Mbalula takes national sports plan to next level

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pretoria - Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP), which was recently approved by Cabinet, must be aligned to all government planning processes in order to make it more effective.

"We must all strive to use the sport plan to increase social cohesion and provide much needed opportunities for engagement in community life, foster healthy lifestyles as well as reducing conflict and criminal behavior through education and sport," said Mbalula on Monday.

Speaking at the opening of the two-day Municipal Conference on Sport and Recreation, the minister said he would soon be meeting with Minister in the Presidency responsible for planning, Trevor Manuel, to concretise the process of aligning the NSRP to all government processes, including at local government level.

"After meeting Minister Manuel, we will meet with [Performance Monitoring and Evaluation] Minister Collins Chabane ... to integrate the monitoring and evaluation strategy of our department for the implementation of the NSRP, into the overall monitoring and evaluation plan for the country, local government included," said Mbalula.

He further encouraged all the country's municipalities to take into cognizance the NSRP when mapping their future plans, and implement sport and recreation programmes in a manner that helped the Sports Department to meet its objectives.

"Sometimes some municipalities' plans are not aligned to their respective provincial plans... [This] must be fixed as a matter of urgency if we have to meet the objectives of the NSRP," he said.

Mbalula said the conference had to find a workable programme of action for all the municipalities to contribute constructively and meaningfully towards the development of sport and recreation activities for communities around the country.

He challenged delegates to find solutions around the challenges on the implementation of sport and recreation programmes, and to ensure that facilities are accessed by all communities irrespective of economic status, ability, age and gender.

The minister encouraged local municipalities to play a more active role in the process of talent identification, and to devise innovative ways of working closely with local sport.

The NSRP sets out to unify the various sport sectors in the country with key role players to help them work towards the same objectives. It also talks to matters concerning sports transformation and how to approach it holistically.

The plan is a major milestone for the country, as it paves the way for South Africa to have - for the first time - a unified sports sector.