Statement by TW Nxesi MP, Minister of Sport and Recreation on the Announcement of Team South Africa to attend the Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast, Australia.

The presidents and leadership of SASCOC and the national federations

The athletes, coaches and officials

The media

Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to participate in this important event – the announcement of Team South Africa to attend the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in April this year.

To SASCOC and the national federations, as well as coaches and officials, I say – carry on with the work of preparing our athletes for the tournament – and make sure that they lack for nothing. [No more dodgy track suits.] Also, it is very important that you very clearly explain the criteria for selection – both to the athletes, sporting bodies and the general public. This matter has caused confusion in the past.

Our support for sport development, transformation and the preparation of national teams is a priority for government – expressed in Outcome 14 – nation building and social cohesion. Remember the words of our late President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – who was himself a sportsperson – and I quote:

“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.”

The signs are good for South Africa in these games – during the qualifying competitions our swimmers and track and field athletes have excelled. In the netball quads last week and the Rugby 7s at the weekend our teams were outstanding – although the Rugby 7s will be analysing where they went wrong in the finals.

Finally, let me address a few words to the athletes who have been selected for Team South Africa: Never forget that you are here today as a result of your own hard work and commitment.

Keep up the good work
Represent your country to the best of your ability
Your country is behind you – and we all wish you well.
Let the Games begin.
Thank you.

SRSA has many events happening throughout out the year and we need volunteers!

Major Stakeholders