Gauteng Sport Department parties on while athletes are short-changed

By Solly Msimanga MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Sports:

The Gauteng Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SRAC) is more focused on hosting lavish events than nurturing young sporting talent in Gauteng.

In December 2014, the department spent R3,9 million over two days to host a “Gauteng pre-camp” event for athletes attending the SA Schools Championship to be held in 2015.

According to the department this event hosted 1 266 people.

This number seems extraordinarily high considering that only 250 young athletes qualified for the Gauteng team to attend the SA Schools Championship.

In March of this year, letters were sent out to the parents of the 250 qualifying learners indicating that funding had not been secured to supply transport, accommodation and food at the event hosted in Rustenburg.

While this funding comes from the National Department of Sport, the Gauteng SRAC department should have made up the shortfall, as many qualifying learners could not afford to attend.

Instead, the department sees fit to utilise its budget on costly events.

The DA has for years been calling for the re-prioritisation of the department’s expenditure from hosting lavish events and overseas trips for MECs to focussing its attention on budding young talent.

Gauteng Sports MEC Molebatsi Bopape, like her predecessors, continues to ignore this advice – dealing a crushing blow to sport development.

The DA will demand MEC Bopape provide more detail of the event hosted in December – and whether it entailed coaching, whether coaches were certified and how the event prepared learners for SA Schools Championships.

The DA will continue to pressurise MEC Bopape until this department re-prioritises itself from being a “department of events” to one that develops and nurtures the province’s sporting talent.