Mbalula: racism should be dealt with vigorously

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria – Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula says all forms of racism on and off the field must be seriously dealt with – and not with a simple handshake.

“It should be known that all forms of racism on the field and outside the field of play would be dealt with vigorously not with mere handshaking,” said Mbalula.

His comments come after FIFA President Sepp Blatter last week suggested during a television interview that there was no racism in football and that if such racial incidents occur, they must be settled with a handshake.

Blatter, who was severely criticised by the British media, has since apologised for his remarks.

Mbalula was speaking at a two-day Sport and Recreation Indaba on Monday aimed at clarifying and auctioning a Sport and Recreation Plan, among other things.

“For years, we’ve hosted sport izindaba, but we discuss the same issues without any visible implementation. The 2011 indaba is our effort to divorce the historic handling of similar indaba from a razzmatazz of ideas that will result in a razzmatazz of delivery and implementation.”

Mbalula said the gathering came when they were still grappling with the issues of recreation.

“The name of our department talks to recreation but we haven’t, as the sport sector, come to a common understanding of what this recreation is all about. We need to have a common understanding that clears up how our current programme of mass participation links to what should be known as recreation.”

He further said school sport was another critical matter that delegates must engage on.

The sports minister said there was a lack of financial resources in sport and quipped that the National Lottery Board chairperson, Dr Alfred Nevhutanda, should contribute R200 million towards sport development in schools – much to the applause of delegates.

“We may still need to go cap-in-hand to our counterparts in government and the National Lottery to request funding after the finalisation of the Sport and Recreation Plan but this time around, we will do so with a solid plan that will back up our request,” he said.

Opening the two-day indaba, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe stressed the importance of transforming all sporting codes. He said all the remaining challenges in the sporting arena were driven by the vision of transformation, unity and development.

“On the whole, we are a winning nation and so there is nothing cast in stone in our stagnation or lack of progress in whatever field of human endeavour.

“Let me repeat my confidence in the potential of this event to enable the blooming of a hundred flowers of ideas so that the sport and recreation fraternity’s strategic priorities are captured in the National Sport and Recreation Plan,” he said.

South African Football Association (Safa) vice President, Danny Jordaan, said that in the past they had held a number of indabas that only focused on policy development.

“I think this one is beyond that because it is certain that it will move towards the implementation of all those developed policies.” – BuaNews