Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) aims to improve the quality of life of all South Africans by promoting participation in sport and recreation in the country, and through the participation of sportspeople and teams in international sporting events.

Sport has the potential to build social cohesion and national unity. South Africa was bound together when the country won the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and again in 2007, the African Cup of Nations in 1996 as well as when it won the right to host the 2010 World Cup in 2004.

Sport in South Africa is a multibillion-rand industry and contributes more than 2% to the country’s gross domestic product.

The country has successfully hosted major international events, including the rugby, cricket and women’s golf world cups and will be sure to impress when it hosts the Confederations Cup 2009 and the FIFA World Cup in 2010TM.

Mass participation
The Siyadlala Mass Participation Programme (SMPP) is the cradle of community sports in South Africa. The programme was launched in 2005 to facilitate access to sport and recreation for as many South Africans as possible, especially those from historically disadvantaged communities.

The SRSA launched the programme with a budget of R20 million.

This has since increased to more than R290 million with the inclusion of school sport and legacy development. Hubs (geographical centres of activity within five kilometres’ walking radius) increased from 36 to 451 in 2007, with over three million participants in various activities, ranging from indigenous games to rugby, soccer, netball, baseball, general gymnastics, hockey, aerobics, handball, boxing, cricket, swimming, dance sport, volleyball and basketball. The eventual aim is to ensure that no child has to walk more than five kilometres to access an activity hub anywhere in the country.

The idea is to establish at least one hub in every ward in every municipality across South Africa.

The SMPP is expected to enable the sport sector to contribute to the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa. Research into the hubs indicates that small stipends given to youth trained as activity co-ordinators contributes to feeding up to eight families in some instances.

By mid-2007, the SMPP had trained more than 2 000 young volunteers in sport-and-recreation administration, over 1 500 entry-level coaches, more than 1 200 referees, and over 2 000 people in event management and first aid.

Indigenous games
The indigenous games are ugqaphu/kgati/ntimo, diketo/upuca/magave, morabaraba/mlabalaba, ncuva/ntijwa/tsoro/tshimaya/moruba, dibeke/diwiki/snuka/skununu/umabhorisha, jukskei, kho-kho and lintonga/melamu/izinduku.

In 2008, no indigenous games festival was held as South Africa hosted the Zone VI U/20 Youth Games.

School sport
In 2005, the ministries of education and of sport and recreation signed a partnership agreement to resuscitate and revitalise school sports and Physical Education programmes. The SRSA has established the Directorate of School Sport within the Chief Directorate: Mass Participation. It consists of two sections: Competitive School Sport and Mass Participation in Schools Sport. It reaches about 1 600 schools nationally and focuses on capacity-building, providing sports equipment for use at events, sustaining the programme by suppporting local sports assistants and local leagues, and providing logistical support.

By mid-2008, a five-year school-sport programme, which was drafted for 2007 to 2011, and the co-ordinating structure were under review.

In September 2008, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and Botswana were represented in the Confederation of School Sport Associations of Southern Africa Ball Games Competition, which is held each year in a different Southern African Development Community (SADC) country.

The South African team walked away with four gold medals and one silver. The female teams did particularly well. Aside from the netball side, the basketball girls and boys teams and the boys volleyball teams won gold medals.

The SRSA contributed most of the cost of the team’s participation, and played a leading role in the organising and managing the team.

2008 sports highlights

South Africa’s paralympic team won 30 medals at the Paralympics in Beijing. Seventeen of those medals were gold. With 71% of South Africa’s medals being gold, the team ended proudly in seventh place on the medal table. This is how the team performed:

