Hon Nhlanhla Msimango MPL
Sports and Recreation are fundamental for healthy and balanced lifestyles. As a nation that can play as hard as it works, it is unfortunate that a meagre budget of only R454,4million is allocated to this department. This Department can play a pivotal role in improving social cohesion, nation building and quality life for all. Through sporting and recreational activities communities can be integrated and live in harmony, and we will not be faced with such ugly and shameful incidents as the recent xenophobic attacks that we witnessed recently.
Children who are raised in a culture of sports participation are children that grow up in a balanced and healthy manner. From early on in life they learn to appreciate the fact that what you put in is what you get out. Later in life this lesson translates into a work ethic which engenders success and is a significant factor in nation building.
Sports development at schools is another issue. We are not doing enough! We must aggressively tackle this area. Every child deserves the pleasure of kicking a ball, swinging a racquet or sprinting a 100m on an athletics field. More must be done to take sports to the children; they deserve nothing less. In this vein we urge that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between this Department and the Department of Education be implemented forthwith.
South Africa is plagued by many social problems, especially amongst our youth who need an outlet for their energy and creative spirits. It should be obvious that sports can play an important role in this regard and keep our youth occupied and away from crime and other illegal activities but this is clearly not happening. The facilities and opportunities to engage in sporting activities are very limited in our rural areas and townships. The Department should pay more attention to this area and allocate additional funding for the construction of various sporting facilities and the employment of skilled coaches who will be able to teach these youngsters different codes of sports.
Transformation in sports is very important. This process should start at the grassroots level and this is another reason why there must be increased investment in grassroots sports as well as sports at school and club level. This is where the sports stars of tomorrow learn and are groomed.
I am appealing to both MECs of Sports and Education that their departments must build schools that have appropriate sports facilities. There are far too many schools and communities that don't have any facilities for sport. The Department of Local Government also has a role to play in areas such as town planning where, in the planning of new residential areas, due consideration and provision must be made for suitable land to be made available for sports facilities. This is where inter-departmental co-operation and consolidation of ideas is sorely lacking. The MEC must call on her colleagues in the other departments to work in a co-ordinated manner in order to achieve the goals and strategic objectives of this department.
Mass Participation Programmes (MPP) were introduced and initiated to increase the level of participation in all spheres and transforming sports and recreation. No country can expect to achieve and sustain success at a competitive level without a strong participation base in the community. The National Sports and Recreation Plan outlined a strategy on building an active nation that will be able to achieve and sustain success at a competitive level.
This can be achieved through strong, well-organised and structured participation at community level where every future champion has the opportunity to develop their talents.
This department needs to sit down and revisit these initiatives and to act effectively with regard to strengthening the grassroots programmes with qualified personnel. Sports councils must engage with municipalities to make sure mass participation programmes are active. The facilities that have been built in some areas are becoming white elephants and are becoming vandalised because there is no continuum in programmes that have been established after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, to give but just one example.
MPP should start with well-equipped buildings and sports fields that are accessible to communities. Sports clubs with appropriate facilities are essential if we are serious about achieving our goals. Provincial sports councils must be capacitated to take programmes to grassroots and drive these programmes with community-based structures, since these structures provide a pathway for sport and recreation development from grassroots level.
The IFP believes that participation and achievement in sport plays a vital role in the education and development of the individual. Encouraging team spirit, sportsmanship, leadership and physical development are vital to the all-round development of any individual. A learner who seizes the opportunities in this sphere of life will feel the benefit in all other areas, while establishing a lifelong pattern of healthy competition and physical fitness.
I watch the news almost every day and I see different sports like Cricket, Rugby, Tennis, Golf etc. The only sports facility that is available in the rural areas is soccer on open grounds with natural grass or just sand and gravel. We cannot expect our children from these rural areas to develop sporting skills and be able to compete with children from the developed towns and cities where there are good sports facilities. It would be wise to talk about the development of sports facilities and giving everybody an equal chance to play. This is where the Department must engage the private sector to invest in building sports facilities in rural communities. There is a lack of leadership and vision in this regard. Sports must not only be seen as a business where a few must make a profit. The nation needs sport to stay healthy and keep busy so that people can stay away from drugs and other anti-social behaviour.
Hon Speaker, the IFP is deeply concerned that not much is being done regarding the provision of sporting programmes and facilities for those who are physically challenged. This department must ensure that this sector of our community is fully catered for and appropriate programmes are devised and implemented. We should not allow people who are physically challenged to be neglected in this regard.
Access to sporting facilities is about enabling people to have a broad sense of well-being and opportunities to express and make choices about their lives. To many people being poor is being vulnerable to crime and violence, to the lack of justice and access to services. So that's why social solidarity and cultural identity are so relevant to sports and social development.
I thank you.
Contact: Mr Nhlanhla Msimango, 078 302 4657