Department of Sport and Recreation briefing on Strategic Plan and Budget Vote

Sports, Arts and Culture

09 March 2010
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Members were angry that they had only received the strategic plan at short notice and were unable to interact with it meaningfully.  They nevertheless decided to hear the presentation from the Department of Sport and Recreation while expecting a future session to have their questions answered.

The management structure of the 2010 Unit and its purpose was discussed.  New appointments were announced and challenges facing the Department were discussed.

The Department had two main strategic directions.  On the international front the African Union was laying more emphasis on sport and was reorganising its structures.  South Africa fell in Zone Six.  This was a dynamic environment.  Locally the Department was still looking to move ahead with its Mass Participation Programme.  They hoped that this would identify talent, which could be nurtured.

Members felt that not enough was being done to foster transformation.  School sport was still a major concern as it had disappeared in most parts of the country.  They were assured that the responsibility for school sport would be passed to the Department of Basic Education.  Both Departments would cooperate closely at ministerial level to ensure delivery.  Members also felt that money being spent on the mass participation programme was being wasted.  Facilities had to be provided but there were still problems at provincial and municipal level.  Facilities were not being provided or were under-utilised.




Meeting report

The Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) had a clear transformation agenda, which was informed by school sport, the provision of basic facilities and club development.  The Committee needed a list of the people involved in the hubs around the country for use during oversight visits. 

The Chairperson reminded the SRSA delegation that it was their role to coordinate the 2010 World Cup, not the Local Organising Committee (LOC).  It was SRSA that would appropriate funds, not the LOC.  The Department's 2010 Unit was non-existent.  Only technical reports had been received and nothing else.

The Chairperson asked if SRSA had evaluated the friendliness of new legislation, which had been passed.  Amendments had been proposed by the Ministry.  Unintended consequences were emerging.  When the former Sports Commission had been dissolved its members had merged with the Department.  This had not been done properly.  There were still questions over salary matters.  Resolutions from the sports indaba held in Durban had not yet been implemented.  It was not the business of the Department to “obliterate national symbols”.  The Department had to engage with the South African Football Association (SAFA) and other federations.  The correct shades of gold and green had to be used.

Mr D Lee (DA) said that a national schools athletics meeting was happening in East London the following week.  Children from Cape Town were being expected to pay R1 500 to attend.  He asked who could afford this.  Things like this will cause sport to be the preserve of those who could afford it.

Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) said that Sport was going backwards.  He had watched the national Under 20 rugby team on the weekend and observed that there were just three players of colour.  Under the previous coach the demographics of the country were well represented.  The national Sevens rugby team was all white.  He asked what measures were in place for transformation.  The White Paper was merely a document.  Nothing was happening at schools.

Ms T Lishivha (ANC) said that the 2010 Unit was reporting directly to the President.  The Committee was not clear on how the bodies related to each other.

The Chairperson said that the 2010 Unit should report to Parliament.  The Minister and Deputy Minister should be the first line of reporting.

Mr Gert Oosthuizen, Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation announced that Ms Sumaya Khan had been appointed as Chief Operating Officer for SRSA.  He had two observations.  Firstly, there was miscommunication.  Certain things were happening.  A follow-up meeting would be needed.  SRSA needed a list of specific issues from the Committee that would allow it to follow a focussed approach in preparing for the next meeting.  Secondly, the Department had established the 2010 Unit to deal with World Cup matters.  SRSA was responsible for seventeen guarantees, which the Government had made to FIFA.  Mr Joe Phahla, who had been replaced by Mr Dan Moyo, had originally headed the Unit.  Mr Moyo had since resigned and Mr S Nomvete had succeeded him.

Mr Oosthuizen was not aware of any reporting directly to the President.  An Inter-Ministerial Committee had been formed from the Ministers whose Departments were responsible for the guarantees.  They had originally met monthly but the frequency had since increased.  This committee reported to Cabinet and was chaired by the Deputy President.  The same structure had been in place since 2004.  The focus was on 2010.  SRSA needed to make the country proud.  The nation would reap the benefits in time.  There had been continuous reporting on the alleged Plan B to stage the World Cup elsewhere.  This had never been the case.  Unlike the case in some previous tournaments, South Africa was ahead of schedule.  Everybody wanted the best results.

