Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill: Negotiating Mandates; Deputy Minister & Department of Sport and Recreation briefing on Strategic Plan and budget 2011

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

24 May 2011
Chairperson: Ms M Boroto (ANC, Mpumalanga)(Acting)
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Meeting Summary

It was indicated that six provinces had indicated their support for the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill, although answers were still awaited from Free State, Eastern Cape and North West. A Member pointed out that some further discussion would be required on clauses 7 and 11. The Department of Basic Education outlined the comments in regard to clause 1 and the definitions, but indicated that it had not yet had a chance to study all the submissions in detail. The Department was asked to provide written responses on all matters to the Committee by 5 June 2011.
The Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation, briefly outlined the vision of the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA) and a briefing was then given on the strategic plan and budget. The goals were focused on transformation, school sport, and institutional mechanisms for facilities, sports councils, academies and coaching. There would be mass mobilisation in the form of youth camps, job creation, communication and mass participation, recreation and funding. High performance sport, effective and administrative support, a well-governed sports community and promoting inter-and intra-governmental co-operation were also listed as priorities. Programmes had been put in place, with timelines and monitoring plans, and challenges had been identified that needed to be addressed. The Mass Participation and Sports Development Grant was intended to achieve participation in selected activities. There was ongoing engagement with Drug-Free Sport and Boxing SA. The budget was R205.7 million, and included specific allocations for improved conditions of service, increased support to national sports federations, talent development, new office accommodation and assistance to Boxing SA. It was also stressed that outside and donor funding was also received. A once-off payment to FIFA was highlighted, of R40 million, and the SRSA would be requesting further funding to achieve its objectives. The position with monitoring of spending was improved, but some issues still remained to be finalised, arising from the reports of the Auditor-General.

Members enquired in particular as to the funding of LoveLife and how it was monitored. They wanted clarity on how sports federations and other bodies accounted for their allocations. There was also concern about the need to ringfence funding to ensure, in particular, that sports facilities were developed in municipalities and that the grants were correctly used. Clarity was sought on talent identification and development, and it was stressed also that sporting stars needed education and guidance on planning for their futures and harnessing their talents. Recreation programmes were questioned, and transformation in selected sports was also queried. The Committee enquired why the Department did not build its own building, asked about the final amounts of donor funds, the development plans for school sport and the role of the Department in the Northern Cape events, as well as the role of the proposed youth camps and the need to link these programmes to job creation. Members asked for better marketing of sports academies, particularly in the Eastern Cape, and better implementation of programmes in rural areas, an issue that was continuously raised without significant improvements being seen. The SRSA was asked to forward full details on provincial and sporting code funding to the Committee.

Meeting report

Ms M Boroto was elected as Acting Chairperson, since Ms M Makgate (ANC, North West) was unable to attend the meeting.

Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill: Consideration of Negotiating Mandates
The Chairperson noted that six provinces, being Limpopo, Northern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, all broadly supported the Bill. The Member from KwaZulu Natal had sent her apologies, and had indicated that her province supported the Bill.

The Eastern Cape and North West Province had not submitted their mandates.

It was further noted that the Free State Provincial Legislature’s Committee had not been able to consider the matter, and thus there was no mandate from the Free State as yet.

Mr Chris Leukes, Director of Legal Services, Department of Basic Education, noted that the negotiating mandates of five provinces had been received by the Department as well, although mandates from Gauteng an Mpumalanga were not forwarded to the Department.

Mr M De Villiers (DA, Western Cape) noted that Clause 7 and Clause 11 needed further consideration.

Mr Leukes commented that there was general support for the amendment of Clause 7.

Mr Moribishane Ramafoko, Legal Advisor, Department of Basic Education,  noted that Clause 11 was designed to protect the contact time between teachers and learners.

Mr Leukes commented on clause 1 of the Bill, noting that this clause existed to create control over loans issued to schools on behalf of the State. He added that if a school defaulted on a loan, State (school) land could also be attached, which had obvious implications.

