Mbalula laments slow change

Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)
Fikile Mbalula (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Gideon Sam and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula have said athletics, cricket, football, netball and rugby are falling behind with transformation and development.

Sam said an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) had been created to monitor the progress of federations.

"On 25 March we received the pilot study on the status of transformation in sport and the findings were shocking," said Mbalula at a Sascoc general meeting held at Olympic House on Saturday.

"Little has been done to transform and the issue of grassroots transformation and participation of blacks is declining drastically.

"We found poorly maintained infrastructure and a lack of willingness to transform despite the agreement as in the Sports Charter."

Mbalula then announced far-reaching measures to address the issues at stake.

The quota system as instructed in the national Sports Plan of 2011 will be aggressively implemented said Mbalula.

"We will insist on a change from a 50-50 proportion to a 40-60 representation both provincial and nationally."

Development plans from the five bodies - athletics, cricket, football, netball and rugby - will be sought according to the minister.

Mbalula warned of harsh punishment if there was any form of resistance to these measures.

If any resistance was met, Mbalula said government could : withdraw funding to bodies that fail to comply; withdraw national colours to federations holding back, rule that utilising bidding and hosting regulations to be illegal, de-register any body that fails to transform and bar sponsorship to anyone hostile to transformation.

Sam, meanwhile, warned there was an air of complacency about South African sport.

"In sport its simply not about you as an individual in the Federation," said Sam.

"It's the total commitment to what you are doing and not bailing out when the boat starts leaking.

"When the boat starts sinking then we see the true leaders standing up and I must warn you that we at Sascoc are committed and every day Sascoc CEO, Mr Tubby Reddy, refers to our plan that extends to 2017."

On the subject of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland in July and August, Chef de Mission, Patience Shikwambana, said 17 sports codes would be represented by Team South Africa including three that will include Elite Athletes with Disabilities (EAD).

No qualifying events as such will be used for team selection said Shikwambana.

Sascoc would be guided by the International Federations and the Sascoc selection criteria superseded the International Federation's criteria.

"Individual and team athletes must rank in the top five in their events amongst the Commonwealth nations," said Shikwambana.

"Deadline for final team lists is 31 May and at this early stage, the projected team size is 152 (with 86 male and 66 female competitors).

"At the last games in New Delhi, India, Team South Africa won 33 medals and team management are targeting 36 medals at these Games."

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