Meeting SummaryThe Committee considered and adopted (with amendments) its Draft Report on the Department of Sport and Recreation 2012 budget and strategic plan. Some issues emanating from the Draft Report which elicited discussion was whether the funding of loveLife by the Department should continue as its expenditure on sports was called into question. LoveLife would be asked to appear before the Committee to account for its activities in terms of sport. A DA Member also called into question the huge amount of funds that had been spent on the South African Sport Awards function. The Committee agreed to look into the matter once information was made available to them. The dire financial situation which Boxing SA found itself in was discussed to the extent that the DA suggested that the entity should be disestablished and that boxing should be treated as any other sport in South Africa. The Committee was unclear on the role of sports councils and agreed that they should appear before the Committee once again. Given that the Department had a vacancy rate of 29% there was a call by the Chairperson that the Department should fill funded vacant posts.
Oversight visits by members to the provinces to visit sports hubs was scheduled for the 4-8 June 2012. The Committee study tour to Argentina had also been approved and 7 members were allowed to go, 4-ANC and 3-opposition members. The study tour was scheduled to be from 29 June 2012 to 8 July 2012.
At the outset, the Chairperson stated that the Committee needed to seriously look at the loveLife issue.
Mr T Lee (DA) agreed that the Committee should hone in on the loveLife issue. He also felt that the Committee should examine matters around the sports awards function.
Committee Report on Department of Sport and Recreation Budget Vote
The Chairperson placed the draft Report before the Committee for consideration and asked Members to make inputs on issues emanating from the Draft Report. He proceeded to go through the Draft Report page by page.
Mr Lee stated that he had posed a question to Minister Fikile Mbalula as to the cost of the South African Sport Awards function. The Minister replied that it had cost R42m. This figure was “exorbitant”. Funds were lacking where they were needed in sport. Yes excellence should be rewarded but there should be a limit to the extent to which it was done. He suggested that a cap be set on what should be spent and wished for it to be reflected within the Draft Report. There was even an after party after the awards ceremony. This was a waste of money.
Mr M Dikgacwe (ANC) suggested that Mr Lee provide the Committee with a proper report about the issue. The Committee needed specifics.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee would draft a report on the issue expressing its views. The question was raised by Mr Lee hence members needed to look at the response given by the Minister. The funds spent should be within limit of the budget. The report would be drafted in such a way as to capture the spirit of the Committee. Mr Lee should feel free to debate the issue in the House as he wished. The Committee should see the response given by the Minister.
Mr Lee replied that he would furnish the information to the Committee. A report on behalf of the Committee would be drafted in a fair way.
The Chairperson stated that the spirit of what the Committee wished to say would be captured within the report. The resources of the Department should be spent in a prudent way as there was a great deal of competing needs.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) stated that if a donor had sponsored R1m for the function and only R20 000 was spent account needed to be given of where the rest of the funds went to.
The Chairperson stated that the issue was not about sponsorship money but rather public funds.
Mr Lee replied that sponsorship money formed part of the total.
The Chairperson stated that sponsored funds were between the donor and the recipient. The Committee was concerned about public funds but at the same time would also advise the Department of Sport not too spend too much of sponsorship money. Parliament always tried to guide departments.
Mr G MacKenzie (DA) commented that the issue was about perception. It did not matter whether it was public or private funds that were spent. The issue was that R42m was spent in one night. Expenditure of the kind should be within bounds. The Department’s School Sports Programme received only R27m.
The Chairperson stated that Mr MacKenzie was free to debate the issue in the House as he wished. The Committee could not prescribe to Cabinet what to do. What the Committee could do was to make recommendations. Public funds should be spent within the limits of the Budget.
Mr Lee spoke to the issue of Department having ring-fenced 15% of Municipal Infrastructure Grant funds for sports infrastructure. The concern was that municipalities were not using the funds where they were supposed to. In terms of legislation municipalities could not use the funds for other purposes. He asked whether the use of the word “ring-fence” in the Draft Report was a strong enough word to use to get the point across.
The Chairperson agreed that the funds were given to municipalities to be used for sports; the problem was that many municipalities were poor and hence used the funds for other purposes. He suggested that the Committee flag the issue regarding the use of the word “ring-fence”.
Mr Lee asked where sports hubs were located.
