The DA understands the role that sport can play in our democracy and the defining role it plays in shaping and influencing our identity – as individuals and as a country. We also understand that sport can play a role in more practical terms, as a mechanism to uplift and empower, as an opportunity to enrich day-to-day life, as a means to healthy living and as a profession for those with the ability and talent to achieve success at the highest level.
The value of sport and recreation as a social connector is one of its most powerful development attributes. (White Paper on Sport and Recreation, 2012)
The National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP)1 recognises the wide-ranging benefits of sport and active living, including its long-term health benefits, its capacity to strengthen relationships between communities, its economic potential and its impact on community well-being (including its success in addressing social challenges such as delinquency, crime, alcohol and substance abuse and domestic violence).
A national focus on sport and recreation therefore makes sense from the perspective of public economics.
For South Africans sport is, however, more than a sensible investment. It is a national obsession that brings people from different backgrounds together to support their sporting heroes. It is a source of national pride, and it builds social and cultural bridges by bringing South Africans together to compete with and against each other.
Our national sport policy must incorporate mechanisms to support the competitive athletes and teams that can become our sports ambassadors, it must develop a pipeline of sporting excellence, it must promote participation in recreational sport and it must unite the nation behind our national teams.
The DA supports the 2030 vision for South African sport as outlined in the National Sport and Recreation Plan, including:
- That South Africa is acknowledged as a leader in world sport and recreation, including its contribution to sports research;
- At least 50% of South Africans participate in sport or active recreation;
- That 80% of prioritised National Federations (NFs) attain and maintain a top three position in world rankings;
- That South Africa must be a choice destination for major events and sports tourism;
- Effective cooperation between sport and recreation entities in the implementation of a national sport plan – based on agreed upon roles and responsibilities; and
- The improvement of corporate governance in South African sporting entities, including ensuring that relevant bodies are appropriately constituted, that they are capacitated to perform their functions and that they align their activities with the objectives of the NSRP.
To achieve these objectives, Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) (the National Department of Sport and Recreation) must be developed into a professional sport support body with highly skilled personnel with the necessary expertise and experience to provide strategic support for sports development in South Africa.