Support SA teams - Mbalula

Monday, August 1, 2011

Durban - South Africa must continue to pour their unequivocal support for the Springboks and athletes who are preparing for the Rugby World Cup and All Africa Games respectively.

The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, made this request at the launch of the Ekhaya - initiative - a 'Home Away from Home' hospitality village concept government wants to stage at sports events.

Speaking at the media launch in Freedom Park Pretoria, Mbalula said Ekhaya reinforces the fact that South Africans are united behind the national teams at the Rugby World Cup and the All Africa Games.

"South Africa has a proud history of being a successful sporting nation. Sport is an important part of our culture and a multibillion rand industry that contributes more than twl percent to the country's gross domestic product," said Mbalula.

The Ekhaya initiative is a platform owned by the Department of Sports and Recreation, mainly to offer hospitality services to South African sportspeople and their families.

It also aims to position South Africa as a desirable destination for business investment and tourism.

The project is managed in partnership with the International Marketing Council of South Africa (IMC) and SA Tourism.

The IMC, through its "Play Your Part" campaign, has partnered with the Department of Sports and Recreation on a domestic and international campaign to mobilise South Africans to support the RWC and All Africa Games, under the Magnificent Friday's banner.

South Africans are encouraged to fly the national flag and to wear supporters wear on Fridays in the build-up to and during these sports events.

The Boks, who are involved in the Tri-Nations, will defend their title in New Zealand later this year, while the All Africa Games will take place in Mozambique in September.

SARU President Regan Hoskins presented the minister with a Springbok supporter jersey at the launch and said he was encouraged by government's support.

"We are delighted with and fully behind the minister's call to all our citizens to support the Springboks and Team South Africa at the All Africa Games.

"SARU values this support and encouragement by the Minister of Sport, the IMC and SASCOC for our national rugby team, and want to all South Africans to show their passion and support for these two SA teams by proudly wearing the Green and Gold colours," said Hoskins.