Sascoc celebrates 10 years

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pretoria - The first anniversary of the death of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela, should further drive the process of nation building and reconciliation.

“In five days’ time, we will be commemorating the first anniversary since the passing on of our founding President and international icon, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

“This first anniversary should add more impetus to the journey of nation building and reconciliation, which tata promoted immensely during his Presidency,” said President Jacob Zuma.

He was speaking at the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) 10-year celebrations on Monday.

The President thanked South Africans for the dignified manner in which Mandela was laid to rest last year, saying “he will forever remain in our hearts”.

He said while strides have been made to achieve equity and excellence in sport, there was still a great deal of work to be done to ensure the levelling of the playing field.

“Due to the history of apartheid and the segregated manner in which facilities were provided, many communities still do not have recreational or sports facilities. That is one of the priorities of this government - to build human settlements that will have all these facilities ultimately for our people,” he said.

President Zuma said another priority, which the Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula has actively focused on, was the promotion of women's sports. He also emphasised the need to do more to promote sports for people with disabilities.

National School Sport Programme

President Zuma singled out the National School Sport Programme as another huge area of investment and focus. He said it was at school level where future sports stars can be found.

“Our government has adopted the National Sport and Recreation Plan and we are looking forward to a funding formula that will ensure the successful implementation of the plan. 

“Investing in school sports also requires a strong talent development system, structured coaching framework, vibrant academy system and adequate nutrition and scientific support.  

“It is thus not a small matter and not something we can achieve overnight but we will make progress with determination and support from the sports fraternity,” he said.

The President also used the platform to congratulate the winners of the popular South African Sports Awards, which were hosted on Sunday. He saluted Joost van der Westhuizen, who has contributed immensely to the growth and success of rugby in the country.

“We urge the whole nation to support Joost and his family as he fights a big and difficult battle against motor neuron disease,” he said.

Ending 2014 on a high

With most national teams having qualified for both continental and international tournaments, the President said the country ended 2014 on a high.

“2015 will be both a busy and exciting year for the nation as we cheer our teams on. We wish the national netball team, Amantombazane, the Proteas and the Springboks well during their respective international championships campaigns next year.

“We congratulate Bafana Bafana on their qualification to participate in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after a long period of drought. We will all fully support the team in this campaign to bring the cup back home, just like we did in 1996,” he said.

To Sascoc, President Zuma said: “We urge you to work with us to build South African sports. It has been 10 years of hard work, 10 years of working to transform sport in our country into non-racial and inclusive sport. It has been 10 years of working towards making sport a unifying factor in our country”. -