When the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Dr Thapelo Matsheka presented the national budget on Monday this week, there was no mention of sport.
The nearly 40 Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) affiliates would be eager to know their allocation.
The government’s grant to sport has remained stagnant, failing to breach the P100 Million mark, despite increased financial demands.
The sport family would have liked to hear what was in Matsheka’s brief, but there was no mention.
The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development permanent secretary, Kago Ramokate said he would not comment on the matter but rather they would take up the matter with Ministers Committee of Supply.
“We would definitely address sport issues in the Ministers Committee of Supply,” he said.
Botswana Fencing Association (BFA) spokesperson, Ewetse Khama said the focus on the budget makes it look like Batswana are too busy to think about sport.
“I appreciate that it may look like sport is omitted by not being mentioned specifically, however we are hopeful in that a knowledge-based footing is still good for sport in the long run. To me it speaks to improving the strategic thinking side of sport,” Khama said.
He added that maybe now more than ever is a good time for sporting codes to think like businesses. Khama said sporting codes should engage government and the private sector focusing on partnerships rather the existing funding models.
“Sport can, and does offer a wider scope than just providing entertainment. National health campaigns can be supported by sport. Education can be supported by sport in building discipline in young people,” he said.
Khama said the economy is also supported by sport as events create opportunities for entrepreneurs
“The bottom line is, it is not time for the sporting fraternity to wait to be assisted, it is time for us to demonstrate our value to a budget
that seems to be aimed at helping those who help themselves,” he said.
Excel Golf Academy managing director, Mpho Kelosiwang said the omission of sport from the budget was regrettable. He said with his knowledge of how the budget speech is compiled, it means the sector failed to put a persuasive argument towards inclusion.
He explained that all sectors contribute to the budget and in his view it meant that the sport contribution did not align with the transformation agenda.
“Sport is not part of the transformational agenda. It is a pity that we are not realising the power of sport to contribute to transforming the economy. Sport can create jobs, sports men and women, officials, coaches and administrators amongst others. Those are direct jobs,” he said.
Kelosiwang said he has never believed in government playing a prominent role in sport development except to create a conducive environment for private academies to succeed.
“The government, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and National Sport Associations are never good at picking winners on the other hand, we become successful and sustainable if we develop and create winners,” Kelosiwang said.
Botswana Table Tennis Association president, Kudzanani Motswagole said it was a matter of seeing what is there for sport and with it not being mentioned in the budget speech may mean it is business as usual.