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.

We would promote sports tourism in a manner that creates jobs

The following speech was delivered in Parliament today by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation, Darren Bergman MP, during the Budget Sport and Recreation.
Year on year, speech after speech, we speak about the same thing. We all want transformation. We all want to ensure that the citizens of our country can partake in any sport from a school and community perspective.
However, if we were to take a snap shot today and compare it to a picture of where we were three years ago, when we started out on this journey together – we would find that nothing has changed.
We are still wishing and hoping for the same things, with an ever-decreasing budget and the hopes of seeing the impact of our input diminishing too.
Our last Minister’s flair for the dramatic resulted in him attempting to take away the Rugby World Cup in what he felt was punishment to the South African Rugby Union (SARU), but it would have in fact been punishment to the thousands of rugby fans across the country.
So focused was Minister Fikile Mbalula on pomp and ceremony that we chased a Commonwealth dream that put financial burden on all three spheres of government.
The Commonwealth Games was an event that we never should have chased, knowing the budgetary constraints in which this country finds itself and the infrastructure we would have needed, to please the games committee.
It was embarrassing to see us lose the opportunity in such a thoughtless manner.
Thankfully the new Minister seems to possess a far more positive view on the Rugby World Cup and the committee seems to be coming around to the efficacy of responsible sports tourism.
I have made input on an international stage calling for South Africa to use some of the African Renaissance Fund to create an African sports tournament. These are the types of events that we should be chasing and hosting because they require less cost and generate more turnover and better returns not only in income, but in jobs and diplomacy.
It is time the headings in our budget reflect more accurately what we are trying to achieve.
We should return to generally accepted accounting terms. In one of our first committee meetings, I warned that when it came to broad term budgets we opened ourselves to broad term allocations.
Now more than ever the budgets need to align to specific long term goals in building better relationships with sporting codes; ensuring better infrastructure in schools and communities.
I hope the new broom will sweep away the left-overs of the glitter and pom-poms that were the legacy of the last Minister and look more at building sports from its foundation to its leaves.
We as the Sports Committee should worry less about attending the national games and focus more on supporting schools, clubs and provincial leagues to increase interest, attendance and of course participation. It is internationally accepted that big stars draw young kids into the games.
We need to look after our heroes and help them inspire more participation from a young level.
Our budget alone will not achieve this. It is important that we bring in at least Basic Education and Health to share ideas and innovation in increasing participation from a school level and decreasing health issues starting at a young age.
Our oversight visits have been productive most of the time. We always seem to uncover an issue or two that shows the breakdown in funding between provinces and the municipalities, or municipalities and the communities. This leads me to the premise that most of our meetings should be on the field and not in the board room.
Crossing the length and breadth of this country, we have met principles and MECs. We have met sporting codes and promoters. Without fail, I have seen people given little but make a lot and I have seen people given a lot but not ever having enough.
It proves to me that with the right people in charge, opportunities are created.
The Department of Sports and Recreation, through its provincial counterparts, should be ensuring that money ring-fenced for sports and recreation is used for that specific purpose. Teachers, coaches, and officials should be enthused and motivated through innovative funding and staffing methods that create skills, growth and competitiveness.
Finally the elephant in the room. Transformation.
No one seems to differ on the fact that we want to see teams that are fully transformed in race and gender parity. We just have different views on how to get there and who we should be monitoring to get us there.
If you rely on the unions to make the transformation and never accept any responsibility as government then you will always find excuses and make everyone else the scapegoat.
It is time we meet the sporting federations by resourcing schools, clubs and communities through Division of Revenue Act grants and Municipal Infrastructure Grant and creating and supplying talent pools to be taken through the sporting system.
We need to find accommodation between the recommendations and findings from the Eminent Persons Group and our own committee oversight evidence to ensure that transformation is fast tracked in a manner that is sustainable.
Historically it has been two sporting events that have united this country to unprecedented levels. We must never try divide this country with the only committee that has brought us together.
In a DA-led South Africa we would ensure a better working relationship between Health, Education and ourselves. We would promote sports tourism in a responsible manner that builds jobs, creates careers and grows tourism.
We would ensure that the talent in our country if found. Whether you are from the most rural areas or the most prestigious school – you will be found, you will be taken care of and you will be able to realise your dream.
Sportsmen and women that represent our country will be appreciated and treated as ambassadors and we will make sure that recreational activities are easy and safe to access and most importantly enjoyed together by all.
For in a DA-governed country we won’t divide or talk on race – we will talk and deliver on growth and opportunities. Let sports lead the way in uniting South Africa.