By SYDNEY MORWENG
The flambouyant Minister of Sports and Recreation Fikile Mbalula is leaving no stone unturned and will fight bitter end to rectify the flaws currently crippling certain sport federations.
Synonymous for his Grande entrance the Minister was addressing a contingent of members of the press and sporting organizations at SASCOC headquarters today.
The purpose of the gathering -for starters- was to craft the way forward for South African Sport, secondly attending to burning issues such as maladministration, mismanagement, squabbles at Cricket SA, Athletics SA, amongst others, and the preparations for London 2012 and bidding for 2020 Olympics, although nothing was mentioned on the multi-billion Formula One motoring bid by Cape Town later this year.
Mbalula took a swipe at sport federations that had tendency to manipulate their political connections to suit their egos that they will be dealt with in strongest terms.
“Instead of them promoting, developing, nurturing, and investing in development sport, they have their own issues. This is not a banana republic, he said much to the laughter of the packed audience.
Sport is a national issue, and this is where the buck stops,” he warned heavily.
First-timer to the local media was the MEC for Sport and Recreation in North West, Hlomane Chauke who also graced the highly charged gathering.
Sport has a fundamental role to play in our lives, he said.
Asked what challenges he faced since his appointment, the tall and bulky-looking Chauke said communication, investment, buy-in from private sector, establishment of academies, were some of contentious issues affecting sport development in NW.
“Communication is going to be chief paramount because this is what sells us to potential funders.
“It would, also be cynical of me not to mention that school sport is one of the key factors which dominated the cohesion of sport in the past, yet today it is no longer the case. What went wrong and how do we fix that?” he asked.
How does the department intend addressing that, I posed back the question?
“We have to engage with stakeholders at schools-level and identify the crux of the problem.
Although we have two or three academies in NW that on its own is not enough. We have to convince the private sector to come to the party and help were necessary, that would be the first to develop school sport before in the province before thinking of going national,” he pointed out.
According to Chauke his far-fetched mission would firstly to engage with mine companies because this is where sport has and still dominant.
“People should no forget that mines produced top athletes in the past, and my engagement with them will be on those bases, to help identify potential athletes within the communities they operate their business by funding and training them.”
He opined further that very soon they, will be hosting a lekgotla on sport were all stakeholders, federations, universities, coaches, and private sector will be invited to submit their opinions on how to elevate, re-organize and re-energize sport in the province.
“I promise this won’t be another cheap talk,” says Chauke firmly.