Hon Chairperson
Hon MEC – Sports and Recreation

I want to start by making reference to a young 11-year-old boy of Hanover Park in Cape Town who experienced street gang shooting when he was five years old. When he saw this death, this is what he said, as quoted in the newspapers;

“I don’t want to die. I want to play soccer, finish school and get a job.”

This indicates the importance of sport in our communities. It is the dream of every child. It is the passion of every child.

The IFP approaches this budget debate with a sense of uneasiness. When one looks at the KZN 2019/20 budget, Sport and Recreation is allocated only R478 958m out of a total provincial budget of R130 474 221 billion. This is a mere 0,3% of the total budget of the province.

This is the reason why access to sports facilities in the province, especially for the rural poor, is such a mammoth task. The same applies for sports equipment which is very difficult to secure. The department of Sports and Recreation facilitates transfers to 60 federations, sports entities, sports clubs and local organisations.  This goes without saying that the quantity and may be, quality, of work performed through these transfers can never be up to expectation when considering the minimal resources from where these transfers are sourced. No wonder, that the sports development initiatives in our province, especially in the townships, the informal settlements and the rural areas suffer so much neglect.

Whilst still on this, the IFP wants to challenge all the 80 honourable members of this legislature to sponsor at least one tournament of their choice per annum in their constituencies in order to promote sports development. To do this out of their own resources, and not government resources.

The report of the Eminent Persons Group Commission into sports transformation in the country points to a very slow pace of transformation in some sports codes. The slow pace is reflected in Rowing and Bowls which scored 0 (zero) transformation points each; Juskei, Hockey, Tennis, Swimming, Gymnastics, Baseball, Rugby and Chess, all scoring below 50% each. Netball, Athletics, Softball at 50% each. And Basketball, Cricket, Amateur boxing, Table tennis, Volleyball and Football all scoring above 50%, with Football on top of the transformation table.

This is a glimpse picture of how much work is faced by the department and sports federations in the task of transforming sport in the country. The stereotypes of the past in terms of race are still very much embedded into some sports programmes of some sports codes. The IFP is asking for action in this regard, Chairperson.

The department has under-spent its budget for 2018/19 on infrastructure, in spite of this gross under-funding that one is concerned about. The reasons given by the department is the change of hands in the government of Newcastle municipality. Hon Chairperson, this is unacceptable. The instability of the Newcastle municipality cannot be allowed to hold to ransom the sports development programmes of the province because of their internal issues. In future, when one structure is unable to spend, funds allocated to it must be redirected to those who have got appetite for spending. The backlog is too huge to be massaging emotions.

The effects of the 4IR also need to start to be taken into consideration in then sports development programmes of the province. Already in football, human decisions of the referees are getting overturned by the VAR. This is where the world is today and we are still lagging far behind.

The effects of climate change are also beginning to redirect and control our sports activities around the world. There are countries in the past two weeks where temperature levels reached the high of up to 40+. In such circumstances no sport programmes could have taken place out doors. It is part of the reason why QATAR committed to stadiums with air-conditioning in their bid for soccer world cup which they won.

The MOU between Sports and Recreation and Education needs to be handled with care. Whilst the philosophy of men sano incorpore sano is a necessary educational programme, education cannot be seen to be prioritizing Sports programmes ahead of the cognitive essence of schooling. Because of time constraints here, there will need to be a critical balancing act so as not to have one jeopardizing the other.

Aluta continua!!!