Sport in the spotlight

THE inaugural South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and South African Local Government Association (Salga) conference was held in the Bloemfontein City Hall this past weekend.

The sporting bodies were urged to get on the ground and create vibrant structures in their districts and utilise their often limited resources.

Fikile Mbalula, the minister of Sport and Recreation, lauded Sascoc and Salga for the long overdue partnership.

“The government is working together with Sascoc and other stakeholders so that the various impediments in sport are resolved to change the sporting landscape into a vibrant and indiscriminate landscape,” said Mbalula.

“The National Development Plan (NDP) and the National Sports and Recreation Plan (NSRP) play an important role in nation building. School sport and availability of facilities in all communities must be the central starting point for us to succeed in sport,” he said.

Mbalula concluded by highligh-ting that the Sport and Recreation ministry was grossly underfunded and the leadership was fully aware of that. However, despite these challenges, the sports ministry implemented the National Sports and Recreation Plan.

“The road to meaningful sports development in this country remains muddy and a distant one but through collective effort, we can overcome the challenge.”

The chairperson of Salga, Cllr Thabo Manyoni, pledged local government’s support and said that municipalities should provide sports infrastructure wherever possible.

“We urge our member municipalities to play a role in sport through providing sports facilities as this will aid in the addressing of challenges relating to poverty, crime and social cohesion. Through our support as local government, we want to build a South Africa we are proud of, a nation that can have good representation in sport at international level, such as the Olympics,” said Manyoni.

Sascoc president, Gideon Sam, encouraged the delegates to familiarise themselves with the White Paper on Sport and Recreation which he referred to as the bible for sports administrators.

“There will be a change after this national conference pertaining to how districts and wards contribute to sport. Districts have to be hands on and act upon our resolutions in adherence to the dictates of the National Sports and Recreation Plan. There should be good club development in districts, corporate governance, equity, gender balance, nurturing of sport at grassroots level, talent identification and transformation,” Sam said.

He advised the delegates that Sascoc would work collaboratively with district coordinators and assist them to market their activities through the Sascoc website.

“Grab the fans and bring them into structures through effective use of social media,” Sam added.

Global Watch president, Tokyo Sexwale, gave an informative presentation on the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination in sport.

“Global Watch is a watch of action and advocates for the fight against all forms of discrimination in sport worldwide. We celebrate Mandela’s contribution to sport and as South Africans we should use sport as a tool to unite and bring peace to the nation.

“Sport is facing ills such as cultural division, religious intole-rance, nationalist hatred, violence, xenophobia, gender discrimination and as sporting bodies let us take the lead to eradicate all discrimination against sports so that we adhere to what Mandela’s legacy stands for – peace and unity,” Sexwale said.

Meanwhile, Tubby Reddy, the CEO of Sascoc, concluded the conference by acknowledging the positive contribution by all delegates from different sports sectors.

“We urge sports movements at all levels and agencies to act professionally and effectively in order to deliver high performance teams with districts identifying athletes in preparation and support to form part of Team South Africa in the next Olympics,” said Reddy.

Over 700 delegates attended the conference which started on Friday and ended on Saturday

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