He further said that SRSA only had one Director Genera (DG), Mr Petersen.  He was the only accounting officer.  The head of the 2010 Unit had been appointed at DG level, but still reported to the DG of SRSA.  He was surprised to hear of the delays in the Committee receiving the White Paper and strategic plan the previous day.  All Departments had been set a deadline to submit their strategic plans to the Speaker of Parliament.  SRSA had met this deadline.  Copies had been distributed and there was proof of these being delivered in good time.  He thought there might be a distribution problem.  It was a pity that the Committee Members had not had time to read it.  It was an important document.  Every Department had had to have another look at its strategy following the President's State of the Nation (SoN) speech.  This had to be viewed together with the budget speech.  From these policy statements the Department could develop its business plans.

Mr Oosthuizen said that it would be fantastic to have enough money to address all SRSA's needs.  Under the circumstances they had to ensure they achieved the best value for money.  He apologised for the absence of Min Stofile who was abroad.  SRSA was aware of the challenges and had started to address them.  The review of the White Paper was under way and would soon be completed for comment.  The Department's strategic direction must be aimed at achieving capacity.  A consolidated sports delivery system should be put in place.  The philosophy of SRSA was moving towards an outcomes based approach.

Ms Lishivha was still not convinced.  The head of the 2010 Unit was one of the more important SRSA officials and t he was absent.  She was very worried about the lack of contact being exerted by SRSA.  The Department had to play a role.  She was happy with the new appointments, as they were long overdue.  The transformation agenda was very important.  There was no movement in the federations.  Some people had occupied leadership positions for years.  Some of the federations were run like a family business.  Some of the sporting codes were unknown in the townships.

Mr Oosthuizen replied that Mr Nomvete was attending to a family bereavement.  His mother had died recently.

Mr Dikgacwi said that each Director in the Department had an area of responsibility and should have been present at this meeting.  Matters, which needed correction, were still there.  The transformation issue was still there.  Problems concerning the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and distribution of lottery funding still had to be corrected.  Members wanted to see what had been done.

Mr L Suka (ANC) said that the slow pace of sports policy development was coming to the fore.  This was worrying.  Issues would boomerang.  The organisation of the document was clumsy.

Mr J van der Linde (DA) said that there was no clear guidance and vision on school sport.  South Africans could be rightly proud of the work going into 2010.  On the other hand, the Summer Games had been cancelled at the last moment.


Mr Oosthuizen apologised for any misunderstanding.  He would like to see smaller codes becoming more popular, but resources were limited.  He had attended some meetings on the infrastructure development programme (IDP) and had seen the competition for funds.  The very essence of transformation was that facilities were needed to make it possible for sport to be played. 

He said that there had been many discussions surrounding lottery funds.  After a long dispute all vacancies on the Lotteries Board had now been filled.  The DG of the SRSA had been appointed to the Board.  The problem was that the lottery was controlled by the Department of Trade and Industries.  He would like to see a reorganisation where the various Distribution Agencies would fall directly under the control of the respective Departments.  There was still a fight going on in this regard.  Requests were being accommodated.

Mr Oosthuizen had a clear vision on school sport but there were problems.  The Department of Basic Education (DBE) had a responsibility in this regard.  A proper session was needed to discuss the matter. 


The Chairperson said that transformation was linked to facilities.  Existing talent was not being given a chance to flourish.  The South African Under 19 rugby team had won the World Cup three times.  These teams had been predominantly black.  There were also several talented black cricketers.  However, there was no focus on these players and they fell through the cracks.  A deliberate effort was needed to keep the spark burning or else there would be no change.  There was a deafening silence from SRSA.  The Department was the custodian of change.  On the school sport issue, there might be a clear vision but it all became a talk show.  Nothing was being transformed into reality.  A vision must be translated into concrete action.  Nothing had been done so far.
 
Presentation by Department of Sport and Recreation
Mr Vernie Petersen, Director General, SRSA said that his Department had a love for sport.  He noted the Committee's criticism and took it to heart.  He had never seen such a turnout as at the SCOPA meeting where he had appeared.  It had been a painful interrogation.  There were historical challenges in SRSA.  Things had been going wrong for some time.  The Committee played a valuable oversight role.  He had asked the Chairperson to highlight the important issues and had got his senior managers to work on them.  He was still waiting for a formal letter of invitation for the Minister to attend the Committee.  There was a continued perception of failure.  Strategic mergers should be involved.

The Chairperson felt that this was exactly what was needed.  The groundwork was the work of the Department but the Committee felt that it was excluded.  SRSA should pay the Members' expenses if they were to attend the strategic session with the Department.

