“The Treasury has allocated R300 million to be utilised for renovating and building basic facilities from the current budget. The national department will roll-out over 30 facilities throughout the country in this financial year.
“Whilst we will surely all agree that this is not the quantum leap we all are striving to achieve, it is however by any measure a step in the right direction,” said the Minister on Friday.
Minister Mbalula was speaking at a ministerial meeting in Durban with provincial sport and recreation MEC’s from the country’s nine provinces.
The Minister told the meeting that efforts to advocate for adequate funding for sport must continue.
“Government must deliberately position sport and recreation as one of our national strategic priorities in budget and planning terms. The youth desperately need facilities in order to play and realise their dreams through sport,” he explained.
He added that research confirms the Department of Sport and Recreation’s long held view that grass-roots sports development from schools and community clubs is vital to talent development and global competitiveness.
Rio 2016 Olympics
In his remarks at the meeting, Minister Mbalula spoke of the importance to pull out all the stops in the build-up to the to Rio 2016 Olympics in July/August.
“The adrenalin is flowing among both the athletes and organisers. We must however keep our eyes on the ball and remain steadfast during the preparations as we need all hands on the deck.
“To aid the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics Team SA, the Department of Sport and Recreation has in the 2016/17 financial year committed additional funding for allocation to [the] South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) over and above the SASCOC fiscal transfer,” he said.
The additional funding is part of the focused athlete support programme provided to all medal contenders.
“Through this financial injection specific needs for coaches of medal contenders will be identified as focal areas during the preparations.
Extra technical sport support by means of strategic interventions and increased financial support to the coaches will further be provided in order optimise possibilities and opportunities for our athletes to realise their dreams of securing medals thus bringing glory to the nation,” said the Minister.
On the issue of sport transformation, Minister Mbalula has invited MECs and Heads of Departments to the announcement of the 2015/16 third Eminent Persons Group (EPG) Report on the status of transformation in 16 sporting codes.
At the release of the report on Monday, 25 April, the Minister will further pronounce on the Transformation Barometer of the ‘Big Five’ sporting codes (namely athletics, cricket, football, netball and rugby).
He will also publicly spell-out punitive measures as a consequence on those sporting codes that failed to achieve the set transformation targets for 2015/16 year under review.
“I am over and above these gradual steps and incremental measures looking forward to the implementation of the EPG on Sport Transformation findings and recommendations.
“I believe that given the political will and support from government at all spheres, together with efforts of SASCOC we will achieve an accessible, adequately funded, demographically representative and equitable, democratic and non-racial sporting landscape,” he said.