Mr Ramafoko noted that there was some question about the definition of a ‘parent’ but that the Department believed that the definition in the Amendment Bill was suitable.

Mr Ramafoko raised the issue of child headed households, and noted that the Department wanted to keep the definitions in the South African Schools Act as closely as possible aligned to the Children’s Act.

Mr Leukes noted that the issues raised by the Northern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga were received by the Department very late, and so the Department had not been able to consider them in any depth.

The Acting Chairperson requested that written responses on these should be provided to Members of the Committee by 5 June 2011.

Deputy Minister and
Department of Sport and Recreation: Strategic Plan and Budget 2011/2012
Hon Gert Oosthuizen, Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, tendered the apologies of the Minister of Sport and Recreation. He then addressed the Committee on the strategic plan and budget of the Department of Sport and Recreation (the Department or SRSA) for 2011/12. He emphasised the role of sport and recreation in South African society, especially the Department’s role in rural development. Sport and recreation contributed to peace building, had significant contributions to the economy in terms of sports tourism and the wider sports economy, aided nation building - a prime example being the recent 2010 World Soccer Cup, increased social and community values, and allowed citizens to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

He noted that a sports indaba would be hosted in August 2011, preceded by provincial indabas in all nine provinces to aid the Department to create and implement the country’s first ever National Sports Plan. This would guide and streamline South Africa’s common sports objectives.

Mr Oosthuizen stated that it would not be possible to achieve these objectives if the requisite resources were not made available to the Department. The Department was therefore requesting National Treasury to increase the Department’s budget allocation. It was hoped that South Africa would embrace the positive spin-offs of sport and recreation to achieve the county’s quest to stay a winning nation.

Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) noted that LoveLife received disproportionate funding from the Department and stated that these funds could be better used to develop sports in under developed areas.

Mr Oosthuizen briefed the committee on the role of Lovelife, and the relationship with the American Kaiser Foundation. For every R1 that was spent on awareness, a pledged additional amount would be spent by that Foundation. He noted that the SRSA would forward further details to the Committee.

Ms B Mncube (ANC, Gauteng), asked why the Deputy Minister was intending to leave early. She would prefer that both a Ministerial representative and the Departmental team remain.

Mr Oosthuizen responded that he had full confidence in his team, but would have to leave to attend to another matter.

Continuation of briefing
Ms Sumayya Khan, Acting Director General, SRSA, tabled the strategic plan and noted the new direction and focus added by the new Minister of Sport, Mr Fikile Mbalula. The strategic planning process had taken into account various aspects, which included outcomes-based performance evaluation from the Presidency, the framework provided by the National Treasury, and the Auditor General’s recommendations.

Ms Khan stated that SRSA’s mission was to maximise participation in sport and recreation, as well as to increase South Africa’s international performance in sport and recreation.

Ms Khan listed and briefly outlined SRSA’s strategic imperatives and goals. These focused on  transformation, school sport, and institutional mechanisms for facilities, sports councils, academies and coaching. There would be mass mobilisation in the form of youth camps, job creation, communication and mass participation, recreation and funding. In addition, other goals were concerned with achieving high performance sport, effective and administrative support, a well-governed sports community and promoting inter-and intra-governmental co-operation.

Programmes were in place to facilitate these strategic goals and imperatives. The challenges involved in the achievement of these goals had also been identified. She briefly identified the programmes being run by the SRSA and their sub-programmes (see attached presentation for details). She noted that for all programmes, target dates for implementation, and persons responsible, had been identified and both would be managed on an ongoing basis.

Ms Khan further briefed the Committee on the Mass Participation and Sports Development Grant, which was to facilitate mass participation in sport. The aim was to achieve participation in selected activities, and the targets for 2011/2012 were set out.

She added that the SRSA also worked with Drug-Free Sport and Boxing South Africa on an ongoing basis.

The Deputy Minister excused himself from the meeting at this point to attend to other matters.

