Francistown South Member of Parliament, Wynter Mmolotsi has reacted angrily to revelatiions that only football and volleyball players receive allowances when there are no competitions.
Mmolotsi was making a follow-up query on an answer by Assistant Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Kefentse Mzwinila after Gaborone North MP, Haskins Nkaigwa had made the initial enquiry. Nkaigwa wanted to know if there is support given to Botswana athletes who compete at international level. Nkaigwa had asked Mzwinila to also state the amount they receive when competing on the international stage and when there are no competitions.
The MP had also questioned the minister on how government supports them after competitions to ensure professionalism in sport.
Mzwinila said not all sporting codes are given allowances when there are no competitions. “Only football and volleyball players are paid monthly allowances even when their national teams are not in camp,” Mzwinila told Parliament. But Mmolotsi stood up on a supplementary question to raise lack of equality and fairness on the issue. Mzwinila however said other codes can still make recommendation and show cause why certain individual athletes from their codes can be paid allowances when there are no competitions.
The minister explained that allowances for athletes and officials are as per the Incentive Package for National Team Players.
“However, as per the cabinet directive, not all sport codes are given allowances when there are no competitions,” Mzwinila said.
Mzwinila revealed that athletes and officials are given allowances of US$20 and US$30 per day at regional and international levels respectively.
“In some instances athletes are given allowances as per the programme they are enrolled in, like the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship,” Mzwinila pointed out. Apart from the monthly allowances, athletes are also paid appearances fees and medical insurance with permanent disability and death cover, amongst others, the junior minister divulged.
“There are various sport scholarships which are offered to outstanding athletes who are placed at reputable sport institutions and academics so that they can receive targeted professional training,” Mzwinila added.
He concluded that athletes are supported through the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) program like the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship, Olympic Solidarity Continental Support Grant, Elite Scholarship Fund and the Zebras Athletes Fund.
“There is also a mentorship programme for elite athletes and continuous welfare education,” said Mzwinila.