The Chair, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon members, our sports community and distinguished guests, thank you for giving us the opportunity to participate in the Budget Vote No 20: Sport and Recreation debate on progress made in the sporting sector.
The face of sport and recreation has changed for the better under the ANC government. In this regard, the ANC government's achievements have been progressive since 2009 and has removed many barriers to entry into sport.
In its fifty-third national conference at Mangaung, the ANC reconfirmed its commitment to ensuring that we build a socially cohesive society by emphasising that sport plays an important role in promoting community development, social cohesion and sharpening the minds of young people.
Today's Budget Vote will explore the path from the racially divided past, which was inherited from the apartheid regime, to one seeking to redress the legacy of apartheid through the development of the first National Sport and Recreation Plan.
The ANC government has acknowledged that there is still a need to ensure the organisation and development of all sports codes in the country. In this regard, we welcome the adoption of the new sport and recreation plan, which seeks to ensure the development and growth of the sports sector and the welfare of the sporting fraternity.
The National Sport and Recreation Plan is a binding agreement that was initiated by the department. Its main function is to say, here are all the challenges in sport, and here are the possible solutions.
The department has tabled its Annual Performance Plan with regard to the 2013-14 financial year and has indicated that the National Development Plan is being phased in in all departmental programmes. The department has found that the sport plan requires resources in order for it to be implemented. Keep in mind that the objectives of the plan were put together by multiple stakeholders such as the federations, who are the custodians of sport.
The role of the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation is to conduct oversight over the department to ensure that the departmental strategic plans are implemented in line with the National Development Plan. However, we must say that, as the committee, we appreciate the innovativeness of the department in finding alternative sources of income to continue on the road to transformation.
There are a number of exciting programmes that are linked to recreation, such as those for modified sport, Cycle for Life and recreation clubs, just to mention a few. These activities are intended to provide leisure and recreation opportunities to all citizens of this country, regardless of age, gender or race. We hope all hon members will participate, because it is important for Members of Parliament to play and enjoy themselves after they have worked very hard. [Applause.]
The department's achievements are on the field as well as within our society. Our consistent ability to host major tournaments was evidenced early this year when we hosted the Africa Cup of Nations.
Hon Minister, as the committee, we are of the view that the Cup was a great success. Of course we didn't win it, but one day we hope to win it again. We hope to develop our national team to ensure that they don't let us down when it comes to the Africa Cup of Nations.
We have also witnessed the SA Olympic Team's wonderful performance and achievement at the London 2012 Olympic Games. This has been hailed as the best ever Olympic Games for the country since the ANC enabled South Africa's readmission to the international sporting community.
Such tournaments have a positive impact on social cohesion because they create a common identity, a common cause and establish common values among all South Africans.
Therefore, it is against this background that we evaluate the work of the department and note its linkages to greater levels of transformation through the National Sport and Recreation Plan and the National Development Plan. Transformation in some of the sporting codes in our country is painfully slow. This has to be addressed with the necessary speed. There is absolutely no reason why sport cannot be transformed.
In fact, when meeting with all sports federations, we have never found any reason why they can't transform, because all of us enjoy sport. I don't think anyone of us is forced to play sport. Even hon Lee enjoys sport. There will be no reason why ... [Interjections.]