Mbalula vows to revitalise SA sports

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pretoria - South African sports are set to get a shot in the arm with new Sport and Recreation Minister, Fikile Mbalula, at the helm.

Briefing the media on Thursday after recently being appointed by President Jacob Zuma in a Cabinet reshuffle, Mbalula said "drastic measures" to restore sports and recreation in the country were to be taken.

As part of the steps that will enable the department to fulfill its mandate in terms of transforming and developing the sporting sector, Mbalula said the revenue generated and allocated to federations will be revised and redirected to sports development, training and infrastructure.

"We believe this will free enormous resource to be utilised for building and revamping sports clinics, training the trainers, coach development and sports academies, bursaries and talent identification," he said.

The legislative and policy framework governing department relations and interaction with federations are also set to be reviewed to inculcate a culture of accountability, transparency and good governance.

With regard to sport transformation in the country, Mbalula said a fresh perspective was needed to propel sport to new heights and something which all South Africans will be proud of.

"We need to look at the transformation discourse and its application; we need to look at transformation anew," he said.

The department would now put in place measures needed to marshall stakeholders and roleplayers in the right direction.

"Transformation will not see the light of the day if we continue to pay lip service to a cause for which thousands of South Africans laid their lives. We will not pronounce on quota systems or otherwise until we have a position that takes into account empirical and anecdotal evidence over the past 16 years.

"Our assumption is that the prevailing material conditions necessitate both qualitative and quantitative measures to leap frog us into the ideal world of sport," he said.

The minister has also engaged the Department of Basic Education with a view to thrash out an operational plan for the revival of sport in schools.

"We will bring back the vibrant culture of school tournaments, district, provincial and national tournaments. We will create lighthouses in selected provinces to serve as hubs of our Community Multi-Purpose Centres and Mobile Gyms," he said.

Mbalula said the intention was to encourage affluent schools engaged in elite and high performance sport to join hands with less privileged schools to share their expertise and skills.

The former Deputy Police Minister said he was fully committed to working with all sport loving people, administrators and different formations equally committed to the department's mission.

The department will also work with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to clear any bottlenecks within the municipalities which may be obstacles in the revival of clubs.

Mbalula further said they were processing a report of the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a view to consider the future usage and sustainability of the stadiums used during the global show piece.

He said more details would be announced once the report had been tabled before Cabinet.