The United Democratic Movement (UDM) supports the budget vote.

The budget reduction in this department does not augur well for the promotion, development and transformation of sport in our Country. Already, compensation to the departmental employees had to be reduced on an escalating scale during the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period, totalling R4.9 million.

The next victims of this reduction are goods and services. Regrettably, the very people who would have benefitted from the programmes of this department stand to suffer severely.

When departmental officials and sport practitioners are locked in office, and therefore cannot reach-out to communities, due to budget cuts, the development of sport and recreation activities are compromised.

It also, means that there will be less usage of the sporting facilities already available and this may result in such facilities being white elephants. The economic activity that is a natural by-product of sport and recreation, activism, will be lost in the process.

Nevertheless, the UDM welcomes the newly appointed Minister and his team to the batting crease. Minister, you are now facing the first bouncer, which you have to deal with in the first over.

The second new ball you have to face is that of provinces, which are failing to obtain data from their distant district offices. So, as technology has been targeted as a cost-saving area, the flow of information to and from district offices will be hampered.

Nationally, this will impede the department’s ability to plan ahead. No data, no detailed planning. The potential result you are about to get, will be, either you are bowled out or caught at leg-off, as you try to scoop the ball for 6 runs.

Also, savings on facilities means that less facilities will be accessible to the sporting bodies. Yes, the time has come for the Memorandum of Agreement between Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and the Department of Basic Education to be reviewed, because the relationship between the two departments has yielded minimal results, so far.

A better working relationship between these departments has the potential to identify, nurture, mould and develop the young talent that this country need so dearly.

In the same context, a working relationship can also be used to host those with less intellectual capacity, but excellent sports orientation, to develop their talent and ultimately make a career in sport. In that way, job opportunities will have been created.

Penalising non-compliant provinces is most welcome since school sport is the foundation on which transformation can be built. The intensive support for volleyball in 2017 is much appreciated. They have been in the cold for far too long.

Minister, your other challenge is the high up-and-under that you are facing in rugby, and that is sustaining as well as supporting transformation. You may not knock on that ball, or else the wings will pick it up and score under the posts, thus reversing all the yards made under the stewardship of your predecessor. Shame Mbaks, ubuzama kodwa.

Bafana–Bafana are with their new coach are on the nation’s radar. We expect better from them under your stewardship. In this regard, and at the risk of contradicting my principal, I wish Orlando Pirates to show them the way on 24 June at reclaim the Nedbank Cup.