Sport MEC Delivers 2020-21 Budget Speech Amid Corona Virus Effects

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KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Hlengiwe Mavimbela, has tabled the 2020/21 budget vote totaling R481 217 million for the Department of Sport and Recreation amid the adverse effect of Covid-19 pandemic on the sector. The budget was delivered during the virtual sitting of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature on Friday, 06 June 2020.

MEC Mavimbela said the budget presentation takes place at a time when the sport and recreation sector is devastated by the cancellation of sport events, which has affected the livelihoods of practitioners within the sector.

“The current situation has forced us to think out of the box in coming up with innovative ways of delivering our mandate, looking at sport and recreation in the new normal. With this budget presentation coinciding with the commemoration of Youth Month, we look up to young people to lead the way in coming up with innovative solutions to our challenges. The hosting of the Comrades Marathon virtual race on 14 June is an example of how we can turn a rather gloomy situation into positive energy, utilising modern technology. The Comrades has over the years symbolised youth energy as it was held on the 16th of June from 1995 till 2006 and remains at the centre of Youth Month activities to date. The Department is supporting the virtual race, which has been dubbed - Race the Comrades Legends,” she said.

COVID-19 Relief Fund

She added that the Department has set aside R7million for the Provincial Relief Fund to assist athletes, coaches, technical personnel, sport federations, recreational entities and fitness industry at a provincial level whose livelihood and sustainability has been adversely affected by the cancellation of sport events and programmes due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“In these tough economic times, the fund will bring temporary relief to affected sport practitioners. But we are working hard towards a lasting solution to keeping the lucrative sports industry afloat. We will continue to engage with sport federations to ensure that thoughtful and comprehensive planning is in place to minimise the losses and allow them to stabilise themselves going forward.”

Funding policy

The Department has finalized the funding policy to guide the process of funding sport entities and community requests. “The purpose of this policy is to ensure that financial and non-financial support is managed in a transparent manner. The funding policy will give guidelines, management of transfer payments and establish fundamental principles that will be used to assess and evaluate request proposals from community organizations and entities. The policy also guides the process of bidding and hosting for major signature sport events.”

KZN Athletics

“I am happy to report that remarkable progress has been made with the governance of the Association (KZN Athletics) and they will be having elections later this year. The Department has worked closely with the Administrator, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and the Task Team put in place to pave the way towards a democratically elected board. The Association has temporarily closed-down their Academy in Utrecht with athletes relocated to their homes. The Department has budgeted R1,9 million to assist the Association to get its developmental programmes back on track and to support all efforts to reinstate the governance of the sport.”

Online exercises

In light of the National Lockdown occasioned by the Covie-19 outbreak, the Department has partnered with sport stars, fitness instructors and sport veterans to drive a stay-at-home message in support of government’s campaign. Video exercises for home use were recorded and distributed through digital media, including messages and exercises by the Premier and MECs. MEC Mavimbela said such initiatives will continue as part of efforts to utilize digital media as a avenue to deliver sport and recreation programmes, under the new normal.

E-sport

The Department is exploring opportunities within the E-Sport and gaming industry which is growing at an astronomical rate. “One fifth of the population in SA participate in E-Sports. A total of 70% of gamers are below the age of 35 whilst 80% of gamers are men and only 20% women. Therefore, there are ample growth opportunities within this sector. A thorough analysis is necessary here before we decide on the extent of our support for this sector in the Province, said MEC Mavimbela.”

Economic growth, job creation

With sport being a multi-billion rand industry, the Department is creating partnerships to explore all opportunities available in the sector: “We are exploring ways and means of ensuring that our people benefit from the entire value chain of sport, beyond the field of play. This includes educating athletes to exploit all opportunities available to ensure their sustainability even after their playing careers are over. In addition, the Department has identified sport apparel (soccer/netball kits and bibs and T-shirts) as a vehicle to empower local co-operatives.”

“There is a drive towards ensuring that KZN plays host to major national and international events such as football and rugby derbies, as a contribution towards the development of sports tourism particularly in rural areas and townships.”

Rural Horse Racing industry

The Department is working closely with stakeholders to ensure that the local people benefit from the many opportunities available in the equine (horse racing) industry. This includes skills development for grooms and jockeys, race stewards as well as farrier training and breeding programmes to improve the bloodline profile of indigenous racing horses, as well as artisans to produce leather products, harness and horse shoeing.

MEC Mavimbela said there is still ongoing consultation regarding the hosting of the Dundee July, which contributes approximately R20 million to the local economy and creates over 500 job opportunities.

Ward-based intervention

The Department will implement the Ward-based Development Intervention Programme to 225 prioritised wards, delivering a key basket of services designed to reach broad sectors of the population. The programme is anchored on the Club Development Programme with a funding of R17.6 million through the Mass Participation and Sport Development Conditional Grant. “The basket of services will see the implementation of programmes aimed at making clubs self-sustainable with skills development, employment of healthy lifestyle coordinators delivering programmes targeting crime, substance abuse and obesity. Clubs will receive the necessary training to support business growth and entrepreneurship. The Department will provide sport equipment and attire to over 1 100 clubs to encourage the youth to participate in on-going programmes.”

Sport Legends Programme

MEC Mavimbela also announced the Department will work closely with the KZN Sports Confederation to implement the KZN Sports Legends Programme that will give support to former players of different sport codes. Legends will also be linked to the delivery of key programmes within wards – including school sport and club development as talent scouts, coaches and mentors. A Trust Fund will assist legends with empowerment programmes and skills to sustain themselves after their playing careers.

Other programmes;

Rugby Development: The programme, including support for the Rugby Academy carries a budget of R2, 580 million, which targets youth groups at over 320 schools. The programme employs development coaches and includes “Tag” rugby, extensive coaching and talent development. The programme ends with a Provincial Talent Identification competition involving all Districts with a talented players winning bursaries to rugby playing schools in the Province.

Cricket Hubs and Regional Performance Centres (RPC) Development Programme: This programme is run in partnership with KZN Cricket Union and Cricket South Africa (CSA). The Department will invest R2, 270 million towards cricket development in the Province.

The Rural Sport Development Programme with a budget of R4,4 million, will target 100 clubs within selected traditional councils as identified by the House of Traditional Leaders, with the aim of uplifting sport in rural areas, as well as farming communities.

Football development: Support for professional football is through the hosting of the KZN Premier’s Cup with the Department investing R5 million into the tournament. The Premier’s Cup comes with a developmental model where each club is committed to hosting coaching clinics to identified schools.

 

 

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