Grassroots development the only sustainable way to transform sport

Following the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport‘s budget for the 2016/17 financial year, Minister Anroux Marais has presented ceremonial cheques in all six districts across the province.

pgwcFor the 2016/17 financial year, over R8 million is afforded to more than 120 sporting federations in the province. This allocation will undoubtedly promote sport development and contribute towards equitable, accessible and affordable sport facilities and programmes. It will also promote school sport by assisting with structures, competitions, talent identification and development.

Each district received the following financial support:

  • Cape Winelands District – R1 739 000
  • West Coast District – R615 000
  • Eden District – R 2 130 000
  • Cape Metropole District – R3 019 000
  • Overberg District – R430 000
  • Central Karoo District – R110 000

The Department is committed to creating opportunities for youth. By supporting  sport development at grassroots level, the Department aims to advance unity, hope, reconciliation, respect, pride, diversity and a sense of belonging – all of which are much needed in the current national climate we find ourselves.

In announcing the Department’s funding for sports development, Minister Marais expressed concern at how National Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, has opted to use sport as a punitive measure rather than a unifying means. This follows Minister Mbalula’s announcement to revoke the privileges of four major federations and to further ban them from bidding for international events.

“Politics is best accommodated in Parliament and rallies. We need to do the hard yards at grassroots level – providing as much funding and support as possible. This is only sustainable way to achieve transformation. We will not reach our goals through quick fixes and political grandstanding. In the Western Cape, we refuse to politicize sport development. The allocation of over R8 million to sport federations and major events will increase the pool of local talent and make sporting excellence accessible to all,” said Minister Marais.

Minister Marais further reiterated that a quota system can never achieve the same impact as a sustained commitment to grassroots development. “I have had many engagements with sport players and most reject the quota system implemented by the national government. They feel it discredits their excellence as sportspeople and demeans their selection in a team, as it is based on the colour of their skin and not their prolific skills”.

We should never underestimate the immense power of sport to unite and build a nation of differing cultural backgrounds, mother tongues and even political affiliations. We are all South Africans unified by supporting one team, singing one anthem and flying one flag.

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