School Sports Leagues: briefing by Departments of Basic Education and Sport and Recreation

Basic Education

29 May 2012
Chairperson: Ms H Malgas (ANC) and Mr M Madakane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committees on Sport and Recreation and Basic Education met jointly to discuss progress in respect of school sports leagues. The School Sports Programme had been launched on 5 November 2011, while the SA Schools Shootout Tournament had taken place over three weeks in Johannesburg. The Schools League Programme had kicked off on 28 March 2012 at Mamelodi, and both Ministers had been present. Every Wednesday from 28 March, “Magnificent Wednesday” had taken place in schools. The 2011 schools league finals for netball and football had been held at the University of Pretoria at the beginning of April, and the National Sports Volunteer Corp Programmes had been launched on 14 February.

Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) had identified three pillars of school sport: physical education, top school leagues and youth Olympics.  These would be a priority for the Department.  A
resources audit exercise had been kick-started which sought to gather information on the demographics of the schools, available facilities, equipment and human resources for sport.

Fifty percent of the SRSA Conditional Grant of R470m had been ring-fenced for school sport. This allocation was to be spent on equipment and attire; transport, accommodation, all meals, attire and support for the delivery of provincial teams to national school sport competitions; providing funding for a coordinator for school sport programmes ; supporting school sport code structures through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with provincial federations; and supporting the training of educators, among other initiatives.

At the beginning of 2012, the Director General of the Department of Basic Education had invited schools to register for the school league programme. The registration had been driven by schools themselves and supported by the three parties that constituted the Joint National Task Team. As at 19 May, 10 345 schools had been registered. The Joint National Task Team was stratifying the registration data in order to have a much clearer idea of the distribution of gender, learners with special educational needs), district and local municipalities and age categories.

Challenges included a lack of infrastructure at schools; limited capacity in terms of Physical Education teachers and coaches; difficulty in enforcing the registration of schools; and a lack of sufficient funding.

Members felt strongly that the focus should be on delivering basics and ensuring that all children in South Africa were participating in sports, as opposed to focusing on leagues which only included top achievers.
The view was expressed that the report did not emphasise enough the crucial role that teachers played. The SRSA had identified three pillars, but to strengthen the three pillars, another should be added – the teachers.  School sports bodies had not been in front of the Committee in a long time because they had not been organised enough to present. If the teachers were not involved, it would be a lost cause.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
Ms Malgas welcomed all honourable members from both the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation, and introduced Mr Madakane (ANC) from the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation. 
On 21 June 2011, the two Committees had met with the two Departments. At that meeting the Departments had indicated that a draft integrated school sports plan had been finalised and waiting for approval from the Ministers. There was also an agreement on funding, a Memorandum and a Draft Policy. They had met again on 1 November 2011, when the Department had indicated that a School Sports Plan and the memorandum of understanding (MOU) would be signed at the launch on 5 November, which was done. The Departments had also indicated that there was an interdepartmental task team for school sports, and the roles and responsibilities of the two Departments had been spelt out. A school sports policy had been finalised, with guidelines. The department had spoken to the involvement of LoveLife and the inclusion of disabled persons.
The auditing of municipal sporting facilities and the involvement and role of municipalities when it came to school sports were also discussed. Not all schools had sports grounds, and therefore the auditing of municipal fields was important.
Ms Malgas commented on the importance of school sports, as they broke down racial barriers, brought social cohesion, and taught children how to socialise. The School’s Body was present at the meeting.

Presentation on Progress with School Sports Leagues
Ms Gugu Ndebele, Deputy Director General of the Department of Education, introduced the presentation.

Mr Tsholofelo Lejaka, Acting Chief Director: Corporate Services for the Department of Sport and Recreation, introduced the School Sport Progress Report. He explained that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) had been signed by the Minister of Basic Education and the Minister of Sport on 13 December 2011. Both Departments had committed to delivering a sustainable integrated plan to provide school children with the opportunity to take part in physical education and organized sport through the creation of an accessible and implementable school sport support system. The planning framework action plan captured joint responsibilities as well as specific roles of each department.

