Statement by the Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA), Honourable Mr. Fikile Mbalula on the occasion of the Press Briefing to Announce the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa’s(SRSA) support towards the London 2012 Olympic Teams, Sandton Sun Hotel, Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, Republic of South Africa
23 Mar 2012Programme Director;
The Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Honourable Mr Gert Oosthuizen;
The Director-General of Sport and Recreation, Mr Alec Moemi;
1st Vice President of SASCOC, Ms. Hajera Kajee;
Presidents of all our Federations present here;
A special welcome goes to the Presidents of SAFA, SAHA, SSA, ASA and the Chairperson of the National Lotteries Board Prof. A Nevhutanda
Heads of Departments, CEOs and Senior Managers from Provinces present here;
All Staff Members of SRSA who have made this event possible;
Media personnel and Friends;
Fellow South Africans;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
On 25 July 1991, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Commission on the South African status in International Sport wrote a letter to the South African Sport Bodies to invite South Africa to participate in the first Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, after a sustained period of cultural and sporting isolation.
In this letter the International Olympic Committee indulged itself on reasons for expelling South Africa from the Olympic Games and the opportunities missed by South Africa by not participating in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 right through to the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988.
After being convinced by our progress in Sport and Recreation transformation, they decided to include South Africa as one of the nations who will qualify for participation in the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. They did that because, they trusted the commitment of our leadership, both political and in sport, that we will achieve a non-racial, non-sexist, united, democratic and prosperous sport system in our country.
Since that fateful day our sporting bodies prepared themselves for the unknown. They overwhelmingly committed themselves to succeed and triumph against the nations of the world; participating as equal partners on the world sport and recreation stage.
Since then, we have participated in the International Sporting Arena like any other nation achieving international recognition in the area of sport excellence and successes. We progressed since 1992 in breaking the odds. We have managed to gain two medals in 1992 in the Barcelona extravaganza as we participated for the first time after so many years of isolation; we went up to five medals in 1996 in Atlanta, immediately after the 1994 democratic elections; as well as maintaining the same status in 2000 when we participated in Sydney.
Surely, this performance can be attributed to the smooth transition of our country and the trust that our people have put on our national teams to succeed. We’ve achieved wonders in 2004 in Athens when we won six medals. Our performance unfortunately declined since the 2008 Beijing Olympics coming back home with only one medal.
After the 1990 negotiations about the future of sport and recreation in a democratic South Africa, we knew then as we know today that after so many years of isolation in sport and recreation, our country will face tremendous challenges in sport and recreation; especially on areas of competency and excellence.
However, in 1995, 1996 and even in 2010, we have proven that South Africa should be counted amongst the nations of the world who can compete and excel. We have shown the world what South Africans are made of.
In this regard, we won the 1995 and 2007 Rugby World Cups; we shortly thereafter won the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations and we hosted a successful Cricket World cup in 2003 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup and many major sporting events. This has shown Africa and the world that South Africa is indeed an active and a winning nation, and one of the best hosts of mega events.
Ladies and Gentlemen, when we established the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) in 1991, we were positioned to participate and contribute towards the sport and recreation arena in the world. Since then we have put all our trust in the ability of SASCOC to prepare and bring us quality athletes who can compete in the world stage and bring back medals to our country.
In this instance, I would like you to record the following historical facts:
Hence, we know by now that we are going to 2012 London Olympic Games with this recorded deficit. But, we encourage our national teams to lead by a dream of a winning nation. We know by now that since then we have managed to win some important competitions. Building up towards the 2012 Olympics in London our teams, including Banyana Banyana and the Hockey Women’s’ Team have eventually made us proud. Swimming South Africa has made it again as they always make us proud as South Africans and all our national squads that are going to represent us in London; and this team in the final analysis is Team South Africa.
- In 1920, in Antwerp, we recorded ten medals;
- In 1952, in Helsinkin, we bagged another ten medals; And declined since then, but;
- Managed to cover the space by collecting five medals in Atlanta, in 1996 and did the same in the year 2000 in Sydney;
- Ultimately scored a bonus of six medals in Athens in 2004;
- And experienced a disappointing decline since 2008 with a record of achieving only one medal in Beijing.
We are, here today, to offer our unwavering support to all our national teams who qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Games. We do this to show our undivided support for all our athletes and our national teams on their journey to London. Our country is behind you!
As a Department of Sport and Recreation, we have put aside an amount of thirty four million, two hundred and forty thousand (R34, 240, 000) for the operational excellence of our teams who are busy preparing for the London Games.
This amount is aimed at improving the quality and competitive ability and capability of our athletes and federations in making their preparations for the 2012 London Olympics and thereafter. It is an attempt to boost the morale and readiness of our teams towards the Olympic Games.
In this instance, we are happy to transfer an amount of One Million (R1, 000, 000. 00) to the South African Women’s Hockey Team; at the same time we would like to transfer an amount of another One Million (R1, 000, 000. 00) to SAFA for Banyana Banyana’s cost of the preparation to the London Olympics. We will in the same token transfer an amount of Two Million (R2, 000, 000. 00) to Swimming South Africa to encourage our swimmers to excel as they always do.
In overall transfers, we would like to announce that we will give the South African Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) an amount of Twenty Six Million Rands (R26, 000, 000. 00) in order to support the work of these teams going forward into the June, 2012 London Olympic Games and provide the necessary support to all our athletes. As you all know, we have already deposited six million rands (6) into the account of SASCOC for this purpose.
Thus we believe that this commitment to the ‘Road to London’ will become a ‘life blood’ for our national teams towards and during the Olympic Games in London as well as giving them strength to succeed and excel when they come back.
In addition to the SRSA contribution to the London Olympics preparation the Lottery Board has shown its unwavering support to Team South Africa by contributing an amount of forty seven million, five hundred thousand rands towards the Olympic preparations, team delivery and team presentation. We would like to thank the Lottery Board for its sustained commitment towards sport and recreation in South Africa.
We would also want to take this opportunity to call on all the South African Business entities and individuals to support this initiative and adopt any of the teams going to London and make our dream a success.
We believe that government cannot do this alone; we need all South Africans, especially our private sector to come on board and contribute towards the success of our national teams in the Olympic Games this year.
We hope that the investment we make today to our national teams and athletes willgo a long way to support our efforts to be a winning nation whilst at the same time it will encourage the private sector to do likewise.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the sponsors that have already contributed towards building our national teams in previous years and who are still contributing to the work of our national teams.
We would like to say to all of them, ‘working together we can do more’ to make sport possible and accessible to all.
Issued by: Sport and Recreation South Africa
23 Mar 2012
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