The Edgar Legoale Foundation hereby expresses its satisfaction with the suspension of the MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture, and Recreation, Limakatso Mahasa, until the 31st of May, 2024. By that time, a new cabinet will have been appointed and, given that she is not listed on her party list, she will no longer hold her position.

We hope that the ANC Women’s League will refrain from initiating any “hands off” campaigns that may defend Mahasa under the guise of a purge. Under her tenure, the sectors in her department faced significant challenges.

As an organisation dedicated to sports, arts, culture, and heritage, the Edgar Legoale Foundation hosts the largest soccer tournament in the Free State, held in Tumahole, Parys. Our “Edgar Legoale Knockout” event draws crowds and teams from across the country, taking place during Easter and the festive season. Since its inception in 2018, the tournament, along with our Tumahole heritage project, which has provided employment opportunities for over 100 young people, has received no backing from the department. This lack of support compels us to voice our opinion on the recent developments concerning the MEC.

The Foundation will abstain from commenting on the political disputes between MEC Mahasa and the Head of Department, Steve Tshabalala. However, we endorse the Premier’s decision to suspend Mahasa, as her absence from duty suggests a neglect of her responsibilities. We believe that with proper political oversight, community sports will receive the attention they deserve, as politicians, rooted in local communities, must be attuned to the people’s needs—a connection seemingly absent in the current leadership at the department.

“Mahasa has been a liability in the Sports, Arts, and Culture Sector. It is baffling that it took the ANC so many years to act accordingly. I have repeatedly voiced that under Mahasa’s leadership, community and grassroots sports have suffered, leading many young people towards drug use,” said Edgar Legoale.

Our attempts to engage with Mahasa in support of our initiatives have been met with empty promises. There are allegations of her managing the department in cahoots with friends and channelling substantial funds towards their soccer events, which have little social impact. We urge the Premier to investigate these allegations and the events sponsored by Mahasa, especially those from 2023 December that appear to align with her interests.

The foundation calls on the Premier and the interim MEC to engage with stakeholders across various sectors, addressing the rampant issues within community sports and the creative sector, by connecting directly with those on the ground.

The neglect of sports infrastructure in schools and communities, along with the absence of support from the department and its political leaders, must be addressed.

The foundation also calls on the Premier to investigate the affair concerning Fezile Dabi Stadium in Tumahole where we come from, where despite significant investments, it remains non-compliant with regulations. Under Mahasa’s oversight, an excessive amount of over R3 million was spent on a statue of the freedom fighter Fezile Dabi, despite the stadium’s operational issues.

Under Ms. Mahasa’s oversight, the Free State has been devoid of a national team in the Premier Soccer League following the sale of Bloemfontein Celtics to the KwaZulu-Natal based team Royal AM, owned by Shaun Mkhize. This raises serious questions about her commitment to nurturing local talent. We call upon the upcoming 7th administration and the Premier to treat this matter with urgency, including considering the purchase of a status for the province.

We further appeal for financial support for Free State teams in the ABC Motsepe League, Regional Leagues, and SAFA LFA , which are struggling to sustain their operations.

We call upon the Free State government to re-evaluate its priorities, directing resources towards reviving sports codes and supporting Local Soccer Tournaments . We also call the premier to establish a Premier’s Sports Fund, similar to the efforts made during the Free State Investment Summit, to encourage private sector collaboration for economic growth and job creation.

We welcome the appointment of Makalo Mohale as the acting MEC for the department, confident in his ability to prioritise sectoral issues and respond to community concerns. This confidence is founded on his successful tenure at the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA), as well as his current role as the MEC of Education, where he has maintained the Free State’s leading position in matriculation results.

We look forward to the positive developments that are expected under Mr. Mohale’s stewardship and remain hopeful that he will continue to address the needs of the sports sector with the same commitment demonstrated in his previous positions.

Issued by the Edgar Legoale Foundation
Distributed by Blaqsnaps Media

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