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Mthethwa says provision of sports facilities is local government’s responsibility

‘I want members as they engage with this matter to understand whose responsibility it is constitutionally’

Tiisetso Malepa Sports reporter
Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa briefed the portfolio committee on sports on February 8 2022.
Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa briefed the portfolio committee on sports on February 8 2022.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The lack of sports facilities in townships and rural areas was discussed at great lengths by the portfolio committee on sports, arts and culture.

This happened during Cricket SA’s (CSA) virtual presentation of the organisation's plans to implement recommendations from the Social Justice and Nation-building (SJN) report findings, among other issues.

The SJN report concluded the development of previously disadvantaged communities is intrinsically tied to transformation, and facilities in the rural areas and townships are the first step to reaching the goal of equal access to cricket for all.

The report implored CSA, government and other relevant stakeholders to start from scratch to achieve the goal of making cricket a truly transformed sport.

CSA chairperson Lawson Naidoo led the delegation and unveiled a five-year strategic plan he said will take cricket and the organisation out of its current malaise and regain the trust of the public at large, stakeholders and the players.

Naidoo said the plan will incorporate the rolling out of facilities in previously disadvantaged communities, but said CSA cannot do it alone.

“This is a challenge beyond solutions by CSA alone,” said Naidoo.

“We have started discussions with the department on how we can come together to address those fundamental challenges.

“The pillars of our strategic plan are aimed at ensuring all those who want to get into the game of cricket are provided with the opportunities.”

Naidoo said his board is committed to ensuring there is growth and sustainability in cricket from the bottom up.

Acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki said CSA can only do so much with the R4m conditional grant from the department of sports.

“We have multiple hubs in townships and rural areas around the country where specific schools are given opportunities to play cricket,” said Moseki, adding CSA spends more than  R40m on developmental programmes.

“This is the least we can do. We obviously appreciate the R4m we get from the department but we could do with more."

Moseki said infrastructure issues are the responsibility of the departments of basic education and sports.

“Facilities in schools are not our responsibility. This is the responsibility of local government.”

Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa was present during the virtual sitting and shared CSA’s sentiments.

Mthethwa was at pains to absolve the sports ministry of the responsibility to build and provide sporting facilities, and said his department nevertheless helps where it can.

“We have been providing multi-purpose sports courts in schools as our intervention and have done this for more than a decade.

“In the past year every Friday I was at one or the other place providing these multipurpose courts, prioritising townships and villages.

“The issue of sports facilities, and this I think all of us must grasp, you have heard CSA that they can only do so much and this is not their task,” said Mthethwa.

“The constitution places responsibility of the provision of sports facilities on the shoulders of local government.

“As an example, if you have Lucas Moripe Stadium or ODI stadium and so on, it can’t be us from the department of sports, it is local government.

“Those pitches are in a metro municipality which, even if you want to compare its budget, it is 10 times more than the budget of the department of sport.

“You are talking R50bn. We must take heed of the constitution so we understand who is responsible to do what.

“I want members as they engage with this matter to understand whose responsibility it is  constitutionally.”

Mthethwa said his department is in continuous consultations with the department of basic education in this regard.

“The CSA board has come up with an ambitious strategic intervention for five years even though they are three years in office.

"It tells you there is an application of their minds of what needs to be done to ensure we have an outcome based engagement.”

TimesLIVE


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