At the launching of the employability and enterprise development programme and commissioning of the upgraded gymnasium facility which took place in Gansbaai on Wednesday, 16 July, hope was given to young people of the area by speakers of the day.
Mayor Nicolette Botha-Guthrie outlined a few things about the project. In her speech she welcomed everyone and acknowledged the fact that the Gansbaai sport facility has hosted several visits by former Ministers of Sport in the Western Cape over the past eight years of its existence.
Mayor recalled visits by Minister Whitey Jacobs who did the sod turning with the former Mayor, Cllr Theo Beyleveldt in November 2006. “He also opened the first Under 16 soccer tournament for boys and girls of the Western Cape on 7 December 2007. Mr Cameron Dugmore attended the official launching of the project during April 2008. Minister Ivan Meyer supported the facility by means of financial contributions for developmental programmes and other infrastructural upgrades”, said Mayor.
“Today we celebrate the presence of the fourth generation of sport ministers in the lifespan of this project. I would like to extend a special word of welcome to the Honourable Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo and I am sure, Minister, you will appreciate being a part of this success story and the dream that has come true! As an Overstrand community we have experienced the value of effective partnerships and acknowledge the remarkable changes that were achieved through commitment, passion and innovative leadership pertaining to the utilisation of this facility. The positive changes in attitude and lifestyle of young children participating in programmes, is the most rewarding experience for which anyone can ask.
“This facility brought people from all over the Western Cape together. Soccer clubs who did not even communicate with each other were basically forced to use this neutral ground to compete during three Mayoral Cup Sport events. Sportsmen from five different sport codes participated in these events and the concept of a multi-discipline sport code, through cohesion between different communities, was achieved”.
She further touched on how “the Spaces for Sport programme started. “It was a dream in 2005 and was presented to the Overstrand Council for in-principle approval, after which Barclays in the UK was approached for financial support. The positive response of all role-players - Overstrand Municipality / Barclays through ABSA in South Africa / the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport - made it possible that the construction of Phase 1 could be started and completed in a record time of one year."
Mayor acknowledges that there is still a long way before completion of the envisaged master plan development of the property at an estimated cost of R130m. However; she is proud that several infrastructural projects were completed in the past seven years.
She also recognised yet another exciting developmental programme by ABSA launching the employability and enterprise skills development programme, together with the handing over of the upgrading of the gymnasium facility programme.
She further acknowledged the presence and ongoing support of all four founding members of the partnership that started in 2005 which will continue to influence the lives of the residents of the Overstrand and ended with a quote - 'Tell your friends and families that Overstrand has so much more to offer '.
ABSA spokesman, Mr Andy de la Mare, spoke after the Mayor. He emphasised the importance of empowering young people to become business leaders. He said young people are future leaders and that ABSA is focusing on youth development and are striving to equip youth to be independent so as to be able to create their own jobs. He said their program is focusing on teaching Maths and career skills and most importantly assisting people to establish themselves. The program is happening around the Western Cape. De la Mare mentioned that the program is done through sport because much can be achieved through sport. “Sport improves one’s behavior. This project brings forth two things - a healthy body and mind. He further said that the program is about investing in young people and therefore in future more leaders may be born”.
The MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, emphasised the importance of sport for young people and encouraged the public to engage in activities of this nature. “These meetings are meant to educate everyone that a sport loving child is a winning child.” In order for children to excel in sport they need support from home. Government's duty is to make sure we provide good facilities in all areas to produce sport champions to represent the country one day, especially if they come from small areas. Young talent is identified in community sports.
With these words I would like to thank the people of Overstrand for the opportunity”, said the MEC. Immediately after the MEC’s talk she and the Mayor proceeded to cut the ribbon to open the new extension of the Gymnasium.