Sport development in municipalities: National Sports Forum presentation

Sports, Arts and Culture

21 February 2012
Chairperson: Mr M Mdakane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The National Sports Forum was a body created as a mother body for the provincial sports councils. These had been established in eight of the provinces with the sports council in North West to be established within a few months. The provincial bodies were all affiliates of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. The provincial councils were the bodies that enabled Government programmes to be put into place on the ground. They had concerns over the slow pace of development. Inadequate facilities were a major factor as well as the lack of sport in schools. The councils saw the need to develop the capacity of administrators.

Members were told that the National Sports Forum derived its mandate from a democratic process. Sports councils were present in all areas. 

Members wanted to know how the councils could serve in resolving disputes. They questioned the lower status of women in sport and in leadership positions. Members expressed concern on how funds were monitored and the role played by national federations. There was a suggestion that some smaller national federations should not have the same voting power as larger federations.

Members shared the Forum's feelings over the poor start of school sport. Transformation was also a shared concern, with some Members feeling that incentives were needed rather than just instituting punitive measures. A major shared concern was that funds earmarked for sports facilities had been incorporated into the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, but municipalities were diverting the funding to other purposes.

Meeting report

The Chairperson told the delegation from the National Sports Forum (NSF) that presentations should be forwarded to Parliament at least seven days before the meeting date.  This would enable Members to make themselves aware of the content of the presentation before the meeting.

National Sports Forum Presentation 
Mr Farrel Moses, President, Northern Cape Sports Council, said that the National Sports Forum (NSF) represented the provinces. It was only the North West Sports Council that still had to be launched. Although the Limpopo Sports Council had been constituted it was unable to attend. The nine provinces met on a quarterly basis to resolve issues to form the NSF. All nine provincial sports councils were affiliates of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), which was their mother body. He presented a schematic design of the structure both at national level and how a province like the Northern Cape was divided into regions and municipalities.

Mr Moses listed the objectives of the NSF. Government was the financier and the NSF structures were the enablers. Development was close to the heart of NSF members. Facilities, governance, transparency and commitment were at the heart of their activities. Many national federations were not present in some of the provinces. There was a role to play in talent identification. This must be done at an early age. The NSF interacted with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). A close working relationship with it was essential. There was a key focus area in ensuring that federations were linked to the various sports councils.

Mr Moses outlined the history of the NSF. He reiterated that development was a pillar of the work of the NSF.  The lack of facilities, funding and the attitude of national federations were serious impediments. Facilities were lacking in all provinces especially in the rural areas. Facilities were inaccessible to the poor. This was why children were not playing sport as they would rather pass their time at the taverns. The provincial sports councils could not play their roles if the current snail's pace of development was continued. Service delivery was hampered by the continuing dilemma of the provision of sport at schools. Educators played a crucial role in talent identification and development of sport. Unification of sport structures had not been as effective as it had been intended. Many of the poorer clubs had been absorbed by the richer clubs and federations.  Sport administrators were not been adequately capacitated. As members were trained they fell through the cracks and structures collapsed due to the the lack of capacity and authority to administer sport. The re-direction of funds to club development would be of great benefit.

Mr Moses said the challenges were generic through the different provinces. They included transport and the lack of facilities. Logistic and financial support was needed to deliver sport in the more remote regions of the country.  In many provinces athletes were unable to play their sport of choice. Many potential world champions were not able to flourish because of this situation. There were national academies resident in all provinces.  They catered for high performance and elite athletes, but also trained administrators. Other beneficiaries were the athletes in rural areas. In many districts unemployment was rife. Sports administration was one area which could create some employment opportunities.

Mr Moses said that most of the programmes were resident in the provincial government where the bodies under the NSF provided an enabling role. Budget figures could be provided at a later date. Funds came in the form of grants from the provincial sports departments. Development grants were given to some federations in need. The situation differed from province to province. Support was given in terms of capacity building.

Mr Moses said that the NSF had the development of sport at heart. All codes were allowed to play under one umbrella. The NSF affiliates were the ears and eyes of SASCOC at provincial level. Engagement in life skills and recreation programmes helped to combat crime. 

Mr M Rabotapi (DA) asked why there was such a heavy emphasis on the Northern Cape in the presentation.

Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) asked what role the sports councils played with national federations. There was a dispute with the rugby clubs in the Western Cape. When there was a fight on the field it was only the black club that was penalised. He quoted examples of the devastating effect on clubs that were suspended for lengthy periods. He would also like to know when conferences were held. Many people were being left out of such forums, especially progressive people. 

Ms L Mjobo (ANC) asked for clarity on the relationship between the sports councils and SALGA. She also wanted to know more on the situation with rural schools.