The Chairperson stated that when Members went on oversight they should go check on sports hubs and report on it.
Ms G Sindani (ANC) referred to the use of the word “envisaged” in a sentence that stated that in rural areas sports hubs were envisaged to have library facilities etc. She did not like the use of the word “envisaged”.
Mr MacKenzie agreed that the use of the word “envisaged” made the sentence seem general.
The Chairperson stated that Members should enquire from the Minister where these sports hubs were located.
Ms Tseke asked whether the envisaged hubs were different to the 52 hubs mentioned in the National Sports Plan.
Mr MacKenzie clarified that they were one and the same. The issue was to find out where they were located.
The Chairperson stated that there were 52 sports hubs to be built in urban and rural areas. When Members went on oversight visits they should verify the existence of hubs.
Mr W Rabotapi (DA) asked if the Department could inform Members as to where the sports hubs were located and where others were to be built.
The Chairperson stated that Members themselves should check on whether the hubs were located in the areas that they should be in.
Mr W Dikgacwi (ANC) asked whether the hubs would really have shops and restaurants.
The Chairperson replied that it was envisaged in the plan. The facilities were expected to be world-class.
Mr Rabotapi asked if the Department had plans on how these hubs were supposed to look like.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee would request the information from the Department.
The Chairperson made reference to the budget of the Department and stated that the fact that the Department received an unqualified audit report from the Auditor General only meant that the Department had complied. It did not mean that the Department was delivering.
Mr Lee wished that the Draft Report should have figures when speaking about transfers taking place regarding the Budget.
The Chairperson stated that the figures would be included.
Mr Lee stated that the feeling in the Committee was mutual about loveLife receiving too much funding when funds were not even used for sport. He moved that the funding for loveLife be stopped as it received more funds than all other sporting codes.
Ms Tseke stated that loveLife and Boxing SA figures should be reflected under the Support Service Programme within the Draft Report.
Mr Lee highlighted that loveLife was receiving R27m.
The Chairperson agreed that the Committee needed to address the loveLife issue.
Mr Lee pointed out that 10 years ago loveLife had sports programmes but these days nothing was happening. Why was the Department still allocating funds to it?
Mr Dikgacwe supported the idea that the allocation to loveLife should be reduced as the funds could be used elsewhere. The Committee had discussed the issue before. He noted that National Treasury could not stop the funding as there was an agreement in place which had been signed by a previous minister of sport.
Mr Lee stated that the Committee could request loveLife to submit a plan for sport and thereafter money could be apportioned.
Mr MacKenzie stated that for 3 years he and his colleagues from the DA had opposed the loveLife apportion. In order to receive the R27m allocation loveLife would have to provide the Department with a programme of action. The Committee needed to see the programme of action. He supported recommendations made by Members regarding loveLife.
Mr S Mmusi (ANC) asked whether Members were prepared for a R27m reduction in the budget of the Department if the funding for loveLife was stopped.
Mr Dikgacwi stated that the issue was whether loveLife was promoting sport and was it reflected in the plan of action that they submitted to the Department.
Ms Sindani asked whether the Committee had alerted the Department that loveLife was not doing what it was supposed to. The Committee needed to check loveLife’s performance plan. It would allow Members to make an informed decision whether to cut funding or not.
Ms M Dube (ANC) asked whether Members could not see the agreement that was in place between the previous minister of sport and loveLife.
Mr Rabotapi asked whether loveLife could not be slotted in with school sports. Could the two not be merged?
The Chairperson stated that there was the Budget Review Recommendation Report (BRRR) where one could influence a budget that had already been passed. The issue could be debated in preparation for October 2012 when the BRRR for the following financial year came into play. The Committee had to take into consideration the concept of natural justice where one could not take action against someone without hearing their side of the story. LoveLife needed to appear before the Committee to give account and thereafter the Committee could make an informed decision. The Committee could within the following financial year make a recommendation.
Mr Lichakane Phori, Committee Secretary, stated that loveLife was scheduled to appear before the Committee on 19 June 2012 to account for its activities. The Department of Basic Education would also be present as it worked with loveLife.
The Chairperson confirmed that loveLife would answer and account to the Committee on that day.
Mr Dicgakwi referred to the Draft Report and stated that the CEO of Boxing SA seemed unhappy with the R3m allocation.