Mr Lejaka ran though some recent successes. The SA Schools Shootout Tournament had taken place over three weeks in Johannesburg in March.  The Schools League Programme had kicked off on 28 March 2012 at Mamelodi, and both Ministers had been present. This was a demonstration of what could happen when the Department joined hands with the private sector, as Super Sport had initiated this tournament. The biggest challenge was how best to coordinate this. Every Wednesday, from 28 March onwards, “Magnificent Wednesday” took place in schools. Learners would participate in sport activities every Wednesday after school.
The 2011 Schools League Finals for netball and football were held at the University of Pretoria, from 1 to 3 April 2012. This was a product of the pilot Top School League which took place in 2011. The National Sports Volunteer Corp Programmes was launched on 14 February 2012. This called on the public, former players, coaches and teachers to volunteer. Robust fundraising initiatives had been made in private sector and to the Lottery to mobilize resources for school sport. Various joint planning and consultative meetings of the Joint National Task Team (JNTT) constituting the Department of Basic Education (DBE), Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA), School Code Structures and National Federations took place.

The JNTT had developed the School Sport Implementation Plan with the intention of guiding the process of developing an integrated school sport plan. The responsibilities that were shared between the Department of Basic Education and Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation included the development of training material for teachers; the facilitation of capacity building programmes for teachers; and the development of a concept document on infrastructure and equipment addressing issues of redress, sharing of facilities and access.

The Department of Basic Education was responsible for the finalisation of the school sport policy; establishing school sport committees and supporting these committees at all levels to deliver school sport leagues; and ensuring the delivery of well organised intra- and inter-school sport activities.

The SRSA was responsible for finalising guidelines for agencies supporting the delivery of school sport; identifying talent, together with provincial governments and federations, at inter-district school tournaments for further development through the academy system; assisting national federations in the hosting of national junior championships; hosting national junior Olympic Games biannually in conjunction with the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), to serve as a feeder system for the IOC Youth Olympic Games; developing the concept for sports specific schools; developing a five year competitive school sport plan with federations; developing a five year capacity development and training programme for educators in code specific skills; and developing a school sport calendar.

Specific focus areas for the DBE included curriculum determination for physical education; curriculum enrichment programmes in schools, including mass participation in sport and recreation; intra/interschool leagues; and teacher development.

Specific focus areas for the SRSA included ensuring proper support structures were in place; providing support and the necessary expertise to school sport code committee structures; supporting a national school sport governing structure; supporting inter- and intra-school sport activities; upgrading existing facilities and infrastructure to support access; promoting competitive and elite school sport at all levels; promoting the preparation and delivery of athletes participating in international sport in schools competition.

The SRSA had identified three pillars of school sport: physical education, top school leagues and youth Olympics. Physical education referred to the integration of physical education as a learning area within the curriculum of every school. This was meant to promote sport skills development and healthy living among all learners, and to fight the challenge of obesity which was on the rise among South African learners. While this was previously not the case, physical education was being offered as part of the curriculum in all South African schools. The ongoing challenge was to maximise impact by improving the skills level of educators and to locate physical education as a stand-alone learning area (separate from Life Orientation).

Top School was a league program where each school would register its school team which would participate in the league’s five competition levels: intra-school, inter-school, district level, provincial level and national level. Teams would progress through these levels, ultimately leading to the National School Festivals. The intra-school level would be comprised of mass participation throughout the year, though during February children would be selected to participate at inter-school level. Interschool competitions to determine the area champion would take place during March and August, and district competitions would happen in May. The provincial competitions would happen in September, and the national competitions in December.
Codes in the league programme included Football, Netball, Cricket, Rugby, Athletics, Basketball, Chess, Gymnastics & Volleyball.  The leagues were to be run on a seasonal basis and all Federations were finalizing their respective League Participation program based on the National framework.

The Youth Olympics focused on individual talented athletes at a particular level of the competition. The selected athletes would compete with other talented athletes from other areas. These talented athletes were identified by professional talent scouts, sport clubs and federations during the roll-out of the Top School League to form different teams (squads) representing the respective Area, District, Province or the National team.

