This week marks my 100th day in office and as with many, I have spent 50 of them in my ‘home’ office during the nationwide lockdown.
Though we are currently facing uncertain times, my key focus is to rebuild a solid foundation from which Cycling South Africa can represent and serve the cycling community with impact.
We are currently aligning our internal operations and management structures to ensure that the Cycling South Africa ecosystem is able to function in a more efficient and effective manner. A number of task teams have also been established in the fields of marketing, communication, finance, IT, data management, and sports development, and together with the internal governance structures, we are utilising their collective expertise to interrogate and refine my outlined strategy for 2021 – 2024.
The Federation did a great deal to rectify it’s financial position over the 6 months preceding COVID-19, but understandably, the virus has had a major impact on our operations and will continue to do so until we can resume business. Working with the CAB (our Compliance and Advisory Board appointed in February), we are also identifying measures to better govern with transparency.
The lockdown restrictions have stalled the national economy, and the cycling industry is no exception with many cycling-dependent businesses and families struggling with the loss of income. Several questions have been posed as to the COVID-19’s long term effect on the cycling industry, and while it is impossible to quantify this at present, we are confident that the challenges being faced will be met with resilience and innovation.
I am thankful to the individuals and entities who have responded to the call for proposals for Cycling South Africa’s INNOV8 initiative and to assist with recommendations to the government for the COVID-19 risk-adjusted strategy. While not all elements of our proposal have been incorporated into the lockdown framework at present, we will continue to represent all areas of cycling when engaging with government.
I am also encouraged by the way in which the national sporting federations and associations have joined forces in order to devise a strategy to revive the sports industry back to a position of strength.
We are going through a tough period but all is not lost. The one thing we do have is time. Time to reflect on our past, time to consider our current challenges, and time to plan for the future. I am confident that, working together with the support of the cycling community, we will be successful in moving the federation into a new era of integrity, accountability, and delivery.
Stay safe and keep positive, we will get through this!
Ciska du Plessis-Austin