Min­is­ter of Sport and Recre­ation Tokozile Xasa is cham­pi­oning women in sport

wants ev­ery­one to have a sport­ing chance

Public Sector Manager - - CONTENTS -

Women of­ten have to dou­ble their ef­forts to prove that they are ca­pa­ble of do­ing things that were tra­di­tion­ally meant for men. When it comes to sport, this is no dif­fer­ent.

With Au­gust be­ing Women’s Month, PSM spoke to Min­is­ter of Sport and Recre­ation Tokozile Xasa, who says pa­tri­archy re­mains a ma­jor is­sue in South Africa.

She said the sup­port that women in sport get at the mo­ment is nowhere near where it should be. How­ever, she ac­knowl­edged that there has been grad­ual im­prove­ment, thanks to the 2011 Trans­for­ma­tion Char­ter which seeks to pro­vide eq­ui­table ac­cess and par­tic­i­pa­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties in all ar­eas and at all lev­els of sport, ir­re­spec­tive of gen­der.

“We not only ex­pect women to com­pete but also to be ac­tive in sport ad­min­is­tra­tion. We want to see fe­male coaches and fe­male ad­min­is­tra­tors in lead­er­ship po­si­tions of the fed­er­a­tions so that when de­ci­sions are made, women’s is­sues are taken into con­sid­er­a­tion,” the Min­is­ter said.

She added that it is im­por­tant to pro­mote sport­ing codes that are not big in South Africa, like vol­ley­ball, while con­tin­u­ing to sup­port those that have a big fan base.

Sup­port for women

The Min­is­ter is also con­cerned that sport­ing events that fea­ture women only do not re­ceive ad­e­quate me­dia cov­er­age.This con­trib­utes to the lack of so­ci­etal sup­port for women in sport, she be­lieves.

“For in­stance, Banyana Banyana has been do­ing very well but they do not get as much cov­er­age as men’s soc­cer teams. Bafana Bafana is not do­ing that well but they al­ways get cov­er­age,” she noted.

The Min­is­ter said that while each sports fed­er­a­tion is part of the de­part­ment’s trans­for­ma­tion pro­gramme, bet­ter mon­i­tor­ing is needed.

To ad­dress this, the de­part­ment is de­vel­op­ing a “women in sport” policy. A team has been es­tab­lished by the de­part­ment to work on com­plet­ing a draft by De­cem­ber and the Min­is­ter hopes ev­ery­thing will be fi­nalised by the end of the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year so that im­ple­men­ta­tion can start soon there­after.

Min­is­ter Xasa said the idea is to ar­rive at a point where there are pro­fes­sional teams of women and men in all sports.“For in­stance, for every pro­fes­sional soc­cer team that plays in a league, there should be a team of women at the same level,” she ex­plained.

The Min­is­ter said sport de­vel­op­ment is a de­part­men­tal pri­or­ity and ex­plained that trans­for­ma­tion must be ce­mented at school level.

She en­cour­aged more women to con­sider ca­reers in sport, say­ing it is no longer just about play­ing games but in­stead of­fers pro­fes­sional ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Women can make a liv­ing in sport, not just as ath­letes but as ad­min­is­tra­tors, coaches and train­ers. The suc­cess of our teams and the high-per­for­mance pro­grammes in place have seen many young women get­ting bet­ter eq­uity op­por­tu­ni­ties,” she said.

Ben­e­fits of sport

Sport and recre­ation helps pro­mote so­cial co­he­sion and na­tional build­ing, Min­is­ter Xasa noted.

“One of our strate­gic goals is to en­sure that all cit­i­zens ir­re­spec­tive of gen­der and race have ac­cess to sport and recre­ation ac­tiv­i­ties, so that there is a 10 per­cent in­crease in sport and recre­ation par­tic­i­pa­tion by all cit­i­zens in se­lected ac­tiv­i­ties come 2020,” said the Min­is­ter.

Min­is­ter Xasa added that while not all women will be able to have a sports ca­reer, their par­tic­i­pa­tion is still im­por­tant for them to stay healthy and for so­cial co­he­sion, which is out­lined as one of the im­per­a­tives of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan.

“Women go through a lot. Some of them lose their spouses and face many chal­lenges but if they par­tic­i­pate in sport, they are able to de­crease their stress lev­els and have fun to­gether,” she said.

The Min­is­ter said this does not only go for women but for ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing chil­dren, as it is im­por­tant to keep fit and stay healthy.

