Statement from the SAGF Acting President | Mr. Donny Jurgens

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Mr. Donny Jurgens | Acting SAGF President

08 April 2019. On Wednesday 3 April, the CEO and staff of the SAGF bid a sad farewell to the former CEO and President of SAGF Elizabeth Cameron Smith.  The CEO also welcomed new Financial Manager, Ms. Sonja Greig, Mr. Phiko Mbuqe, Operations Manager and welcomed the new Acting President, Mr. Donny Jurgens.

In his address to the staff, incoming acting president Donny Jurgens said the following.

“I would firstly like to take this opportunity to thank and pay tribute to the outgoing president, Elizabeth Cameron Smith. I met Liz in the early 90’s when I was a young activist in the anti-apartheid sports movement.  I was in the leadership of the local chapter of the National Sports Congress at the time.  The City of Cape Town started an initiative to bring the different sporting bodies together to form the Greater Cape Town Sports Commission.  The facilitator of this process incidentally was a development consultant called Helen Zille.  Liz represented the Confederation of South African Sport.  It was not love at first sight.  Apartheid was designed to keep people apart.  Liz and I were on opposite side of the political spectrum at that stage, but we started to work together to achieve progress.  The Greater Cape Town Sports Commission amongst others, got involved with projects in Khayelitsha and Guguletu and gave rise to the establishment of the department of Sport and Recreation at the City of Cape Town.  Since then Liz and I have worked together and became good friends.  She was my deputy president at the NSC Western Province, and we worked together on many successful projects, including education and training programmes for sports leaders, awards functions, sponsorship etc.  We even won Region of the year.  Over the years I have learnt much from Liz.  Her passion and work rate are beyond question and I wish her everything of the best as she now moves into a new phase of supporting Tseko in spreading the gospel of Gymnastics in Africa as one of the Vice presidents of the UAG.  I have learnt a lot from Liz and in my new capacity as Acting President I intend to continue to call on Liz’s experience and expertise in Gymnastics.

With regards to my role as Acting President.  It is an extreme honour for me to be asked to play this role.  I have big shoes to fill.  The platform has been laid by the Executive Committee which comprises of representatives from all the Provinces.  I do not see this as a one man show, I will be working closely with my Vice President Clive Naidoo, who has much more technical knowledge than me.

The SAGF is undergoing an exciting renewal process.  Over the last few months we have appointed 3 new managers as well as a financial assistant.  This is all in attempt to serve the gymnastics fraternity better and implement the goals which we as an organization has set for ourselves.  I intend to leave the CEO, Staff and Technical Committees to do their work, but I will play my role and intervene when necessary.  I also intend to build the brand of SAGF and assist to mobilise more support for SAGF.  I appeal to the entire gymnastics fraternity to embrace the changes in the organization, to work together with your district structures, provincial structures and our head office staff to grow gymnastics in our country but also to ensure that we produce gymnasts of the highest quality. Remember, we are all the SAGF, if you would like to share any ideas with me, please feel free to drop me mail on djds@telkomsa.net.”