Mr Lejaka went on to discuss progress with the plan of action. The school sport policy was released for public comments from 9 December 2011 until 31 March 2012. The comments had been analysed, and the main concern had been ensuring the existence and implementation of physical education and the availability of educators to teach it. The Joint National Task Team (JNTT) had sourced the services of the policy specialist from UNICEF to finalize the policy. It was envisaged that the policy process would be completed by 31 December 2012.

In terms of capacity building, provincial officials of both Departments were trained by SASCOC on the process and progress in the Teacher Development programme on 20 January 2012.
SRSA intended to support Federations to launch their coaching programmes, and the DBE would identify educators who would benefit from this training. A school sport capacity development committee had been formed consisting of DBE, SRSA, SASCOC and the Culture,Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA). The committee would review the training material content as well as facilitate and coordinate related activities.

A guideline document on the establishment of school sports code committees had been developed, approved and distributed to provinces for implementation. Provinces were at various levels of implementation.

In order to generate a reliable body of knowledge and to inform planning, a Resources Audit exercise had been kick-started. The audit sought to gather information on the demographics of the schools, available facilities, equipment and human resources for sport. The information would assist both Departments to plan better for sport, as well as to prioritize schools to receive equipment. The exercise was under way, covering all the schools and the report of this audit would be complete by the end of September 2012, or before.

Mr Lejaka moved on to the issue of facilities, equipment and attire. In line with the commitment to step up schools sport as a key priority, 50% of the SRSA Conditional Grant for the Medium Term Economic Framework (MTEF) of R470m had been ring-fenced for school sport. Of this allocation, 30% had been reserved for equipment and attire (R141m). The rest of the allocation had been broken down as follows: R5m to provide transport, accommodation, all meals, attire and support for the delivery of provincial teams to national school sport competitions; to provide funding for a coordinator for school sport programmes at R180 000 per coordinator per annum through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with the 16  provincial federations; 5% to support school sport code structures through SLAs with provincial federations; 20% to support the training of educators; 30% to purchase equipment and kit for disadvantaged schools; 20% to deliver district and provincial competitions; 15% for the establishment and support of sport focus schools; 10% for cluster co-ordinators to coordinate and support the delivery of school sport programmes and monitoring and evaluation at local level.

The estimates of provincial allocations for the Mass Participation Programme (MPP) provisional grant totalled R469, 640 for 2012/2013; R497, 591 for 2013/2014; and R525, 632 for 2014/2015. The total estimates for each of the provinces varied.

Sports equipment and facilities were emphasized as essential for the success of the Schools Sport Programme. The reality at the time was that there was an imbalance in the distribution of equipment, especially in the public schools, which the Department of Basic Education, National Education Infrastructure Management System (NIEMS) had confirmed.  Therefore the priority of delivering sport in schools had to concurrently address the need for facilities and sports equipment.

At the beginning of 2012, the Director General of the DBE had invited schools to register for the school league programme. The registration was driven by schools themselves and supported by the three parties that constituted the JNTT.  As of 19 May 2011, the registration statistics stood at 10 345 schools. The JNTT was stratifying the registration data further in order to have a much clearer idea of the distribution of gender, learners with special educational needs (LSEN), district and local municipalities and age categories.

In order to bring more hands on deck, particularly at a local level, a Sport Volunteer Corp Movement was launched on 13 February 2012 in Johannesburg. The Volunteer Corp Movement sought to mobilize former players, administrators, coaches and sport scientists to support school sport in the communities they resided in, through the respective national federations (NFs).  At the time of the presentation not all NFs had a dedicated program and systems to accommodate and utilize the volunteers and this task was still work in progress. This strategy was linked to the athlete pathway strategy, and SRSA undertook to assist with training.

A concept document for the Establishment of Sport Focus Schools had been finalized through SRSA, with consultation with the DBE. The principle of the Sport Focus Schools was that it would not include construction of new infrastructure but designation of existing schools as Sport Focus Schools, or lighthouses, in at least each district. SRSA would then put money aside to subsidise those schools and the programme, which was scheduled to start in the financial year 2013/14.

