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Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa says sports facilities will remain closed despite pressure to reopen venues

FILE - Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

FILE - Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Jan 20, 2022

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Durban - Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa isn’t buckling under the pressure of numerous calls to reopen sporting facilities in the country but provided updates on the processes in place to allow for sports supporters to return to stadiums.

Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader, Julius Malema leads the most recent rally to force Mthethwa and his department to announce the immediate reopening of all sporting facilities in the country. The EFF’s “People’s picket to demand the opening of stadiums” is just one such measure formed towards this particular course.

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ALSO READ: Fans have been allowed to attend sporting events since October, says Nathi Mthethwa

Mthethwa however, isn’t wincing in the midst of such demonstrations and has reaffirmed his department’s position in dealing with the reopening of stadiums in the country.

“We have noted calls regarding the reopening of stadiums and cultural venues,” he said.

“The reopening of stadiums and cultural venues is necessary for the economic recovery of the sport, art and culture sectors, hence, in working towards these goals, I’ve established the Return to Play Adjudication Committee of experts to support organisations, clubs and individuals to comply with Covid- 19 regulations.”

ALSO READ: Athletics South Africa joins the fight against Covid-19 to get fans to return to stadiums

Mthethwa also revealed that the proposed Safe Return of Spectators Strategy that was started in October last year has been heavily delayed by the emergence of the Omicron Virus.

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He further alluded to the fact that it remains very important that the department’s plans be guided by a variety of systems thinking analysis.

He also explained that,” the department of Sport, Art and Culture is committed to engaging the Cabinet on this phased approach but does encourage South Africans to get vaccinated in an effort to aid the safe return to stadiums.”

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