Minister's game plan for school sports

Friday, May 26, 2017

Cape Town – Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi has announced his department’s plans to strengthen school sport in the year ahead.

The Minister said this when he briefed the media ahead of delivering his maiden Budget Vote speech in his new portfolio at the National Assembly on Friday.

He said the department organises annual national school competitions across 16 prioritised sport codes.

While the system works well from a district up to provincial and national levels, the Minister said the challenge has been participation rates at circuit and school level. Approximately 6 000 out of 25 000 schools are participating.

“Our plans to strengthen the School Sport Programme include… to review and fully implement the Memorandum of Agreement that exists with the Department of Basic Education to ensure that access to physical education and sport is expanded across the school system.

“This process is already underway,” he said.

The Minister also said that his department will liaise with the Department of Social Development to coordinate the Expanded Public Works Programme to train early childhood development practitioners by providing trainers and material so that children in this phase can be trained in fine motor skills, which are critical to physical and sports development as they grow older.

The Minister said the department will cooperating with the Department of Higher Education on the pilot of the delivery of training courses for physical education teachers and coaches through the TVET colleges.

“We are also working with SASCOC, representing the national federations, so that we both align with the Long Term Player Development strategy to build a unified and expanded skills pipeline across the schooling system so that talent can be identified and channelled from a much larger pool.

“To this end, we will be training more talent scouts, among others, drawing on retired sports people,” he said.

Minister Nxesi said because there can be no school sport without teachers, one of his priorities will be to engage teacher unions and to also meet with parent bodies.

“The sheer number of stakeholders required to establish a coordinating platform or structure to provide the kind of coordination and alignment that the sector requires.”

At a community sports level, the Minister said his department was seeking to cooperate with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and municipalities for the sharing of sports and recreational facilities.

Last year, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs agreed to ring-fence a percentage of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant to build community sports facilities.

“I am also pleased to announce that the Rural Sports Development Programme is already underway across all provinces.

“This is based on a partnership with traditional authorities, as well as farming communities in the Western Cape.

“The early knock-out rounds have taken place in all provinces with national championships scheduled for mid-year,” he said. –

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