Taking cycling back to the people

Sporting federations around the globe rely heavily on funding. It is no different in South Africa except our history has left us with a legacy we have to change. The legacy is simple – we have to “take cycling to the people”.

Whilst cycling is the fastest growing sport in the country, there are still incredibly large parts of the country untapped, where people may own or ride a bicycle but know little or nothing about the sport and where it may take them.

Cycling SA has accepted the responsibility to change this, to address the fact that so many people still need to learn to race. To bridge this gap and “take cycling to the people” it begins with each and every Cycling SA affiliated club in South Africa.

The current funding models from various Government structures no longer favour large federations per se, they are now packaged to benefit the clubs and academies at grass roots level. Funding from Government is obtainable specifically for the development of the sport amongst the youth.

Cycling South Africa Vice President and Eastern Cape Cycling Commission Director, Mr Yster Xatasi explains his process of applying for and succeeding with Provincial Sports Confederation, local Government and National Lottery funding and sponsorship for the province in order to assist with the development of the sport and “taking cycling to the people”.

“The federation cannot rely on, and run on, membership fees alone. Sport is about legacy, and I’m working hard to leave a legacy so that those who fill my position after me can strive to do even greater things for the sport,” said Mr Xatasi. “To build this legacy we have to expose so many new athletes to the sport and the only way that we will achieve this is through our structures on the ground. People say that funding is hard to come by at Provincial and club levels. We have proven them wrong!”

Mr Xatasi said that the province will be receiving close to R990 000, most of which will be dedicated to development projects, an area of cycling that he is driving throughout the province. It also offers some funding administrative burden.

When talking about the application process, Mr Xatasi said: “The process is a very simple one. Each Province and club, while registering with Cycling SA, needs to also affiliate with the Provincial Sports Confederation. There has been a shift in the way that the Government provides funding from a national level to more of a provincial level. All provinces are entitled to receive funding; they just need to apply for it and need to show how they will “take cycling to the people”.

Mr Xatasi stressed the importance of being proactive in the community in order to get something done. “We can’t lie back and expect, we need to work hard for what we want. I’ll push hard to make sure that it happens. Once I’ve applied, I’ll email, call and follow up – even go for meetings.”

After the funding for the province has been granted, it is then up to the Province to allocate what goes where. “From here, clubs around the province can then apply for funding. Examples of this are Siyanqoba Cycling Academy, Imveli Cycling Academy and Umtata Cycling Academy. They have been very proactive in their application process. Although they are getting involved and are on the ball with this, I still would like to see the money distributed relatively evenly across many clubs, so that they all gradually develop at a similar pace instead of one club just getting better and better and the rest stay the same,” he said.

Mr Xatasi has not stopped there, and is currently involved with over 30 projects around the country. “If the other provinces need my help I can assist them with the process. I want others to see what I am doing, and I want to inspire them to do the same and better the sport across the country, one step at a time,” he said.