Budget Presentation
Mr Makoto Matlala, Chief Financial Officer, SRSA, outlined the Department’s finances to the Committee. The budget was focused on achieving the Department’s Strategic Objectives. He noted that the total 2011 budget allocation was R205.7 million, and indicated the subdivisions. These were R7.6 million for improved conditions of service; R136 million for increased support to national sport federations; R40 million for talent development through scientific support services; R16.5 million for new office accommodation and R5.5 million for increased operational costs at Boxing South Africa.

SRSA was of the view the baseline funding should be increased. Historical trends showed that budget allocation had decreased.

Mr Matlala briefed the Committee on spending trends and future allocation breakdowns. He noted that ‘International Organisations’ referred to the once off VAT-repayment to FIFA for the 2010 World Cup, as part of an agreement between FIFA and the South African government. This amounted to R40 million.

SRSA also received donor funding from the European Union and the German Government for various sports projects.

Funding requests were noted for various programmes of the Department, including National Federations, the South African Games, South African Sports Awards, facilities, a new organogram, and funding for new office accommodation as a result of the planned increase in staff.

Mr Matlala outlined that various concerns about the budget had been raised by National Treasury. These were to do with staff numbers at Corporate Services, in comparison to people on the ground delivering programmes, the ability of SRSA to monitor and evaluate programmes in outlying areas, the school sports policy and the role of the Department of Basic Education as well as the monitoring of public entities, especially Boxing South Africa.

Mr Matlala indicated that there had been improvements insofar as the reduction of irregular, unauthorised and fruitless expenditure was concerned, since 2006. SRSA had concentrated on accounting for taxpayers’ money in a proper manner. However, there were still some minor issues that remained to be dealt with, arising from the report of the Auditor-General (AG). The accounting remained a work in progress.

Mr Matlala also addressed the earlier queries of Mr Faber in regard to LoveLife. SRSA and the Department of Health had engaged with Lovelife to allow their programmes to be aligned to the objectives of the Department. The Committee would receive feedback once a final decision had been reached.

Mr S Plaatjie (COPE, North West) wanted clarity on how sports federations accounted to the SRSA for their allocations.

Mr Plaatjie also sought clarification on how municipalities accounted for their spending of their grants. An extreme example of 99 year leases for stadiums at nominal amounts was raised.

Ms Khan replied that audited financial reports were required prior to funding, and the evidence in terms of photographs, attendance registers, reports and so on must be provided to the Department after the fact. Monitors were also sent out to look at projects, on a sample basis. The Department itself did not provide funding to municipalities.

Another Departmental official confirmed that monitoring and evaluation capacity for check all municipalities and provinces was a challenge.

Ms R Rasmeni (ANC, North West) asked for elaboration on how the SRSA planned to avoid future irregular and fruitless expenditure.

Mr Matlala responded that employees had been trained and workshopped in supply chain processes and financial responsibilities. This training was bearing fruit.

Ms Rasmeni asked for clarification on the talent identification and development in the Department.

Ms Rasmeni requested elaboration on what recreation programmes were being implemented by the Department.

Ms Khan responded that recreation had been neglected in the past but that this was being rectified. She identified specific programmes such as the Golden Games, Indigenous Games, programmes in the Department of Correctional Services, and the World Walking Day. A task team had been established to take the issue of recreation further.

Ms Rasmeni commented on the issue of education and life skills for sports people. She was saddened by the number of sports stars who fell into financial difficulties early on in their lives, and who had been unable to build constructively on their earlier fame or put their successes to good use.

Ms Rasmeni asked for details on transformation, mainly in sports such as swimming, cricket and rugby.

Ms M Moshodi (ANC), Mr De Villiers and Mr Faber all asked for details regarding the Department’s new lease.

The Acting Chairperson asked whether the Department had considered buying its own land and building its own building. She stressed that the correct procedures must be followed.

