Statement by Sport and Recreation Director-General, Mr Alec Moemi
3 Aug 2012
Ladies and gentlemen,
Ekhaya is intended to among other things:
- Inspire people to visit South Africa.
- To showcase who we are, our success and our stadiums as places to host events.
- To give South Africans a ‘home away from home’ experience. A great way for South African’s to come together in one place.
- To host journalists both local and foreign with an intention of profiling our athletes, and country.
- To mobilise support for the South African Team to the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, in South Africa and abroad.
- To promote interest in South African sports, sporting codes and uniting behind a common identity.
For this year’s Ekhaya, we had to take a multi-sectoral approach and partnered with the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Northern Cape provinces, as well as Departments of Arts and Culture, Tourism, Government Communication and Information Systems, Trade and Industry, and Brand SA. These partnerships are allowing us to present a continuous line-up of activities at Ekhaya in order not only to share information about our country, with citizens of the world, but also to showcase our cultural heritage and build a case for business sector to direct their investment to South Africa.This is part of the concept of the Sport Economy, to make sport a vehicle for economic investment in the country.
We are proud that Ekhaya provides a ‘home away from home’ for our athletes in London. And is attracting close to 900 guests daily, excluding during special events such as dinners, and when our Olympic medalists visit the centre, where the guests count increases. Ekhaya is a global reality called by different names by different countries. What is interesting is that with countries such as Qatar, Morocco, South Korea, USA, Kenya, and Nigeria, having theirs closer to ours, even their citizens visit our Ekhaya.
We attribute this pulling power of Ekhaya to our brand positioning, and wish to thank our media who utilise the centre and attend our special events at Ekhaya. We have seen media from other countries also frequenting Ekhaya, thus exposing the South African experience presented by Ekhaya, and the South African brand to international markets.
We as government, have allocated R13 million to the Ekhaya Hospitality Centre.However, of this amount, the initial allocation as per the plan is R11.5 million. The rest is to enable us to meet any other critical needs that may arise. This amount in comparison to what we spent in Beijing in 2008, shows some improved planning on our part despite the differing foreign exchange rates between Beijing and London.
We have delegated senior officials from the department to manage the funds allocated to the centre and have no doubt that we will at the end of the day, get value for money. Our Ekhaya Team comprises 5 Officials and the department also had a team supporting the Minister in London, that is, his Adviser, Media Liaison Officer, Personal Assistant, and the Protector, whose inclusion was informed by the security assessment of the Games.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for affording us this opportunity to engage on our Olympic Team and related support. We will end it here and take questions if there any.
Issued by: Sport and Recreation South Africa
3 Aug 2012
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