  • The “golden girl” was swimmer Natalie du Toit, who completed a clean sweep of victories in the five events she entered. She was named winner of the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award.
  • Oscar Pistorius won the T44 100 m and the 200 m and 400 m.
  • Hilton Langenhoven struck gold twice; he scored a world record 3 401 points to win the men’s P12 pentathlon and followed that by capturing gold in the long jump, with a Paralympic record leap of 7,31 m.
  • Ilse Hayes joined Langenhoven and Fanie van der Merwe as winners when she recorded a distance of 5,68 m to win the F13 long jump.
  • Teboho Mokgalagadi won bronze in the men’s T35 100 m.
  • Ernst van Dyk, competing in his fifth Paralympic Games, captured gold when he won the road race for hand cycling class C. He finished the 48,4-km distance in one hour, 21 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • Phillipa Johnson won her second equestrian gold medal in the individual freestyle test grade four.
  • David Roos picked up a silver medal in the men’s F46 long jump.
  • Fanie Lombard won bronze in the men’s F42 shot put, with a distance of 13,87 m. He is the most successful South African athlete in the history of the Paralympics, with seven gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
  • Gavin Kilpatrick and Michael Thomson secured bronze in the sprint for blind and vision-impaired athletes.
  • Ernst van Dyk rounded off the Paralympics for South Africa with a bronze medal in the last event of the games when he finished third in the men’s marathon T54.


  • In March 2008, South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena won gold with a leap of 8,08 m in the long jump at the Athletics World Indoor Championships, in Valencia, Spain.
  • In April 2008, South African wheelchair athlete Ernst van Dyk won the Boston Marathon race for a record seventh time. His time was one hour, 26 minutes and 49 seconds.
  • David Grier and Braam Malherbe became the first people to run around the entire coastline of South Africa. On 8 October 2008, they completed the “Cipla Spar Miles for Smiles Coastal Challenge” – a 100-day, 3 278-km run around the southern African coastline from Namibia’s Oranjemund to Ponto Do Ouro in Mozambique.


  • In August 2008, South African mountain bike downhill racer Greg Minnaar won the Mountain Bike World Cup in Canberra.
  • A month later, Tyla Rattray won the Motocross world title when he clinched the MX2 category championship at the Italian Grand Prix in Faenza.

In January 2008, South Africa’s triples combination of Lorna Trigwell, Loraine Victor and Sylvia Burns were crowned world champions in Christchurch, New Zealand, when they defeated Australia 15-11 in the final of the World Bowls Championships.
Canoeing and skiing

  • In June 2008, Bridgitte Hartley won South Africa’s first-ever gold medal at a sprinting World Cup regatta when she clinched the women’s 1 000 m A-final in Poznan, Poland.
  • In September 2008, South Africa’s tradition of excellence in canoe marathon competitions was upheld at the World Championships in the Czech  Republic as the country won three medals, including gold in the men’s K2 race. Ant Stott and Cam Schoeman won gold at the Rainbow Nation’s challenge championships in the men’s K2 competition, just a day after Stott had won a bronze medal in the K1 event.


  • After a 12 year international career, Shaun Pollock retire at the top, hitting the winning runs for South Africa in his final one-day international (ODI) match against the West Indies in February 2008.
  • On 21 July 2008, South Africa beat England by 10 wickets in the second test at Headingley to take a 1-0 series lead in the battle for the Basil D’Oliviera Trophy.
  • A month later, at Edgbaston, South Africa claimed victory by five wickets in the third test over England to secure a 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
  • South Africa made history at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 when they beat Australia in the test and ODI Series Down Under.

In August 2008, Cape Town-based free-diver Hanli Prinsloo excelled in the Nordic Deep Free-diving Competion held off the west coast of Sweden, winning the competition and setting four new South African records in the process.

  • In January 2008, James Kamte scored a history-making breakthrough victory with a five-birdie back nine to win the R1,8-million Dimension Data Pro- Am at the Gary Player Country Club. Kamte became the first black South African to record a victory on the tough Summer Swing of the Sunshine Tour.
  • In March 2008, South Africa’s Ernie Els rallied from three shots adrift to win the $5,5-million Honda Classic and end his United States (US) victory drought.
  • A month later, Trevor Immelman survived a double bogey at the 16th hole to become the first South African to win the US Masters in 30 years with a three-shot victory. Immelman followed in the footsteps of Gary Player to secure the prized green jacket with a three-over-par 75, matching the highest closing score by a Masters winner set by Arnold Palmer in 1962.
  • In May 2008, Hennie Otto scored a victory in the Italian Open at the Castello di Tolcinasco Golf and Country Club in Milan on his European Tour.
  • In October, Charl Schwartzel captured his third Europian Tour title and his second in Spain when he won the Madrid Masters by three shots with a total of 19-under-par 265.
  • On November 1, Retief Goosencaptured the Asian Tour’s Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia, with a final round lifting him to a two-shot victory after he had entered the last day four shots off the pace.

