Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, the director-general, the MEC present here, hon Members of Parliament, distinguished guests in the gallery, dumelang. This is the country of my birth and I am not a refugee.
Let me take a moment to salute all the sport people who have made this country proud with their effort and winning performances, particularly women in sport and people with disabilities who have to fight equally hard in order to make headway in sport. The ANC supports this Budget Vote.
You see, this progression did not come easily. Whilst we were sobbing and nursing the wounds of apartheid, others were reeling after apartheid had ended because they enjoyed the pain segregation caused others.
Just as the ANC was guiding us from the painful past into democracy, we won the Rugby World Cup in 1995, and hosted and Bafana Bafana won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996.
Without the struggle for liberation, we would never have won the Rugby World Cup. In fact, the ANC liberated all South Africans and propelled them into the international world. The opening up of the doors to sport in 1994 guaranteed the right of participation to all, irrespective of race, colour, gender or ability.
If you want to know whether the opposition parties are transformed you need to do the following. Firstly, look at the DA's policy position on the transformation of both cricket and rugby, before they claim easy victories as they do with having fought against apartheid.
Secondly, ask them why, in rugby and cricket, a black player normally replaces another black player and never replaces a white player, while white players can replace anybody. Thirdly, why does it seem that certain positions are reserved for black players? If Makhaya Ntini did not retire from international cricket, would Vernon Philander ever have got the opportunity to play at international level? Are we represented by progressive people in these federations?
Fourthly, ask them how many sport and recreation facilities they have built in this province, particularly in black townships? I think it is none. None!
When it comes to international sporting relations, which is what I am here to talk about, the fundamental policy of the ANC, the Freedom Charter, proclaims, and I quote:
There shall be peace and friendship between South Africa and other countries.
We note with grave concern the utterances and unprofessionalism of Ajax Amsterdam with regard to Ajax Cape Town, especially when they are threatening to terminate their international relations through the media, rather than following proper channels such as bilateral platforms.
It is no longer the colonial era and that should sink into their minds wherever they are. I think both the South African Football Association and the Premier Soccer League should take note of this.
We have risen from the ashes of apartheid into a new dawn where fair and transparent relationships with other countries have become a democratic norm. We have noted that sound programmes for international liason work have been developed by the department, and I will cite a few examples.
Later this year the department will roll out international relations strategies that will give the country a chance to choose the relationship it wants to pursue with other countries.
The department wants to sign bilateral agreements with different countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Serbia, among others. We would like to understand the specifics of what the country and athletes will gain from these positive interactions, especially athletes from marginalised communities. [Interjections.]
Chairperson, let me cool my engine!