Minister Meyer's Address at the Provincial Olympic Day Celebrations
Address delivered by Dr Ivan Meyer, Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, at the Provincial Olympic Day celebrations held on 5 October 2013 in Hermanus.
The Mayor of the Overstrand Municipality, Councillor Botha Guthrie
Mayco Member for Sport, Overstrand Municipality, Councillor Smit
The President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Mr Gideon Sam
The CEO of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Mr Tubby Reddy
The Chairperson of the Western Cape Sport Confederation Mr Goliath Munro
The Chairperson of the West Coast Sport Council, Mr Jerome Arendse
The Chairperson of the Overberg Sport Council, Mr Rudi Johannes
Chief Director of the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Advocate Lyndon Bouah
Director of Community Services, Overstrand Municipality, Mr Roderick Williams
Members of the Local Organising Committee
Olympic and paralympic athletes present
Sportsmen and sportswomen
Ladies and gentlemen
Thank you for inviting me to share this day with you. A day on which the Overberg Sports Festival has the singular, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to host its annual sport festival, and also South Africa’s National Olympic Sport Day. This is an honour which I, on behalf of the people of the Western Cape, am grateful for. I therefore wish to express my gratitude to the President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Mr Gideon Sam and his CEO, Mr Tubby Reddy for entrusting the Western Cape with the singular honour of hosting the National Olympic Day 2013. It is a singular honour because, just like South Africa had one opportunity to host the FIFA 2010 World Cup, so too has this region been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host Olympic Day.
The Olympic movement encapsulates the dreams and aspirations of every sport lover. It grabs the imagination and puts on display the best of the human spirit – bravery and courage in its purest form as the athlete competes for the ultimate prize in sport, the Olympic gold medal.
The power of the Olympic gold medal and the impact it has on every sport enthusiast on this planet was recognised last year by the Western Cape Government when Premier Helen Zille took the unprecedented step of removing photographs of politicians from the walls in her media room and replacing them with the photos of Olympic gold medallists, Charles Bouwer, Fanie van der Merwe, Ilse Hayes and Arnu Fourie.
Why did Premier Helen Zille do this? She did it because she acknowledges the impact and the influence that these Olympic heroes have had on the nation. I believe some of the olympians and para-olympians are here today. Let’s acknowledge their presence once again.
The Overstrand Sport Festival is today being given the opportunity to bask in the successes of the athletes present today. These athletes are our athletes. Their achievements bring us joy and pride. They fuel our sense of patriotism and, regardless of who we are, their performances bring the nation to a standstill in a spirit of nationhood – one anthem, one flag, one emblem and one South Africa.
The success of events such as the Overstrand Sport Festival is dependent on the strength of the partnerships it creates. In the Western Cape we believe in the philosophy of Better Together. Effective partnerships unlock resources both financial and in kind, enhancing the quality of the end product and the services to the people of the Western Cape.
The above was demonstrated recently when the Gansbaai Spaces for Sports site won the Sports Facilities and Public Spaces Grant at the 15th International Olympic Committee Conference on Sport for All held in Lima, Peru, from 24 to 27 April 2013. The conference is important for connecting sports bodies and federations around the world, sharing best practice and partnerships in sport for development, and providing a platform for the Olympic movement to promote sport as a tool for social change.
The Gansbaai Sports Centre was built in 2007 in partnership with Barclays/Absa, the Overstrand Municipality, the Grootbos Foundation and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport. These partnerships have been key to the success of the site and serve as a great working model for similar development projects around the world. Specific credit goes to the Overstrand Municipality for the impeccable maintenance and sound management of the Centre.
Similarly, with respect to this festival, SASCOC and the Western Cape Government together with sponsors such as Coke partnered with the Overstrand Municipality because we are determined to ensure that the 2013 Overstrand Sport Festival will be the best yet. The final proof will, of course, be the level of participation of the sports community of the Overstrand. I therefore encourage every participant to compete today in the spirit of the Olympic movement, strive for excellence, celebrate friendship and demonstrate respect.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of SASCOC and the Overstrand Municipality, I now proclaim the 2013 Overstrand Sport Festival open.
Let the games begin!