Mr Petersen replied that he needed a formal request for this so that he could condone the use of public funds.  There had been pressure on SRSA to produce the strategic plan after the SoN address.  He was disappointed that Members had not had the chance to read the document first.  It made interesting reading although there was no substantial change from previous years.  He would be meeting with the provincial Heads of Department for sport the following day. 

He said that SRSA focused on its main mandate.  This was access to facilities and international success for high performance athletes.  The focus had been on the 2010 World Cup for many years now.  He was working around the clock to ensure that all arrangements were proceeding properly.  There was a certain challenge to make this a truly African event. 

Mr Petersen said that a lot had been invested in the Mass Participation Programme (MPP).  It was now a question of how the cream could rise to the top of the pile.  There were some shifts of emphasis from the strategic plan for 2009 – 2013.  One factor was United Nations Resolution 58/5, which emphasised the role of sport and physical education.  The African Union (AU) had decided to celebrate Africa Day 2010 in South Africa.  He thought it would be a good idea if bringing together conflict-ridden countries together in sport could mark the day.  SRSA was looking to provide leadership.  Sport and recreation would be playing a leading role on the continent.

The DG continued that the AU had passed a resolution to create a focus on sport.  The Supreme Council on Sport in Africa would be replaced by a sports structure within the AU.  South Africa fell within Zone 6.  This was the most active region on the continent.  The Zone 6 games had recently been hosted in Potchefstroom and there had been a high standard.  South Africa support Zone 6 projects and there was solidarity in the sub-region.

Mr Petersen said that the President had stated in his SoN address that the focus was on the World Cup and that 2010 would be a year of action.  SRSA was concerned about ticket sales for the event and the lack of hype.  A billboard campaign would soon be launched to raise awareness.  There was growing excitement.  He was particularly excited by the Football Friday campaign.  One of the logistic challenges was the arrangement surrounding visiting Heads of State during the tournament.  He said that South Africa needed to have the leaders of the continent present.  One of the other key areas surrounding the World Cup was the continuous need to mobilise the community.  People needed the opportunities to visit the stadiums.  South Africa was paying FIFA to keep tickets cheap.

Mr Petersen said that FIFA was realising that more Category 4 tickets were needed.  The country was in an exciting phase of government.  The newly created Ministry in the Presidency responsible for performance monitoring must impact on the work of all Departments.  There was a focus on outcomes and the impact of the government's work on the people.  Two key outcomes would be the building of a sense of inclusive citizenship and educational outcomes. 

The DG said that World Trade Organisation would host a conference in South Africa to study the impact of mega events on the country.  Sport was a catalyst for economic development.  In 2011 the International Olympic Committee would hold its congress in Durban.

Mr Petersen said that a lot of effort would be made.  A considerable amount of work was required.  It was not enough for SRSA merely to listen to what the Committee had to say.  Feedback would be given to members of SRSA within two days of this meeting.  One of the strategic issues was the creation of capacity.  SRSA would be guided by the Constitution and legislation such as the National Sports and Recreation Act.  However, delivery was in essence the responsibility of provincial and local government.  The Committee needed to engage with the White Paper.


Discussion
The Chairperson said that the provinces did have an important role to play but nothing was happening there.

Mr Petersen said that provinces were waiting for the payment of the conditional grant.  Otherwise it was a disaster.  Unless things changed SRSA would continue to fight with the wrong people.  Appropriate resources were needed.  Things were happening in a roundabout way.

The Chairperson was completely discouraged.  Provinces and municipalities had no capacity to deliver.

Mr Petersen replied that SRSA had no choice.  They had to confront the problem.  The role of SRSA was to facilitate and to develop.

Mr Suka asked if SRSA had executive powers over the provinces.

Mr Petersen said that it was a fallacy that SRSA and SASCOC could perform the functions of the former Sports Commission.  There was an impact on resources.  SRSA was dependant on the national federations.  Funding was not the only factor.  The Department had not seen enough transformation.  They needed to intellectual capacity in the Department and he was proud to welcome Prof Paul Singh, who had recently been appointed as a Chief Director.  Transformation was a challenge due to the lack of a transformation charter and a lack of feedback.  SRSA now had a sense of urgency on the issue.

The DG said that SRSA had two entities under its wing, the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) and Boxing South Africa (BSA).  In terms of legislation, he was surprised at the ease of progress with the Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Bill.  The South African Combat Sports Bill would soon be presented.  SRSA was busy with regulations for the Safety Bill and they had called for recommendations regarding the use of foreign medical personnel.

Mr Petersen said that there was a need to engage in much more detail regarding the MPP.  There were three areas of concern.  His first concern was the delivery of the conditional grant.  There had been an increased allocation over the years but he doubted if enough people were being reached.  This addressed the recreation function.

