Statement of the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Honourable FA Mbalula (MP), on the occasion of the Sport and Recreation Sitting of the National Assembly of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa on for the National Sport and Recreation Indaba, Cape Town, Western Cape Province, Republic of South Africa
15 Nov 2011“From Policy to Practice”
Honourable Mr Speaker
Chief Whip of the Majority Party
Members of Parliament
Fellow South Africans
On 9 -10 October 2008 Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA), the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the broader sport and recreation movement met at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in KwaZulu Natal to pause and take stock on the road traversed since the establishment of the fully blooded Sport and Recreation department in the history of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and at the same time craft a way forward for the transformation of the sport system in the Republic under the theme “From Mass Mobilisation to Excellence - Improving the Integration and Organisation of Sport”.
At the centre of the debates in the 2008 National Sport Indaba was the issue of transformation where delegates at conference recognise the slow pace and resistance to change in sporting circles of our country.
Conference believed the journey to full transformation in sport and recreation was still far from over and delegates cited living examples in rugby and cricket that pointed out to lingering prejudices. Delegates and Conference re-iterated the necessity to transform and reminded players and administrators that transformation is non-negotiable; and it is part of our Constitutional mandated and Government agenda.
Matters relating to broadening access to all and the need to bring the building of sport and recreation facilities back into the fold of the Department of Sport and Recreation; and all other issues relating to reviving of the schools sport and promotion of physical education where highlights of the 2008 Sport Indaba.
Honourable Members, four years down the line we are here again sitting here grappling with the same issues as raised in the 2008 National Sport Indaba.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in November 2010 the President of the Republic, President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet and afforded us an opportunity to lead sport and recreation in South Africa. In doing so the President expected us to change the content and context of sport and recreation landscape in South Africa.
In fulfilling such mandate Sport and Recreation South Africa and sporting community will be hosting a National Sport and Recreation Indaba from 21 to 22 November 2011 to reconstruct, revitalise and transform the sport and recreation sector under the theme ‘from policy to practice - not just another Indaba’.
The birth of the National Sport and Recreation Indaba is to be located in the context of our assertion when we outlined the vision of the new sport and recreation leadership as appointed by President Zuma in 2010.
Even when we addressed the joint press conference with SASCOC in March 2011, we reminded South Africans that:
“Four years after the 2008 Durban National Sport Indaba and sixteen years since the 1994 democratic breakthrough, but still our country is overwhelmed by inequalities, uneven development in Sport and Recreation.”
We agreed with SASCOC that we need to move with speed in ensuring that together we embark on a broad consultative process that will involve the entire nation in a national and robust debate on transformation that will culminate in a conceptual and contextual transformation framework for the country.
Our stated intentions on this matter were to launch a rolling, interactive and forward looking process which will build a people-centered, developmental and transformative discourse that will continue to evolve organically from every nook and cranny of the South Africa society, inspired by thoughts and enhanced by opinions of all sport loving people in their organised and voluntary formations, gaining its own momentum and culminating in a vibrant debate and solid platform for national dialogue that will culminate in the national indaba in November.
The aforementioned assertion provides SRSA, Federations and other stakeholders with the basis to outline to the nation the purpose of the National Sport and Recreation Indaba as follows:
- Retracing the road traversed by the people of South Africa since apartheid was dislodged from power and replaced by a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and free South Africa. Where did we start? How far have we come and where to from here?
- Reviewing the instruments, policies, strategies and tactics that have been relied upon over the past sixteen years for the transformation of the South Africa society. Is there room for review and refinement?
- Aligning the SRSA Road Map strategic priorities to current and future policies and legislation with in the sector. How do we go about this alignment? What are the programmatic and budget implications?
- Fast-tracking a transformation charter and delivery mechanisms for all sectors and role-players involved in sport and recreation. What is transformation? Who are the drivers and participants in this transformation discourse? What do we want to achieve?
- Setting in motion campaigns, projects, strategies and tactics that will leap-frog the sport and recreation sector into new realities and possibilities. Is this a pipe-dream or an achievable objective?
- Dealing with the provision of facilities in disadvantaged communities within the context of the two economy analysis, whilst ensuring that there is access, integration, quality, excellence and global competitiveness. How can this be dealt with?
- To facilitate collective buy-in from all stakeholders to the National Sports Plan.
- To streamline implementation towards common objectives.
- To consider feedback from the Provincial indabas and the SASCOC/ National Federations (NFs) indaba.
- To elevate public awareness of the National Sports Plan by means of an effective and targeted media campaign.
It is in this regard, the Ministry of Sport and Recreation is hosted different sector to sector consultations ranging from national Sport and Recreation Civil Society Consultation Assembly, Sport and Business Forum, Sport and Recreation Public Entities Engagement, Sport Media and Editors Consultation Forum etc to afford an opportunity to also take stock on the road traversed in sport and recreation and construct a way forward that will assist the sport and recreation community to reconstruct and revitalise the sport and recreation sector for an active and winning nation and to contribute in the struggle to improve the lives of all South Africans.
