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Sam, Mbalula join forces to drive SA sport forward

SASCOC has wrapped up its President’s Council meeting in Johannesburg with an even stronger commitment to strengthening the sports movement in South Africa.

The country’s Olympic governing body, under President Gideon Sam, remains as dedicated as ever to driving sport as a medium of change in the country. And adding impressive weight to SASCOC’s bid to up sport’s game was Sports Minister Mr Fikile Mbalula who addressed the country’s some 80 National Federations on Sunday.

SASCOC are as keen as ever to work hand in hand with SRSA (Sports and Recreation South Africa) to transform sport from top to bottom in South Africa.

After last year’s ground-breaking Sports Indaba in Midrand, and the implementation of the National Sports Plan the Minister elaborated on the recent formation of The Eminent Persons Group to be responsible for advising him on the broad topic of transformation.

“Our next step is to discuss the detail of the terms of reference with SASCOC and all federations and sporting bodies. The terms of reference of this Eminent Persons Group will be unveiled after we have discussed all pertinent issues at a workshop with SASCOC,” said Mbalula.

“Given the uniqueness of sports bodies .. there must be a joint workshop with full participation and involvement of all sporting codes and federations and it must be a case of collective ownership,” said the Minister.

After the Minister’s address President Sam raised the question of the increasing issue of individual “mavericks” with their own agendas undermining the sports movement’s programmes and structures and asked whether they could rely on legislation to strengthen their defence.

Answering this poser the Minister said: “If we were to think of legislation then maybe SASCOC must come up with it and then we at SRSA would look at it… at all times we just need to be invited and over time the sports bodies and SASCOC have been very clear on theses issues. I agree that if, to deal with the problem and lay the matter to rest, legislation is critical and we can collaborate on this matter.”

As always there was the matter of funding to help sports move forward and the Minister gave his re-assurances. “When the Natonal Sports Plan is integrated it will involve funding. That will all happen but to start off there are certain things that don’t need money. Start with an idea, that idea develops into practice and then the last leg will be the funding. We can’t just fund something that hasn’t been tested but the government will come to the party to address funding.”

On the approaching London Olympics, the Minister’s trademark humour was, as always, most evident. “One thing that we have got right as a sports movement was in not making it too easy to qualify for these Olympics. This is not a joy ride. We’re not going to London to watch Father Christmas!”

Said Sam: “Everything that we have spoken to regarding funding and sport here this weekend is in line with the Minister’s way of thinking.”

Sam also spoke of the Coaches Framework mobilising to go around the country. On 1 June we will begin with a roadshow in all the provinces to explain and set things up. We’re moving towards our own national coaching conference towards the end of the year and we’re looking at more than 1000 coaches coming to the conference. It will be massive and show that the sports movement is a force to be reckoned with.”

The final session of the Council saw members clad in the green T-shirts that SASCOC are promoting and urging the public to wear on Fridays as a means to boost the Team South Africa brand ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics.

On the subject of extra funding, the meeting was also addressed by horse racing organisation, Phumelela’s betting executive Vee Moodley. He was punting the idea of introducing betting terminals to various sports clubs and organisations.

“The plan is to install our terminals in, for example, a sports club,” said Moodley. “You can then sell our sports betting products and make a commission on the turnover. We are proposing the sports club would get 15% of the monthly turnover and we would give a further 3% to that sports governing body. It’s a non-risk profit to the sports movement and we would assist with all agreement/licencing matters as well as training staff. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.”

The bottom line to emerge from Sunday’s meeting: President Sam and Minister Mbalula are punting the same vigorous path forward to transformation and development of sport in SA in order to unlock the true sporting potential of South Africa.


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