The competitive programme was envisaged as the road to the National School Sport Olympics. National School Sport Finals were planned to take place from 9 – 14 December 2012. So far, nine sporting codes –  Athletics, Basketball, Chess, Cricket, Football, Gymnastics, Netball, Rugby, Volleyball, Swimming and Tennis – had already confirmed their participation in the finals. The venue was not yet confirmed but specifications had been finalized based on the Federations’ inputs. This would be confirmed by the end of June 2012. SRSA was engaging with various NFs and their sponsors to align the existing championships to reduce duplication.

The provincial analysis of the school registration progress was then run through. The percentage of schools registered for each province varied, with Guateng having 58,83%, while the Northern Cape lagged with 27,71%.

The Eastern Cape had 47,2% of its schools registered.  The t
op five codes with most registrations were athletics with 286, football with 207, netball with 190, rugby with 140, and volleyball with 137. Out of 23 districts, the province had 12 fully functional leagues and was coordinating other Districts with the support of Dreamfields.

Gauteng had 58,82% of its schools registered. The top five codes with most registrations were a
thletics with 1 317, netball with 1 277, football with 1 179, chess with 800 and cricket with 679. Gauteng had leagues fully operational in all districts. Mr Price and Sportech were supporting the district.

Limpopo had 37,07% of its schools registered. The top five codes with the most registrations were football with 1 519, athletics with 1 519, netball with 1 517, rugby with 456, and cricket with 455. Out of five districts, all had fully functional leagues.

The Free State had 36,29% of its schools registered. The t
op five codes with most registrations were netball with 427, athletics with 409, football with 395, cricket with 271, and rugby with 177. Out of five districts, all had fully functional leagues.

The North West had 35,44% of its schools registered. The t
op five codes with most registrations were athletics with 652, netball with 622, football with 605, cricket with 125, rugby with 110. Out of four districts, all had fully functional leagues.

Mpumalanga had 35,12% of its schools registered. The top five codes with most registrations were athletics with 1 633, netball with 1 632, football with 1 630, cricket with 457, chess with 243. Out of four districts, three had fully functional leagues.

The Northern Cape had 27,71% of its schools registered. The top five codes with most registrations were athletics with 171, netball with 148, football with 121, rugby with 116, and cricket with 104. Out of five districts, all districts had fully functional leagues.

Kwazulu Natal had 23,87% of its schools registered. The t
op five codes with the most registrations were athletics with 1 337, netball with 1 312, football with 1 311, cricket with 401, and rugby with 348. Out of twelve districts, two had fully functional leagues.

The Western Cape had 7,02% of its schools registered. The top five codes with the most registrations were athletics with 107, netball with 108, football with 73, rugby with 89 and cricket with 88. Out of eight districts, all had fully functional leagues.

The JNTT had requested provinces to submit actual names of registered schools to ensure the existence of numbers submitted. Provinces were monitoring at district level whether the schools that registered for school leagues were playing on a regular basis. Some schools that were not initially registered had taken part in the first leg of the league and were registered late. Support from Mr Price, Sportec and Dreamfields in setting up leagues was appreciated. The Department undertook to craft the framework document that would guide districts on various models of leagues.

Challenges included low registration in the provinces with the most schools; nil registration in some codes of sport in some provinces; delayed submission of verified data of registration by provinces; monitoring of the process at lower levels; funding cluster festivals as part of Interschool leagues; delay by Federations to submit their final League Participation Plans incorporating their code-specific competitions; insufficient resources to support the Federations and School Sport Structures to maximize their school sport roll-out.

Looking forward, The JNTT had identified the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and KZN as provinces that needed urgent support in getting school leagues up and running. A team from DBE and SRSA was to be deployed in the first week of June to support these Provinces. Preparations for Schools Olympics as part of the school league programmes were underway. The host city was to be announced by 15 June 2012.

Ms Malgas thanked the SRSA for the presentation, saying that it was comprehensive, interesting, and that it marked a paradigm shift with regard to school sports. She handed over to the School Sports Body for comment.

