'Ministerial appointment best day of my life'

Cabinet role: Rakgare being sworn in after his appointment in 2019
Cabinet role: Rakgare being sworn in after his appointment in 2019

The Minister of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture (MYSC), Tumiso Rakgare, will not forget November 6, 2019, the day President Mokgweetsi Masisi handed him the role to lead the vast ministry. Armed with no experience in handling government business, he had a few months to put his ducks in a row, but now Rakgare has gained considerable confidence as he revealed in this wide-range interview with Staff Writer, CALISTUS KOLANTSHO

As Rakgare's first term in office nears its end with the general elections around the corner, the minister reflects on an often difficult journey. Rakgare was appointed minister on November 6, 2019, and he describes it as the best day of his life as he knew it was an opportunity for him to change the landscape and influence decisions affecting the youth, sport, and culture. “Remember by then that gender was not part of our ministry. It only came in after the rationalisation of government departments. I was still a young person when I was appointed. I had just turned 36-years-old. Having worked on radio, I have interacted with the creative sector but with sport, it is my way of life. The privilege I have had, as a Business Administration graduate, I was majoring in General Management. I did a lot of governance courses where I understood integrities around corporate governance,” he said.

Rakgare said upon arrival at the ministry, he took time to have a better understanding of the people he was to work with. He said there were issues he could not condone such as corruption, dishonesty and demanded professionalism. Unfortunately for him, when he was about to find his footing, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “During the outbreak, we were one of the few ministries that decided to assist our constituents. There was financial assistance to professional athletes, Premier League players, and First Division players amongst others. The biggest issue in this ministry is youth unemployment; people expect us to create employment, and people expect me to criticise government in Parliament. I cannot do that. What I do is to advise government on matters affecting young people and that is not done on the floor of Parliament. There are different platforms including Cabinet where decisions are taken,” he said. Rakgare said he is happy about his achievements but it is a work in progress and there is a lot to be done. He said his dream is to see athletes becoming professionals, making money, and supporting their families. “When I arrived in this ministry I took a decision that sport should be administered by sportspeople. We have sportspeople in the ministry but the right people to administer and implement sports programmes are the people who work in sports daily. I think I made the right decision when I appointed Marumo Morule as chairperson and Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego as the sport expert,” Rakgare said. He said those were the right appointments and he would like to have them on the board any day because they provided leadership.

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