Budget Vote 20: Sport And Recreation
By Mrs Pat Lebenya-Ntanzi MP

 

National Assembly, 13th April 2011

Honourable Speaker:

 

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 pipe dream.

 

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 and rugby.

 

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 surprised.

 

Honourable Speaker,

 

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.