Mr G Mackenzie (COPE) commended the joint committee on a very good presentation.  The School Sports Body had been in partnership with the Department with regard to school sport for a long time because it was an important part of schooling, and schools were identified by the type of extra-curricula activities that they presented. He also noted a significant change in school sports in the past year, and congratulated the two departments for that. The School Sports Body had been part of the joint national task team and he was happy with what had been achieved there. He mentioned a number of challenges, including the fact that not all schools had access to facilities. Where there were municipal facilities, the associated costs were large, and he was glad to note that government was meeting with municipalities to see what could be done to make this more accessible to schools.

Another challenge was that Model C schools had been continuing with their programmes as usual, but disadvantaged schools needed to be more committed to programmes being put forward by the Department. Funding for the national codes had been a problem over the years.  However, the conditional grant was being made available, and it was hoped that this would filter down to the codes. Government had promised that there would be a funding model implemented, and The School Sports Body was still waiting for that model to be put in place.

The School Sports Body was in the process of putting together committees at a district and provincial level, and hoped to be able to put together a National Code Committee within the following few months. In addition, the Body was working hard towards a coordinating teacher-driven structure for school sports. They were focused and fully supportive of the new government drive.

Mr Daniel Jones, Director of School Sports for the Department of Basic Education, commended the two Departments on the new vigour and energy going into school sport. Very little of the norms and standards had been focused on school sport because there were other priorities. The conditional grant needed to look at a formula for funding codes. Funding for learners to go from one school to another to participate in sport was a barrier to intra-school sports. The body was working with the two departments to remedy this, and Mr Jones commended the departments on the leadership they had shown.

Mr Mdakane commended the presentation. In addition he noted that the two departments were working well together, and that “surely Members of Parliament are happy.”

Mr Mackenzie thanked the presenters for the presentation. He asked if all schools were running PE for two hours per week, or if that was just in some of the percentages that were shown.
Ms Ndebele responded that the time allocation of two hours was policy and applied across all schools.

Mr Mackenzie asked when teachers would be up to speed on PE training, and if there was a desire by the Department to have educators with that sort of formal background.

Mr Mackenzie asked what percentage of the three pillars funding went to recreation as opposed to identifying talent. Was there a strong emphasis on recreation?

Ms Ndebele responded that recreational school sport and mass participation was at the heart of school sport. The logic of PE was that every child must play and be exposed to school sport.

Mr Lejaka added that there were winning and active components. Winning components were high performance. Active components were transversal sporting activities that must be ongoing throughout the year. In addition there was recreation. The national sport and recreation plan had noted the extent to which work had been done around recreation. The Department was at a conceptual level of recreation, there was not yet a lot of policy on the topic. Activities that were prioritised included indigenous games, mind games and indoor games, which could be done without facilities.

Mr Mackenzie asked if any provision had been made for disabled athletes at any of the venues.

Ms Nozipho Mabumo, Director for Safety and Regiment in Sport and Education at the Department of Sport and Recreation, assured the Committee that in all areas disabled students were provided for.

Mr Mackenzie requested that the Committee be forwarded the results of the resource audit, and expressed his doubt that the R408 million allocated from the conditional grant would be enough to cover their needs, as the School Sports Body had done a partial audit of Model C schools in KZN, and found that many facilities were very badly maintained.

Ms Ndebele responded that the outcomes of the audit would be provided. She agreed with Mr Mackenzie that maintenance was often a problem, but this could normally be handled by school staff and external people would not need to be employed.

Ms A Lovemore (DA) criticised the SRSA for being overly bureaucratic and not focusing enough on the basics.  She argued that “the cart was being put before the horse” in focusing on the National Festival and Youth Olympics while neglecting basic services, and felt that nothing concrete had been achieved.

Ms Ndebele responded that the training of teachers in terms of the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) would address the need to deal with the basics.

Ms Lovemore noted that when teacher training colleges were in place, teachers were trained in a sporting code. She asked why this was no longer in place and why there was no plan to reinstate them.

Ms Ndebele responded that as teachers went through CAPS training, they also went through PE training as this was a compulsory part of the curriculum. Additional training that went on later was code-specific.

