Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: Siyabulela Duda
Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: Siyabulela Duda

'Nonsensical' sport regulations: No swimming under level 3, but allowed for triathlons

By IOL reporter Time of article published Jun 12, 2020

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The DA has slammed the long-overdue gazetting of sports regulations for lockdown level 3 by Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, saying it's "littered with contradictions and irrational exclusions".

DA sports, arts and culture spokesperson Tsepo Mhlongo listed a host of regulations deemed "nonsensical", such as the fact that while swimming is not allowed, triathlons are – despite swimming comprising one of the disciplines.

* Non-contact sports such as weightlifting and power-lifting are not allowed;

* Chess is allowed but pool and snooker have been excluded;

* Motorsport can only "train";

* Power-boating is excluded and cannot train;

* Swimming is excluded despite the fact that triathlons, which comprises  swimming, is permitted; and

* Training and matches will remain prohibited in hot-spot areas.

The DA called on Mthethwa to provide clarity on these contradictory regulations. It had earlier wanted Mthethwa to explain why amateur non-contact athletes had been excluded from the level 3 regulations, but this has not been cleared up.

"Quite frankly, these regulations leave the sports sector with more questions than answers and further worsens the pain and agony brought about by the pandemic on South African sports," Mhlongo said.

"We are growing increasingly weary of government’s arbitrary regulations that have no basis in research, and are riddled with contradictions which have been a source of frustration for the sports sector.

"Most athletes have been unable to access a stable income during the lockdown and the resumption of non-contact sports will bring relief to them.

"Since the beginning of the lockdown, the sector has suffered from a lack of support from the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture in employing its relief measures – leaving athletes out in the cold in terms of both information and aid.

"The DA will continue being the eyes and ears of men and women in sport and will continue to put pressure on government to make rational decisions that can be backed up by research."

Sports confederations and other oversight bodies have up to 14 days to submit plans to the minister before training and competition can resume.

With the gazetted regulations allowing for the return of professional and elite sport but not recreational sport, golf courses and tennis courts remain closed to the public.

Sporting bodies who intend to stage events under level 3 can only do so if the events are closed to the public.

The full list of sports given the go-ahead to resume matches, which must be cleared with the department beforehand, are: Angling, archery‚ athletics‚ chess, baseball‚ badminton‚ canoeing‚ cycling‚ equestrian‚ golf‚ gymnastics‚ rowing‚ sailing‚ shooting‚ table tennis, tennis, triathlon, volleyball, softball, snow sport‚ cricket, bowls, squash, jukskei and pigeon racing.

The government has cleared other higher-risk sports to return to training and have indicated that it's open to engagement regarding restart plans for these sports: basketball‚ fencing‚ football‚ handball‚ hockey‚ rugby (non-contact training methodology)‚ figure skating‚ ice hockey, motorsport and netball (specifically for leagues).


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