 

The Chairperson noted that at national level sport and recreation were separate portfolios.  In the provinces sport was generally lumped together with the arts and culture functions.

Mr Petersen admitted that the responsibilities of the provincial departments did vary.  Recreation was an important level of participation.  A lot of energy was expended on this.  The Department should support civil society initiatives. 

He said he was working with an organisation from the United Kingdom (UK) that worked towards relief through sport.  Their focus alternated between sport and comedy annually.  A Sport Relief Mile event would be held shortly.  This would be the first such event in South Africa and was scheduled for 21 March 2010.  It would coincide with the establishment of a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) regional station in Cape Town.  He hoped that all organisations would support this event.  There were many other initiatives under way.

Mr Petersen said the goal of the club development programme was to provide resources for the development of talented athletes.  He had taken the decision to cancel the Summer Games.  Two days before the event was scheduled to start he was still asking the provinces for the list of participants.  Accommodation had been booked at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria.  Neither the sport or education departments could provide the required information.  He could not tolerate such bad planning.  SRSA must look at the root causes.

Mr Petersen said that the DBE was responsible for sport at schools.  Progress in school sport was at a slow pace.  The approach of SRSA was to accept that the DBE was responsible.  Once the policy decision was made then funds could flow.  The policy for school sport had to be prioritised through Cabinet.  There was still confusion over responsibilities.  The strategy needed to speak to all elements.  Senior management were continuously engaged with this.  The MPP should not be driven for its own sake.

The Chairperson asked what the problem was.  He mentioned the situation in Bloemfontein where the schools in the white areas had organised sport but there was nothing in the black areas.  He asked why this should be the case.

The DG replied that one factor was the lack of dedicated administrators.  Sport could not just be part of the Life Orientation programme.  On his way to a meeting in the Cape he had been disturbed to see how school buildings were walled off from sports fields.  It was heartbreaking to see how poor schools had their applications for lottery funding declined.  The first question the Lottery Distribution Board required was audited financial statements.  These needed to be done by an external auditor.  At many of the poorer schools the accountancy teacher had to do the books.  It was not the availability of money that was the problem, but the allocated inefficiencies in the system.

Mr Petersen continued that teachers could not be expected to make a commitment if there were no suitable facilities.  There were regular meetings between the Deputy Ministers of Sport and Recreation and of Basic Education.  The Deputy Ministers were the political drivers.  There had been comment from the DBE that a curriculum review would take place.  The intention was to locate sport more appropriately in the curriculum.  He related an interesting case study from the UK.  A number of schools in the poorer areas had faced a similar challenge.  Under Tony Blair's government, some schools had been freed to move into specialist areas.  Many of these had specialised in sport.  Over a five-year period, the sports schools had outperformed the other schools academically.

The DG said that SRSA was moving on its school sports strategy.  Coach education was an important component.  This was one of the best decisions made by SRSA.  However, the programme had never got going due to a lack of money.  The funding that had been secured was channelled to other areas.  This had led to an objection by the Auditor General (AG).  The availability of qualified coaches was the cornerstone to any development programme.

Mr Petersen said that SASCOC was responsible for the High Performance (HP) programme.  HP athletes had to have access to facilities.  The 2010 guarantees were putting some pressure on the Department.  Its relationship with the national federations was not just on funds.  There was also a relationship regarding transformation.

The DG said that the draft White Paper was almost ready to be sent to the Minister for his comments.  He had asked his top management to review the document one more time.

Mr Petersen said the Department's vision, mission and values remained unchanged.  The goal of SRSA was to see active life long participation in sport.  The pinnacle was HP sport while the MPP remained the base.  There were five strategic programmes.  The first was administration and he did not discuss this.  The second programme was sports support services.  An audit of facilities was being completed.  The management and utilisation of facilities was a challenge.  Many were not fully utilised.  The programme supported 1 607 talented athletes.

The DG said that the third programme was the MPP.  The goal was to have 20 000 participants. There were six legacy projects that had been identified.  SRSA wished to deliver the MPP to 29000 schools.  Although it was not strictly his domain, the linkage between the World Cup and human trafficking had to be explored.  Visitors for the tournament would also be warned of the type of behaviour which might see them being “red carded” and deported from the country.

