Young Gauteng athletes have been left in the starting blocks by the Gauteng Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (SRAC) as funding for their participation at the South African Schools Championships, to be held in Rustenburg, was not secured.
A concerned parent contacted me, indicating that a letter was received from the Gauteng Department of Education informing him that his son had qualified for the Gauteng team, but that attending this event would be at his own expense.
Funding for this event, which is received from the national sports Department and allocated to Gauteng, has been withheld – because the national department overshot its budget in December 2014.
These funds, which have been given to the team every year, are to cover costs of accommodation, transportation, meals and equipment. Without it, a vast majority of the 250-member team will be denied the opportunity to excel on a national platform.
This is once again another example of how government hinders the development of sports stars – particularly from the youth of disadvantaged communities.
Just last week, passionate members of the sporting community in the province made their grievances known during a stakeholder engagement at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, with complaints of inferior equipment, a lack of funding and dilapidated facilities regular points of contention.
Tomorrow, members of the Gauteng Schools Championship squad will receive letters of accomplishment for advancing to the SA Schools Championships at an awards ceremony hosted at Laerskool Kruinsig, in Kempton Park.
However, without funding, that is as far as they would go.
This event will be Gauteng Sports MEC, Molebatsi Bopape’s moment to shine if she can provide funding for these deserving athletes to compete with the best in the country.
However, failure to do so will show how this administration is not serious about growing sporting codes in the province, nor does it take its athletes and passionate sporting instructors seriously.
Paul Willemburg MPL
DA Shadow MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation
082 450 0815