Ms M Dube (ANC) wanted to know about the state of women's soccer. Her constituents had complained about the lack of recognition of women in this code. She also wanted to know about grants. It was uncertain who was responsible for grants in some areas.

Mr S Mmusi (ANC) wanted to check with the sports councils on their status as SASCOC affiliates. He was not sure if there was genuine monitoring and evaluation of funding. He asked how the councils were involved in checking the status of facilities of municipal facilities. He had not seen anything in the report regarding disabled sport.

The Chairperson asked how the mandate was derived. He asked how committed local federations were committed to development. He asked what sponsorship was being received apart from Government funding.  He asked how the NSF differed from previous and existing structures.

Mr Moses said that the NSF mandate came from a democratic, transparent and inclusive exercise. The sports councils were elected by the federations within the provinces. The average number of member federations was between 30 and 40. Other stakeholders were local  and provincial government, and social services. The councils represented the community. Education was also a partner in order to prevent overlapping. He was hopeful that lottery funding could also be obtained to fund provincial sports councils.  Some provinces were able to attract corporate funding. The Limpopo Sports Council was not funded by the province, which had been the reason for its inability to attend the meeting.

Mr Linda Zwane, President, Mpumalanga Sports Council, said that SALGA had been taken on as a partner because of the lack of involvement from provincial structures. Women's soccer did exist at a provincial level in Mpumalanga. There was an appeal for the creation of a national professional league for women. The lack of such a competition affected their ability to perform at international level. The team's qualification to play at the Olympic Games in 2012 might act as a spur. There was a regional level of competition. Within the provinces facility audits had been commissioned covering both public and private facilities. These belonged to the communities ultimately.  All eighteen districts had conducted such audits.  Funding for new facilities fell within the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), and this concern had been raised at the Sports Indaba.  Since funding for sports facilities had been incorporated into the MIG the funding had dried up.  All new settlements should make provision for sports facilities.

Mr S Seqwaba, President, Free State Sports Council, emphasised the role of provincial bodies as an enabler.  Local government could influence policies at a provincial level.  The councils had a role to inform Government if the objectives of the NSF were being met.  The role of provincial sports councils was clear.  Provincial federations had to be accountable.  Many federations, both at provincial and national level, were a law unto themselves.  National federation funds were not being used properly.  Many federations were not reporting accurately on their activities.  Sometimes national federations did not even know about teams representing the country abroad.  Only Government was funding the provincial sports councils.  These bodies had existed before the creation of SASCOC.  Development could only happen at provincial and grass-roots level despite the meagre resources available.  Some money did come from the lottery.  The provinces had a grave concern that lottery funding was not being employed for development.  He urged the Committee to make representations for the decentralisation of the process of awarding lottery grants. 

Mr Mkhululi Magada, President, Eastern Cape Sports Council, said that the sports councils existed in every corner of the provinces.  It was better that their work should have an impact at a local level even if they were not known at national level.  Talent had to be developed at a low level so that athletes could progress to the next level.  This was why national teams were still not transformed.  There were 76 federations represented at SASCOC, but no province had representation of all these codes.  The question of what constituted a national federation had to be addressed.  There were structures at ward and district level which fell under the provincial sports councils.  The national federations were getting away with murder.  The sports councils had a role to ensure that there was transparency.  All provincial federations applying for lottery funding should be endorsed by the provincial sports council.  Money granted to national federations should cascade down to the lowest level.

Mr Barry Hendricks, President, Gauteng Sports Council, said that one of the elements of provincial sports councils was dispute resolution.  He assumed that the Western Cape Sports Council should address the issues raised by Mr Dikgacwi.  The Gauteng council was involved in a boxing dispute.  The Gauteng Sports Council had been established in May 2011.  Three districts had been defined.  The Tshwane Sports Council would be established in March 2012.  The sub-regions would be determined at a meeting the following weekend.  The Sedibeng region was already organised down to ward level.  The role of the NSF was not to act as a legal entity.  This role was the preserve of SASCOC.  The NSF looked at the problems experienced in different regions and tried to find solutions.  There was a link to local and provincial government.  Women in sport was a crucial issue.  Membership comprised the sub-regions and the provincial federations.  Bodies such as universities and disabled sport had affiliate membership.  The core approach was to be a single voice for sport in the province.  Many resolutions had come out of the sports indabas.  These resolutions were enforced by the provincial sports councils.  Disabled sport was well represented in the Gauteng body.  The mandate came from members, SASCOC, federations and regional sports councils.  He realised that there was not enough awareness on the work of provincial sports councils.  Invitations would be extended to Members to events and facilities.

