eThekwini tackles sports policy, development at summit

Head of Parks, Recreation and Culture, Dr Simphiwe Ndlovu. Picture: Saneli Mthalane

Head of Parks, Recreation and Culture, Dr Simphiwe Ndlovu. Picture: Saneli Mthalane

Published May 21, 2024


Durban — An eThekwini Sports Summit held in Durban on Monday discussed safeguarding in sport and held robust discussions around the final draft of their sports policy.

The purpose of the summit was to ensure that sports development takes place within a structured framework within the City, said eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. The City’s management wants to ensure sport development programmes are aligned with those of the national and provincial governments and sport federations.

Kaunda said eThekwini has always been the home of sports stars, whether soccer, rugby or cricket. They needed this platform to reflect on whether this is still the case, and develop appropriate interventions to help young upcoming athletes realise potential.

Kaunda added that sport is an important tool in nation-building and tourism. He emphasised that money is not being wasted when they assist in funding teams, as it helps with marketing the city.

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. Pictures: Saneli Mthalane

He encouraged local clubs and organisations to apply for grants and sponsorships, saying over 5 000 had applied for aid recently, but due to resource limitations, the metro was only able to provide for 200 applicants.

“At the end of this summit, we want to have a clear talent identification pathway and a model we are going to use to nurture talent within eThekwini. We want to increase funding to help nurture future champions. We want to make all these champions accountable and want to see it being promoted everywhere,” Kaunda said.

He said the metro is creating platforms for young athletes to showcase talent, like the SA Local Government Association and eThekwini Games.

“Such programmes have yielded positive results. Through them, we have produced world-class athletes who have gone on to represent us on national and international stages.

“These initiatives are inadequate to address the sport development needs of our city. Therefore, it was critical that the City work closely with the clubs and federations at local-level so we are able to effectively deliver sport and recreation services.”

Kaunda said school sports are vital in development and must be achieved through structured coaching programmes. He made reference to former South African footballer Sibusiso Zuma and his impact in Copenhagen, and how spectators queued to see him.

The mayor stressed that this attention was not the same in South Africa, and he was concerned that South Africa did not celebrate its heroes.

Head of parks, recreation and culture Dr Simphiwe Ndlovu, said this year’s summit is about laying a good foundation to take regional sport to a new level.

“The common unifying factor in our city and nation is sport. The goal is to make sport and recreation accessible to all citizens,” Ndlovu said, adding that sport is as important as education and should not be neglected.

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