Ms Lovemore noted that the minimum infrastructure requirements for schools released by the DBE did not include sporting facilities at minimum functionality levels. In most of the rural schools, municipal facilities were not within reach.

Ms Mabumo agreed that school sport facilities should be included in the minimum requirements.

Ms Lovemore asked for clarity on the issue of registration of schools. She said that the number of schools registered was disappointingly low in SRSA’s view, and asked what the motivation was for schools to register if they had no facilities for sports.

Another member asked if the rural schools were reflected in the registration.

Ms Ndebele responded that the registration process had in fact been very revealing thus far. Although there were schools that were playing or wanted to play school sport that had yet not registered, the statistics came from the schools directly. She conceded that in the past the Department had not inspired confidence in schools, and the Department intended to show that they could deliver on their plans. It was hoped that this would encourage other schools to register. A major advocacy campaign was also being undertaken to convince schools to register. 

Mr Lejaka said that SRSA was working on the modernisation of the systems. With the new software they should be able to achieve swifter turnaround times.

Ms Lovemore commented regarding the Western Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu Natal having been identified as areas of concern. She pointed out that two of them had fully functional leagues, and so asked why they would they need assistance. She asked if there was any plan to include currently functional leagues in the system.

Another member asked what the problem was with the three provinces identified for special support, as children were playing sports in these provinces. He asked what this identification was based on and whether the information was coming from provinces.

Ms Mabumo responded that in the three provinces highlighted, the problem was that there was no synergy with what was happening.  Children were playing sport, but there was no documentation to record scores and who was playing. If SRSA could assist them administratively, then what was happening would be reflected on the record. 

Mr Lejaka added that the SRSA had their own instruments by which they measured performance, one of which was adequate and consistent reporting. There might have been activity on the ground, but this was not being reported and members were not attending meetings. Within the provinces there was greater cohesion needed between sport and recreation and basic education. Activity had to feed to the national plan or there was no synergy.

In the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal activity was happening, but SRSA was not being kept informed. The Northern Cape did not even have joint task teams between SRSA and Basic Education, and was very uncoordinated. Thus these three provinces were identified as priorities.

A Member asked what informed the allocation of funds, noting that there was a vast difference between what had been allocated to Gauteng and what had been allocated to the Northern Cape. This was despite the fact that the Northern Cape was a vast and poor province.

Ms Naidoo responded that the grant distribution was done in accordance with the Division of Revenue Act. The division had already been done in a three-year plan. SRSA had intended to intervene with the budget, particularly with regard to the Northern Cape, and was able to increase it slightly, but was restrained by the terms of the Act. The Minister was meeting with potential stakeholders, business and the Treasury to try and find extra funds. Fifty percent of the conditional grant had been directed to school sport. Every cent of this had been ring-fenced, and this would be monitored.

Ms A Mashishi (ANC) asked when teachers on the teacher development programme were to be trained, and whether it would be during school holidays.

Ms Mashishi asked about the registration processes and why swimming had not been included.

Ms Mabumo undertook to provide registration figures on all sporting codes, as the presentation only showed the top five sports.

Ms Rohini Naidoo, Director of School Sport, SRSA, responded that 16 codes had been prioritised, while nine codes were a focus, and five were highly prioritised. This list would also be provided.

Mr Makanye pointed out that transport home might become a problem for those teachers teaching sports after school on Wednesdays, and asked if provision would be made for transporting teachers back home.

Ms Mabumo responded that where educators were not able to teach because of the areas where schools were located, a cohort of community members were assisting to make up for this shortfall. Provinces were working around the problem effectively.

In the second round of questions, concern was expressed over divided accountability between the two departments.  A Member emphasised the importance of the children playing sport, and stressed that this basic objective should be a core priority, and should not be lost sight of. He said that while he was not against the leagues or competitions, children simply playing sport should be the first objective.

Ms Gina concurred that SRSA should concentrate on PE and recreation, which affected each child.

Ms Ndebele responded that there was a problem with coordination, and SRSA was trying to address this. The leagues and school sport were not mutually exclusive. Talent identification could not happen if all children were not playing and were not exposed to as many codes as possible. SRSA’s priority was to ensure that all children played.