Mr John Arendse, Treasurer, Western Cape Sports Council, said that the provincial body was serious about violence in sport.  The Rian Loots programme had been developed in response to rugby violence, both on the fields and on the sidelines.  There had been four workshops including one on medical treatment.  There were four regions within the Western Cape.  Disputes should be resolved within the region, failing which the Western Cape Sports Council would take it further.

Ms S Lebenya-Ntanzi (IFP) apologised for arriving late.  She asked how long the sports councils had existed.  She asked if there were other sources of funding and how they planned to raise their own funding.  The provincial sports councils played a fundamental role in development at grass-roots level.  She asked if they had had any success in establishing new codes in the different areas.  Soccer and netball dominated.  She asked if there was a plan and a strategy for future work, especially regarding transformation.

Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) said that the provincial sports councils should monitor the awards to the national federations.  He wanted to know if the councils monitored the spending of MIG funds at the different municipalities.  This should be part of the provincial councils' mandate.  Transformation was key, and he wanted to know what rewards were in place for the federations that were doing good work.  He was only seeing the stick element and not the carrot.  He asked how funding for the different federations was influenced by the councils.  There was a partnership between the sports and education departments to develop school sport.  While this might not fall directly under the provincial councils, he asked what role they were playing.  He asked what role the councils might be playing where different federations might be in dispute over the use of multi-purpose facilities.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) asked what was happening with the plan of action for school sports.  She would like to see the plan clearly, especially for the rural areas.  She asked what the relationship between the NSF and SASCOC was.  She asked what assistance was being given to Limpopo given their funding constraints.  She said that a document had been presented at the Sports Indaba on an infrastructure plan.  The Minister had indicated that the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) would conduct a facilities audit.  There were regular roll-overs with the grants.  She asked how the sports councils could tap into this.

Mr Mmusi said that the NSF seemed to be a powerful body.  He expected to see changes as a result of their interventions.  There must be achievements.  Members were to be found in all provinces and would respond to invitations in any part of the country.  He noted that there was only one female member of the delegation.

Mr D Lee (DA) wanted to know where the leader of the Western Cape Sports Council was.  There was a statement on the unification process and limited access.  The failures were due to the lack of facilities.  Players moved from poorer areas to those where there were adequate facilities.  The number of facilities required should be quantified.  Once this was done sport could progress.  In his day, they had made do with what was available.  School sport had happened due to the dedication of the teachers.  School sport had imploded due to the lack of dedication in current teachers.  The Department of Basic Education had to be part of the solution.  Members did oversight everywhere in the country.  The common theme was the low priority given to sport by local government.  Funds meant for sport were spent on other purposes.  If the municipalities could be forced to spend the intended funds for sport there would be a dramatic improvement in the standard of sport.  Municipal officials had to be present when Members visited sports facilities.  The sports councils would be used to facilitate this.  He was glad to see Mr Hendricks involved as he was a man that knew sport.  If the nation wanted to progress with all its people there had to be developments on the ground.

Mr Dikgacwi said that the unification process had actually been one of black clubs being swallowed.  Resolutions had not been followed properly.  The rugby club dispute had gone to court after an incident in 2009.  The five year suspension had been reduced to six weeks, but the Western Province Rugby Union had demanded a payment of R180 000 before the club could be reinstated.  He asked what the provincial council was doing.  The councils had to remember where their origins were.  He had an issue with lease agreements.  The Committee had asked for these to be investigated.  Some clubs had long term leases over facilities for nominal amounts.  Information was needed on these arrangements.  He would like to be present when the Western Cape Sports Council was called to account.  Government needed to know how funds were being spent.  There was a big problem with transformation.  He did not think SASCOC was really transformed.  Some of the small federations were run by one family.  It was wrong that all federations had the same voting power.  Some federations needed to be audited. 

The Chairperson said that everybody was concerned about transformation.

Mr Moses replied that the Members of Parliament were welcome to attend meetings of the NSF and its affiliates.  He was glad that they had been given a chance to engage with Parliament.  Many members within the provincial structures were new to their portfolios.  If one looked at the 89 clubs in the Western Province, of which only ten were white, it was not right that they were controlling the union.  If there was proper development leadership with capacity would result.  This would address the issue of constitutionality.  Some new federations were being introduced into the provinces.  There was a process of auditing national federations.  The policy was that a federation should be represented in at least five provinces to be regarded as national.  Provincial sports councils needed to be better informed on how MIG funds were being spent.  On the question of influencing funding of provincial bodies, he said that there was a lot of carrot.  They played a role in bringing corporates together with provincial federations.  The Department of Basic Education was an affiliate member of the NSF.  Without their involvement there would be serious problems.  Physical education was being phased back into the school curriculum.

