Today I proudly stand before you fellow mayors, councillors, city and town management officials as the inaugural host mayor of the all-important Inter-Cities Social Sports Festival to be held on the 17th of October 2015 at Belgravia sports club.

To our friends from the proverbial Fourth Estate who are here to witness the launch – I invite you to appreciate the importance of sport in any working environment.

My duty today is very simple. I am not going to belabour you with pages of talk. I will simply unpack the advantages of social sport in our local authorities and how the event has grown to encompass 10 local authorities. I will then invite the Guest speaker to address us.

Initially the games started as an in-house social sporting event that pitted teams from various departments against each other all with the vision of creating a one team concept for service delivery in the city. We realised our employees were very compartmentalised and did not function as a single unit. Sport was identified as the bridge that could create rapport among the various units to achieve our World Class Vision by 2025.

As you heard from the Acting Town Clerk Mrs Ncube, when we inaugurated our City Social Sport Festival in 2013 employees knew themselves in compartments. And also their work relationships, associations and work ethics were stratified in terms of their departmental functions. Since then, we have managed to foster a lot of interdependence team spirit and mutual understanding among the workers. We have realised the benefits of organisational cohesion through the collapsing of structural barriers along functional lines and the sharing of ideas arising improved communications channels as we travelled the long journey to the attainment of our vision 2025.

We also have witnessed the impact of sport in changing attitudes and perceptions amongst workers that has enabled us to infuse a belief and identity in our vision. We have managed to link up with our stakeholders as they came to share with us the experiences we have realised in the growth and development of our City. A unity of purpose that has been nurtured as our stakeholders joined hands in us in supporting our employee social and wellness programmes. Together with our stakeholders we managed to create the Harare Brand that spurred the then Minister of Local Government National Housing and Public Works Dr Chombo, to encourage the co-option of other Local Authorities in such noble cause that celebrates, unites and recognises the importance of workers in service delivery.

City of Harare gladly accepted this mandate and invited other sister local authorities. Today we are happy that 10 of us are here to witness the launch of this festival to be held under the Theme: PROMOTING SERVICE DELIVERY EXCELLENCE THROUGH SPORT. A theme that aptly resonates with our core mandate of service delivery. There cannot be any service delivery without workers. Excellence in service delivery can only be attained through healthy and motivated workforce. A healthy workforce can be derived by the participation of our employees in sport.

It is this core relationship between service delivery and sport that we need to identify as an important and integral part in achieving our goals and targets as part of our mandates. It has become the world over, part of organisational productivity strategies to involve workers in participating platforms besides normal working environment where workers can engage management and employers freely and share workplace experiences.

Ladies and gentlemen the importance of sport in any organisation can never be over-emphasised. Sport reinvigorates, promotes brands, keeps people smiling, creates employment, entertains and above all keeps people busy and engaged. Sport provides a platform for team building. All sporting activities that have more than one player in a team promote collective responsibility. You will as a team and lose as a team.

It is exactly a full month before we hold the games. I am told practice matches and warm up games are already taking place ahead of the 17 October competition day. The spirit of competition that you are exhibiting on the various fields of play should be repeated on the service delivery front.

Ladies and gentlemen my task like I indicated when I stood up to address you was to talk about the advantages of sport and to invite the Guest speaker to address us.

Madam Resident Minister Chikukwa can you do the honours and officially launch the games.

I thank you all

NB: The speech was read on his behalf by the Acting Mayor Cllr Chris Mbanga