Ms Naidoo spoke to the issue of capacity building. The previous year in November the SA Coaching Framework had been launched. This document had been accepted by all stakeholders and accepted internationally. The norms and standards of that document guided the training of coaches, technical officials, sports administrators and team managers. The training that was being delivered was to train educators at level 1, level 2 and upwards. It was no longer generic, but focused training to give people specific skills. This was not training PE teachers, which as the Chairperson (Ms Maglas) had pointed out, was separate to training teachers, but was sport-specific training.  Hence there was a need for Federations to take responsibility as well. In the country there would be master trainers, provincial trainers, and district trainers, who were currently being trained and would be accredited. According to the framework document, all training had to be accredited. The Higher Education Department was involved, and the discussion was looking at taking this training into universities as well.

A Member noted that parent involvement did not feature in the plan, nor did teacher-driven sports. He asked how far the teachers’ unions had been involved. 

Mr Lejaka said that there was a relationship with the unions, but this was yet to be formalised.

Ms F Mushwana (ANC) stressed that it was essential not to underestimate the importance of sports in the country. She argued that sport was an education in itself, and that if children excelled in sport they could change their lives through that avenue. She envisaged a “winning nation”, where every learner could participate. She was concerned that there were municipalities where learners were not playing sports because they didn’t have the facilities, and was frustrated with the lack of progress being made. She expressed her concern that by prioritising codes and dealing with only a few priority codes at a time some learners might miss out.

Ms Ndebele acknowledged that children should have access to all sporting codes, but the reality was that many schools did not have the required facilities. Plans were being made for the future, and in the mean time the presentation had covered more short-term, and more easily obtainable, objectives. 

Mr G Mmusi (ANC) asked how expedient the program of allocation of equipment was.

Mr Lejaka said that the roll-out of equipment had been delayed because the approach had been changed in order to bring uniformity. The arrangement had been centralised so that equipment could be standardised. In the absence of the audit outcome, those schools that were economically needy were prioritised.

Mr Mmusi urged the two departments to decentralise their focus from Gauteng to the other provinces.

Ms N Gina (ANC) suggested that the two departments come together with the Department of Higher Education and Training to ensure that teachers were trained to teach PE before they came into the system, thereby avoiding short courses for teachers.

Ms Mabumo agreed, and said that this was the direction which the Department was taking, although not enough progress had yet been achieved to present to the Committee. Teachers should be attracted to the system and empowered with the right training, thus a basic knowledge of sport and PE needed to be featured in training.

Ms Gina referred to the R5m set aside for transporting teams to competitions. She noted that the national structure seemed very good but asked if such structures existed in the provinces, and at district level. It seemed that where implementation needed to happen there were no structures to ensure that that happened.

Ms Mabumo responded that the monitoring strategy was being looked at, as it was not as strong as it should have been. Provincial structures needed to be strengthened and this was something that needed to be addressed. In the past the national level had been chaotic, the focus had been on sorting this out, but now this needed to be carried down to lower levels.

Ms Naidoo spoke about the grant and infrastructure at ground level. The grant allowed for six percent to be put in to infrastructure, while ten percent was for cluster coordinators at local level. This was also being monitored.

Ms Gina noted that the number of registered schools was minimal, and included not even half of the schools. Even those that had registered might not participate. This reflected badly on the implementation of the SRSA’s plans. In Ms Gina constituency of the rural areas of KwaZulu Nata,l very few schools had registered or were aware that they should register.

Ms Ndebele responded that the SRSA had admitted that a lot needed to be done in the verification of statistics and to ensure that more schools were registered. The SRSA would need to check why schools were not registering as they went on with the registration process.

Ms Gina noted that the two-hour period of PE was not being implemented. This was because the basic requirements needed to carry out PE lessons such as first aid kits were not provided.

On the issue of funding of schools, Ms Ndebele agreed that there should be creative mechanisms for finding funding so that they were able to deal with the issues that members were raising such as transport, facilities, first aid kits, and so on.

