Sascoc, Salga meet in Mangaung

The roles of each institution should play in the development of sport in municipalities across will dominate the conferences agenda

Sports development and greater social cohesion in municipalities across the country are topics expected to take centre stage at the inaugural joint national conference between the South African Sports and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and the South African Local Government Association (Salga) in Bloemfontein this weekend.

The two-day conference starts today (Friday) at the Bloemfontein City Hall and will feature top government officials and sports administrators, including Free State sports, arts, culture and recreation MEC, Mathabo Leeto; Sascoc chief executive, Tubby Reddy; Sascoc president, Gideon Sam, as well as Salga chairperson and mayor of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Thabo Manyoni.

ANC stalwart and former minister of home affairs, Tokyo Sexwale will also be present as a representative of Global Watch, an anti-racism organisation that aims to do away with racial discrimination in the world of sport. The keynote address will be delivered by sports minister, Fikile Mbalula.

Among the various issues on the conferences agenda will be the respective roles and obligations that each institution should play in developing sports through the implementation of pertinent projects and programmes that will help foster sports development and change the lives of citizens through sport.

The conference will also clearly define and divide these roles while aiming to successfully implement the National Sports and Recreation Plan (NSRP) which generally seeks to enhance sports participation by creating opportunities for citizens and enabling environments that will maximise access to sports resources and facilities in schools and communities.

Salga, Sascoc as well as the national sports department will further update each other on progress made in their respective programmes pertaining to sports development, while they are also expected to agree on new capacity-building programmes at local government level.

The parties will also outline the progress made in the implementation of the resolutions that were taken at the 2012 Municipal Conference on Sports which was hosted by the national sports department in Pretoria.

The latter conference outlined how municipalities should get involved in the holistic development of sports within their respective perimeters, more specifically, the provision of sporting facilities, parks and recreation in accordance to stipulation of the country’s constitution.

To this effect, big sports development initiatives have gradually been taking place in various municipalities across the Free State and the country. In the Mangaung metro, for example, the municipality has broadly revamped various sporting facilities including several community swimming pools; the improvement of the Mangaung Athletics stadium’s track which is now an accredited venue for international events; and the refurbishment of the Bloemfontein Tennis stadium courts which now annually host leading national tournaments such as the South African National Junior Tennis Championships and the Dunlop Free State Challenge.

In March this year Sascoc and Salga signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote social cohesion and human development through sport development. This has now culminated into the first ever joint conference between Sascoc and Salga in the Free State capital, which has for over a century or so been the founding city of many prominent organisations and political movements.

The conference will conclude tomorrow with the signing of a joint declaration by the Sascoc, Salga and the sports department to commit themselves to service delivery and bettering the lives of citizens through sport.

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