The acting National Commissioner, Makgothi Thobakgale, commended members of the National Sports Council (NSC) for their dogged and collective determination to ensure the resuscitation and development of sports in the Department of Correctional Services (DCS).
In his keynote address, Thobakgale assured members of the NSC that they will receive full support from senior management, to develop sports in DCS. He also mentioned that all Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and stakeholder partnerships that need to be strengthened on sports training and development will be prioritized. “For you as members of the NSC to find resonance, you have to focus on integrating policies and programmes across the Department. When we establish sound partnerships with various sporting structures in the country, we will then develop integrated pathways to produce champions in DCS and the country,” said Thobakgale.
He further encouraged the NSC to immerse itself in the governance structures of the Department, meet on quarterly basis to get reports on advancements and growth of sports in the Department. In March 2020, South Africa was hit by COVID-19, which resulted in the country being placed under strict lockdown. Under Alert level 5 lockdown regulations, some of the restrictions included the halting of all sporting activities which had an impact on the sports fraternity and organisations, including DCS.
South Africa is now on Alert level 1 of the lockdown regulations, which allows sporting activities to resume under strict COVID-19 protocols. Consequently, the Chief Deputy Commissioner (CDC): Human Resources, Cynthia Ramulifho, deemed it imperative to convene all 24 sporting codes presidents and secretaries to deliberate on the way forward for sports in DCS under the new normal.
The second day of the meeting saw members of the NSC engage in robust discussions on challenges they encounter in their respective sporting codes. These challenges include new recruitment of DCS officials to join sports clubs, misalignment of funding, dilapidated sporting facilities, standardisation of sports colours, and training developments amongst others. Ramulifho advised presidents of sporting codes to explore other means of recruitment, such as recruiting new employees and learners of the Department, creating sports games with other organisations and strengthening stakeholder relations with external organisations. The three-day NSC meeting concluded on 30 September 2021.