Motor racing
In February 2008, A1 Team South Africa’s Adrian Zaugg produced a sensational drive in pouring rain to win the feature race at Eastern Creek just outside Sydney, Australia.

  • In January 2008, South Africans Bill Godfrey and Peter van Kets won the 2 500-nautical mile Atlantic Rowing Race. The event began on 2 December 2007 in San Sebastian, La Gomera, in the Canary Islands.
  • In the same month, in South Africa’s Dusi Canoe Marathon, Michael Mbanjwa became the first black winner in the 57-year history of the event.


  • In April 2008, South Africa’s Sevens rugby team brought an end to New Zealand’s season-long domination of the International Rugby Board World Sevens Series when Neil Powell’s side beat the Kiwis 15-7 to clinch the Adelaide Sevens.
  • On 12 July 2008, South Africa finally ended their decade-long run without a win on New Zealand soil with a 30-28 victory in the Tri-Nations Series.
  • In June 2008, South Africa’s Sevens rugby team claimed the Plate title at the Edinburgh Sevens, defeating Scotland 14-5.
  • The month of June 2008 saw South Africa beating Wales twice.
  • On 9 August, South Africa celebrated former President Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday by beating Argentina 63-9.
  • Later the same month, South Africa beat Australia 53-8 in Johannesburg.
  • The Springboks beat England 42-6 at Twickenham on 22 November 2008.


  • In March 2008, Bafana Bafana scored a 3-0 victory over world number 26 Paraguay at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville, outside Pretoria. In the process of scoring one of three Bafana goals, Benni McCarthy broke the South African scoring record he had previously held jointly with Shaun Bartlett by recording his 30th international goal.
  • In June 2008, Bafana Bafana won 4-1 over Equitorial Guinea in a  2010 African Nations Cup qualifying match in Atteridgeville.
  • In August 2008, South Africa beat Mozambique 2-1 to retain the Cosafa Cup (now renamed the “Cosafa Senior Challenge”) in the final played at the Thulamahashe Stadium in Bushbuck Ridge.
  • Bafana Bafana made it three wins in succession when they scored a 2-1 victory over Ghana in Bloemfontein in October 2008.
  • In November 2008, Bafana Bafana kept their best performance of the year for last as they scored a dramatic 3-2 win over mighty Cameroon in a titanic Nelson Mandela challenge played at a packed Olympia Park.


  • In April 2008, Team South Africa continued its reign as the undisputed champions of world masters surfing by trumping the world’s best 35-years-and-older surfers to win the overall team crown at the 2008 International Surfing Association World Surfing Championships in perfect waves at Punta Rocas in Peru. Led by individual gold medalists Heather Clark (masters women), Marc Wright (kahunas) and Chris Knutsen (grand kahunas), South Africa blew away the competition to take their second consecutive team world championship.
  • In April 2008, South African Davey Weare surfed to victory against the USA’s Austin Ware in excellent surf at Ansteys on the Bluff near Durban to capture the Quiksilver Pro Durban title.

In October 2008, South Africa’s America’s Cup Team Shosholoza was third across the finish line in a spectacular fleet of 2 000 yachts that competed in the 16-nautical mile Trieste Barcolana.

