PC Sport: Committee Programme; Petition by concerned athletes from Athletics South Africa

Sports, Arts and Culture

07 February 2011
Chairperson: Mr B Kompela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Members discussed the Committee's programme for the first term. Several matters were scheduled for discussion including budget hearings. Members suggested some more meetings that should be held. It was emphasised that the programme was flexible. A petition had been sent to Parliament by a group of Athletics South Africa members. Legal opinion would be taken on what responsibilities fell within the ambit of the Committee on this matter. A meeting would be held in the near future involving all stakeholders to determine the merits of the petition. The scheduled study tour on school sport had been postponed due to the harsh weather in Europe. Aspects of each of the items on the Committee Programme were discussed

Meeting report

The Chairperson stressed the importance of Members attending Committee meetings. This Committee fell under Cluster B and would continue to meet on Tuesdays. The Chief Whip had said that he must be informed if there were any membership changes. The Committee Programme had been distributed. The programme would be flexible should urgent issues arise. It would be a serious matter if officials of Parliament attempted to make changes to the programme.

Mr J McGluwa (ID) had not received the programme. Other Members agreed.

The Chairperson said that the approval would then have to be deferred. Members were invited to attend the opening ceremony of the Royal Bafokeng Nation Supreme Council to be held on 17 February 2011. Members were also invited to a Sports and Recreation, Arts and Culture indaba to be held in Port Elizabeth on 24 to 25 February 2011. He asked Members to indicate if they wished to attend these events, and stressed that those who accepted the invitations must attend. It was wasteful should Members not take up invitations. The first event clashed with the Reply to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and Members would not be able to attend it. Six Members planned to attend the indaba in Port Elizabeth.

The Chairperson said that the Committee would hold a strategic workshop. This was planned for the first week of March during a constituency / committee week. Two other Committees would be involved, namely the Committees on Rural Development and Land Reform and on Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs. Ground transport had been arranged to Asara wine estate and hotel. Attendance of this workshop would be compulsory. The approximate cost was R125 000. Aspects to be dealt with would include relations with the media, the Money Bill Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) strategic plan. Sports Recreation South Africa had made it clear that the Committee was not welcome at their own workshops and would therefore not be invited to the Committee's workshop. This had been confirmed in writing. Members would arrive at their own understanding of the issues involved. Interaction with SRSA would thus only be at Parliament.

Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) asked what the duration of the workshop would be. His daughter was getting married on the Saturday.

The Chairperson replied that it would last between two and three days. It would have to start on the Thursday and end on the Saturday unless they were able to finish early. If Members were serious about arriving on time and getting down to business they should be finished on the Friday. Members should consult their parties as political decisions would be taken.

The Chairperson said that the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) had referred a matter to the Committee. He was pleased that this route had been followed. The aggrieved group of members of Athletics South Africa (ASA) had approached the Speaker. He urged Members to read the petition carefully before commenting thereon. It should remain out of the public domain for the meantime. It was sent on 21 January 2011 by concerned athletes. Members had received copies of the petition. It was an unsolicited petition requesting Parliament to investigate a number of activities by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). They requested the Minister to intervene to re-instate suspended members of the Board and employees of ASA. Not all the issues fell within the ambit of the Committee. The Speaker had asked the Committee to deal with those matters which were within its areas of responsibility. He asked Members to draw up a way forward to handle this matter. It would take two to three days to deal with the issues raised. An appropriate date would be scheduled.

Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) proposed that the Chairperson first meet Parliament's legal advisors who could determine which Committees were responsible for the different matters raised. The petitioners and all concerned, including SASCOC, should be invited to air their opinions before the Committee.

Mr MacKenzie seconded the proposal. There were no dissenting voices.

Mr McGluwa agreed that Members needed some guidance. A thorough investigation was needed. He also supported the ANC proposal.

The Chairperson said that a report would ultimately be presented to the National Assembly. The report would first be adopted by the Committee. It could be merely a tabling of the report with recommendations or a debate might be needed.

