Local athletes to miss KZN games due to lack of funds

2019-07-01 15:00

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Athletes from uMgungundlovu District will not be participating in this year’s KwaZulu-Natal annual local government games due to the municipality’s financial constraints.

This was revealed by the municipal manager, Dr Ray Ngcobo, during Friday’s council meeting.

He said the district would only be taking part in the indigenous games as they were funded by the provincial Department of Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation (DACSR).

“Therefore our financial exposure will not exceed R45 000,” said Ngcobo of the indigenous games.

The executive committee’s recommendation for the district not to participate in the provincial SA Local Government Association (Salga) Games came after uMgungundlovu had a consultative meeting with the department on its financial challenges.

Ngcobo said the district council’s decision would be communicated to its seven local municipalities, which include Msunduzi and Impendle.

uMgungundlovu’s teams for various sporting codes are made up of athletes who come from the local municipalities.

Last year, the district reportedly hosted more than 4 000 athletes representing 10 KwaZulu-Natal district municipalities and the eThekwini Metro, all of whom descended on Pietermaritzburg to compete in the Salga Games. uMgungundlovu hosted the event.

While the district’s team were commended for securing the overall second position and several gold medals, the event created an uproar in Msunduzi as the city council was divided over the eleventh-hour approval of R7,3 million needed for last-minute maintenance work on sport and recreation facilities to be used in the December games.

According to Friday’s council report, uMgungundlovu was supposed to send a team of 272 people, including technical and medical officials, to this year’s games, which will be hosted by eThekwini.

The athletes were going to compete in nine sporting codes with hopes of bringing home some silverware.

Preparations would have included securing accommodation, meals, transport, as well as sports apparel for athletes, councillors, technical officials and support staff, including medical teams.

The estimated total cost for the preparations, which included R35 000 for insurance and a R50 000 affiliation fee, would have cost the cash-strapped uMgungundlovu Municipality in excess of R2,4 million.

The third party insurance covering the municipalities’ teams in the event of loss, damage or injury during the multi-day games is one of Salga’s requirements for participating districts.

In a 2017 circular, Salga instructed the municipalities to extend the province’s cost containment measures to expenditure related to the games.

The association said the number of councillors and officials should be limited to those in the related portfolios as well as the troika.

It added that promotional material should only be for the athletes, affected officials and the political leadership that had direct involvement with the Salga Games teams.

Former MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, also urged municipalities to limit all unnecessary expenditure during the preparations and hosting of the annual games.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  kzn athletics
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