A Departmental official responded that the current building was inadequate and not compliant with state requirements. Some renovations had been done, but could not be fully completed because the building was not owned by the State. There were no facilities for meetings, so that was necessitating extra expense, and the parking was inadequate. Although SRSA would have preferred to build its own building, the Department of Public Works (DPW) was not in favour that SRSA could leave the Pretoria central business district. Further instabilities within DPW had affected SRSA’s position.

Mr De Villiers was concerned about municipalities, especially in disadvantaged areas. He wanted to know whether there were programmes in place to help municipalities to provide those citizens with sports facilities.

Mr De Villiers was also wanted to know about the currency exchange rates. He enquired what amount, after tax, would be received by way of European Union donor funding.

Mr De Villiers wanted clarification on the Department’s development plans for school sport.

Ms Khan responded that for a long time there were overlapping mandates for school sport. A framework was now being developed by the Department and would be presented to the Ministers and Deputy Ministers by the middle of June 2011. SRSA would also like to integrate the mass participation programmes into schools.

Mr Faber noted that the Northern Cape was holding the World X Games, and wanted to know what role the Department was playing in that.

A member of the Department replied that the Department was assisting in the management of the games.

Mr Faber again raised the issue of LoveLife and wanted details of how much money LoveLife was spending, specifically on sport. He also enquired whether SRSA was taking responsibility for the money being spent correctly by LoveLife.

Ms Mncube commented on the mass participation programme, and wanted to know whether this would be used to identify talent. She noted that facilities in townships had not been maintained, or had sometimes been taken over by informal settlements. Ms Mncube requested that sports and recreation facilities be identified as a priority if further settlements were created in future. She further commented that Multi-Purpose Centres that had been built were not being monitored.

Ms Mncube commented on the proposed youth camps, asking about their role in job creation, and stressed the importance of making these programmes valuable to society.

A Departmental official replied that training, including “Training the Trainer” and life skills would be included in the programmes. This particular project would be launched in December 2011.

Ms Mncube was happy that the Department was monitoring Boxing South Africa, which she felt had not been governed properly in the past.

Ms Mncube noted that sports academy systems should work in rural areas. Sports academies, wherever they existed, should be marketed to teachers and educators, so that learners would get to know of their existence.

Ms D Rantho (ANC, Eastern Cape) agreed, and said that this was particularly relevant to the East London and greater Eastern Cape areas.

Professor Paul Singh, Chief Director: Client Liaison, Facilities and Events, SRSA, said that scientific support, in terms of nutrition and training programmes, was provided by federations at national level. In addition, the Department provided this service through centres of specialisation and academies throughout the country.

Ms Mncube commented that sports stars should be given the necessary skills to manage their fame, and should be educated.

Ms Rantho wanted to know how SRSA would implement its programmes in rural areas, as opposed to suburban and township areas. She was unhappy that these issues needed to be continuously raised, as they had been mentioned several times in the past but little or no progress seemed to have been made.

Mr Faber requested further details on the Department’s finances relating to the sports codes, and provinces.

A Departmental official briefly broke down the provincial spending for the Committee, but promised that these details would be forwarded in writing to the Committee. Ms Khan also confirmed this.

The Acting Chairperson noted that marginalised communities must be granted access to facilities, especially in rural areas. There should be sports facilities in all areas in South Africa, not just urban areas. The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) was neither sufficiently large, nor was it ringfenced, and for this reason it would not have a direct enough effect on sport.

Ms Khan agreed that this was a concern and that facilities were not prioritised. However, in the provinces, multipurpose sports courts and facilities were being built, and communities were being provided with access. Ring fencing of funds was being addressed.

The Acting Chairperson referred to the access to stadiums in municipalities and wanted to know whether the Department had a policy in place to deal with this.

Mr T Mashamaite (ANC, Limpopo) noted that there was a likely under spending of R7.6 million, mentioned in the SRSA’s presentation. He also asked about the funding bias of municipalities, commenting that in his own municipality it was reported that the MIG had apparently been spent on providing facilities, but that no facilities were visible in the municipality.

The meeting was adjourned.


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