However, we expect that the content of the discussions and engagements in the Indaba will firmly remember the words of the Secretary General of the United Nation Mr Ban Kin Moon when he once said that:
“Sport has become a world language, a common denominator that breaks down all the walls, all the barriers. It is a worldwide industry whose practices can have a widespread impact. Most of all, it is a powerful tool for progress and development”.
In responding to the above, delegates will be called upon to equally and honestly respond to the commitments enshrined in the multilareral International Convention against apartheid in sports; as adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1985, which stated the following:
“The expression ‘apartheid’ (and discrimination) shall mean a system of institutionalised racial segregation and discrimination for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over another racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them, such as that pursued by South Africa, and ‘apartheid in sports’ shall mean the application of the policies and practices of such a system in sports activities, whether organised on a professional or an amateur basis … Convinced that the adoption of an International Convention against Apartheid in Sports would result in more effective measures at the International and national levels, with a view to eliminating apartheid (and discrimination) in sports”.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is almost fifteen years after the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic and our people through that Constitution, gave the developmental state a political mandate to strategically respond to the abovementioned UN Convention and transform all the institutions of the state and other undemocratic institutions and practices based on the will of the people.
Indeed, there is much to celebrate in the new and democratic South Africa, including reforms in Sport and Recreation as instructed by the Convention. However, the strategic point of entry is a distinction between ‘structural reform and social reform as analysed by John Saul.
Structural Reform means community development and empowerment. In contextualisation in a sport perspective, it involves the provision of sport facilities, the development of sporting skills and the enhancement of sporting opportunities among the disadvantaged South Africans.
This in essence, requires a critical political context which integrates sport to other national goals and priorities. In content, this process of structural transformation of sport and recreation takes into cognisance areas such as education, health, economy, transport, employment and community development.
By contrast, the transformation of sport and recreation means redressing the imbalances of the past and isolated grievances. In the South African context, this refers strategically to deracialisation of elite privileges in sport and recreation.
However, Dr Douglas Booth in his book titled, “South Africa: elite sport is winning”, cautioned us that, “sadly, one finds little evidence of structural reform in South African sport. While some former anti-apartheid activists used sport to empower local communities, the majority view it as a convenient route to self-enrichment or, at best, as a symbol of racial reconciliation. Few care about developing sport in disadvantaged communities.”
This was said by Dr Booth, in November 1995; a year after the first democratic elections in our country and hardly a year before the formal adoption of the democratic constitution of the Republic.
Ladies and Gentlemen we must all be combat ready to join all South Africans in the battle trenches for a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, accessible, integrated and united sport and recreation system today and beyond.
We must collectively do this so inspired by the urgent task to build a collective case for sport and recreation in our national and global discourse, to sharpen our theory, analysis and organisation of sport and recreation in South Africa. Of cardinal importance, we must do so to chart a common vision, a common implementation plan, a common delivery mechanisms, across all spheres of government, for sport and recreation development and total transformation of our sector.
Our stated and unstated assumptions should be placed here in order to canvass public opinion and develop solutions and recommendations to the challenges of our age. In this context there must be no holy cows and we must leave no stone unturned in our quest to transform South Africa for the better. Let us embark on genuine and constructive debates and ‘fire chat’ conversations aimed in the altar of public discourse to be rigorously interrogated and subjected to public scrutiny.
We re-iterate that this debate is open to all, peasants, farmers, rural and urban women, workers, teachers and students, fans, taxi drivers, players and coaches, sports administrators and managers, politicians and bureaucrats, young and old!
Whenever and wherever South Africans meet, as we did with business, public entities, outstanding sport personalities and sport veterans, sport and recreation must exist and the ideals of a sporting and healthy nation should be our pre-occupation and clarion call! Let us all seize the moment and make meaningful inputs and contributions for a better sport system.
Let us make the vision of President Nelson Mandela live within all of us; by collectively endorse that:
“(Transformation) and Reconciliation is central to that vision which moved millions of men and women to risk all, including their lives, in the struggle against apartheid and white domination. It is inseparable from the achievement of a non-racial, democratic and united nation affording common citizenship, rights and obligations to each and every person, and respecting the rich diversity of our people.
It is, that if we are one nation with one destiny, then our first task is the collective eradication of the legacy of the inhuman system of apartheid (in sport and recreation and society in general) as a necessary step towards the reconciliation (and reconstruction) of our nation”. Address of Mandela at the Opening of the Presidents’ Budget Vote Debate, 2 March 1999.
Issued by: Sport and Recreation South Africa
15 Nov 2011
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