Challenges facing Hall of Fame for sport personalities: progress report

Sports, Arts and Culture

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

The South African Sports and Arts Hall of Fame, a private entity, was continuing with its plans to honour the sports legends of the country. The efforts of both athletes and administrators would be recognised. There had been problems with the intended site in Knysna. The development there would continue but would be on a reduced scale. Sites in Gauteng were also being considered. Artists would also be included although it was difficult to measure their achievements. Members expressed their support of the proposed establishment of the Hall of Fame at Soccer City but they emphasised the need to have similar facilities throughout the country.

Members were told that the Committee would visit the United Kingdom and Argentina in early 2011. This would be to study school sport in those countries.

Meeting report

The Chairperson noted the Cabinet reshuffle. Many Members were affected. Seventeen Chairpersons of Committees were moved. From this Committee Mr C Frolick (ANC) had been appointed as Chair of Chairs. Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) would act as Whip until a permanent appointment was made in the new year.

Mr D Lee (DA) was pleased that Mr Komphela had remained in the chair due to his respect for multi-party politics. The Committee was a good example of multi-party working.

Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) echoed Mr Lee's comments. The Committee had been under the leadership of the Chairperson for many years and had benefited from a long period of continuity. The success of the Committee had been evidenced in its contribution to the smooth running of the World Cup. He congratulated Mr Frolick and Mr Dikgacwi on their appointments.

Ms S Lebenya-Ntanzi (IFP) thanked her fellow Members for making her feel at home on the Committee. She too congratulated Mr Frolick and had no doubt that he would be up to his new challenge. She noted that another Member of the Committee, Ms T Sunduza (ANC) had been appointed as a Committee Chairperson.

The Chairperson said that Ms Sunduza was an alternate Member of this Committee. She was now the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture. He told Members that the Committee would be conducting a study visit to the United Kingdom and Argentina in the new year to investigate school sport in those countries. The application had been signed.

Free State municipality dispute about a sports team
The Chairperson said that present at the meeting was the mayor of a municipality in the Free State and his delegation. The Committee had received two petitions. A church group had sent a petition to the Speaker of the National Assembly. This petition had been referred to the Committee. A second group had submitted a petition in support of a sports team.

The Chairperson said that the Committee must deal with the petitions. A date had been communicated to the mayor but it had clashed with a visit to the area by President Zuma. The meeting date had been postponed, but the other party involved could not attend. A letter had been received from the Head of Department (HoD) from the Free State Department of Public Works (DPW). The National DPW owned the World Cup stadium. Service Level Agreements had been written.

The Chairperson said that the mayor had not been informed that the meeting had been postponed. He and his delegation had arrived in Cape Town for the meeting the previous afternoon. Members now had to decide what to do. They could hear the mayor's side of the story, but without the other party being present it could turn into a gossip session. There were problems with the other stadiums in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. The Committee had to meet with all parties.

Mr Dikgacwi said that the meeting with the mayor and his delegation could not continue. When the issues concerned were raised it was important that all parties were present. The Committee had to take responsibility for the costs incurred.

Mr D Lee (DA) had received an agenda with a single agenda item, namely the Hall of Fame. He apologised to the mayor for the inconvenience caused. The mayor had reason to view the operation of the Committee as unprofessional. He wanted to see all parties present. It was sad to see how money and time had been wasted. He felt that the Committee Secretary should be dealt with outside of the meeting.

Mr MacKenzie agreed. He quipped that the forthcoming local government election would be tight, and such an incident might allow his party to score some points. He agreed that one side of the story could not be heard in isolation.

Ms Lebenya-Ntanzi agreed with the opinions of other Members.

The Chairperson said that the agenda received by Mr Lee was drafted after it had been decided to postpone the meeting with the mayor. It was an embarrassing situation that had arisen as a result of an error by the secretary. When a date was determined for the meeting to take place the Committee would bear the costs of the mayor and his delegation. He accepted Mr Lee's suggestion that a letter of apology should be drafted.