Mr T Lee (DA) said that while Mr Mdakane had said that the report should make the MPs happy, Mr Lee pointed out that in fact it should make the children of South Africa happy, as it was about their future. He said, however, that it would not make the children of South Africa the happiest people. School sports bodies had not been in front of the Committee in a long time because they had not been organised enough to present. If the teachers were not involved it would be a lost cause. Teachers and principals were coming to school late and leaving early, and if teachers could not be convinced to attend during school hours he asked how they were expected to be there after hours. The reality was that it would not happen. He blamed the teachers for a lack of dedication, and called for the educators to take the bull by the horns. The focus was on politics and not on the children. He appealed for the people representing the schools to see that something was done, and reiterated the desire to see children playing on sports fields.

Mr Lee said that the Minister of Sports had said that the Lotto would grant R200m for sports development. This money should go to schools sports, but it must be properly controlled and managed.   He asked how this would be done.

Mr Lejaka complained that schools were making individual requests to the Lottery. These were often the more well-resourced schools that could afford to put together a proposal. This needed to be regulated.

Mr Lee expressed his support for sports bursaries.  Talented children should be given bursaries to go to schools that are known for excellence in the respective codes, not sports-focused schools.

Mr Lejaka commented that those learners that had come out of the Top Schools League could proceed with bursaries to access affluent schools. SRSA was attempting to broaden the access by introducing sport-focused schools. The attitude to bursaries was not antagonistic, but more schools should be included. The idea of sport-focused schools was still at a conceptual stage, and SRSA was bringing incentives for schools that were known to be doing well to embrace learners from disadvantaged areas.

Mr D Smiles (DA) felt that the report did not emphasise enough the crucial role that teachers played. The SRSA had identified three pillars, but he suggested that to strengthen the three pillars another should be added – the teachers. He said that the importance of good quality teaching should be explicitly put in the presentation.

Ms Ndebele agreed that school sports codes were driven by teachers themselves, and undertook to make this more explicit in the plan. The teachers’ unions had been a part of developing this plan.

Ms Mabumo undertook to strengthen the fourth pillar and make it clearer that teachers were essential. She assured the Committee that teachers’ unions had been very involved in developing the plan, but that this should be flagged, so that there was a clear strategy showing how they featured.

Mr Lejaka said that the mistake they had made in the presentation was not to unpack the guidelines for school sport structures, as teachers were identified as central in these guidelines. More than 70% of office bearers must be active educators themselves. This would ensure that it was educator-driven.

Mr Smiles welcomed the Magnificent Wednesday initiative and what had been done so far. He suggested that district managers should speak to local municipalities, instead of waiting for facilities to be brought to schools. He said that the DBE needed to appoint a “magnificent sports” teacher for the school or district who would be equipped with the basics like whistles and coaching handbooks. If basics like that were not being done then Magnificent Wednesday would not happen.

Ms Malgas asked the SRSA to identify which schools were primary schools and which were high schools. She noted that the presentation did not address the foundation stage.

Ms Mabumo undertook to provide these details.

Ms Malgas warned that teachers teaching PE must be qualified, because if a child were injured, the Department could be taken to court if the teacher were not a qualified PE teacher.

Ms Malgas pointed out that ex-model C schools dominated the leagues. She asked how talent was being nurtured at disadvantaged schools, and what opportunities were available for that talent to be showcased.

Mr C Moni (ANC) commented that it was interesting to note that in Gauteng and Mpumalanga rugby was not a top five code, cricket in the Eastern Cape was not a top five code, and yet there were household names in rugby from Gauteng and household names in cricket from the Eastern Cape.

Ms Malgas said that when it came to infrastructure, DBE had to speak about guidelines as opposed to norms and standards, as the Department was being taken to court over the distinction.

Mr Madakane said in closing that it would take time to have facilities and sports across the country.  MPs were policy makers and leaders of society so they should provide solutions to many problems. They should always pose questions about policies that had been made and whether they were being implemented or not. Parliament should provide leadership to society. Parliament made laws and passed budgets, and should know about the impact of these actions.
The meeting was adjourned.


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