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Address at the 2005 National Schools Athletics Championships, 19 March 2005, Minister Naledi Pandor speeches


Address by the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor MP, at the 2005 National Schools Athletics Championships, at Dal Josafat Stadium, Paarl

19 March 2005

Directors of Ceremony
Minister of Sport, Reverend Stofile
Dignitaries present today
Parents, Educators, and Learners,
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a pleasure for me to be here at these National Schools Athletics Championships.
Ladies and gentlemen, the UN has designated 2005 the year of physical education and sport.
And so, appropriately I believe, on Thursday in Parliament the Minister of Sport and I signed a framework for collaboration that will govern the coordination and management of school sport in public ordinary schools.

In terms of the framework, school sport will become an integral component of the education programme. Each school will be required to allocate time for participation in school sport during or after formal school hours.

We believe that this is essential because sport in education is an important vehicle for building a transformed, non-racial, non-sexist society, united in diversity.

The emphasis will be on structured programmes for extramural school sport in each school.

Both the Minister of Sport and I are keen to see action in terms of the framework. We have directed our departments to ensure that coordination and management structures are in place by March 31 this year, so that learners can benefit from school sport as soon as possible.

We have already begun to collaborate on strategic programmes, including national tournaments for athletics – here we are - ball games, cross-country, gymnastics, cricket and indigenous games, in partnership with the United School Sports Association of South Africa (USSASA).

The benefits of sport are for all to see. Team work builds confidence and comradeship on the sport field and in the classroom. Competition improves the mind and body and brings out the best in people – well, most of the time. Learning rules is a virtue in itself, because you will discover that we need rules to live by and that we cannot live as isolated units without rules. It is difficult to play sport without keeping to the rules. And exertion is a good in itself – a healthy mind in a healthy body.

But I believe team work is the best value that we can learn in sport.

So it is important for us to move beyond sports days and to move beyond a veneration for those talented in sport.

Of course, it is important to have role models. Like Mbulayeni Mulaudzi or Mkaya Ntini. They do as much for our sport as Miriam Makeba and Jonathan Butler have done for our music or Leleti Kumalo for our cinema or in uCarmen for opera.

Sport is for everyone. You do not need to be a diva. You can all enjoy the physical exertion and you can all benefit from the excitement that sport brings.

Sport is also for those with disabilities.
Our disabled athletes have set new standards. Only this week in Drum I read about Sibusiso Mogale, who swam the Midmar Mile – without arms. Such courage. Such a phenomenal achievement!

We need to take advantage of many benefits that physical education and sport can give to children.

And we in education need to cooperate with other departments like health, environment, culture and heritage to encourage common initiatives.

Sport is also for girls.
We recognise and emphasise the crucial role of sport and physical education in the lives and development of women and girls. We encourage their participation and success.

The encouragement of sport will also do much to prevent childhood obesity.

Our challenge in the Department of Education as well as in the Department of Sport and Recreation is to make sure that we remove all obstacles that might hinder the active participation of learners in school sport in general, and not only in athletics.

We have a responsibility to provide learners with the opportunities to participate in school sport, to provide the facilities and equipment, and to provide educators with the necessary skills to facilitate the successful implementation of school sport.

We need also to acknowledge the critical role played by the United School Sport Association of South Africa (USSASA). It has been the torch-bearer of school sport. Without USSASA’s commitment to the development of school sport, the celebration of talent we will witness here today would not have been possible.

To USSASA, and all your support structures, we say thank you.

The Department is aware that there are a number of challenges faced by school sport initiatives in the country. We are working hard with the Department of Sport and Recreation to address these inequalities and inadequacies in facilities in our school sport. We hope to see more changes in the future.

We are celebrating this meeting just a few days before we celebrate Human Rights Day on March 21.

I hope you will also be able to participate in Human Rights Day activities in your provinces. I hope you will come back from those activities with a deeper understanding of the freedom we enjoy.

And I also hope educators will be able to renew a commitment to providing our children with quality education.

So we say to our learners, stand up be counted in today’s events.

To those learners who are at home, we say participate in school sport at all levels.

Ladies and gentlemen, a special word of thanks goes to the dedicated officials, teachers, and principals who have been working so hard to see these learners come through and are compete here today. Without them this day would have been impossible. Our thanks go also to the officials who have put their shoulders to wheel to make this day a day to remember. Finally, to our athletes, show us your talent, show us how far you can jump or how fast you can run.


On behalf of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Sport and Recreation I wish to declare the 2005 National Schools Athletics Championships officially opened!!!

We wish you every success during the two days of the championships.

Thank you.

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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 6/30/2008
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