Sport transformation charter on the cards

A transformation charter which will apply to all sports organisations is being drawn up, Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Wednesday.

Speaking in the National Assembly during debate on his budget vote, Mbalula said South Africa was still witnessing a sporting environment where there was a skewed picture of sporting facilities and opportunities.

“It is a responsibility of this government to fundamentally change the status quo, and ensure that South Africa has national teams and the amenities which are a true reflection of South Africa’s population,” he said.

At the same time, he called on Parliament and South Africans to join hands with the sport and recreation department (SRSA) in its campaign to provide a fresh perspective and impetus on transformation — a perspective that positioned equality, unity, access, and excellence at the centre of the national discourse.

“We want to achieve inclusiveness and consensus on what each federation or club’s contribution is or will be towards the realisation of the priorities of national objectives,” Mbalula said.

To ensure actions were focused and directed the SRSA, together with the stakeholders, had started a process of drawing up a transformation charter which would apply to all sports organisations.

Escalating the campaign
The transformation charter would be a product of extensive and wide-ranging consultation and robust debates.

“We are finalising a collaborating pact with the department of basic education as our immediate task of reviving school sport, particularly in rural areas and townships.

“We believe the future of the South African youth lies in positioning schools as incubators and nurseries for talented and professional sportspersons,” he said.

The glaring absence of sport and recreation facilities in schools and in communities could no longer be tolerated, and 16 years into democracy, this dreadful infrastructure backlog had to be broken, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

“To address this anomaly, we are engaged with the departments for human settlement and of cooperative governance respectively to redirect municipal infrastructure grants (MIGs) to sport and recreation to ensure seamless roll out of schools’ and communities’ sport and recreation facilities.”

Advancing sport and recreation development did not only rely on public funding, but also on various stakeholders, including non-governmental entities and foreign donor funding, Mbalula said.

“We are escalating our campaign to mobilise more resources from the private sector and the international donor community to support our fledging youth camps programme and talent development programmes.”

Positive effects
The most senior SRSA official had been appointed to ensure the R800-million allocated by Fifa to the Fifa Legacy Trust was used for sport development, especially in rural areas and townships, and that there was transparency and accountability on disbursement and use of the funds.

A report on social cohesion and the nation building impact of the 2010 Fifa World Cup had just been completed.

The finding confirmed that the cup had a significantly positive effect on social cohesion and nationhood, social integration and sustainable livelihood.

The Speaker of the National Assembly would be asked for a debate on the lessons drawn from this report.

To this end, as announced earlier, a football extravaganza between the World Cup champions Spain and an Africa Eleven would be staged in July 2011.

“This football extravaganza is organised in all humility to thank the people of Africa and all fellow patriots who were involved in this event of local [and] international significance,” Mbalula said. — Sapa

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