Budgetary Review & Recommendation Report; Eastern Province Rugby Union & SARU on formation of rugby franchise in Eastern Cape (postponed)

Sports, Arts and Culture

01 November 2010
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The scheduled briefing with the South African Rugby Union on the establishment of a franchise in the Eastern Cape was postponed. The Committee's Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report was approved with minor changes.

Members suggested topics for future meetings. Concerns such as perceived unfair treatment of certain provinces by the South African Rugby Union, the lack of provision for future income for retired boxers and the state of school sports were put forward. Members wished to meet with LoveLife and more regularly with the Department of Sport and Recreation. Members were also mindful of the contribution of sport to the economy and felt that the Department should have more control over lottery funds allocated to sport.

Members from all parties recorded their appreciation of the work done by the outgoing Minister and looked forward to working with the newly appointed Minister.

Meeting report

The Chairperson asked members what matters still needed to be dealt with before Parliament went into recess. The last meeting of the year for the Committee would be on 18 November. The planned briefing by the South African Rugby Union (SARU) on the progress with the establishment of a franchise in the Eastern Cape had been shelved. The matter was less urgent now that the Eastern Province team had failed to qualify for the Premier section of the Currie Cup. The Committee would still focus on the establishment of an Eastern Cape franchise. Government was committed to keeping the stadiums built for the World Cup sustainable through regular use for rugby and football.

Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) was concerned about the state of rugby in the South Western Districts (SWD). The team had also failed to qualify for the Premier section of the Currie Cup. His particular concern was the way SARU was treating SWD. The province received no funding from SARU.

Mr D Lee (DA) was saddened by developments in the last few weeks regarding the health of Baby Jake Matlala. He had contributed so much to the sport of boxing. One of the reasons for the establishment of Boxing South Africa (BSA) was the need to protect the interests of boxers. BSA was a dismal failure. The Committee had to look at the way forward.

Ms G Tseke said that the Committee needed to engage with the LoveLife campaign.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr Lee. He had made a valid point regarding boxing. There was still plenty of life left for boxers after they retired from the ring. The Committee needed to discuss the issue before taking it to the National Assembly. The Boxing Act would need to be amended. BSA paid out R50 000 when a former boxer died. This was much too little even to cover the costs of the funeral. BSA had to make better provision. Boxers retired at an average age of 35 with most of their lives ahead of them, and often still with young children to support.

The Chairperson said that there were plenty of examples of artists and musicians who had died as paupers. The same applied to rugby players and athletes although there was some funding for the former. Athletes who found themselves confined to a wheelchair due to injury faced a drastic lifestyle change. Better insurance cover was needed. The Committee needed to discuss this issue. The Chris Burger Fund to assist injured rugby players was a good idea. He wondered how much the fund was able to contribute. More support was needed.

Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) said that the Zululand Rugby Foundation would like to make a presentation to the Committee on their development work in the region. If possible they would like this to be on 9 or 16 November. He asked if microlight flying was regarded as a sport. It was a form of recreation, but it was an activity that was marred by horrendous accidents.

The Chairperson replied that microlight flying did fall within the ambit of the Committee.

Mr JJ van der Linde (DA) said that his concerns over LoveLife and SWD rugby had already been raised. His other concern was the problem of school sport. Every time an event was cancelled there was a fight over where the money must go. The right channels were not being followed. Government must ensure that tournaments took place as scheduled. He understood that there was a draft programme for national tournaments but he had not seen it. He asked how one could expect the country to achieve success at Olympic level if school sport was not taken seriously. Only rugby and some of the other big codes were hosting tournaments at school level. The Committee needed to receive reports from smaller codes which received government funding. These federations should be summoned to appear before the Committee if needed.

The Chairperson replied that the Sports and Recreation Act required that all national federations had to submit annual reports. All federations that received government funding had to do so during April each year. Government should assist with the administration where necessary. He agreed that school sport must appear on the agenda soon. The Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA) must meet with the Committee before the recess on this matter. They could not wait until the tournament calendar had been drafted. A meeting with LoveLife could be a second priority.

