Committee's draft report on oversight visits in June 2012, Committee Programme

Sports, Arts and Culture

14 August 2012
Chairperson: Mr R Mdakane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Chairperson, in his opening remarks, commented that many of the athletes competing in the London Olympic Games had trained at the University of Pretoria and it would be useful for this Committee to pay a visit to the university to assess how it was preparing athletes. The Committee would be issuing a press statements congratulating the athletes on their performance. South Africans generally now had a positive attitude about sport and this Committee must follow up and ensure that a strategic approach was taken that would ensure that sport was taken to higher levels of development.

The Chairperson also briefly summarised the Committee’s recent study tour to Argentina, noting its programmes of sporting development. He emphasised the distinction between social sport and high performance sport, noting that Argentinian players participated far more in the former, which would be reflected in the Committee’s report, to be given later by Mr Dikgacwi.

The Committee Secretary tabled the draft Report on the Committee’s oversight visit to sports facilities in Eastern Cape; KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng dated 3-9 June 2012. The main purpose of the visits had been to interact with stakeholders in municipalities, to establish whether sports facilities were accessible and had been upgraded in line with the commitments from the 2010 FlFA Legacy Programme, and to assess the facilities against the investment made and to hear of future development plans. Part of this engagement included the monitoring of spending of Municipal Grant Infrastructure funding, 15% of which was supposed to be ringfenced for development of sports facilities. However, it appeared that some municipalities, including Buffalo City Municipality, which had requested specific help on this, failed to attend a workshop offered by the Department of Sport and Recreation, and this municipality also had not used the funding for investment into 12 football facilities, as stated, but had spent huge amounts of its budget in developing projects on the African Golf Tournament. It also did not have a fully operational sporting unit in the municipality. Members agreed to insert a specific recommendation that this Committee must see that municipalities were spending the MIG sporting allocations as they were expected. Recommendations would also be made about other aspects of spending in other municipalities. The conclusions of a forensic report into Buffalo City Municipality would also need to be studied, as well as concerns of the Sports Council. The Committee also needed to comment on the apparent non-completion of the Nxaruni Stadium, the ongoing dispute over usage of the Absa Stadium, and the issues of leases generally of sporting facilities. Observations made during the oversight visits must inform the recommendations. In respect of eThekwini, the sports facilities were generally satisfactory but maintenance aspects had to be addressed in the Report, as well as governance issues. In relation to Gauteng, certain observations were made on Westonaria Municipality and the state of building of some facilities. It was recommended that revenue could be generated through leasing of sporting facilities to federations and clubs, and communities must become involved in provision of services, enhancing nation building and social cohesion through sports development.

The Committee agreed that the final report should capture the recommendations and that the Committee would make follow up oversight visits to determine whether recommendations were being implemented.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s Opening Remarks
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee needed to pay a visit to the University of Pretoria in Tswane to assess how it was dealing with sports development, pointing out that many of the athletes who participated in the London Olympics had prepared and trained there. It was important for the Committee to check the facilities and the work that this university was doing that had assisted athletes to perform at the highest level.

The Chairperson also noted that the Committee had visited Argentina, and was pleased and excited about its programmes of sport development. A distinction needed to be drawn between social sport and high performance sport. Argentinian players were much more advanced at a social sport level, but did not display as good high performance levels as countries such as Australia or the United Kingdom. Members should make the distinction between these levels clear in its reports, and outline the level of participation in some of the activities. Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) would give a report on the critical areas of engagement in Argentine.

The Chairperson noted that Mr Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Sport and Recreation, would be briefing the Committee on the new strategic plan at another meeting.

The Chairperson noted that the main advantage of the most recent Olympic Games was that every South African had agreed on the importance of sport, and now a strategic approach must be adopted to ensure that sport was taken to higher levels of development. This Committee must now serve Parliament’s and the country’s interests, and raise critical areas of sport, in view of the positive mood around sport in the country.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee should release a press statement congratulating the South African Olympic Team, wishing them well and stating that their performance at the games had put the country at a highest level, since South Africa had obtained amongst the highest number of medals from Africa.  

Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) informed the Committee that he had been invited to attend the South Western Province School Sport Federation meetings from 27 August to 2 September 2012.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Dikgacwi for this information and said that this type of engagement would assist the Committee in determining implementation of the sport development plan

Draft Committee Report on Oversight Visit to sports facilities in Eastern Cape; KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to take Members through the draft Committee Report on the oversight visits to sports facilities in Eastern Cape; KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which took place from 3 to 9 June 2012. He stressed that at this stage the Report was in draft, so he would like Members to concentrate on the content and observations, and decide upon the final recommendations. The Committee should also plan follow-up visits in the provinces including Tswane University and any other area where there were no conflict of interests. They should also identify areas that were doing well in sport so that they visit them even if it was not oversight function but rather looking at development of sport.

