Mbalula's defence of R65m for "razzmataz" an insult to our athletes - DA

Winston Rabotapi says he'll submit questions over full breakdown of sports awards' costs

Razzmatazz Sports Awards: Minister Mbalula must reveal all costs

During the Budget Vote Speech at Parliament yesterday, the Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula without any shame proclaimed: "Who's going to stop me holding a Sports Awards evening for millions of rands? The Democratic Alliance? Keep an eye on the invitations. The Razzmatazz is about to become a Humdinger. Bring your party shoes, nicest suits and dresses and rock up at the door."

Minister Mbalula's defiant attitude and determination to spend so much money on a single awards ceremony is an insult to South Africa's athletes who receive little assistance from the department, especially for those who come from impoverished backgrounds.

According to a reply to a DA Parliamentary Question, the SA 2013 Sports Awards are expected to cost R65 million, with R21 million of this amount coming from the Department of Sport and Recreation.

I will write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Sport and Recreation, Mr Mzameni Richard Mdakane, requesting that Minister Mbalula be summoned to Parliament to discuss ways in which expenditure on the 2013 Sport Awards can be reduced. I will also submit parliamentary questions to determine the full breakdown of expenditure on the awards.

It is clear that Minister Mbalula is completely out of touch with the realities of life in South Africa. He has grown so accustomed to the high life and been so blinded by his own ‘razzmatazz' that he has forgotten about the daily struggles of ordinary people. 

The DA remains firm in its stance that these funds can be better spent on development initiatives such as building and improving sport and recreational facilities in disadvantaged communities, as well as investing in programmes to enhance the talent of our sportsmen and women. 

For example, in the DA-run Western Cape there are currently 174 Mass Participation, Opportunity and Access, Development and Growth (MOD) centres that provide sport and recreational activities to over 12 000 learners from disadvantaged communities. We want the other provinces to have these programmes in place too. 

It is high time Minister Mbalula put South Africans ahead of his razzmatazz image and focused on the development of sporting talent.

Statement issued by Winston Rabotapi, DA Shadow Minister of Sport and Recreation, May 24 2013

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