DA seeks clarity on 'inconsistent' non-contact sport Covid-19 regulations
Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Sunday called on Sport, Arts, and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa to clarify which athletes were considered “professional” and to explain why amateur non-contact athletes had been excluded from the coronavirus (Covid-19) level 3 regulations.
While the DA welcomes the long-overdue resumption of professional non-contact sports announced by Mthethwa on Saturday, the party urged him to clarify the "inconsistencies" of the regulations announced, DA shadow minister of sport, arts, and culture Tsepo Mhlongo said in a statement.
"The minister needs to give clarity on which athletes are considered 'professional' and give reasons why amateur non-contact athletes have been excluded. There are also inconsistencies of who can train for non-contact sports. For example, why can professional contact sports such as rugby and soccer begin training, yet non-contact sport codes such as table tennis, powerlifting, pigeon racing, and shooting have seemingly been overlooked," he said.
"We have also noted that under the newly announced regulations, training and matches will remain prohibited in hotspot areas. These regulations are ridiculous and will only serve to hamstring the sports sector. The minister must clarify these regulations before they are gazetted."
Resuming non-contact sport was an important step in bringing relief to athletes who were unable to earn a stable income during the hard lockdown, and who could not apply or did not qualify for Covid-19 relief funding, Mhlongo said.
The industry had suffered from a lack of proper support from the department. Since the beginning of the lockdown and in employing its relief measures, athletes had been left out in the cold in terms of both information and aid. A small handful of athletes were lucky enough to be supported by the department whose criteria for approval of those who qualified for funding were "opaque and confusing at best". The same could be said for the new regulations which raised more questions than answers.
"The DA again calls for the minister to reopen all codes of non-contact sport in South Africa for all levels of participants – from amateur to professional. We also call on the minister to allow for all non-contact sports matches to take place without spectators, and under strict adherence to health and Covid-19 protocols. South Africa is part of the global community and the minster must learn from what other governments are doing to ensure the survival of sport worldwide," Mhlongo said.
African News Agency (ANA)