She added that she was re­cently in­spired when she was in Lim­popo at a sport fa­cil­ity han­dover to see women aged be­tween 60 and 84 tak­ing part in a soc­cer match.

“This is part of our key de­liv­er­ables that en­cour­ages a healthy life­style across all ages. We have the “I Choose to be Ac­tive” cam­paign which also in­cludes move for health and the Golden Games as one of its pil­lars.These ac­tiv­i­ties also place em­pha­sis on ac­tive age­ing.”

The Min­is­ter pointed out that younger women also need to ex­plore and nur­ture their sport­ing tal­ents.“If women sup­port and take part in sport, the sport in­dus­try will take them more se­ri­ously. We need to come to­gether. When the cur­rent lead­ers of fed­er­a­tions or sport­ing bod­ies see women's con­certed ef­forts, they will then have no choice but to lis­ten to us,” she said.

Fu­ture plans

Over and above de­vel­op­ing a “women in sport” policy, the Min­is­ter said trans­for­ma­tion con­tin­ues to be part of the de­part­ment’s agenda mov­ing for­ward, as sport is a great uni­fier.

She added that sport in­fra­struc­ture needs to be im­proved to fa­cil­i­tate more op­por­tu­ni­ties for women.The Min­is­ter ex­plained that the de­part­ment will be rolling out 60 more fa­cil­i­ties in the 2018/19 fi­nan­cial year to im­prove ac­cess to sport and recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties.

The de­part­ment is work­ing with key stake­hold­ers with re­gard to the ringfenced Mu­nic­i­pal In­fra­struc­ture Grant to en­sure that there is more sport in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in the fu­ture.

As a pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tive and ser­vant of the peo­ple, the Min­is­ter said she is en­trusted with bring­ing out the power of sport as ad­vo­cated by Tata Nel­son Man­dela, whose cen­te­nary is cur­rently be­ing cel­e­brated.

“My fo­cus will be on trans­for­ma­tion, school sport, women in sport and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment.”

She added that the de­part­ment is fo­cused on en­sur­ing that the sport and recre­ation sec­tor is ad­e­quately trans­formed and that se­lected na­tional fed­er­a­tions achieve their trans­for­ma­tion com­mit­ments by 2020.

This trans­for­ma­tion process is be­ing mon­i­tored by an in­de­pen­dent body called the Em­i­nent Per­sons Group (EPG) which re­cently re­leased the fifth EPG re­port.

With re­gard to the Thuma Mina cam­paign, the Min­is­ter said the de­part­ment’s “I Choose to be Ac­tive” cam­paign fo­cuses on the pil­lars of ac­tive cit­i­zenry.

This cam­paign en­cour­ages

South Africans to re­main ac­tive and pre­vent dis­eases such as heart at­tacks and strokes and to pre­vent obe­sity.

Some of the de­part­ment’s events that are part of the cam­paign in­clude the Big Walk which at­tracts over 25 000 par­tic­i­pants and the Na­tional Recre­ation Day event which en­cour­ages tev­ery­one to take part in ac­tive recre­ation.

“Our ’I Choose to be Ac­tive‘ cam­paign also en­cour­ages mass par­tic­i­pa­tion and high­lights ac­tive recre­ation. We have iden­ti­fied our Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to be the cham­pion of this cam­paign as we reach out to com­mu­nity lead­ers to work with us in us­ing the power of sport to unite peo­ple across all ages and to pro­mote ac­tive cit­i­zenry,” the Min­is­ter said.

While there is still a lot to be done to im­prove the qual­ity of sport in South Africa, the Min­is­ter and her de­part­ment are work­ing hard to ad­dress in­ad­e­qua­cies and dis­par­i­ties.

Min­is­ter Xasa be­lieves there is much to cel­e­brate in sport, par­tic­u­larly the Spring­boks’ per­for­mance un­der the lead­er­ship of Siya Kolisi, Banyana qual­i­fy­ing for the African Cup of Na­tions and the ten­nis play­ers who ex­celled at Wim­ble­don.

The Min­is­ter is de­ter­mined to en­sure that South African sport con­tin­ues to tri­umph.

Min­is­ter of Sport and Recre­ation Tokozile Xasa.

Min­is­ter Xasa with the Gaut­eng Jaguars at the fi­nal of the Bru­tal Fruit Na­tional Net­ball League.

Fbg­blm^k QZlZ pbma Likbg`[hdl\ZimZbg LbrZ Dhe­blb'

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.