Presentation: Netball development and transformation: briefing by Netball South Africa

Sports, Arts and Culture

10 September 2012
Chairperson: Mr R Mdakane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The presentation by Netball South Africa (NSA). focused on the organisation’s structure, the development of netball in South Africa, the challenges facing NSA and the way forward for the organisation. The NSA was divided into nine provincial structures with 47 Regions that included district/local municipalities, wards, schools and clubs.  NSA’s vision was based on four strategic imperatives -- growth, development, a winning culture, and the generation of funds.

Netball was the largest women’s sport in South Africa, as was the case in England, New Zealand and Australia.  It was also the second largest active participation sport in the country, with an estimated 1 million  adult participants & 1,5 million school participants.  Black women made up 60% of participants, and 49% were 18 to 24 years old. There was a cross-section of socio-economic sectors and race groups, and the sport had shown a significant growth since 1994 – an average of 9.5% growth per annum. The recent netball successes internationally had increased the profile of the sport.

Statistics showed that netball competed well in terms of numbers and national spread with the country’s top sports, such as cricket, soccer and rugby – but not in terms of financial income streams.  The organisation needed financial sustainability in the short and medium term. It also needed to establish full-time regional structures, closing the transformation gaps.  It needed to establish a consistent full national season and maintain Top Five international status for all national teams. Professional fulltime administrative personnel should be appointed. There should also be a home for all netball internationals and the building of netball facilities throughout the country.

Members of the Portfolio Committee congratulated NSA for the work it had done in the past years with limited resources and funds. They admired the organisation’s members’ sense of volunteerism which sent a clear message to other organisations that sought funding to do as NSA was doing, and be committed to the cause of development of sport in the country. The NSA responded to a few questions seeking clarity on certain issues.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Chairperson welcomed Members of the Portfolio Committee and the delegation from Netball South Africa (NSA), noting that Parliament was very interested to hear what NSA was doing with regard to the development of sport in the country, and netball in particular.  Generally NSA should take the Committee through the issue of governance within its organisation, because some of the key problems of sporting codes concerned lack of governance - and no one wanted to give money that would not be accounted for. The Committee also wanted NSA to assist it with the issue of transformation in netball, especially the issue of leadership in sport, basic principles around governance, development of sport and leadership, and what challenges there were in the development of netball in the country.

Mr T Lee (DA) stated that the paralympians were coming back from the London Paralympic Games and as a Committee, they should welcome them and issue a statement, as they had done for the Olympic team.  There should be no discrimination between the two teams.

The Chairperson assured Mr Lee that he would issue a statement congratulating the team.

Presentation by Netball South Africa
Ms M Mthethwa, President of Netball South Africa
(NSA), said that the national structure was made up of six members of the executive committee: the President, Vice President, Director Demarcation, Director Coaches, Director Umpires and Director Selection. They were all volunteers. There were two staff members who were employed on a fulltime basis, a receptionist and an events administrator. The Executive Committee was structured to execute NSA’s mandate, which was: to arrange competitions to accommodate all levels of the sport (juniors to seniors, amateur to elite, rural to urban); to prepare and present the national teams for international participation; and to regulate the sport of netball. The NSA was divided into nine provincial structures, with 47 regions that included district/local municipalities, wards, schools and clubs.
Ms Mthethwa noted that in terms of composition there were currently 47 regions, and further five regions were still in the process of changing according to municipal demarcation. The registration fee per region was R300, affiliation fee per region R350, and it was suggested that the affiliation fee for 2013 be increased to R1000.

Ms Mthethwa said that NSA’s vision was based on four strategic imperatives:

           Growth through mass clinics, coaching, umpires and NSA staff;

           Development through the strengthening of administration, creation of strategic alliances, relationships and communication;

           Winning at national level, focusing on high performance, talent identification, and excellence;

           Making money through new competition structures, new events and brands, media partnerships (SABC), and the sustainability of the organisation.


NSA’s h
ead office was located in Pretoria. By some distance, netball was the largest women’s sport in South Africa, as was the case in England, New Zealand and Australia.  It was also the second largest active participation sport in the country, with an estimated 1 000 000 adult participants & 1 500 000 School participants.  Black women made up 60% of participants, and 49% were 18 to 24 years old. There was a cross-section of socio-economic sectors and race groups, and the sport had shown a significant growth since 1994 – an average of 9.5% growth per annum. The recent netball successes internationally had increased the profile of the sport.  In July 2011, the Proteas had ended in fifth place at the World Netball Championships in Singapore, a position they had seldom fallen below on the world ranking scale. A strong U19 & U21 national side provided further depth.

Apart from its nine provincial bodies consisting of 47 regions, NSA had various associate members such as tertiary education institutions, schools, defence force, police, correctional services and organizations for the disabled. The core value of the sport was: fun, fast, social, skillful and health-orientated.  Statistics showed that netball competed well in terms of numbers and national spread with the country’s top sports, such as cricket, soccer and rugby – but not in terms of financial income streams.  NSA income streams were from the National Lottery (40%), government (30%), sponsorship (15%), and registration and affiliation fees (15%). The expenditure streams consisted of 40% to the national teams, 20% to national competitions, 30% to development, and 10% to administration.

