Thus saith the Democratic Alliance (DA) party – Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula’s flip-flop and lack of clear direction on Durban’s intention to host the 2022 Commonwealth games is enough reason to scrap the event.
Citing limited fiscal space, low economic growth and growing unemployment, especially among the youth, DA contended that resources must be spent on expanding opportunities for needy South Africans.
“The prognosis is simple, South Africa can not afford to host such an expensive sporting event,” proclaimed the DA.
To DA, prioritizing a sporting event over jobless South Africans is a betrayal of the worst kind.
Thus, the party called on “confused Mbalula” to scrap hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
According to the party, Minister Mbalula in a 2016 Parliamentary reply, didn’t rule out hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games but, indicated that his Department was in the process of obtaining information from Durban on whether the City was able to host the games.
“Yesterday, in an about turn, he indicated that ‘it doesn’t look good for Durban’s hopes of hosting the games’.
“Today, he released a statement in which he indicated that talks between the South African government and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CFG) were still ongoing,” DA related.
In line with that, Maimane’s party observed that Mbalula’s remarks reflect “the level of confusion within the Department of Sport and creates uncertainty over an issue which should never have been involved in at all.”
DA charged Minister Mbalula to be honest and inform South Africans that the country will no longer be hosting the games.
“Minister Pravin Gordhan, in his budget speech, indicated that we need to reign in on government borrowing and the widening budget deficit.
“If Durban goes ahead and hosts the games, budget cuts will have to be made from essential social services to free up money to fund the event.
“In 2014, the city of Glasgow spent £575 million (R11,8 billion) on the Commonwealth Games. This is enough to fund all the students who have been denied funding by NSAFS for the 2017 academic year,” added the party.
Above all, DA declared that it will not stand by while scarce resources are spent on non-priority pursuits. The resources should be channeled towards job creation, education opportunities and entrepreneurial seed funding, DA counseled.