SPEECH ON MINISTERIAL OUTREACH PROGRAMME BY MS. TOKOZILE XASA (MP) MINISTER OF SPORT AND RECREATION SA AT MERWEVILLE, WESTERN CAPE.
Good Day Ladies and Gentlemen
This year our government celebrate and mark the centenary of the life of Mama Albertina Sisulu, a fearless champion of democracy and human rights. The centenary celebrations have been running since the beginning of the year under a theme: Albertina Sisulu “A woman of fortitude” this is in recognition of her courage, discipline, integrity and love for her country.
Throughout her life Ma Sisulu faced numerous obstacles, yet she continued to fight tirelessly for a better South Africa. Lesser women might have crumbled under the relentless assault she faced by the apartheid regime, but she never once waivered. We therefore hope young women of Merweville community will take leaf out of Mama’s life and be of service to their community and our country.
The work we do in the department of Sport & Recreation is mainly driven by the directive of the Eminent People’s Group (EPG), Sport Transformation status report, the main task of our mandate is to create an active and a winning nation that is representative of its people. Our department therefore has a task to create that enabling environment for our people to keep active and in all South African communities identify and nature talent.
We must undermine the Apartheid design that ensured those who were born from poor communities have little chance of living up to their potential that their success will only come by chance. Our ultimate objective is to level the playing fields so that the majority of South Africans have equitable access and opportunities to participate and achieve in all areas of sport.
As the department of Sport & Recreation therefore we embarked on a journey to achieve this objective of equalizing opportunities for all our people. During the budget vote in Parliament we seek to respond to the challenge of sport infrastructure backlog. We said, “An intervention to ensure that we improve access to participation opportunities, has been the approval of the national facilities plan. We are on average rolling out 60 quality facilities on the various grades, that an amount of R287m has been ring-fenced on the MIG to drive the roll out of these facilities.”
Today we are opening this facility which boost a soccer and Rugby field with internal irrigation system, Netball court and Multipurpose hall at a cost of R12,5million. We must not tick the box, we must build genuine things for our people and this facility attest to that.
This facility, as required by NDP, must contribute towards social integration in this community and therefore add to efforts of promoting social cohesion and nation building.
We are currently rolling out two sport facility every second week across our country, this is our second time here in the Western Cape, a day before our departmental budget vote we opened a similar sport facility in Swellendam municipality.
To ensure that these facilities are not white elephant, schools must become the primary users. We fundamentally believe that school sport is the ultimate platform from which to transform South African sport from a dominant minority representation to a majority inclusive reality. It is the foundation of the South African sport system’s future sustainability and ultimate level of competitiveness. With these new sport facilities I have no doubt that the primary school here will produce more Caster Semenya’s, Rabada’s and Akani’s that will future represent our nation.
I therefore urge parents to ensure kids remain active in sport, as it does more than recreation but teaches learners the value of fairness, teambuilding, equality, discipline, perseverance and respect. Sport provides soft skills that are mostly needed for responsible citizens. Therefore it is extremely important for parents and educators to appreciate the value of sport in education.
I am happy that we started our day with ‘I Choose To Be Active’ walk to the mountain with the mayor to have a view of this area, and our aerobics session, this kind of lifestyle will go a long way to prevent many lifestyle diseases, like diabetes, stroke, heart diseases. Major factors remain tobacco use, lack of physical activity and inadequate nutrition. To live longer and enjoy fruits of our democracy we must change our lifestyle, physical activity has no age.
Two weeks ago we opened a similar facility at Hlogotlou in Limpopo, I was impressed by a group of old grannies (VAKHEGULO/OoMakhulu) who played soccer in their area. VAKHEGULO/OooMakhulu were invited in Russia to play in a veteran’s league championship. I equally invite all old people to take full advantage of this facility and keep fit.
The Community here must take note that Sports and Recreation South Africa has fought very hard to get a R300Million ringfenced in the MIG. In fact Beaufort West was one of the greatest beneficiaries of the ringfenced grant, this is a community facility and the community together with the municipality must ensure that they take care of the facility and make sure that it is accessible to members of the community, we plead with the community to take good care of this facility, so that generations to come can continue to utilize this facility for the benefit of the sporting community in and around this area. We are confident that the community will keep this facility clean judging by the cleanliness of this area.
In conclusion, let me invoke the words of our former President Nelson Mandela, whom we are also celebrating his centenary this year, that “Sports has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope, where there was once only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination. Sports is the game of lovers.”
Let us equally hope through this sport facility, our youth will be inspired to do more, that their hope will be re-ignited. That in future will look back and be proud that this facility has produced champions.
I thank you