Mr Lichakani Phori, Committee Secretary, tabled and took Members through the draft Report. He noted that the main purposes of the oversight visit had been:
- to interact with sport and recreation stakeholders of municipalities in order to solicit their views and inputs
- to establish whether the sports facilities were accessible and had been upgraded in line with the commitment from 2010 FlFA Legacy Programme
- to allow the Committee to appraise the sporting facilities that had been developed, the investments that had been made and future development plans for further improvements of various sports facilities.

He noted that the key stakeholders who made submissions were named in the report.

Mr Phori reiterated that the Committee had wanted to evaluate and assess the state of sport facilities in different municipalities of the provinces, and to assess the accessibility and sustainability of the facilities, which had been built by municipalities using public funds. The Committee had also monitored spending patterns, and investigated whether municipalities were utilising the Municipal lnfrastructure Grant (MIG). The Committee was now in a position to respond decisively to the weaknesses and failures observed in municipalities in provision of sport services.

A briefing had been given on the various funding models available to metros and municipalities by the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA). All municipalities had access to two funding vehicles created through a properly constituted legal framework. These were the MIG, which was the key funding mechanism to assist municipalities in implementing their Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and build sport infrastructure. The Select Committee on Appropriations, in its report on the 2011 Division of Revenue Bill (which had since been adopted by the NCOP) had resolved that National Treasury should stipulate specific conditions or regulations with MIG funding that would effectively ring-fence the 15% meant for development of sports facilities. That ringfencing of 15% funding had happened on 10 May 2011, and therefore this portion of the allocations must go to building of sports facilities in municipalities. Most municipalities received the MIG, but the larger ones were funded also through the Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG). Although this resided within the Department of Human Settlements, it had a sports component, since the funding was intended to assist with development of sports facilities at the early stages of town planning.

This Committee had taken a decision to meet also with other portfolio committees on relevant issues. The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) could be central to the funding issue, in cases where funding was allocated, but municipalities were not utilising them for the intended purpose. He suggested that COGTA must be asked to pressurise municipalities to use the funding fully, and later perhaps this Committee needed also to find ways of engaging with municipalities.

Mr T Lee (DA) stated that he fully agreed with Mr Dikgacwi, and suggested that this observation be reflected as one of the recommendations in the final Report.

Mr Mpumzi Mdekazi, Parliamentary Researcher, said he was not sure if how many metros were aware that USDG funding that had to be utilised, although this Committee had settled that issue with the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements.

Mr Dikgacwi responded that Westonaria Local Municipality had been accessing and utilising that MIG funding, and it was therefore up to this Committee to be quite forthright in pushing for full utilisation of MIG funding to show progress in the development of sports facilities in the country.

Mr Phori noted that during the visit to Buffalo City Municipality (BCM), a briefing had been arranged on the state of sports facilities, but it was not well structured due to an emergency meeting of the Council being called. Mr Roy Young, the Council’s representative had tried to summarise the spending of the municipality. The Committee’s brief was to try to look at the state of facilities, and it was hoped to get a briefing in every province before doing the site visits. BCM had said that R50 million had been allocated from the 2010 FIFA World Cup Legacy Fund for development of sport facilities, particularly football facilities. However, it was notable that BCM did not have a fully operational sporting unit within the municipality. 12 sports facilities should have been built in BCM, but only two had been completed and handed over to communities. The BCM had instead focused on development of projects in the African Golf Tournament and Iron Man activities, which cost a massive R12 million. The Committee had been informed that BCM had to spend R6 million of its budget on marketing and purchasing of equipment, in preparation for the golf tournament.

The Chairperson asked Mr Phori not to go into too much detail on the draft Report at this stage, as Members should have time to engage with issues that they thought needed to be corrected, or other issues to be included in the final Report.

Mr Lee stated that the Committee should note that in certain municipalities like Tsholomqa and Dimbaza, money was paid over to contractors and landlords, although it was taxpayers’ money, and the Committee needed to recommend some improvements on these issues.

Mr Lee also thought that since Sport and Recreation accounted for 1% of the provincial budget, it was imperative to recommend steps that would rectify the problems.