With regard to NSA challenges, the organisation needed f
inancial sustainability in the short and medium term. It also needed to establish full-time regional structures, closing the transformation gaps.  It needed to establish a consistent full national season and maintain Top Five international status for all national teams. Professional fulltime administrative personnel should be appointed.. There should also be a home for all netball internationals and the building of netball facilities throughout the country.

Ms Mthethwa concluded that as a way forward they needed to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for NSA.  It should create a vibrant and consistent season structure. It should develop a professional netball league (NPL) that stood as the sport’s pinnacle showcase event. It should negotiate and entice more exposure for netball. It should seek new income streams and seek professional assistance from third party entities to help achieve the above objectives.

Discussion

Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) commended NSA President on the report, and asked which regions that were not on board and where they were located.  He also asked how the two staff members of the NSA were being paid and where their funding was from.   He wanted to know how they had dealt with the issue of cheating in terms of player ages, since it was a big problem in sport generally, and asked why players were given four days to prepare for the international games next year, because four days was not enough to prepare a national team.  He noted that although NSA was struggling financially, it had achieved a lot and made the country proud so it was important for the Committee to lobby the Minister of Sport to assist the NSA in terms of funding.

Ms G Tseke (ANC) said she appreciated the way the President of NSA had committed herself and her colleagues to the cause of South African women in realising their dreams through sport.  She encouraged the NSA to approach the companies that manufactured and produced women’s products to come on board and sponsor netball.  She asked the NSA to clarify whether disabled women were playing netball.  Were there were any plans for the international games in 2013, since NSA had to prepare a team to take part in those games.

Mr Lee agreed that the NSA President was committed to the cause of netball.  This had made a big impression.   He thought that NSA, because of what it had achieved, deserved and needed to be assisted with funds. Money should not be given to institutions that were not performing, but should be channeled instead to organisations that were producing good results, like NSA.  He asked if NSA had approached the departments responsible for education to ask funding, because netball started at school level and the Department of Basic Education was in charge of school sport, not the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR).   He asked what type of a league the NSA envisaged establishing -- was it a provincial league or national league?   What was their budget breakdown in terms of income and expenditure?  Had NSA gone to the municipalities to exploit the 15% of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) that was meant for the construction of sport infrastructures?

Mr M Hlengwa (IFP) noted that the successes of NSA challenged the Committee to meet the organisation half way with regard to the funding assistance they needed, because the sense of volunteerism displayed by NSA staff should be applauded and encouraged as an example for all South Africans to follow.  He proposed that the Committee should look at having an inter-Portfolio Committee engagement with other relevant committees, like the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, and the Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities, in order to assist NSA in a very comprehensive manner and develop a comprehensive strategic plan.  A very proactive approach was needed to assist the organisation for the development of netball in the whole country. He thanked NSA for doing genuine work for the good of the country, as this inspired them.

Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) said that this was the first presentation at which the presenter had touched on the reality of development and transformation of sport in the country.  She had gone to the heart of the issue, talking about the social ills of the country that had been holding back the talent of the people of South Africa. There were pupils at schools that were under-nourished and with limited opportunities, but had talent which came out when they were given the chance.  He asked how NSA had bridged that gap, because whether it was rugby or football, everyone had that challenge and those were the real issues on the ground.  There was a disconnection between the school clubs, social clubs and professional clubs, and there were the big social ills NSA had identified.  He would like to invite the NSA President to the indaba that they would be having in KwaZulu-Natal.  He asked what the annual turnover of NSA was, because they were talking about percentages in the presentation and the use of their money was encouraging because this showed good governance.  The limited funds were going to the right places, and NSA were one of the few federations that had 10% geared towards administration, since two people were getting paid.  He congratulated NSA on managing to maintain a good balance through trying times.  He suggested that NSA should appoint a top financial manager who had connections with corporations throughout the country, who would be able to ask them to come on board to support women’s development in the country.  This would enable NSA to raise funds for the establishment of a netball professional league.

Ms Mthethwa responded that there were some regions in the Northern Cape where some challenges existed, and they had worked very closely with Griqualand West.  Currently, there was a new region, Siyanda, Francis Baart, which was not on board yet, but by the end of this year all the 52 regions would be on board.

With regard to cheating in sport, Ms Mthethwa responded that NSA were working with schools to register all players on a database. From next year, however, they wanted all people who were playing netball on one database because if they had a player on the database it would be easy to follow that player and put her in the correct team. They had never encountered any incident of cheating that was reported to her, and because of the close working relationship they had, it was easy to follow players and put them in the right teams.

The limited time for the preparation of teams was caused by the fact that most of the players were working and could not get off from work in time to prepare for the games.  As the President of NSA, she had written to all the previous Ministers of Sport with regard to the problem of working players to assist in getting players off work, because whenever they had to go on international duty they had a problem of players not coming to the camp early enough to prepare for the games. Currently, they had three senior black players who could not come because they could not get off work, and those were the issues that really affected their morale and stability within the team.

The Chairperson thanked the NSA delegation for an encouraging and passionate report. As a Committee they would sit down and look at all the issues raised by the federation. The inter-committee engagement proposed by Mr Hlengwa would go a long way in trying to come up with a comprehensive strategic plan that would assist NSA in terms of a common vision and help with funding.

Ms Mthethwa thanked the Committee for the support and encouraging words it had given to the organisation. NSA were looking forward to receiving funding from the government so that all their challenges could be addressed and the development of netball taken forward throughout the country.

The meeting was adjourned.

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