the introduction of the transformation policy and therefore should have been ecstatic with their report back a year later. They had reached most of the targets set.
The Rugby World Cup is a profitable and viable proposition for South Africa. To ban the union from taking up this window of opportunity is to score an own goal.
Minister, we urge you to be tough on transformation by ensuring it takes place and that it is sustainable. However, somersaulting from supportive to abusive and back is inconsistent and confusing.
The prospect of more jobs and an increase in tourism must be taken into account when making such decisions and we should find other avenues of sanction that put the country and not the ruling party first. This is an urgent plea to please reverse your decision as it stands. SA should tender for the Rugby World Cup, because it is the right thing to do. Again, let’s make it clear that transformation must happen and must happen soon.
Support our vision in seeing a competitive sports team reflective of the demographics of this country. A team that thrives in an international arena uniting their country behind them.
Let Government build the foundation and let sports build our nation.
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