Mr Dikgacwi asked if SRSA should be invited to the hearings.

The Chairperson said that the role of SRSA in handling the matter had to be determined. The final responsibility lay with the Department and not SASCOC. There were allegations of bribery some two years previously. There was a campaign against Mr Leonard Chuene. The matter became stagnant. There were allegations that the Minister was not interested in pursuing the matter. The allegations were referred to the legal department of SRSA. The Department had not reported back. There was evidence that there was a media campaign, backed by some ASA members, against Mr Chuene. This was in the run-up to ASA elections.

Mr McGluwa asked that the proposal should be reworded to request that all possible stakeholders should be invited. This might include former Ministers.

The Chairperson noted Mr Dikgacwi's agreement. Members of other parties concurred.

Mr S Mmusi (ANC) asked how the issues would be separated. SASCOC still owed the Committee an appearance. He asked if other issues pertaining to SASCOC should be addressed at the same meeting.

The Chairperson said that SASCOC must attend when called to Parliament. Separate meetings with SASCOC would be arranged to address those other matters. [Copies of the Committee's First Term Programme had arrived and were distributed to members]. The Committee still needed to meet with the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) to consider its Annual Report. Other meetings were scheduled with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) on school sport, a representative of Zululand rugby, to consider the implications of SONA, for a briefing by SRSA on their budget and strategic plan, to hold public hearings on the budget in terms of the Money Bill Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act and to compile the Committee's Budget Report and Recommendations (BRR).

The Chairperson asked how money could be allocated to SRSA if that Department was not able to spend what was already allocated to it. The quality of the work being done by SRSA had to be considered. The Mass Participation Programme (MPP) had been running for three years without tangible results. The Auditor General (AG) still had a query regarding the MPP. How could the effectiveness of the programme be considered without an output. It was not a question of the budget being already concluded. Inputs from the public and different federations would be heard and included in the BRR if merited. It was an elaborate process and Members would discuss it during the Committee's forthcoming workshop. The Chairperson said that they could no longer follow a “one size fits all” policy. It was a question of how government funding could be spent to provide a better life for the people.

The Chairperson said that the rugby franchise in the Eastern Cape was running well. The Committee would be meeting with them and the South African Rugby Union (SARU) to ascertain the progress. A meeting would also be held with the LoveLife organisation. He was not keen on this but it would have to be done as long as LoveLife received funding through SRSA.

Mr MacKenzie asked if the meeting would end up in another fight or if a common position could be found.

The Chairperson said that SRSA was not married to LoveLife. The impact of this organisation's work could not be measured. If LoveLife was dealing primarily with HIV/AIDS awareness then they should rather fall under the Department of Health. SRSA would brief the Committee on this matter.

The Chairperson said that a serious matter to be discussed was the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG). SRSA had been conducting an audit on sports facilities for the past three years. They must surely be close to concluding this audit. Members needed to know how many facilities had been constructed since the work of the Building for Sport and Recreation Programme (BSRP) under SRSA had been handed over to local government. He wanted to know where such facilities were so that Members could visit them. He recounted an experience in KwaZulu-Natal where Members had visited a new facility only to find that after quite some time, nothing had been built. All that officials could show the delegation was where the proposed site was. SRSA needed to give a full audit. The Committee could split its forces in order to cover all nine provinces.

The Chairperson said that the final meeting planned for the term was the adoption of the BRR and its report on the public hearings. This meeting would be on 29 March.

The Chairperson raised the question of legacy projects which FIFA would have provided after the 2010 World Cup. Work on these projects was ongoing. Progress on these projects would have to be verified with the South African Football Association (SAFA).

The Chairperson noted that the Cricket World Cup would be starting soon. He had sent a letter to the Proteas team on behalf of the Committee to wish them well. The Rugby World Cup would follow later in the year and he wished the Springboks well also.

