School sport holds the key to transformation - sports minister

Tokozile Xasa (Gallo Images)
Tokozile Xasa (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Sports minister Tokozile Xasa believes that schools hold the key to successful transformation in South African sport. 

That was they key takeaway from Tuesday's release of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report for 2017/18. 

While Athletics South Africa (ASA) was singled out as the federation in need of the quickest turnaround in terms of their approach to transformation, Xasa expressed satisfaction at the country's other major sporting codes with rugby, soccer, cricket and netball all receiving a tick.

Moving forward, though, the department acknowledged a need to invest in school sport. 

There seems to be a clear move away from implementing quotas at a senior and national level, with director general Alec Moemi making a clear distinction between between quotas and targets. 

"When we started we had a need for quotas, but now simply counting the number of black players on the field is something that is not sustainable," he said. 

Instead, sport at a grassroots level must be prioritised. 

While this will see the department invest 40% of its conditional grant for the next year to school sport initiatives, one of the major challenges lies in accessing data from the schools themselves that can help in accelerating the rate of transformation. 

"To support longer-term planning initiatives, we need to consciously invest in school sport to increase the pipeline of our sporting codes," Xasa said.

"The case for transformation now is longevity of the sport versus focusing on the short term."

A Memorandum of Understanding between the department of sport and the department of basic education was signed last year, while Xasa has also encouraged the federations themselves to have an active role in what happens at school level. 

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