Meeting with German Delegation

Sports, Arts and Culture

26 July 2012
Chairperson: Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee with delegates from the German Parliamentary Committee on sports in an informal dialogue session. The delegates asked what role the Committee had to play in preparing athletes for the Olympics and whether there was any financial assistance given by the state with regards to the different sporting codes. They also queried whether the 2010 world cup stadiums were still relevant and sustainable .The responded that the South African Sports Confederations and Olympic Committee was the main entity which helped in preparation for the Olympics and that the National Lottery was also a major contributor. The Committee itself played an oversight role to ensure that funds given to different sporting codes were used accordingly. In turn the Committee queried about the German education system and the existence or the absence of racism and hooliganism in relation to sports. The main challenge asserted by the German delegation and portfolio committee was the issue of doping Consensus was reached that there was a great urgency to combat the existence of doping and to fulfil this; there was a need for greater international cooperation


Meeting report

Election of Acting Chairperson
In the absence of the portfolio committee chairperson, Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) was nominated as the Acting Chairperson for the session. He welcomed the guest from Germany and stated that since the meeting was requested by the German Portfolio Committee on Sports, it would be more appropriate for the meeting to be guided by the guest.

Discussion

Ms Dagmar Freitag, Chairperson of the German Portfolio Committee on Sports, appreciated the opportunity given to her to be present in the meeting. She probed the role the state that had to play in preparing the for the Olympic games , she wanted to know specifically the role the committee played in preparing athletes for the Olympics , whether there was any financial assistance from the Committee in preparing the athletes  for the Olympics .

Mr T Lee (DA) replied that the South African Sports Confederations and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) was the controlling body when it came to sport in South Africa. SASCOC helped to prepare the athletes for the Olympics. The Department of Sports and Recreation was the entity that distributed funds to all distinct sporting codes and major private companies also provided financial assistance to different sporting codes. The major financial contribution was made by the National Lottery. The Committee played more of an oversight role in ensuring that the funds sponsored were used adequately. He lastly asserted that the SA sport teams were well prepared.

Mr G Mackenzie (COPE) stated that one of the major problems which deterred the qualitative preparation was the lack of finances. South Africa had three top sport centres within the private and state university domain. The main funder for the Olympics had been SASCOC- it had provided financial means for all the different sporting codes in preparation for the Olympics. The political challenge which existed was to get the youth to participate more in sport. Similarly, the role of the Committee was to get young people from different parts of the country to participate in sport.

Mr M Rabotapi (DA) said that it was a challenge to build more facilities which could be made available and easily accessible to the vast majority of the youth.

The Chairperson added that the role of the Committee was to oversee the Department of Sports and Recreation’s strategies and the manner in which it provided financial assistance to federations and sporting codes.

Mr Lee appreciated the help and assistance provided by the German government, and specifically highlighted the contribution made to in the Eastern Cape.

Ms Freitag asked about the 2010 World Cup stadiums. Were those stadiums still being used and relevant today? In addition, she asserted that sports was an important tool which could be used to reach the youth and wanted to know what the Committee was doing to create more facilities in rural areas.

Mr Lee said that financial support was not only given to sporting federations only but also to municipalities. This was done through a grant named the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, which mainly focused on developing sporting structures in areas where support was needed most .The main task of the Committee with regards to the grant was to oversee whether the municipalities had used the grant accordingly. This type of grant was ring fenced on for sports. On the issue of the 2010 World Cup Staduims, he stated that there was a legacy programme in place which benefited from.

Mr Mackenzie stated that the legacy programme was designed mainly to bridge the gap between the have and not haves. The programme was designed to meet the needs of poorer communities, in order to have access to those facilities. The role of the Committee was to ensure that the youth from poorer communities had equal access to those facilities. On the question of sustainability, he replied that municipalities had put programmes in place to engage with federations to ensure that the stadiums were functioning on an ongoing basis.

The Chairperson said that some of the stadiums were currently being rehabilitated. Municipalities and clubs could apply for funding from the National Lottery in order to rehabilitate their structures.

Mr R Herrmann from the German Council noted recent media reports stating that the Cape Town Stadium would be knocked down and low cost housing built on that site.

The Chairperson said that he was unsure about the comments reported in the media.

Mr Mackenzie asked the German delegates how their parties would perform in the next election.

Ms Freitag replied that she could not be sure about the outcome of the federal election and commented that there were differences between her party and the governing party. One of the differences was that her party opted for formal legislation with regards to doping and the governing party did not opt for that. Lastly, Ms Freitag asked what South Africa was doing with regards to doping?

The Chairperson replied that there was an Anti Doping Agency; however the main issue in South Africa was that athletes needed to be informed about what to take and what not to take.

Mr Lee informed the delegates that there were many anti-doping campaigns and these even extended to

Mr Rabotapi queried how big the problem of doping was in Germany.

Mr Mackenzie said that the essence of the challenge with regards to doping was based on ignorance. Many athletes sometimes took substances without knowing whether it was prohibited or not. Many of supplement suppliers were not checked which caused the main challenge of ignorance.

Ms Freitag stated that in Germany there were more positive cases for doping, but it was believed that the problem might be bigger than those caught out. Many of those who used doping were never caught because they used sophisticated masking drugs that made it hard to detect. Germany had therefore created new facilities which improved the testing of doping .She wanted to know whether the South African state gave financial support to anti doping initiatives, she also probed the specific amount of financial assistance given.

Mr Lee replied that the state supported the anti doping unit and the funds were used accordingly.

The Chairperson added that the state had currently assisted the anti doping unit with roughly R10 million.

The Chairperson asked whether school sports existed in Germany.

Ms Freitag replied that children from primary school had at least three lessons within a week. Before schools use to end at 1pm, however the school system changed and schools will end around 5 pm and there was more opportunity for sports. One of the problems was that there were few special sport teachers in school.

Ms G Sindani (ANC) asked whether the German delegation could offer any experiential thought in how to decrease doping.

Ms Freitag stated the main challenge was that there were those who used doping intelligently. There needed to be international cooperation on this issue.

The Chairperson stated that if there were specific regulations on what substance to take and which one not to, then the doping challenge would decreased. He furthermore asked whether education was free and compulsory in Germany.

Mr Rabotapi asserted that in Argentina the issue of education and sport also assisted in developing morals and ethical conducts of the youth 

Ms Freitag stated that education was free until university level, however for kinder garden there was a specific levy that had to be paid

Mr K Wuhlengu (ANC) asked about racism and hooliganism. How was this handled in Germany?

Mr Lee stated South Africa in its endeavour to implement Outcomes Based Education (OBE) had failed. The vast majority of the youth who participated in sport in most cases were ill-literate. Also, he asked about the education system of Germany.

Ms Freitag admitted that racism was a problem as the country had an influx of immigrants. The major problem was that immigrants who entered Germany did not spread equally and tended to be more concentrated in specific areas. Integration was also an issue. There has been attempt to integrate children from the very beginning in sport, which transcended the idea of living together.

Furthermore, Ms Freitag indicated that many Germany fans were beginning to behave like hooligans and there were ongoing discussions on how to deal with this. On the German education system, she stated that there was an agreement with universities to assist those who participated in sports, by allowing them to write test later. This agreement encouraged the youth to have enough time for both their study and sport. This also assisted the youth when knowing that they did not have to solely depend on a sporting career.

The Chairperson thanked the German delegates for their presence at the session

The meeting was adjourned.

Present

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