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Development programme to uplift rural sport

Written by Albert Pule

Sport, arts, culture

The newly launched Rural Sport Development Programme, launched by the Department of Sport and Recreation, is expected to develop sport in rural areas and provide a platform for more talented sportsmen and women to showcase their talent.

Minister Fikile Mbalula with recipients of the sport equipment handed over at the department’s outreach programme.The Rural Sport Development Programme comes from the department’s National Sport and Recreation Plan, which highlights the need to develop and invest in previously disadvantaged communities, especially rural communities.

The development programme will focus on five sporting codes, namely netball, football, rugby, cricket and athletics.

Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula said the development programme is expected to assist in developing rural sports and fast-track transformation.

“Transformation is a bottom up approach which means we must invest in the development of talent in township and rural communities. 

“By doing this we amplify work already done by rural communities because they are actively involved in playing sport already.”

He added that it is government’s responsibility to equip rural communities so they are not left out on the basis of where they come from. 

“Ours is to equip these young people with sport facilities so they are not disadvantaged because of the communities they are born in,” Minister Mbalula said.

The programme will not be implemented in isolation but with the existing School Sport Programme. The two programmes will be rolled out nationally in all rural provinces, such as the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.

The Minister added that the Rural Sport Development Programme will be implemented with the involvement of the House of Traditional Leaders, as they are key in the governance of rural communities, and the Department of Basic Education, which governs schools.

Recently, Minister Mbalula conducted Sport Outreach Programmes in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage as part of reaching out to communities and schools.

During the outreach, 25 schools received sporting equipment as part of department’s drive to assist schools to take an interest in sports.