The Chairperson was pleased that SAFA had implemented the Committee's recommendations on the Bafana Bafana name. It was the first time that SAFA had implemented agreements so clinically. Adidas had refused to put the Protea emblem on the shirts and had instead only offered an iron-on badge. The Committee had suggested that SAFA should part ways with Adidas if this was the manufacturer's attitude. SAFA had done this. SAFA had also agreed on the question of the Bafana Bafana brand name. There was a person in Sandton who had registered this as a trademark since 1997. The new SAFA leadership had been sent to investigate the possibilities. They had hit a snag in that the law was on the side of the private company. The other option was to change the team's nickname. Public views on this had been solicited. The Minister had said that individuals could not benefit from a national symbol. Federations should check whether other team nicknames were registered with CIPRO. It was important that once the new nickname was determined, it should be registered before it was made public. The parting with Adidas was a painful thing to do but SAFA had acted diligently. He applauded SAFA's actions.

Mr McGluwa asked for clarity on the school sport presentation scheduled for 15 February. The Minister had made profound statements regarding school sport. He asked if the presentation would be linked to these statements. Some synergy was needed.

The Chairperson said that the Committee would get people to make inputs and to provide the ideal scenario. The United School Sports Association of South Africa (USSASA) had been killed. This had buried school sport. The replacement body, the National Coordinating Committee (NACOC), did not organise sport. This was done by teachers. SRSA could have its own view but the final say would rest with the Department of Basic Education (DBE). He wondered what progress had been made on the Memorandum of Understanding between SRSA and the then Department of Education. The Minister had a new vision for SRSA and the Committee was keen to share it. It was urgent that all parties sang from the same hymn book. He recalled long meetings held with former Minister Stofile to discuss these issues. The Committee had already spoken about Boxing South Africa.

Mr MacKenzie noted that in the previous six weeks, Cricket South Africa (CSA) had been in turmoil on the saga surrounding its President, Dr Nyoka. SAFA was in dispute with the Premier Soccer League (PSL). Mr Leslie Sedibe had resigned and there was unhappiness over some of the PSL's structures. He asked if it would be appropriate to add these two organisations into the Committee's programme. These were important and controversial issues.

The Chairperson replied that the programme on the table was a framework. The Committee had the discretion to review it. A meeting with CSA might have to be delayed until after the World Cup. It would be easier to arrange a meeting with SAFA.

Mr MacKenzie suggested that the postponed study tour on school sport should be held in New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup. The country followed the same model of school sport as the United Kingdom (UK).

The Chairperson said that the proposed visit to the UK had been postponed due to the adverse weather in Europe. This had disrupted flights. They would rather travel to the UK during the English summer. The ambassador to the UK, Mr Zola Skweyiya, had suggested that the time was not right for a visit due to the recession and cold weather.

Mr J van der Linde (DA) had spoken to the ambassador to Argentine, Mr Tony Leon. It was also not the right time to visit that country as their Parliament was in recess and the schools were on holiday. He had been invited to the handover of a sports facility in Okiep during the September 2010 holidays. There had been a similar handover in Paarl in December 2010 and another was planned for Mitchell's Plain on the following Friday. He had attended the event in Okiep. The facility had been constructed by the Sports Trust (ST). It was good for Members to see what was happening. The Minister often attended such events. The ST was doing good things.

The Chairperson felt it was a pity that such invitations were not extended to the whole Committee. It would be good to see what ST was doing with the funds allocated to it. If SRSA was able to produce the same quality of work they would be a powerful force. The ST was making a phenomenal impact on the provision of facilities and equipment.

Mr McGluwa suggested that the ST be provided with a list of all Committee Members so that all parties could be represented.

Mr Dikgacwi said that all invitations should go to the Chairperson. An impression might be created that ANC members were not interested.

The Chairperson affirmed that a portion of the SRSA budget was allocated to the ST.

The meeting was adjourned.


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