African Movement Congress

New kids on the voting bloc AMC is on the ball with new soccer sponsorship.

Durban — For the first time in the rich history of democratic politics and the beautiful game of football has a prominent election presidential candidate in the May 29 general election has focused on resurrecting the people-oriented sports with a double whammy sponsorship of more than one-million rand.

Roy Moodley, Durban’s Phoenix-Mount Edgecombe-based business titan, renowned racehorse owner and breeder and the pioneering entrepreneur behind one of the largest private-sector safety and security companies in KwaZulu-Natal, has demonstrated his passion for football and fairplay in politics ahead of the make-or-break seventh elections – a single ballot for the National Assembly, provincial government and regional entity in next Wednesday’s polls involving 27-million registered voters.

The former national executive committee (NEC) of the ruling ANC broke ranks and went it alone when he launched the newly-founded political party, the African Movement Congress (AMC) earlier this year.

Moodley has been involved in mainstream politics at grassroots, community-based level for over 30 years. His stamping ground is Phoenix, one of SA’s largest Indian-zoned townships second next to Chatsworth, the first Group Areas Act apartheid policy spatial planning township that housed hundreds of thousands of displaced and uprooted Indians in the 1950s and 1960s.

“Then without proper soccer grounds, change rooms and football fields, the Indian community turned to football as a diversion from the appalling socio-economic conditions they were subjected to despite the epic contribution of the 1860 Indian indentured labourers to growing the economically boosting sugar cane industry in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Moodley, as he toured the city’s impoverished inner-city suburbs to muster substantial voting blocs for his presidential election campaigning. A billionaire businessman, Moodley has opened his chequebook generously during his votes and voter education campaigns since two months ago.

On the home front, he splurged a R250 000 sponsorship over three years to launch and promote a junior tournament – the Roy Moodley Legacy Cup – to the Phoenix Safa-Fifa Football Association tournament at the Siphosuthu Road sports ground in Mount Edgecombe recently. The tournament, featuring teams of boys and girls, kicked off with a fanfare at the Clayfield Grounds in Phoenix last weekend.

Then he put his best foot forward again in a matter of weeks, and upped his game. Last week, he handed R1-million – spread over five years – to sponsor the inaugural inter-city football championship under the aegis of the SAFA eThekwini Region Football Association. The intercity tournament features 34 football associations from across KwaZulu-Natal, including Greater Durban eThekwini, KwaDukuza in Stanger, Port Shepstone and Pietermaritzburg.

The philanthropist and founding presidential leader of the AMC described the double sponsorships as one of the biggest sports funding for the soccer-crazy community of Phoenix and Greater Durban-eThekwini Region: “The African Movement Congress will focus on a sports and recreation portfolio ahead of the May 29, national, provincial and regional elections. Politics and parliamentary participation and representation have to include sports, arts and recreation to build a new society of cultural diversity and hope for the future.”

Moodley, whose political involvement in Phoenix and uMhlanga has spanned four decades, said the current climate of economic woes and lack of jobs for young adults and the youth makes it crucial to find an alternative “to get this important sector of our population focused on playing sports”: “We believe that football is the way forward and I can assure you that these participating communities will produce national caps for the Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana national squads.”

The African Movement Congress had recently unveiled its manifesto aimed at rescuing the country’s sagging economy and lack of socio-economic opportunities, particularly for the marginalised communities of Phoenix and the INK cluster – Inanda, Newtown and KwaMashu – and other inner-city suburbs and townships where unemployment and poverty reside.

Speaking on where his football journey began, he recalled: “I played in Chatsworth United as a striker – number 9 – during my young days. I played there until I left Chatsworth. I still played indoors and informally across Verulam and uMhlanga with friends. Football legend Jomo Jomo Sono was my favourite player and idol when I was growing up and hardly missed a match where this soccer star played. I would not miss it because of his style of play. When he had the ball, everyone screamed. I have supported British top club, Newcastle United, from early on. I have monitored their growth and progress.”

• AMC presidential candidate, Roy Moodley and his wingman and former footballer and administrator and AMC premier candidate Seelan Achary. Photo courtesy| TUMI PAKKIES Independent Newspapers

Despite his passionate following of football, Moodley stopped short of saying that “none of the current players stand out for him”. Beyond the football fields and stadiums, Moodley community development and sports has been his primary focus. His party will focus on also funding cemeteries in Durban and KZN and provide assistance to build the Phoenix Community Court, especially promoting restorative justice since the 2021 looting spree and intra-community violence outbreaks.

Moodley said he was promoted to run for political office and contest the elections because of how he had witnessed his community’s suffering and hardships and was putting his hand up and best foot forward to uplift these impoverished and jobless communities.

“I have three adult children and they have played an important role in my supreme decision to reach and assist the community that has also built my businesses. My family means a lot, that’s why I cannot see the community suffering because there’s no implementation and no progress for the community. It has been stalling on a standstill since the 2010s after some remarkable progress since 1994. Politics under the ANC and its alliances have fuelled fraud and corruption and tender-rigging of the State procurements.”

Moodley will also highlight the rising cost of petrol, diesel and illuminated paraffin and gas, which in turn pushed up the cost of living and the hiking of the price of food, transport and called for more regulation to be enforced by the new government, post-elections: “When petrol goes down, the food price does not go down – so who is suffering? The community – non-motorists – still suffers. Who do we blame? The same people who put the cross/ vote for the wrong people. People’s minds must change and they must vote for people who will make progress.”

Moodley, referring to the ruse of Indian-origin leaders in British politics, has called on the political and societal institutions to steer away from race and racial dynamics and demographics.

“Tragically, and sadly though, the dream of the new nation has been gradually deferred. We are a broken democracy that needs urgent and decisive fixing. With 32, 9% unemployment, South Africa has galloped from one crisis to another crisis. The scourge crime and personal threats to households and businesses is totally unacceptable. Gender-based violence makes the breaking news each day. General standards are falling and good and ethical behavior has flown through the window. Poverty resides on our front doors.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *