Mbalula hails golfing hero

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pretoria - Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula complimented newly crowned US Masters king Charl Schwartzel for putting the country on the international map.

South Africa has been following the career Schwartzel, who won the illustrious green jacket in Augusta on Sunday, with keen interest since he turned pro in 2002, at the age of 18.

"This magnificent achievement should remind us of the need to join hands with corporate South Africa to increase participation and access to disadvantaged communities. We need development and we need urgent directed programmes for talent built and nurturing future golfers," Mbalula said in his pre-Budget Vote briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday. 

Mbalula said golf was an important sport, and the fact that the country has about five people in the Top 50 Official World Golf Rankings, was a positive development.

SA, in terms of the number of players, is ranked number three in the world after USA (boasting 18) and England (boasting six).

This is Mbalula's first budget vote since he took office last year, where he committed to turn the department around to ensure that there was "vibe and a movement - that will be the unity of our people." 

He said during this financial year, the transformation charter should also be completed in order to roll out institutional mechanisms projects. These include facilities, academies, sport councils and coaching.

In living up to his commitment, Mbalula said the ministry and provinces, have designed a Road Map for Functional Excellence and Optimal Performance. 

The department has also launched the National Sports Indaba, set to take place in August 201. The main aim of the National Indaba, Mbalula said, was to produce a National Sports Plan for the country, which would assist in taking the portfolio to greater heights.

The country will also host more than 50 international events -- the most high-profile being the 123rd General Assembly of the International Olympic Committee. 

For the first time on African soil, the Assembly will be held in South Africa. 

During the Assembly, to be held in Durban, three competing cities to host the 2018 Winter Olympic games will be waiting to hear who the winner is. 

Once again, the global eyes and ears will be on the South, when either, Munich (Germany), Annecy (France) and Pyeongchang (South Korea) will be waiting with anticipation to be announced as the Host City. 

More details about the department's plans will be unveiled during the Budget Vote to be tabled on Wednesday. - BuaNews