The Chairperson continued that the Committee wanted to hear about progress with the sports Hall of Fame. The issue had not been popularised. It had been agreed that the headquarters would be established in Knysna and there would be mirror sites in the entire province. There was a need to share information with all citizens. South Africa would soon be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Indian settlement in the country. An ANC-style speech by Mr “Terror” Lekota had reminded him of the Indian golfer Mr Papwa Sewgolum who had famously beaten Gary Player in a tournament but had not been honoured. He deserved a place in the Hall of Fame. He had been forced to stand outside the clubhouse in the rain to receive the trophy. Mr Sewgolum had won three tournaments so the win against Gary Players was no fluke. The man was a legend.

South African Sport Hall of Fame presentation
Mr Naas Botha, South African Sports and Arts Hall of Fame (SASAHOF), said that Mr Sewgolum had already been honoured by SASAHOF. The roll of honour would go back to 1885. SASAHOF was committed to preserving the country's sporting history. Three functions had already been held and 143 athletes, both past and present, had been honoured. South Africa's first world champion had been crowned as far back as 1898. There was a need to preserve this history. Mr Sewgolum had enjoyed an outstanding career and SASAHOF wanted to share this history with the country. All spheres of life would be covered, including male and female players as well as those who had made a contribution of an administrative nature. One politician, the late Mr Steve Tshwete, had already been inducted. Research had shown him to be one of the best Ministers of Sport in the country's history. Mr Danny Jordaan and other administrators had also been honoured.

Mr Botha said that there had been a hiccough with the plans in Knysna. However. there was never a better time than the present to implement the plans. He undertook to provide Members with a list of the names of those who had been inducted.

Mr David King, SASAHOF, said that the Hall of Fame should be the enshrinement of all those who had made contributions to sport in the country. The Hall of Fame needed to include those who had achieved in the arts, such as Charlize Theron. The Knysna River Reserve was the identified site for the Hall of Fame. SASAHOF had asked government for permission to start building. There were problems with the location and logistics. There had been a positive Record of Decision (ROD) in terms of the Environmental Conservation Act in 2006. However, one individual and two organisations had appealed the decision.  The resulting changes had made the project economically non-viable. In 2007 the Knysna municipality recommended the conditional approval of the project as a whole. On 12 February 2008 the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Environmental Affairs and Development in the Western Cape approved the project on a very limited basis. Less than half of the proposed floor space was made available for development. This would make investment economically unsustainable.

Mr King said that there had been a wonderful opportunity to create a facility in Gauteng. The development in Knysna would be curtailed and restricted to water sports. There had been technical flaws such as the approval of two hotels when only one was required. The approvals had to be correct. The creation of the Hall of Fame would generate income and jobs. There had been two opportunities in Gauteng. One was at the Serengeti Ranch in Johannesburg. The site was near to the airport. SASAHOF had also been approached by the Soccer City precinct. There was scope to include the Hall of Fame in the precinct. There was a plan to establish a 2010 museum and soccer and rugby museums. This was a fantastic idea.

Mr King said that SASAHOF had a key relationship with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). SASCOC had committed its support on behalf of its eighty member federations. SASCOC would establish its high performance centre within the Soccer City precinct. This would be a better option than using the old TransNet building which would require extensive renovation. SASAHOF had been established as a Section 21 company. Its objectives included funding, talent identification, creating opportunities, scholarships, bursaries and training and mentorship of players and coaches. The Hall of Fame would serve as a memorial and a shrine for all South Africans. It would leave an educational legacy. Guidelines were needed for the developments in Knysna and Johannesburg.

Discussion
Mr Lee was sad to hear about the problems. He pointed out that there had been a change of government in the Western Cape since the last decision taken by the MEC. Much more was now being done in the province. He wanted to see all South Africans being given the chance to see the total picture. He would rather see this at Soccer City than the Serengeti alternative. He asked what the impact on costs would be between the two alternatives.