Mr Moses said that provincial sports councils did have to play a role in dispute resolution over the use of facilities.  All facilities should be accessible.  The NSF had engaged SASCOC on the Limpopo issue.  A date had been set for a meeting with the responsible Member of the Executive Council (MEC) in Limpopo to discuss structures.

Mr Hendricks said that there were female members of the Gauteng Sports Council which influenced funding for provincial federations.  These were subject to auditing.  New codes such as squash and fencing were being started in areas like Soweto.  There was a Sports House in Johannesburg.  The use of the conference centre was assisting the sporting community and generating income.  The NSF was a collective, not a legal entity.  They met to address challenges.  They played a role in partnering SRSA in its facilities audit.  There were two mass participation programmes, the general one and the school  programme.  The NSF was getting local councils involved with these programmes.  Capacity was needed down to ground level.  Regarding the cooperation of regional and sub-regional structures, they wanted to see the message go down to the lowest level, particularly at school level.  One of the indaba resolutions was that schools should be linked to clubs.  The schools should be seen as part of the community.  The schools often had the facilities which the community lacked.

Mr Arendse said that Mr Goliath Munro, Chairperson, Western Cape Sports Council, could not attend this meeting due to other commitments.  He had not heard of the dispute of the rugby dispute.  It had not reached the executive level, but he would make the other members of the executive aware of the issue so that action could be taken.

Mr Seqwaba said that the provincial councils had a role to ensure that all federations were compliant regarding demarcation of areas.  The councils had a role to ensure that Government played its role regarding sport.  The conditions at many facilities were appalling even though South Africa had just hosted a successful World Cup.  Some of the challenges were because Government policies were not in place.  He called on the Committee to intervene regarding Limpopo.  The Building for Sport and Recreation Programme had been diverted by Government to the MIG.  Municipalities had a responsibility to deliver on social programmes.  The NSF would like to see sports facility funds being ring-fenced for this purpose.

Mr Zwane said that there would not be any duplication on the facilities audit.  The sports council would assist SRSA in compiling the audit.  He had experience of how municipalities might not be aware of the facilities under its control.  The NSF had power but it should be focussed.  Federations should comply with the requirements in place.  Federations were funded by Government and the private sector, but could not account for their use of funds.  Provincial federations should be affiliated to provincial sports councils, and proper monitoring was a condition of this affiliation.  There was a gender balance in the provincial structures.  They were progressive structures and gender issues were taken seriously.

The Chairperson said that gender issues were important.  Government understood the patriarchal nature of South African society, but wished to change it. 

Mr Arendse asked if there was adequate legislation regarding sport, and if it was being enforced.  Some practices worked against development and transformation.  The NSF was happy to see the re-introduction of physical education.  Neglected fields would have to be upgraded.  Budget would be needed for equipment.  Poor equipment and facilities would prevent underprivileged teams from competing on an equal basis.

Ms M Mthembu, First Deputy President, KwaZulu-Natal Sports Council, wished to emphasise the role of women.  There were female participants but there were challenges in getting women to take the lead.  All provincial structures included a commission dealing with women, enabling them to take a leadership role.  They were working on getting women into prime leadership positions, rather than taking a back seat role.

Mr Magada said that the NSF delegation would take all the comments of Members back to their committee structures for further debate.  All the issues raised must inform funding.  Funding policy had not been proper in the past.  Two facilities had been built in Port Elizabeth recently, but vandalism had forced them to be locked even before they could be used.  The sports councils were the mouthpiece of the communities.  Without charging the players fees it was not possible for the amateur bodies to hire facilities.  Few of the federations were administered properly, perhaps as few as five of the 76.  This precluded the vast majority from applying for lottery funding.  Transformation was not simply replacing white administrators with black.  Education and training was needed.  The NSF enabled negotiation with national federations.  A communications link was provided between communities and national federations for the development of sport.

Mr Patrick Hlongwane, President, KwaZulu-Natal Sports Council, said that there was a programme to develop coaches.  A similar programme was being developed for technical officials.  There were SALGA Games guidelines regarding talent identification, and some athletes had emerged.

The Chairperson said that everybody was passionate about sports development and transformation.  It would be easy to link Members, even if not Members of this Committee, with their respective sports councils.  The Western Cape leadership needed to resolve the problems raised with the rugby clubs.  He was happy that this meeting had taken place.  Visibility was important.  People should also be encouraged to become involved in administration.  It would be good to be able to track athletes identified through the development programme.  It was important that the councils had constitutions.  The Committee would be engaged in oversight visits and it would be good to meet with members of the respective sports councils.  There could be no funding without delivery.

The meeting was adjourned.


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