Mr Phori stated that he had captured within the Draft Report what had been said by the CEO of Boxing SA. Since inception Boxing SA had received R3m.
Mr MacKenzie stated that the Committee could do more to remedy the situation regarding Boxing SA. The organisation was in dire financial trouble and the situation as it was seemed hopeless.
Mr Lee stated that the DA had a solution to the dilemma. The solution was to disestablish Boxing SA. What was the need for Boxing SA? Boxing should be treated like any other sport.
The Chairperson replied that the debate on Boxing SA would be continued by the Committee. Even the Department was aware that Boxing SA was underfunded. Perhaps the Committee could recommend that the Department re-look at the funding of this entity. In principle Mr Lee was correct to say that boxing should be treated like any other sport.
Ms Sindani referred to the need for the quality of data compilation by the Department to improve and stated that no timeframe had been set.
The Chairperson said that the improvement on the quality of data compilation should be done by the next financial year.
Mr Lee suggested that the Building for Sport Programme should be reintroduced. The Committee seemed to be in agreement on the issue. He advised the Committee to recommend that Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) funding for sports should be used for sports facilities only.
Mr Rabotapi stated that many municipalities were struggling financially and this would put a further burden on them.
The Chairperson agreed that sports facilities needed to be maintained but municipalities and the Department both did not have funds. Perhaps the Committee could recommend that funds be ring fenced.
Mr Dikgacwi stated that when the Committee did oversight in the provinces Members should speak to their provincial counterparts on the issue of municipalities.
Mr Lee stated that the 15% referred to R2bn which went directly to provinces and municipalities for that purpose.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee could not instruct local government on what to do. Perhaps the Committee could convince them to use funds for the maintaining of facilities.
Mr Lee spoke to the apparent conflict of interest relating to the distribution agency of the Lottery. He suggested that there should be a dedicated separate lottery for sport, the funds of which to be used for sports development.
The Chairperson stated that the issue of conflict of interest emanated years ago and as such should not be included in the Draft Report if circumstances had changed.
Mr Mphumzi Mandekazi, Committee Researcher, stated that the contract with the distribution agency ended in September 2012. Issues of conflict of interest had come up.
The Chairperson asked if the conflict of interest issues were at present relevant. He said that if Mr Mandekazi was not sure he had to make sure and report back to the Committee by the end of the day.
On the issue of sports councils Mr Mandekazi stated that they did not receive funds from provinces and hence the recommendation from the Committee was that the Department should encourage provinces to at least spend 10% of their allocations on sports councils.
The Chairperson asked what the Committee’s pronouncement on sports councils was. What was sports councils’ role in totality?
Mr Mandekazi responded that he had requested sports councils to forward their constitutions to the Committee through him. As yet he had not received any constitutions. At this stage the core mandates of sports councils’ were unknown. When he spoke to provincial departments he had been informed that sports councils did not submit strategic plans and budgets to the Department.
Mr Rabotapi stated that maybe sports councils lacked capacity to draft strategic plans.
Ms Tseke stated that the Committee had requested programmes of action from sports councils. To date nothing had been received. She was not sure about the 10% of provincial funds to be payable to sports councils any longer. Greater interaction was first needed.
The Chairperson agreed and stated that the recommendation should be more general in that the Department should encourage provinces to assist sports councils. Sports councils should appear before the Committee again.
Mr Mandekazi highlighted that the Department was undergoing restructuring and was not sure how it was creating jobs. The Department had a huge vacancy rate which sat at 29%.
Mr Siyazi Tyatam, Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Department of Sport and Recreation, informed that Members that some posts were advertised two days ago. Posts could only be filled once the restructuring process was complete.
The Chairperson stated that the Department should speed up the filling of funded posts.
The Draft Report was adopted as amended.
The Chairperson stated that the amended Draft Report should be given to Members to prepare for their budget vote debate scheduled for the 11 May 2012. He noted that the date could change.
The Chairperson informed members that oversight visits to the provinces to visit hubs was scheduled for the 4-8 June 2012. The study tour to Argentina had also been approved and 7 members were allowed to go, 4-ANC and 3-opposition members. The study tour was from 29 June 2012 to 8 July 2012.
The meeting was adjourned.
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