‘Sports transformation is non-negotiable’

2011-11-21 14:39

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said he was confident that the national sports indaba that started today and ended tomorrow at the Gallagher Estate, Johannesburg, would come up with strategic priorities.

“I have confidence in the potential of this indaba to enable the blooming of a hundred flowers of ideas so that the sport and recreation fraternity’s strategic priorities are captured in the national sport and recreation plan.”

The indaba was a culmination of planning that started at the beginning of the year and was spearheaded by Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula.

The consultation with different stakeholders including provinces, national sports federations, SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, civic organisations, big corporate and the media led to the 20th draft which was up for discussion at this gathering.

“Hopefully these deliberations will culminate in a clearer transformation framework and strategic sport plan for the country, said Motlanthe in his address.

“In South Africa sport has a particularly interesting history because of its intimate link with our struggle against segregation and discrimination during the difficult time of apartheid.”

The deputy president also pointed out that South Africa started very well on the international arena – pointing out at the 1995 Rugby World Cup success, 1996 African Cup of Nations victory, hosting the Cricket World Cup in 2003 and the successful hosting of the Fifa World Cup last year – but had since been in a deteriorating state.

“Our progress seems to have ground to a halt in some sporting codes such as soccer and the Olympics, indicating that our development has not always been up to scratch.”

He had some words of encouragement though, saying: “On the whole we are a winning nation and so there is nothing cast in stone in our stagnation or lack of progress in whatever field of human endeavour.”

Motlanthe had the more than 500 delegates clapping and cheering when he reminded them that the 2008 national sports indaba had reminded “both players and administrators that transformation is non-negotiable as it was a Constitutional mandate and hence government agenda”.

Mbalula thanked Motlanthe, who had to leave soon after his speech, and urged the delegates to pull no punches when they broke into commissions in the afternoon.

Interesting anecdotes from sportspeople emerged at the following session that was conducted by Professor Tim Noakes. Swimming sensation Chad le Clos, athlete Hezekiel Sepeng, Victor Matfield and javelin thrower Zanele Situ had some encouraging anecdotes to tell in painting a picture of where they come from and how they got to where they were.

After lunch, the delegates broke into commissions to discuss and come up with resolutions on subjects such as recreation/mass participation plus schools sport, geopolitical constitutional boundaries versus sports federation boundaries plus sports councils, facilities, role demarcation at macro-level plus amateur versus professional sport and transformation.

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