SASCOC Briefs Parliament

SASCOC on Tuesday briefed the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sports and Recreation on its preparations for Rio 2016 as well as updated the Committee on Durban’s Bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. In assessing the state of sports in South Africa, president of SASCOC, Gideon Sam, said: ‘Sport in rural areas is in a lamentable state. Lack of infrastructure and funding has left our sports in dire straights. Our schools sports need immediate attention because we are not producing high quality sportsmen and women. We have to go back to the communitites and listen to their needs. Real transformation will only take place if it is done at school level. To this end, we as SASCOC are encouraging our federations to have a hand in schools sports.’ Addressing the selection criteria for Rio 2016, Sam reiterated that the selection policy has been agreed to and signed between SASCOC and all sporting federations.

Sam said: ‘There is going to be a huge debate in the media regarding this qualification criteria, but let us be clear, this has been accepted by all federations and we are urging the committe to understand this and to dismiss the criticisms that may emanate from certain quarters and athletes who are not selected.’ Updating the portfolio committee on the Commonwealth Games bid, Mark Alexander, chairman of the Durban Commonwealth Games 2022 and SASCOC board member said that the bid is on track and South Africa can be confident that the Games will be successfully hosted in Durban in 2022. Alexander said: ‘In meeting with the CGF Assessment team recently, the chairperson, Louise Martin expressed her full confidence in the bid and said that Durban has presented a fantastic proposal.’

Alexander noted that the 71 members of the CGF would be visiting Durban to evaluate the city’s value proposition for themselves from 15 July until 9 August. Tubby Reddy emphasised that the Bid process had to be completed in order for Durban to undergo rigorous scrutiny of its facilities and infrastructure. Reddy said:  ‘The Bid Committee is cognisant of the perception that the awarding of the Games to Durban is fait accompli. This is not how we view the process because we, as a bid city, want to showcase the world class facilities and infrastructure that we have and to point out that in any contest, Durban would have won the bid. The budget of the Games has been seriously interrogated by National Treasury and we believe that we have a very prudent budget. We call on this committee and parliament to support the bid and to make sure that we are able to host a very successful Games.’

Ezera Tshabangu, General Manager: High Performance, briefed the committee on the state of the high performance athletes and their preparations for the All Africa Games as well as Rio 2016. Tshabangu said: ‘Our preparations for the All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo in September 2015 as well as for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016 are on track.’