by Tsepo Mhlongo – DA Shadow Minister of Sport and Recreation
The DA will today write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation, Ms Beauty Dlulane, to request that she summon the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile Mbalula, to appear before Parliament and account for the R 118 million which was wasted during South Africa’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
Minister Mbalula must, therefore, account to Parliament as to why he chose to ignore the very obvious signs that South Africa was simply not financially ready to host this event and provide a detailed breakdown of the costs that were incurred during the bidding process.
Yesterday it was reported that Durban lost the right to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022. This news also means that the R 118 million that was spent on the bidding process was all in vain.
The DA continuously warned the EThekwini Municipality, Minister Mbalula and SASCOC that the Commonwealth Games were too expensive and that South Africa simply does not have the financial means to host it.
All of these parties should have known that South Africa could not afford to host the Games when South Africa failed to meet several deadlines to present an adequate budget. South Africa was able to spend R 4 billion, which was not nearly enough to host the event.
SASCOC also failed to conduct a proper financial impact assessment to calculate the cost and benefits of Durban hosting the games, meaning that South Africa had no idea what the true financial impact of the games would have been on the country.
The entire bidding process was doomed from the start. South Africa was ill-prepared and underfinanced.
However, the numerous warning that the games would not be financially viable were repeatedly ignored and as such R 118 million of public funds have been wasted.
Millions of young South Africans are desperate to find financial assistance in order to educate themselves. The R 118 million could have been better spent on grass-roots sport development and on building sports fields rather than on a failed bidding process.