Sporting bodies ask for inclusive policies during sports summit

Delegation in attendance during the eThekwini Sports Summit. | Saneli Mthalane

Delegation in attendance during the eThekwini Sports Summit. | Saneli Mthalane

Published May 20, 2024


Durban — The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee has welcomed the sports summit held by the eThekwini Municipality on Monday.

SASCOC COO Patience Shikwambane, praised the timing of the summit which came ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic games. Recently, the first batch of athletes were announced for the Olympic squad, and Shikwambane had some advise for the City.

She said: “Developing the policy is great, but implementing it is priceless. Put athletes first and make them the centre of development in the city. Athletes need to be role models. Secondly, you have to create a footprint with 76 federations in the city and need to make sure they are functional - across all sports and not only football, cricket, rugby.

“We need to thrive through the clubs we have established. Thirdly, good governance. Don’t join the industry to eat money. Fourthly, safeguarding must be made a priority. We need to create an environment for our athletes. Fifthly, we need to be inclusive of disabled people. We also need gender equality and we are fortunate to have a 60% female board.”

President Canoeing South Africa, Kim Pople. | Saneli Mthalane

President of Canoeing South Africa, Kim Pople, also spoke on safeguarding sportspersons. She said, “It’s to protect the health, wellbeing and human rights of an individual. It encompasses (issues such as) anti-doping, discrimination, harassment, over training, match fixing, competing injured, grooming and abuse (sexual and verbal).”

Pople said that every coach must complete a safeguarding course, and emphasised that athletes needed to know that sometimes contact could border on abuse. She said that screening was therefore important.

Yaseen Lombard from the Disability Sport, Classification, Commission (DiSCC). | Saneli Mthalane

Yaseen Lombard from the Disability Sport, Classification, Commission (DiSCC). said, ”We sat down in 2021 as we needed to put together an organisation that focused on disabled people within the SASCOC Policy. When we refer to SASCOC, it is inclusive of paralympic athletes. Another name is Sports SA. In May 2022, all 76 sport federations adopted the policy as well as the nine sports confederations.

“Sports infrastructure is a big problem as it isn’t accessible to all disabled people.”

He cited the example of how someone on a wheelchair could struggle because the ramp might be too steep for them to push up. Lombard also made reference to the need for proper ablution facilities at stadiums for disabled people.

He said their policy covered:

  • Sport SA Board Commission and Committee members
  • Sport SA employees

Lombard emphasised that classification was key to levelling the playing field, within seven disabilities:

  • Amputee
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deaf
  • Visual impairment
  • Paraplegia (including quadriplegia, spinal cord injury, polio)
  • Intellectual impairment
  • “Les autres” or the others that don’t fit in traditional classification.
Delegation in attendance during the eThekwini Sports Summit. | Saneli Mthalane

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