ANC has failed to develop sport in poor communities

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Minister of Sports and Recreation, Tsepo Mhlongo MP, during the Budget Sport and Recreation.
Thank you very much Chairperson.
Honourable Members.
Asikulumeni ngezomdlalo.
The purpose of the Sport and Recreation vote, and I quote “is to transform the delivery of sport and recreation by ensuring equitable access, development and excellence at all levels of participation, thereby improving social cohesion, nation building and the quality of life of all South Africans.”
The sports arena should be a place of unity and compassion, not one of division. The true essence of our great rainbow nation should be on display at every possible opportunity, not only at the national level, but at all levels.
Sport gives people hope, it allows people to look up to role models, to believe in success stories, in brighter futures and it is a place where we are all equal and every single one of us can be a champion. This is a notion that should be encouraged as far and wide as possible.
We should ensure that our focus is on making the sports arena a safe environment for our children to develop, to grow and to dream big. The fact of the matter is that sport plays a crucial role in creating hope through unity, reducing poverty and crime through employment opportunities, emotional development and through the establishment of role models.
Now, more than ever, sport must be allowed to fulfil its purpose!
Unfortunately Minister, your predecessor Razzmatazz was more interested in twitter likes and star studded photos than sports development. As a result the basics have been forgotten.
Do you want to live in a free and fair South Africa with equitable access to sports facilities for all?
As long as we have underperforming provinces that do not adequately budget for sport we cannot hope to achieve this access to sports facilities. We cannot hope to create the sports arenas our children deserve.
Only two out of 9 provinces made full use of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) allocation, one of which is the DA-governed Western Cape, whilst the other 7 did not make use of 15% of their allocations. And it should come as no surprise that the two worst performing provinces, in relation to the use of the MIG, are the Free State and the North West, both of which are run by members of the so-called “premier league”.
Minister, how can we hope to achieve transformation in sport if our school sport system is failing the kids?
When I grew up, there was a sports day every Wednesday at the school; what has happened to this culture? What has happened to the focus on the development of school sport as the grassroots stage?
Teachers, especially in disadvantaged communities, are unable to promote and encourage sport ebantwaneni bethu, due to a lack of resources.
By not adequately facilitating school sport we are denying children the right to dream big and be champion.
Wathintha abafazi wathintha imbokodo
Sporting codes are currently not adhering to the Commission for Gender Equality and we continue to see imbalances in the participation of women vs men in different sports.
Minister, we are concerned that not enough is being done to address this.
Minister, the total Budget for the Department estimated at just over R 1 billion, for the first time since the 2013/14 financial year, it is imperative that the funds are spent on actually developing sport and not on fancy award ceremonies and other such extravagances.
The R 8.5 million decrease in the allocation to the Community Support subprogramme is concerning as this subprogramme is responsible for delivering sports promotion programmes by focusing on increasing the number of participants in sport and recreation, with an emphasis on disadvantaged communities. Clearly our priorities are not right – we should be placing greater focus on disadvantaged communities and encouraging participation.
A further concern is the miniscule increase of R0.3 million that Programme 5: Sport Support received. This programme receives funding in order to support school sport programmes and improve access to sport facilities for development.
Money that is destined to improve the access to sport must be used for that purpose, it cannot be that funds are being misused, thereby denying our people, and especially our children, the opportunity to benefit from sport.
It is disingenuous that the department would splurge money on lavish events when the bare minimum in poor communities for developing sport have not been met. Clearly our priorities are out of order.
Minister, the budget for the Sport and Recreation Facility Management subprogramme being reduced by R 3.6 million this year, this is in spite of the fact that we do not know how many facilities we have in South Africa. Minister there is no comprehensive Asset Register of sports facilities.
To highlight the question around sports facilities I would like to draw your attention to the fact that there have been no sport facilities built for the poor, by the Gauteng government over the last four years. No rugby, no cricket, no swimming facilities were built, thus denying people access to sport.
I find this lack of development truly shocking, especially given the ANC’s rhetoric on grassroots sporting development, and their continued outcry over the lack of transformation. Minister, how can you transform sport without creating equitable access?
It is the young people in poor communities who are the most affected by the lack of access to sport as their development is stymied and they are often left to be influenced by drugs and crime.
Finally, let me make an important observation on the political leadership of the Department: We had Minister of Twitter Razzmatazz, manje we have uMinister of Nkandla. At least the swimmers will be happy with the new Minister Nxesi – he knows a lot about pools!
The DA will hold the Minister and the department accountable and we will push for the support that sport needs in order fulfil its purpose, creating hope through unity!
When the DA-led national government comes into power in 2019, we will ensure that children in poor communities have equal access to sporting opportunities.