Mbalula needs R10bn from Cabinet

Minister says in Parliament his department’s budget allocation is ‘minimal in real terms’

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula will soon present the R10 billion national sports and recreation plan to the treasury for urgent endorsement.

Mbalula revealed this during his budget vote speech in Parliament this week.

The plan was approved by Cabinet last year after it was adopted at the National Sports Indaba in 2011.

“Cabinet will have to budget plus-minus R10 billion towards the fulfilment of the objectives of the (plan),” he said.

The plan is an eight-year sustainable road map that will be reviewed in 2020. Its objectives are to:

» Provide mass participation opportunities through active recreation;

» Maximise access to sport, recreation and physical education in every school in South Africa; and

» Promote participation in sport and recreation by initiating and implementing targeted campaigns.

Mbalula termed his department’s budget allocation of R1 billion for the new financial year as “minimal in real terms”.

It is up from R848 million in the previous financial year.

Sports federations will share R815 million with provinces and municipalities, while R258 million will be channelled into the department’s activities and salaries, said Mbalula.

He also announced that his department had received a special allocation of R156 million for the African Nations Championships that South Africa will host early next year.

“This amount will be divided between the (championships’) local organising committee and the host cities,” he said. The split is R36 million for the local organising committee and R120 million for the four host cities.

The 16-nation competition will be staged in Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Polokwane and Kimberley.

Mbalula’s department told Parliament early this month that its priorities this year included athlete and coach support programmes, facilities, training of technical officials, education and training, and sports broadcasting and sponsorships.

But Mbalula has immediate financial challenges to address in codes such as athletics and swimming.

He handed Swimming SA R2.7 million to lift off the burden on their preparation for the world championships in July, but warned that “funding of the federations is a matter that requires corporate sponsorship. We don’t give funding to anybody”.

He added: “It is our obligation to support our federations when they go to compete internationally. This is a stop-gap measure for the championships.”

Swimming SA CEO Shaun Adriaanse said the bulk of the allocation will go into development, while R700 000 will cover the costs of the Barcelona-bound team.

“The R2 million is a baseline allocation in which a portion – plus-minus 50% – will go to the developmental programme.”

Mbalula said their developmental programme includes clubs and capacity building.

Athletics SA, which is currently under the administration of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), is crippled by debt and they also need to prepare a team for their global championships in Russia in August.

Sascoc this week injected R400 000 into swimming and had already committed to fund the track-and-field team in their trip to Moscow.

Reacting to Mbalula’s budget speech, Sascoc president Gideon Sam said: “The sport movement supports the minister’s input. The reality of the matter facing sport is that, without money, you can’t achieve much.

“The infrastructure remains low and participation remains unequal because the rural areas are where it is needed most.”

» Mothowagae was flown to Cape Town by the sports ministry for its budget vote speech in Parliament

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