  • In February 2008, veteran swimmer Ram Barkai of Cape Town completed a “1 km-swim” in an Antarctic lake in life-threatening sub-zero air temperatures. Barkai’s swim is considered the most southerly swim in the world as it took place at 70 degrees latitude. Barkai faced air temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius and a water temperature of one degree.
  • In the same month, Suzaan van Biljon set a new championship record in the 200-m breaststroke, at the Fina World Short Course Championships in Manchester, United Kingdom. Van Biljon clocked two minutes, 18,73 seconds to lower the previous mark of two minutes, 20,22 seconds set in 1999 by Japan’s Masami Tanaka.
  • In September 2008, Roland Schoeman broke the 50m freestyle world record at the Telkom South African Short Course Championships at the Delville Swimming Pool in Germiston. Schoeman powered his way to a world best of 20,64 seconds.

South African Sports Awards
The South African Sports Awards recognise and honour individuals and teams who have excelled both on and off the field each year. They are presented by the SRSA, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and the SABC.

2008 Winners
Natalie du Toit
Itumeleng Khune
Team SA
Khotso Mokoena
Natalie du Toit
Gavin Hunt
Hilton Langenhoven
Natalie du Toit
Khotso Mokoena
Team SA
Anos Mafokate
Steve Kalamazoo Mokone
South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS)
The SAIDS is the South African national anti-doping organisation. It is a public entity established by the SAIDS Act, 1997 and funded by the SRSA, with a mandate to promote participation in sport free from the use of prohibited substances or methods intended to artificially enhance performance, in the interest of the health and well-being of sportspeople.

By May 2008, it had 53 part-time, trained to international standards, accredited doping-control officers based throughout South Africa, who conducted in-and-out of competition doping controls on athletes from over 50 sports disciplines, with 53 trained and accredited chaperones to assist the doping-control officers.

SAIDS is one of the few national anti-doping agencies worldwide with ISO 9001:2000 certification in compliance with the International Testing Standards. This is the internationally recoginsed benchmark for quality assurance and excellence, and represents world best practice in doping control in sport.
Sport Tourism Project
The Sport Tourism Project was launched at the Durban Tourism Indaba in May 2006. The primary motivation of the project is to exploit the substantial benefits that the tourism industry presents for job creation in South Africa.

It combines the Veza route-finder tool, developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, with sports information, enabling users to plan attendance of sports events, including mapping the route to the venue, booking accommodation and selecting restaurants and other tourist attractions in the vicinity of the venue or elsewhere in South Africa.

Tourism is widely recognised as a major growth sector internationally, and it is estimated that 30% of all tourism comprises sports tourism.

The SRSA aims to enhance the sustainability of the project by promoting “home-grown” events such as the Dusi Canoe Marathon and Argus Cycle Tour, which attract large numbers of international participants and spectators.
2010 World Cup
South Africa will host the first ever African World Cup in 2010. Preparations for this tournament are on track. Government is using the hosting of the World Cup to fast-track the growth and development of the country. Games will be hosted in 10 cities across the country. Other preparations taking place include:

  • The International Broadcast Centre (IBC) will ensure television coverage across the globe and will cater for more than 2 000 journalists. The South African Cabinet has approved Johannesburg as the venue for the IBC.
  • The official mascot for the 2010 World Cup was unveiled in Johannesburg in September 2008. The mascot, a leopard, is called Zakumi and has been designed and produced exclusively in South Africa. The name is a composition of “ZA”, standing for South Africa, and “kumi” translating into “10” in various languages across Africa.
  • An additional R1,4 billion has been set aside to cover cost overruns on World Cup stadium projects, and R600 million to cover the cost of last mile Internet (high-speed) connectivity between the stadiums and the national backbone network.
  • The Government indicated that it would provide support for the migration to digital television to meet international broadcasting requirements for the 2010 World Cup and beyond.
  • Additional allocations to local government of R8,8 billion were made to support expanded community access to housing, potable water, sanitation, electricity and public transport of the total additional amount of R8,8 billion.
  • R2.9 billion is allocated to the local government equitable share for increased costs of basic services, particularly electricity.
  • R4.3 billion is earmarked for the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
  • R835 million is proposed for the Public Transport Infrastructure and Systems Grant to finance an integrated public transport network in large municipalities, including World Cup cities.
  • R497 million is allocated for the completion of stadiums and to help host cities with operational requirements for hosting the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup.