The purpose of the gathering was to outline key points to be discussed at the much awaited 2011 National Sport and Recreation Indaba scheduled for November 21 to 22 at Gallagher Estate, Midrand.
Top of the list was how to re-align sport, funding policies, accessibility of facilities, sport federations mandates, school’s sport and community/rural sport development, and the 2012 Olympics in London, amongst others.
In his key address, Dep Minister said the roundtable was meant to engage with key stakeholders and, get their input with regard to the Indaba, instead of always being spoon fed by the department.
“Our sport is in the phase were a lot is happening but not benefiting the masses as much as we would love to. This platform serves to engage with members of the press and get their opinions, as we chart the way to the National Indaba,” he says.
“Its’ unfortunate to hear that some of sport federations have access t funding but not utilizing it accordingly, and others have no funding structures on how to apply for grants, whereas, others have no access to facilities which municipalities have built, and so on. How then, do you expect us to produce world class athletes when complexities persist unabated?” he asked.
Says the Dep Minister, we hope some of these challenges will be met head on and give clear directive on what should be done. This is not going to be a ‘talkshow’ gathering, he warned.
Also to be unveiled is the National Sport and Recreation Plan which seeks to project the future of sport, particularly development and identifying loopholes which needs urgent attention.
Re-aligning of sport means prioritizing other sporting codes which have larger followership, simply referring to football, rugby and cricket.
On the issue of funding, it was noted with dismay that some corporate sponsors were not keen in developing sport using excuses which beset CSA as classical examples, and so. However, those keen are unhappy with the proposals and policies outlined by federations.
“We’re going to use the Indaba as an educational gathering as well to help out when coming to such matters. Funding and sponsorships is the cornerstone of our success. The department has limited budget thus it cannot please everyone,” commented Dep Minister.
All the stakeholders from sponsors, sport federations, schools governing bodies, varsities and sport administrators are invited to submit their inputs on how to improve the funding models, he says.
Asked about the accessibility of facilities and development sport in disadvantaged communities, the Dep Minister pointed out that, already engagements with Salga and National Education and Human Settlement Departments are reaping good results.
“Fortunately, all the above have listened to our concerns and, the map way forward will be outlined at the Indaba. What is the purpose of having facilities but have no access to?” he asked.
On the subject of rural sport development, he noted with concern that most school children travel from one area to another to use facilities and, for their respective sporting codes. This affects their school routine programme, he said.
Sumayya Khan, Acting Director General Sport also highlighted that sport funding should be emphasized.
“We hope corporate sponsors would afford us the chance to hear our concerns and help in re-shaping sport in our country. Unfortunately, the National Treasury does not allocate us enough to cater for everyone; however, we’re optimistic the Indaba would be the correct platform for such matters to be addressed fully.”
Sport tourism was also noted as one of money-spinners’ in the country and should be given priority.
Most of international sport travelers visit our country to support their respective teams, thus staying longer and resulting in much needed income in improving the GDP of the economy, as would be the case with the current cricket SA vs Australia ODI tourney.
This year’s theme will be premised on ‘From Policy to Practice’ and, the understanding is, it would outline policies and finally practice what they preach.