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  • Writer's pictureMosibodi Whitehead

'We are going after these people' - New Gauteng Sport MEC Mosupyoe on missing Covid relief funds

Newly appointed Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Development Morakane Mosupyoe says she will leave no stone unturned in brining to book those who absconded with Covid relief funds that were meant for athletes. As a result of the National Lockdown that was put in place in March 2020, many athletes were unable to earn an income as sport came to a halt. To cushion the economic blow, the government made relief funds available but not all athletes received their monies in full. Mosupyoe says her first order of business in her new job is to get to the bottom of these missing millions.

"If there's any malfeasance that's happening you cannot sweep it under the carpet. It will be addressed aggressively nogal. You can imagine if you look at the amounts of money that disappeared and compare it to what we could have used that money for - it breaks your heart. So we are going to go after these people and we are going to make sure that they bring the money back," said the former Social Development MEC who took over this portfolio from Mbali Hlophe last month when Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi announced his new Executive Council.

Mosupyoe was speaking at the Orlando Stadium last week where the finalists for the 2022 Gauteng Sport Awards were unveiled. On the back of his success in Birmingham where he won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, national Long Jump champion Jovan van Vuuren has been nominated for in the Sportman of The Year Category, while renowned hurdles coach Irma Reynecke is in line to win the Coach of The Year award and World Junior Championships bronze medalist Benjamin Richardson could walk away with the Most Promising Athlete of the Year.

Given the challenging economic times in South Africa and the money that went missing in the disbursement of Covid relief funds, some argue that the millions that the department spends on the Sports Awards could be channelled to better use. But Mospupyoe disagrees. She argues that one of their mandates in promoting social cohesion in the country is recognizing those who contribute positively to the nation through hard work in sport.

"Human beings are human beings. You will have those who appreciate what you are doing and you will have those who don't appreciate it and it's okay. People are like that. Any human - we appreciate being appreciated. Where credit is due, let's give it. It then encourages people to do more and then it also exposes people who were not aware that I can take this as a career path," she explained.

Winners will be announced at what is expected to be a glamorous affair in early 2023. Click HERE for a full list of this year's finalists or to vote for your favourite in the Sport Personality of the Year Award.

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