‘No political will’ stalling sport development

IN FOCUS: Chairperson of the Chris Hani Sports Council, Benedict Jordaan, gives his thoughts on how the National Sport and Recreation Plan has worked out, nine years since inception Picture: SUPPLIED

In 2011 the then department of sport and recreation under minister Fikile Mbalula released an eight-year sport development plan under the 2030 vision of the National Development Plan.

The National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) was due for review this year, when its effectiveness and failures of implementation were to be scrutinised.

The Rep caught up with the chairperson of Chris Hani Sports Council, Benedict Jordaan, to talk about what progress had been made in the past nine years.

Do you think the NSRP has met its targets nine years on?

None whatsoever. There is no political will to move the transformation vehicle. It just needs implementation through a memorandum of agreements and budget from the national fiscus.

The plan speaks of the core values of an active nation, a winning nation and enabling environment at grass roots level. In your opinion, how far has the government gone in creating an enabling environment for athletes?

District government and local government are ready to support and implement their duties as it will revive small town and village economies and rural development through sport tourism through tournaments and events. Sport is a rural and township economy driver.

With an active nation do you feel we have made progress in getting young people to participate in sport and created the support structures to get them to elite level?

No. Sport development should not be run through a government department. The president, premier, district mayor, local mayor and ward councillor must champion sport from their offices. Bureaucracy utilises most of the budget that should go between the four lines. Sport and supply chain processes are diametrically opposed. Many rugby clubs are still waiting for prize monies from an Easter tournament held in 2017. It takes for ever to be processed.

Also on an active nation, have the historically disadvantaged schools been given support to foster sport development with access to all sporting codes, including those historically not accessible? With specific reference to the Chris Hani region, what has been done to address this?

We need to have a conversation with the mother of all vocations, education. Trade unions have to champion basic conditions of employment but we must comprehend the legacy and injustices of the past. Rural and township schools were never created for those communities to enjoy a full life. It thus needs a focused conversation. For example sport used to be played on Wednesdays. Now tests are written on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sports stars will not be able to balance academic grades and sport performance without the support system that a hostel or working to middleclass family might offer. My proposal will be that Fridays be set aside from 12 to 6pm as sports days for schools. Community sport under floodlights can than start at 6pm to 9 or 10pm. This will bring about social cohesion.

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