Mr Dikgacwi agreed with Mr Lee, and added that it was also necessary to enquire about the forensic report promised to the Researcher by the general management. He asked if that report had been received, because recommendations should also be based on those finding.

Mr Mdekazi said that an audited financial report was now available, and was attached to the pack distributed to Members. He did not think, however, that the Report was satisfactory, and had some ideas as to how it could be approached. There were also other factors contributing to the problems in BCM. The Committee could also perhaps suggest how the 1% provincial budget spending on sport could be revisited.

Mr Mdekazi said that another issue that needed to be addressed, which came from the Sports Council, was the “cold war” that seemed to be ongoing between politicians and officials, which had a potential to derail service delivery. The Sports Council had noted the visit by a previous Portfolio Committee in 2006, when certain issues were raised, and had asked what this Committee would do if the issues were raised again. Something on those needed to be included in the recommendations of the Committee.

Mr Mdekazi also indicated that there was a problem around falling poles in Nxaruni Stadium, in which there had apparently been R1.5 million spending. The audit report suggested that the facility had been completed, but that was contradictory to what the Committee had observed for itself, as there were no admission facilities, for instance, so the facility could not be regarded as complete. The Committee needed to take a decision on that issue.

Mr Mdekazi further noted that there was also a tussle between rugby and soccer over the usage of Absa Stadium, and was not sure how the Committee was going to deal with that issue.

Mr Lee proposed that the Committee should send a copy of its final recommendations to the stakeholders.

Mr Mdekazi said that it should be noted that the National Department of Sport and Recreation had invited all municipalities to a workshop, but the BCM neither attended that workshop nor even tendered an apology, despite the fact that it had been the municipality seeking assistance with the MIG. The SRSA also reported that there was not a Sports Programme in the municipality’s plans, and this too needed to be noted by the Committee.

The Chairperson cautioned that all critical issues arising from observations during the oversight visit must be included in the Report. The Committee had not been on a fact-finding mission but was overseeing the implementation of the sports programmes in those areas. The specific matters observed by the Committee had to inform the recommendations.

The Chairperson said that issues around leasing of sports facilities should be captured in the report, given the ill feelings this engendered amongst associations, and he said that there were reports on both Newlands Stadium and Buffalo City Stadium. The poor state of maintenance of sports facilities should also be captured in the Report.

Mr Dikgacwi said that the SRSA was asked to look into the usage of all the sporting facilities, but no report had yet been obtained on this.

Mr Phori agreed that the lease agreements with clubs and federations for usage of the stadiums had become a huge challenge. The City of eThekwini wanted to provide universal access to the stadium but balance this against the need to maintain the facilities.

Mr Mdekazi thought that a point to be noted  was that Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality had raised the matter of its relationship with schools on skills and qualifications, and whether there was data available from the Department of Higher Education about graduates who were currently not employed.

The Chairperson stated that generally the Committee was satisfied with the sport facilities at the City of eThekwini but the issue of maintenance of the facilities should be captured in the report.

Mr Mdekazi noted that an issue on governance of Sport Councils was also raised in the City of eThekwini, especially in relation to elections and good governance in sport.

The Chairperson stressed that the issue of good governance in sports was a key point that should be captured in the Report. Vandalism of sports facilities had been one of the biggest challenges, and communities needed to take care of the newly-built facilities. He commented that, overall, the visit to eThekwini was very fruitful, with leadership at the political level having clearly taken ownership, and the administrators being well informed and engaging positively with the Committee. The issue of safety was raised, stressing that security personnel should be present in sports facilities, and emergency ambulance and fire fighters should be vigilant for any outbreak of fire.

Mr Phori then moved on the section dealing with Gauteng. Westonaria Municipality had experienced a cash flow crisis and suffered very low revenue streams from services. Unemployment remained very high in this municipality and there was a need for job creation through sport. It was highlighted that although service level agreements had been signed with companies, some of the contractors had disappeared without completing the work. The municipal council had also dismissed some contractors, due to poor workmanship in some of the projects.

The Committee recommended that the municipality should generate revenue through leasing of sporting facilities to sports federations and clubs. This would give full meaning to cooperative governance, in order to ensure a shared development agenda and support amongst key stakeholders. There was a need for a gender desk to be established in the municipality to ensure that women were empowered in the community. The municipality should also ensure that communities became active partners in the provision of services and sport development. Social cohesion, non-racism and nation building at local level should be enhanced through sports development.

The Chairperson concluded that the final Report would capture recommendations. The Committee would need to make follow up visits to ensure that the recommendations were implemented in all provinces.

The meeting was adjourned.

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