Another Mbalula slamdunk

MISSION: Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula is on a mission to develop basketball.
MISSION: Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula is on a mission to develop basketball.

GOVERNMENT has engaged prominent US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson to assist in ensuring that the development of basketball in South Africa becomes a success.

At the same time Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has also roped in the South African embassy in the US to facilitate the development of various programmes with the NBA.

Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool has also been asked to oversee the process of establishing a joint task team with the leadership of the NBA.

This comes after Mbalula visited Orlando, US, last week to watch the All Stars fiesta, which also included a series of meetings with the NBA.

"The joint task team, will finalise the agreements on possible exchange programmes and expansion of basketball in South Africa," said Mbalula's spokesman Paena Galane.

"During the visit to the US, Mbalula also met with Reverend Jesse Jackson to lobby him to help us in ensuring this process with the NBA becomes successful.

"The advice we got from the NBA leadership during our meeting is that we must channel our resources into school and university basketball programmes.

"Basketball is big because of its success in the US, including at schools, colleges and universities. We want to see the same thing happening in South Africa.

"That is why Mbalula has initiated a partnership with the NBA, Basketball South Africa are also involved as custodians of basketball in the country."

Basketball South Africa deputy president Malumbele Ralethe said they appreciated the role of government in helping to develop the sport.

"We also have a new development programme with the NBA through Basketball Beyond Borders to assist in promoting the sport in Phokeng (North West)."

In Phokeng, the Bafokeng nation leader, Kgosi Leruo II Molotlegi spearheads the process of the development of basketball.

He is working closely with the NBA to bring coaches to Phokeng in order to develop the sport in the area.