The Chairperson noted that BSA had managed to achieve an unqualified report in the latest financial year, as had SRSA. It was not a totally clean report but there had been an improvement. It was a question of how school sport translated itself into clubs and federations. Players should be groomed for provincial teams who would be able to attend national tournaments.

Mr Lee wanted to table two motions. The first was a motion of condolence to the Western Province Rugby Union on their loss in the Currie Cup final. The second motion was one of congratulations to the Sharks on their victory. He said this with reluctance, but as a sportsman it was proper to congratulate the Sharks on their achievement.

Mr L Suka asked if the Memorandum of Understanding between SRSA and the then Department of Education had been resuscitated. As long as that memorandum was only a statement, nothing would happen on the ground. Surely SRSA should provide quarterly reports which would assist the Committee in tracking expenditure and the implementation of a turnaround strategy.

The Chairperson said that this was not a matter that had to be discussed. It was a constitutional requirement that there should be interaction on a quarterly basis. If this did not happen then the Committee was to blame. He agreed that matters had to be addressed early. The Committee should plan its meeting schedule better. Its programme should emphasise the quarterly meeting with SRSA. This was a requirement of the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR). Fiscal dumping was wrong. Any such tendency had to be identified by the third quarter.

Mr Suka agreed with the Chairperson.

Mr C Frolick (ANC) said that the national cricket team would be preparing for the Cricket World Cup in 2011. The Committee needed to familiarise itself with their preparation processes. The World Cup would be happening early in the new year.

The Chairperson said that the Sharks must be congratulated unconditionally. Western Province was the team of the moment, and he could not understand how they could have lost in the final. Transformation was a serious issue. 90% of the population and 53% of women were not involved with rugby.

Mr MacKenzie said that the achievements of players like Mvovo and Lambie must be noted. He was also proud that a team from his province had won the club rugby championships.

The Chairperson encouraged Members to be involved with clubs. However, administrators must not feel uncomfortable if they appeared before the Committee and saw that some Members were involved at that level. Members must work for the changes they wanted to see. They must not be shy to belong to clubs and provincial structures. The only proviso was that Members must declare their interests.

Mr Frolick said that all parties agreed that rugby must be developed in the Eastern Cape. SARU was aware of this need. The promotion match in Port Elizabeth the previous weekend had drawn a crowd of 45 000. The Committee deserved credit for the support it was giving. The Sharks had done well but transformation issues kept cropping up. When the leadership of SARU next met the Committee an update would be needed. SARU must assist the provinces.

The Chairperson said that the loss of Minister Stofile was a loss. The deployment of Ministers was the prerogative of the President. The portfolio could perhaps benefit from an injection of youthful energy from the new Minister. Min Stofile was an impeccable icon of sport. He had understood the agenda of the sports struggle. He believed that there could be no normal sport in an abnormal society. He was not happy that 90% of the population had been locked out.

Mr Komphela said that there had been criticism that government had not spoken out on transformation in football. This code had been part of the struggle for non-racial sport in a climate of institutionalised segregation. FIFA had boycotted the country because of its policies under the previous regime. In 1994 the Constitution had required that there be a shift. There had been robust racism such as the comments of Dr Danie Craven that he never wanted to see a black Springbok. He would have agreed that football should be criticised if it had a history of racism. He quoted the example of Mr Joe Frickleton of Highlands Park who had embraced transformation. Min Stofile had led the process of transformation as a catalyst for sport.

Mr MacKenzie paid tribute to Min Stofile and recognised his achievements. COPE welcomed the new Minister and pledged their full support in the achievement of social cohesion and nation building through sport. He looked forward to engaging with the new Minister on those who had not had chances to participate in sport before.

Mr Lee found it sad on a personal note that Min Stofile was being replaced. The man was a human being who had played a prominent role in the development of sport and of the youth. He recalled a time when he had been very ill at home and the Minister had come to visit him at his home. Min Stofile's heart was in the right place. He radiated humanity. His departure would be a big loss. It was a pity that the Committee had not had a chance to bid Min Stofile farewell. Some sort of function should be organised.

