Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Monday signed an Operational Agreement with the Departments of Basic Education (DBE) and Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA). This Agreement will give practical impetus to CSA’s development and transformation programmes by linking schools cricket with CSA’s Regional Performance Centres and Hubs (RPC & Hubs). CSA president Chris Nenzani says: ‘This is arguably one of the most practical arrangements we have ever conceived. It enables us to combine the resources of all three organisations, especially our human capital, to tackle one of the biggest challenges that we face and that is to improve cricket playing opportunities at disadvantaged schools. This initiative will support our existing development plans to achieve meaningful growth in the quality and number of schools playing cricket. The emphasis of our cooperation will be on developing cricket in township and rural schools where opportunities to play the game is very limited. Schools sport is the bedrock for elite sports, not only in South Africa, but around the world. There are benefits for children to play cricket that go well beyond the game itself. If they are meaningfully occupied on the sports field they are far less likely to get involved in anti-social behaviour and bad lifestyles and are likely to be far better achievers in the classroom as well. We warmly welcome the support of these two Government Departments. Overcoming more than a century of neglect of the majority of our school children is something that is beyond the resources of any individual sporting code. Therefore, let us roll up our sleeves, join hands and work for a very bright future. In the spirit of our Transformation Indaba 2013 may we say: Mayenzeke. Let it happen!’
In terms of this collaboration agreement the government departments commit to assist CSA to bring about the following:
* To fully operationalise 58 Cricket Hubs
* To develop cricketers at its Cricket Hubs, RPCs and Provincial Academies
* To run cluster leagues to feed into the School Sport Programme in the identified Hubs. For this, SRSA would provide 10 schools with equipment in each of the Hubs.
* Ensure the establishment of Cricket Code Committees for Schools at District, Provincial and National levels.
* To provide support to integrate the elite cricketers into the CSA High Performance Programmes through CSA’s existing integrated system of Talent Scouts, Coaching Mentors and Sports Science Programmes.
* To support worthy educational and sporting causes, from time to time, as identified by the three parties.
* DBE would extend its early learning and e-learning programmes to the CSA Hubs.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga welcomed the initiative as a practical step towards the realisation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concluded between the Departments of Basic Education and Sports and Recreation in 2011. This MoU called on sports federations to support school sports by providing technical support to school code committees, assist with the hosting of national events and to provide training and development opportunities to technical officials. Motshekga says: ‘I want to commend Cricket South Africa for committing to work closely with government to ensure that we provide opportunities to play the game to those most disadvantaged by apartheid sports policies. We are particularly pleased that the initiative will target those in rural areas and townships, as well as provide opportunities to young girls to benefit from specialised coaching at the CSA Cricket Hubs, Regional Performance Centres and Provincial Academies. Cricket, like other sporting codes, has the potential to build trust, tolerance and respect amongst communities kept apart in the past. Sport as a nation-building exercise, however, requires us to actively work towards levelling the playing fields. This initiative is a crucial step in that process.’
Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula says: ‘We welcome the initiative to spread cricket to South African Schools especially those in rural and townships areas. This great initiative fits perfectly with our transformation agenda which stresses the importance of schools sport in nurturing and developing young talent. Moreover, it focuses on the implementation of the National Sport and Recreation Plan Objectives which form the integral part of the Government-wide National Development Plan. Schools sport remains the bedrock to the entire sport development continuum in our country and creates a sustainable and vibrant platform on which all future champions will emerge.’