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​THE World Anti-Doping Agency will hold its fourth international conference in Johannesburg, where world leaders in sport will meet to discuss solutions to the issue.
JOBURG will be the capital of the anti-drug movement next year, when it hosts the World Anti-Doping Conference, running from 13 to 15 November.

City manager Trevor Fowler signs the memorundum of agreement (Photo: Enoch lehung, City of Johannesburg)City manager Trevor Fowler puts pen to paper (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)The final step in preparation for hosting the conference was the signing of the memorandum of agreement, which stipulates the roles and responsibilities of the organisations involved.

It was signed at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton on 26 April, in the presence of Executive Mayor Parks Tau, the member of the mayoral committee for community development, Chris Vondo, and the City’s manager, Trevor Fowler.The minister of sport and recreation, Fikile Mbalula, was also at the signing, along with his deputy minister, Gert Oothuizen.

In his welcoming address, Tau said the City was proud to have partnered with the Department of Sport and Recreation to host the world conference, pointing out that it was an honour. “As the City of Johannesburg, we continue to position ourselves as proud hosts of various sporting events and a promoter of sports and recreation for the purpose of facilitating sport as means of economic development.”

Vondo explained that the day marked another significant event in the country’s sporting circles. “It is important to note that these events were a result of collaborations which once again demonstrated that together we can do so much more,” he added.

The keynote address was delivered by the sports minister. In his opening remarks, he elaborated on how Joburg was chosen as the host city.

In 2010,the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) called for an expression of interest from cities to host the 2013 conference. A number of criteria were expected to be met, and after careful consideration, the committee decided that South Africa and Johannesburg would be the most suitable place to host this very important world conference, he explained.

Joburg has committed to hosting the WADAJoburg has committed to hosting the fourth Wada international conference (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)Mbalula said South Africa was selected because of its ability to successfully host major events. “The country has demonstrated its ability over the last 17 years to successfully host world events.”

These included the Rugby World Cup in 1995, the African Cup of Nations in 1996 and the football World Cup in 2010.

Mbalula thanked the City for generously offering itself as host. “We pledge that we will work with you to ensure that we welcome the world in Johannesburg and shower them with our African hospitality.”

The outspoken minister said the country had been voted number one tourist sport destination in the world. “We are continually marketing ourselves as a major sporting cultural and conference destination.”

Such events should be used as catalysts for socio-economic development and to position the country as a secure place for investment to stimulate the economy.

Rodney Swigelaar, the director of Wada’s African regional office, said the conference would be memorable. “Our sincere appreciations to the City of Johannesburg for its interest in hosting Wada community to discuss and deliberate some issues relating to anti-doping and sport,” he said.

Doping in sport was an on-going and growing issue that required all stakeholders – from the public authorities and the world of sport at large – to engage on the subject and join forces in fighting those individuals whose aim was to put in danger the lives of athletes, explained Swigelaar.

South Africa is the first African country to host the conference; it will be the fourth such gathering.The World Anti-Doping Agency Conference was first held in Switzerland in 1999, then in Copenhagen in Denmark in 2003, and in Spain in 2007.

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