Mr Lee said that everybody made some mistakes. He hoped that the new Minister would have the energy to do the right things. He must understand the dynamics of sport in the country. The development of youth was extremely important. The DA would always support the new Minister in this endeavour.

Mr Dikgacwi said that Min Stofile had guided sport. The country was where it was because of his contributions. He hoped that Members could still contact Min Stofile in the future for guidance.  He welcomed the young lion who had been appointed as Minister.

The Chairperson said that he would organise a last supper to bid Min Stofile farewell. He would interact with the new Minister. If he failed than all would fail.

The Chairperson said that he would visit KwaZulu-Natal to try to sort out the problems in that area. There were problems with the use of the Moses Mabhida Stadium. He had asked the Director-General (DG) of SRSA for a full report. The Development Bank of South Africa was providing a full report on the sustainability of the stadium.

The Chairperson said that an international visit was needed to address the issue of school sport. Members needed to visit a country with the best model. Research would be conducted to determine where this was. An announcement would be made soon. The date of the visit would be determined by several factors. Some two weeks were needed to interact with the BRR report.  The date for local government elections in 2011 was still to be determined. Members would be involved with electioneering when the date of the election was known. All permanent Members should be included in the visit.

The Chairperson said that he would communicate with SRSA on the Memorandum of Understanding and the annual report.

Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR)
The Chairperson said that there had nearly been a problem when the Committee had planned to meet to approve its BRR Report on the previous Friday. He reminded Members that Friday was a working day in Parliament. A quorum was needed to approve the report. He had taken note that the DA Members were attending a breakaway session that had been planned for some time. They had communicated with him and made some inputs regarding the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG). Although Mr MacKenzie had been unable to attend, he had arranged for another Member to attend and there had been an input from COPE about the lack of success by SRSA in forming new clubs and the sustainability of the World Cup stadiums. The ANC had also raised the question of MIG funding. The decision to separate funding for sports facilities had been taken some time ago but had not yet been implemented. There had been many issues relating to the report which had to be cleaned up, hence the postponement of the meeting. He brought Members' attention to the new format being used.

The Chairperson then led the Members through the draft report.

Mr MacKenzie said that the losses incurred by BSA were also due to bad management and not just problems related to taxation.

The Chairperson said that the main problem was interest on overdue tax. The recommendations should highlight what a valuable resource the Sports Trust was.

Ms Tseke said that one of the recommendations related to the Sports Trust could be deleted as it was a repetition.

Mr Suka asked when vacant posts at BSA would be filled, and if there was sufficient funding to fill the posts. He asked what was happening with lottery funding.

The Chairperson replied that the distribution of lottery money currently rested with the Department of Trade and Industries (dti) which adjudicated on the awards. He would rather see that the money allocated for sport should be distributed by SRSA. Amendments to the legislation would be discussed.

The Chairperson continued that there was a drastic reduction in the budget for SRSA in the coming year. He recommended that the proposed budget should be increased. The reduction was mainly due to the end of World Cup activities. However, sport made an immense contribution to the economy through the staging of international and national events. The effect of such events on the gross domestic product (GDP) must be recognised. An influx of R15 billion in the current year was purely due to the World Cup through direct and indirect investment.

Mr MacKenzie agreed. He asked if the Committee should recommend that it be involved in the Economic Cluster.

The Chairperson said that that case must be argued.

Mr Suka noted that SRSA had reported an under-expenditure on all its programmes in the previous financial year. There would have to be a strong case for a request to increase funding. R8.8 million had been taken from one programme, but even then the remainder could not be spent.

The Chairperson said that SRSA must convince the Committee of its need for extra funding. He proposed that the Report be approved. His proposal was seconded by Mr MacKenzie. The Report was adopted.

Mr Dikgacwi said that one omission from the programme discussion was television coverage of boxing. He suggested that the proposed supper with the outgoing Minister should happen as soon as possible.

The Chairperson said that arrangements would be made by the end of the week.

The meeting was adjourned.



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