Mr Petersen said that the fourth programme was international liaison and events.  Zone 6 was to be transformed into Zone 5.  This would include other countries from the Southern African Development Community.  At present, the Indian Ocean islands such as Mauritius and the Seychelles were excluded.  Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo would also be included.  This would benefit the sub-region.  Other major events on the horizon were the Commonwealth Games in India and the All African Games, which would be held in Mozambique in 2011.  On the matter of sports tourism R1 million had gone towards hosting an indaba on sports mega events.  Some of his colleagues at Parliament were not happy with this.

The DG regretted that systems to support the Committee were not in place.  The United Nations conference was mainly about tourism but there was a focus on sport as well.  A sports tourism strategy was being developed. 

Mr Petersen said that programme five was facilities.  There was a continuous challenge at the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) level.  They would continue lobbying for facilities.  They were working with National Treasury (NT) to enforce compliance.  Two major initiatives were under way.  The first was a partnership with the German Development Bank.  Close to R60 million had been given.  This had been used mainly to provide combo courts and artificial grass fields in poorer areas.  Soccer fields had been upgraded.  Up to R500 000 was provided for this.

The Chairperson said that a representative of the company supplying the artificial surfaces had addressed the Committee.  One of these fields had been installed in Qwa Qwa.  The children were queuing up to use it.  This option for fields needed to be considered seriously.

The DG said that SRSA had a strong partnership with the European Union, especially the German government.  This partnership had provided 6 million Euros for continued youth development through football.  The projects were specific to the World Cup.  SRSA was also training facility managers.

Mr Petersen said that programme six was the 2010 Unit.  The Head of the unit had been appointed at the level of a DG.  He had to engage at the level of a DG.  The incumbent had been seconded to the post.  A guarantee, which was currently a problem, was the provision of generators at the stadiums.  Another problem, which fell under the unit, was the supply of fuel for aircraft.  The Unit had to ensure that the responsible Department dealt with this.  The technical committee was the channel for the Department.  The Minister of Finance led this.  SRSA had a high level of oversight.

Mr Petersen said that the thrust of the 2010 Unit's work went beyond coordinating the guarantees.  There was also a conditional grant to cover operational expenses.

Mr McGluwa said that the strategic plan gave no indication of the Department's progress on transformation and empowerment, especially of women.  He was especially concerned about the scarcity of women in the level nine to twelve positions.  Some of the Bills had been dealt with already.  He asked what effect these Bills would have on SRSA's current activities.  He asked about the development of skills.  He asked whom the managers under training were and if any women were involved.

Mr Suka said that MIG funds had to be directed.  He asked how far the preparations were for the event on 21 March was.  He wondered if it was a coincidence that this was Human Rights Day.  He asked if this would influence the programme.

Mr Frolick said that many issues had been discussed at the Durban indaba, but transformation had been the central one.  He asked where this had been captured in the strategic plan.  He asked how the outcomes would be assessed.  It sounded like an old record.  Transformation had taken a back seat and participation had become more important.  Rugby had been unsuccessful in its bid for the 2011 World Cup.  There were some black participants but their development was stunted.  SRSA was quiet on the need for equity in the Super 14 franchises.  Black players were being denied opportunities.

Mr Frolick could see the link between the MPP and talent identification.  The situation in most of the provinces was chaotic.  The MPP was little more than fiscal dumping.  This was reason for the qualifications expressed by the AG.  He was upset that the grant increased annually when progress was stalled.  Perhaps it was time to tap into the federations where they had local expertise.

Mr Lee said that for the last few years the Minister and his Deputy had each had a responsibility.  He was glad that school sport would now be the responsibility of the two Departments.  Children could have dreams but if there were no opportunities they would never progress beyond school level.  He hoped that the two Departments would take charge.  The Minister must be held to account.

Mr Dikgacwi said that nothing had happened since 2005.

The Chairperson said that the two Departments needed a memorandum of understanding to drive the process.  He doubted that they had a driver's licence.  The Union of School Sports of South Africa (USSASA) had been a better vehicle despite its flaws.  Now there was nothing.  The money being allocated to provinces raised another query.  No value was forthcoming.  The dispute between SASCOC and Athletics South Africa had now become a Leonard Chuene issue.  Mr Chuene was facing a kangaroo court and was being tried by the media.

Mr Petersen noted the questions of the Members.  Some of them would lead to more questions.  An analysis would determine what should be done.

The Chairperson suggested that the questions posed at this meeting be left with the DG.  He would allow Mr Petersen to defer the answers to their next meeting.  He had twelve questions himself and had noted a question on each page of the presentation.  There should have been an emphasis on patriotism in the plan, which he found lacking.

The meeting was adjourned.

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