National Assembly, 13th April 2011
The role of sports in any society cannot be
overemphasized. Here in our own country, we have seen sport being
used in the past as a divisive tool; meant to segregate racial
groupings from each other. Now we must ensure that going forward
sport is used as a tool to unite and build our country.
It is from this premise that we believe that the
role of sport and recreation is grossly underestimated given the
challenges we face as a country, especially in terms of youth
welfare. I'm not convinced that we as a country have come remotely
close to harnessing the development and healing potential that
sports and recreation can offer our country.
It is our belief that the many problems that our
youth face can be reduced through a vigorous sports policy,
initiated in the community, encouraged in the schools and, where
appropriate, promoted as a career choice. The IFP therefore wishes to
encourage the Honourable Minister to go further with the
Department's school sport program in achieving the objective of
eradicating the high levels of juvenile crime in our country. We all
know the saying: "idle hands are the devils playground".
As the IFP, we recognize that sports
infrastructural development is paramount to the development of
sporting codes. We are saying; as long as government is not paying
attention to the need for providing requisite sport infrastructure
in schools and rural communities, with an objective of bringing more
disadvantaged youth to sports, transformation will remain a mere
However, the IFP strongly believes that
government's role in sports should be limited to a supportive and
regulatory one. Government's support should, however, not be limited
to sport codes that are already well developed in our previously
disadvantaged areas, but has to be extended to those codes that have
been considered for decades to be elite sports such as golf, cricket
Honourable Speaker, by classing golf as a
non-priority code is a perpetuation of the status quo. This sporting
code has an industry that generates not millions, but billions of
Rands of which our previously disadvantaged community share little
or no benefit. A sports code with this kind of revenue generating
capacity should be utilized to benefit a greater part of our
society. The starting point, Minister, would be to break the
perpetuation of the status quo of golf being a sport for whites and
a handful of blacks, to transforming golf to being a sport that, like
soccer and netball, is a sport that truly develops on a grand scale
to the benefit of all South Africans.
The place to start Honourable Minister is in the
schools. The benefits of this for our disadvantaged pupils are under
estimated and I can assure you that you will be pleasantly
Sport as a catalyst and direct contributor of job
creation and to the GDP is equally underestimated and subsequently
underexploited. It thus stands to reason that greater efforts are
needed to equip especially our youth with sport skills and sport
administration skills, ultimately equipping them holistically for
careers in the broader sports fraternity.
This again would be given massive impetus if sport
or physical training and sport theory is taught at our schools.
Reviving sport in our schools would help both.
Contact: Mrs Pat Lebenya-Ntanzi MP, 078 186 3619.