Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula congratulated Olympic governing body SASCOC and South Africa’s athletes for a job well done on obtaining 10 medals at the 2016 Olympic Games which ended in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil last week.
Mbalula was speaking at the national sports umbrella body’s 2016 Annual General Meeting at Olympic House, Johannesburg on Saturday, with close to 75 National Federations in attendance.
“We need to work harder and invest in sport in a similar fashion to Britain to get the best results and many medals. It’s time to have a budget focused on Olympics, every year we should get money for Olympics.
I am going to advocate and motivate to the government that we get a budget for Olympics over and above the money we receive for development of sports and NFs.
“It was a difficult road to Rio but we conquered and brought home 10 medals,” he added.
Mbalula also encouraged the meeting to support and rally behind the country’s Paralympians in similar fashion as they depart for those Games in a few days time.
Mbalula confirmed his support to all NFs, big or small, and also highlighted the need to diversify the country’s approach to sport and not only concentrate on the big three of football, rugby and cricket but other smaller sports as they have been doing with boxing and basketball.
In his address SASCOC President, Gideon Sam reviewed the just-ended financial year and highlighted areas that needed special attention in order to continuously develop sport as the administration of sport becomes harder each year.
“We all need to be vigilant and curb the scourge of doping as we are not in the clear as a country, we have to be on the alert all the time as NFs. Because of the money involved in sport, people are taking all sorts of chances. Doping is a threat to sport and as leaders of sport we should look at ways to control it,” said Sam.
Sam also noted that poor governance in National Federations is a cause of concern. “We have lost the art of meeting as sports clubs, regions and provinces and up to national level so that we can engage in different issues and know who is operating at what level. Too many disputes were reported in the previous year alluding to the lack of good governance,” he said.
Moving to funding, Sam reiterated, as he has done in previous meetings that the macro sports body and NFs cannot keep calling for funding if the product being sold is not good enough.
“To attract sponsors, we need to ensure that we have the right people and products in our NFs. We require thinking out of the box to raise money. Events such as the recently held Arnold Classic in Sandton, Johannesburg are a good example of how we can raise money. That was a very successful event.
“Follow the fans in order to attract sponsors. We will continue to find a mechanism of getting the National Lotteries Commission on our side, Sam added.”
In the same light, Mbalula urged corporate South Africa to come to the party in terms of supporting sport in South Africa.
“Corporate SA should not only offer support when athletes have won medals but should render assistance to athletes throughout their preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics. If corporate SA intervenes then we will succeed,” he added.
Moving to successes in the period under review, Sam commended the NFs on their hard work and encouraged them to continue as preparation for Tokyo Olympic Games begins.
Sam also applauded all athletes for doing the country proud by displaying great performances at the different multi-coded events in the past financial year. He also praised all the athletes who walked away with awards at the South African Sports Awards.
“We are a nation to be reckoned with when it comes to sport. Thank you to our NFs who are contributing in a great way to making SA what it is, because a winning culture becomes a habit and our athletes perform well,” Sam reiterated.
As the nation celebrates women’s month, Sam encouraged women to be part of sport administration and acquire a 50-50 percentage in various positions, as this is an IOC imperative as highlighted in the Agenda 2020 document.
Sam concluded his address by expressing his gratitude to all stakeholders including: NFs, media, sponsors (especially the National Lotteries Commission) for all their financial support to SASCOC and NFs and for the Bidding and Hosting of various events. He also thanked various Commissions, Olympic Solidarity, Commonwealth Games Federation, SRSA and provincial departments for ensuring that sport is well supported.