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Balfour: Parliamentary Media Briefing, February 2003 (20/02/2003)

20th February 2003

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Date: 20/02/2003
Source: Ministry of Sport and Recreation
Title: Balfour: Parliamentary Media Briefing, February 2003


PARLIAMENTARY MEDIA BRIEFING BY MINISTER OF SPORT AND RECREATION, MR NGCONDE BALFOUR, Cape Town, 20 February 2003

2003 ICC Cricket World Cup

President Thabo Mbeki opened the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup on Saturday, 8 February, with a glittering ceremony that was beamed across the world. The competition, the 8th of its kind, is the largest ever. A total of 14 teams from around the world are participating in 54 matches over a period of 46 days during which time the country will receive unprecedented international exposure. It is estimated that over the duration of the tournament, some 2 billion people will watch the games that will be played in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Government has been closely involved in the competition, providing logistic, security and financial support. Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) has played a facilitating and co-ordinating role by hosting a series of National Co-ordinating Committee meetings in which the organisers of the event were put in direct contact with the relevant government departments and other stakeholders. In this regard, the co-operation received from the various security institutions has been of a high quality, including their role in assisting the co-hosts, Kenya and Zimbabwe in developing their security plans for the tournament.

Government provided financial support toward the staging of the opening ceremony as well as to cover some of the costs of upgrading facilities in disadvantaged areas where warm-up matches were played prior to the start of the World Cup. In addition, government contributed half of the funds required for the World Cup legacy project in which 50 grassed cricket ovals are in the process of being built in disadvantaged areas.

Sports tourism

SRSA has launched a major sports tourism project. Tourism is considered to be one of the fastest growing industries in the world and, sports tourism, it has been estimated, constitutes some 30% of the industry internationally. South Africa's sports tourism industry can be developed substantially. The project is based on the following pillars:

* Promoting "home-grown" events internationally with a view to attracting more foreign participants and spectators to South Africa. Events such as the Comrades Marathon, Midmar Mile, Dusi Canoe Marathon, Pick 'n Pay Argus cycle tour, Two Oceans Marathons and other similar events, will be promoted abroad at major international events with the assistance of our Foreign Missions with a view to attracting foreign participants;

* Assisting potential hosts in bidding for, and hosting major international events in South Africa: the hosting of major sport and recreation events have become a substantial industry internationally. South Africa has the potential, from a capacity perspective, to host such major events, thereby creating many new temporary and permanent jobs and generating huge amounts of foreign revenue for the country;

* Negotiating better tourist packages for spectators accompanying international sports teams visiting South Africa: large numbers of spectators accompany international sports teams when they are on tour. Numerous complaints have been received about the relative inaccessibility and expense of South Africa to such tourists. SRSA will negotiate with relevant stakeholders, including the airlines, tour operators and other role-players in the hospitality industry to develop tour packages that will ensure that such spectators are able to attend the events of their choice while at the same time enjoying the wealth of South Africa's tourist offerings away from the major sports facilities;

* Marketing South Africa as "an out of season" training venue for northern hemisphere athletes: large numbers of European athletes already spend the northern winter in South Africa in preparation for their new season. This potential market is still hugely under-exploited and SRSA will launch a marketing campaign, in conjunction with all the relevant stakeholders, to market the country's wealth of resources toward this end;

* Promoting South Africa as a destination of choice for social participants in sport and recreation: South Africa's wealth of facilities as well as its natural environment, provides inestimable opportunities for those who participate in sport and recreation socially, to benefit from what the country has to offer. In this regard, our many golf courses, unspoilt coastline, hiking trials and mountain climbing possibilities are comparable to the best in the world and offer tourists economical alternatives to other destinations. SRSA will assist the relevant role-players to market these possibilities abroad.

Bidding for, and hosting of major international events conference

As part of the sports tourism initiative, SRSA hosted a major conference aimed at developing a 20 - 30 year strategy for hosting major international sport and recreation events in South Africa. The hosting of major international events has become a major industry in and of itself, generating large amounts of foreign revenue for the country as well as creating jobs for many people. The processes of bidding for, and hosting of major international sports events in South Africa has, to date, been characterised by "ad-hoc", resulting in several failed endeavours. A well thought through, systematic and developmental strategy will ensure that future efforts are more successful, allow us to develop our capacity to host incrementally bigger and more complex events, and ultimately lead to South Africa becoming a destination of choice for international sports organisations and athletes.

The conference attracted a range of interested parties including participants representing various government departments, the major cities, national sports federations, the private sector, as well as media representatives.

SRSA is currently conducting research through which it hopes to determine the socio-economic impact of hosting major international sports events in South Africa.

International relations policy

SRSA is in the process of developing an international relations policy in accordance with national government policy. It is aimed, particularly, at developing South Africa's relations in sport with countries on the African continent in line with NEPAD and in support of the African Union. It will also focus on South Africa's leadership role in the SADC region. South Africa has, or is in the process of concluding relations with amongst others, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritius, Morocco and Libya, aimed at elevating the profile of sport on the continent.

Conclusion and servicing of international agreements in sport and recreation

South Africa maintains co-operation agreements with several countries including Iran, Cuba, Canada, the Netherlands, France, Russia, Romania and Australia. Through these agreements, information and expertise is exchanged between us and our partners aimed at increasing access to sport and recreation, as well as improving levels of performance across the participation spectrum.

Conclusion and implementation of a policy on the participation of foreign sportspersons in South Africa.

SRSA is in the process of developing and implementing a policy aimed at harmonising the movement of sportspersons into and out of South Africa and to ensure that South Africans benefit from the expertise that they bring along with them. Sportspersons are generally imported into the country when we lack certain essential skills. The policy is aimed at ensuring that these skills are developed amongst South Africans through the involvement of foreigners in our programmes for agreed upon periods of time. The policy development and implementation processes are being dealt with in conjunction with the Department of Home Affairs.

Presently, SRSA advises the Department of Home Affairs on the issuing of visas and work permits as well as applications for permanent residency from foreign sports practitioners.

National Co-ordinating Committee (NATCCOM)

SRSA facilitates the interaction between national federations that host international sports events in South Africa, and the various government departments and other stakeholders that can be of assistance on such occasions.

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

South Africa has been at the forefront of efforts by the international sports movement and governments across the world to combat the scourge of doping in sport. South Africa is a foundation member of WADA and has been participating actively in all its programmes and projects. It has been realised that without the co-operation between governments and the international sports movement, it is unlikely that doping will be eradicated from international sport.

An international anti-doping code has been developed and has to be approved by all governments. SRSA will soon be submitting a memorandum to Cabinet in this regard in which it requests the support of identified departments in implementing the code.

It is possible that the South African Minister of Sport and Recreation will be appointed as a Deputy Chairperson of WADA.

For further information, contact: Graham Abrahams on 082 453 2244
Issued by Ministry of Sport and Recreation
20 February 2003
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