Maseru – Different sporting associations have put newly appointed Minister of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation Dr. Mahali Phamotse under immense pressure after being sworn in to fill the void left by the late Minister, Mr. Kabelo Mafura.
Mr. Mafura died on December 24 in Bloemfontein, South Africa following a short illness and Dr. Phamotse was moved from the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Service to replace the late Minister.
The Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) Public Relations Officer Mr. Sejanamane Maphathe said while he believes Dr. Phamotse is different from Mr. Mafura, he is expecting her to take the baton from where the former Minister left off.
He said LAAA’s expectations are that she addresses the issue of infrastructure and improve the poor sports (playing) facilities as currently there are only two of them in Maseru and Mafeteng districts.
“If ever the new Minister could improve more facilities in other districts as part of enhancing sports development, the LAAA will be satisfied,” Mr. Maphathe said.
He added that Dr. Phamotse should ensure that sport subvention to the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) is increased as the present one is no longer enough to cater for all the sporting codes in the country.
“Athletics is one of the few sporting codes with a potential to bring medals home, but our country lacks developmental programmes due to the shortage of fund to direct towards such events,” he highlighted.
The LSRC Public Relations Officer, Mr. Refiloe Maphallela, said he hoped Dr. Phamotse noted the late Mr. Mafura’s progress and that she works towards picking up where he left off. “She is not entirely new in government. I hope she saw what the late Mr. Mafura was doing in the Ministry. I hope Dr. Phamotse will not change much, but rather improve on the foundation,” Mr. Maphallela.
Mr. Mafura allowed the LSRC to organise some of the sporting events such as the Lesotho High Altitude Summer Marathon, horse races while he concentrated on policies.
“The present subvention allocated to the sports commission is not enough,” Mr. Maphathe said, adding that it has been M7 Million for the past 15 years.
“It is shared among 30 associations and it no longer serves the purpose.”
The associations hope that the new Minister will sort sponsorship for sports various sports codes in order to complement government’s funding.
“I also hope that she will not concentrate on one sporting code, but try to look in different sporting disciplines in the country,” he added.
Dr. Phamotse is a Member of Parliament representing Alliance of Democrats (AD) on proportional representation and has previously held different cabinet portfolios in the Ministry of Education and Training as well as Justice and Correctional Service. Lena