Mr MacKenzie said that SASAHOF had set itself some impressive goals. The Hall of Fame was a fantastic concept. He observed how important a part it played in the American sports environment. He asked who the first champion was. One of the existing members of the Hall of Fame was the boxer, Baby Jake Matlala. He asked if the objectives of SASAHOF included caring for sporting legends like Mr Matlala who had fallen on hard times. The Soccer City precinct would be very accessible. He asked how SASAHOF was funded and about the restriction to water sports at Knysna. Would there be mini Halls of Fame where there would be access to smaller versions.

Mr L Suka (ANC) said that this had been the first meeting with SASAHOF in the term of the current Parliament. He needed more information on the project. He asked if the shift of interest from Knysna to Gauteng was due to logistic reasons. All provinces should be part of the project and none should be left behind. He asked what was involved in the process of collating data on the legends who would be inducted and if the nomination process was still open. Data had to be verified to check for mistakes. He asked what role was played by the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA).

Mr Botha gave a background to the Knysna development. It had been a dream at the start. The intention had been to create a resort and the resort would provide the Hall of Fame. It was a very expensive project. He said that inclusion in the Hall of Fame was carefully considered. He had retired as a player in 1989 but had only been inducted in 2003. There was a need to assess the qualification of the nominees. In American sport there were two considerations: was an athlete in the Hall of Fame or not. There were so many youngsters who dreamed of playing for the Springboks, Bafana Bafana or the Proteas. These accomplishments were stepping stones on the road to the Hall of Fame. The sad part was that there were so many problems blocking the way forward. Locating the Hall of Fame in the north of the country would put it closer to the main population areas.

Mr King said that the Hall of Fame in Knysna would commemorate all sports heroes. When he said it would be curtailed to water sports, he was referring to the activities that would be offered and not the museum component. The Soccer City option was more reasonable. It would be well serviced and would be cheaper.

Mr Botha said that the first world champion was Mr Lourens Meintjies, a cyclist. He had no living relatives. Others honoured included Krom Hendricks and Baby Jake Matlala.

Mr King said that one of SASAHOF's objectives was teaching the value of mentorship. This would help in looking after Baby Jake and retired sportsmen who found themselves in similar straits. They should not go missing when they retired but should remain part of the sporting family. No one had offered to help.

Mr King said that the famous Magic Johnson, a basketball superstar, had only been inducted the previous year. In the field of sport it was easier to determine the criteria for inclusion as sportsmen had tangible achievements to their name. It was not so easy to determine such success in the field of the arts. The achievement of Charileze Theron in winning an Oscar award was a rare case where there was some tangible success. He would send Members information on the structure of SASAHOF. There was some concern as to whether the organisation was entering into relationships with the correct partners. The organisation was very representative.

The Chairperson replied that the Minister's Parliamentary Liaison Officer was present and would take the message on. The previous Minister had been most supportive.  The Hall of Fame was a private venture and government would not be able to cover their costs. The Minister of Arts and Culture should be part of the process. History needed to be recorded. He asked what the status of the court proceedings was.

Mr Botha said that an out-of-court settlement had been achieved. It would have caused a delay of two to three years otherwise.

The Chairperson asked if the regional Halls of Fame, when established, would be replicas of the primary facility.

Mr Lee asked what type of support SASAHOF needed.

The Chairperson said that the new Minister had to be comfortable with the process.

Mr Botha said that SASAHOF did not need financial support as it was a private entity. What it needed was more moral support in the event of problems. The Committee would be kept informed on a regular basis. There was a need for a driving force and he would play that role.

The Chairperson understood the challenges. The Committee would not abandon SASAHOF.

He had some announcements for Members. They were invited to a lunch that day with the outgoing Minister Stofile. There would be a presentation to the former Minister in Johannesburg the following day. Members had been invited to the Zone 6 games in Swaziland from 21 to 23 December. The Committee would undertake a study tour to the UK and Argentina from 18 January 2011. The visit would last two weeks. He urged all Members to ensure that their travel documents were in order.

The meeting was adjourned.

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