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Transforming SA sport

Written by Nthambeleni Gabara

Sports

Government wants sport and recreation to contribute towards transforming South Africa into a democratic country that truly reflects the diversity of its people in all sporting codes.

Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula says his department will take action against sports bodies that are lagging behind in transformation efforts.Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula said South Africa’s sport associations would now be benchmarked according to transformation priorities and those failed to comply would not receive government grants.

“We will support you as we’ve been doing; however, if you choose to neglect or undermine transformation, we will withdraw our support. This is not a threat but stern warning to any unmanageable individuals and sport bodies.

“Federations that do not invest in development structures will not receive funding from Sport and Recreation until they play ball and put their houses in order,” he said.

Minister Mbalula’s warning came after he received the transformation status report recently from the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on transformation in sport.

The EPG was appointed to help the Minister monitor and evaluate the current transformation process in sport, as outlined in the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP).

According to the Minister, 10 per cent of the funding for sport association would be guaranteed part of the grant to be used for administration, while 90 per cent would be the conditional grant part and its spending would be measured according to the implementation of the transformation charter.

Minister Mbalula added that his department would withdraw the national colours and symbols and deregister federations that did not implement the scorecard or undermined transformation.

“We will oversee the establishment of provincial and local transformation committees as recommended in the report,” he said.

The EPG would interact with sports bodies who need help to reach transformation targets, the Minister added.

The NSRP was adopted at the National Sport and Recreation Indaba held in 2011 in Midrand and identified transformation as an important issue that was nonnegotiable.

The NSRP also defines transformation as a strategic objective to ensure that equal opportunities exist for all South Africans to participate and excel in sport and recreation through the adoption of deliberate transformation initiatives.

A pilot Transformation Status Survey was conducted by the EPG chaired by Dr Somadoda Fikeni towards the end of 2013 and completed in 2014.

According to the report, transformation efforts in sport have proven to be mostly ineffectual over the past 20 years.

Despite this, Minister Mbalula said the sport industry also has a good story to tell 20 years into democracy.

“I believe South Africans still remember how the ability of sport helped us to unite the nation through hosting major sporting events such as the 1995 Rugby World Cup, 1996 Afcon, 2009 Confederations Cup, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the 2013 Afcon and the 2014 CHAN tournaments,” he said.