Going for gold! Roland Schoeman writes to Ramaphosa to offer his services as sports minister

05 August 2021 - 08:00
By cebelihle bhengu AND Cebelihle Bhengu
Roland Schoeman wants to transform sport in SA.
Image: Tertius Pickard\Gallo Images Roland Schoeman wants to transform sport in SA.

There is no stopping celebrated SA swimmer Roland Schoeman's ambitious goal to become the sports minister, after he escalated his proposal to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday.

Schoeman decided to petition the president after “an overwhelming” public response to his suggestion on social media.

In a page-long letter, Schoeman detailed his qualifications and listed his sporting achievements, saying ministers should have the necessary know-how to serve in their portfolios, coupled with real-world experience.

“In my humble opinion, we need ministers and a cabinet that are fit for purpose and know what they are doing. Some real-world experience would be helpful as well,” he wrote.

Schoeman put his hat in the ring for the position on Monday after Ramaphosa said he was applying his mind to the possibility of a cabinet reshuffle.

In his letter to the president, he said he received nearly 1-million responses, a strong indicator people expect more from the sports ministry.

“For far too long, ideology has polluted sports to the point that many federations are in dire straits. Cricket SA and Athletics SA come to mind.

“We need a minister of sports who is more interested in getting our young men and women to the point of success on major international platforms than the politics of federations and sports clubs. Surely we want to win as a nation?” he wrote.

When approached for comment, Schoeman asked that TimesLIVE send him detailed questions to which he would respond. 

Attempts to get comment from the department of sport, arts and culture were unsuccessful at the time of publishing this article. Any comment will be updated once received.

Minister of sport, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa has been at the receiving end of public and celebrity scrutiny, especially since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Artists remain among the most affected by the pandemic as performances and gatherings remain banned. Grievances expressed by artists include the perceived lack of financial support during the pandemic, which Mthethwa has repeatedly denied.

Last week, Mthethwa dismissed as false, claims by artists and opposition political parties that the government is not doing enough to help artists.

“It is a fallacy that nothing is happening. Here is the evidence and we must make it clear. While we have not reached everybody, these are people, warm bodies, who benefited out of government and the department,” he said. 

Ramaphosa has not responded to Schoeman's letter.