IN a rare show of unity, South Africa’s rival political parties, beset by tensions over just-concluded polls, have put aside their differences and rallied behind the country’s new golden boy, Wayde van Niekerk.
This follows the athlete’s record-breaking performance at the Rio Olympics.
The 24-year-old has beaten Michael Johnson’s world record, which stood for 17 years, with his winning time of 43.03. This magical moment also earned Team South Africa its first gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
He is reported to be the first man to win the Olympic gold from lane 8.
Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Sports and Recreation, Solly Malatsi, says van Niekerk’s performance en route to winning the gold medal will be cherished as one of South Africa’s greatest moments in the history of athletics.
“We hope that his achievements will inspire millions of youngsters throughout the country that it is possible to attain the biggest accomplishment in sports through the pursuit of excellence,” says Malatsi.
The Economic Freedom Fighters named van Niekerk as its “Man Crush Monday” for his historic display at the Games.
Free State Premier Ace Magashule also congratulated the Capetonian, who studied Marketing at the University of the Free State, on his win.
“On behalf of the Free State provincial government and the people of the Free State, I wish to congratulate van Niekerk for representing both the country and the province very well at the Olympics,” says Magashule.
Government also heaped praise.
“We celebrate his astounding feat,” says Donald Liphoko, acting government spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the parties were also united in tragedy.
This follows the death of former Sports Minister, Makhenkesi Stofile, aged 71.
It was still unclear at the time of writing what the cause of death was.
“The DA sends our deepest condolences to the family, friends and loved ones that Stofile leaves behind,” says Malatsi.
President Jacob Zuma has extended his condolences.
“The nation mourns the passing of this distinguished freedom fighter and a dedicated servant of our people, for whom no task was big or small. We wish to convey our deepest condolences to his family during this painful
and difficult period.”
– CAJ News