MEC Hlophe neglects the skateboarding community

There are very few skateboarding facilities around the province where skateboarders can foster and hone their skills. Most of the places that exist are built and maintained by the skateboarding community themselves with no assistance from the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation.

The Gauteng Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SRAC) convened a meeting at the Johannesburg Stadium recently, along with Roller Sport South Africa and the Gauteng Sports Confederation to outline the department’s interest in developing and growing skateboarding in the province.

Those in attendance, representing skateboarding communities from every part of the province, were told that MEC Mbali Hlophe, was eager to grow and develop skateboarding in Gauteng as it is now an Olympic sport.

However, a written reply by the MEC in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature completely contradicts what was told to skateboarders in this meeting.

In her reply, the MEC states that skateboarding is not one of the recognised sporting codes supported by the department.

Individuals who participate in sporting competitions outside of the 16 recognised codes may apply for financial assistance, however, the department does not actively promote skateboarding.

The MEC further indicates that the department does not know how many public skateboarding facilities there are in the province – bizarrely stating that this is the responsibility of municipalities.

She also indicates that the department will not assist in building any public skateparks in Gauteng.

To give participants of this already maligned sport false hope is worse than giving no hope at all.

The DA will press the MEC to provide tangible plans and timeframes on what the department intends to do to grow skateboarding in the province. The skateboarding community is being led by the nose by a less than honest Gauteng government and does not deserve to be fed more empty promises.