Minister speaks at Aquatics Champs
Gala Dinner: Keynote Address 20h00 – 20h10
Honourable TW Nxesi MP
Minister of Sport and Recreation
· Programme Director
· I am going to assume that all protocol was observed when I spoke at the Opening Ceremony.
· But I do think we have to particularly thank our host, the MEC for Sport and Culture in Limpopo Province, as well as the army of people who worked behind the scenes to prepare for this event – the LOC, the volunteers, the officials, the coaches and managers – you make it all possible.
I am well aware that you have had a long day – some travelling from other parts of the country; then the Opening Ceremony – enjoyable as that was. You are tired, you are hungry – and the only thing standing between you and your food is … me. So I promise I will keep this input short.
You may know that I trained and practiced as a teacher – so I can assure you of my long standing commitment to school sports. I was also involved in teacher trade unionism. In 2001, as SADTU, together with USSASA (United School Sport Association of SA) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Department of Physical Education, Sport and Human Movement Studies) – together we made detailed representations to Parliament’s Public Hearings on the Revised National Curriculum Statement. Our document was entitled: “Physical Education and Extra-Curricular School Sport, its rightful place in the Curriculum”.
Clearly we didn’t get what we asked for – but I just mention that experience to reassure you that – whilst I am new to this portfolio - I am committed to school sport as part of the larger vision for sport and recreation. That Vision being for: “An Active and Winning Nation”.
I have also, been made aware of the need to continuously review the operation of the National Championships programme and to seek alignment between National Federations and Schools Sport Codes. We also need to strengthen cooperation with our main partner – the Department of Basic Education – to ensure that we maximise the impact of our programmes – in the belief that working together we can achieve more.
We are all here today – brought together to celebrate a specific sporting code – swimming - but beyond that we are part of something much bigger - united in the belief that sport and recreation is a critical part of a holistic education and a healthy and purposeful life.
Our late President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – who was himself a sportsperson – had this to say:
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else can. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.”
End quote. Let me leave you with those wise words, and declare that dinner is served.