National Sports Development Plan: SA Football Association issues: Departmental briefings

Sports, Arts and Culture

26 March 2013
Chairperson: Mr M Mdakane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) briefed the Committee on the progress around the National Sports Development Plan, a three-year plan that had been conceived because the Department of Basic Education (DBE) did not have sufficient budget to establish a full school sports programme. It was decided that the SRSA would establish school sport code committees, train coaches, and finance the plan. School Sports Leagues had commenced, and other activities included a Big Walk, popular campaigns around recreation and healthy lifestyles, inter-departmental soccer and netball leagues and other methods of sports promotion. The National Sports Plan was incorporated into the National Development Plan, and was supported with international assistance. South Africa was also helping other African countries. SASCOC was developing curricula and training models for coaching, negotiating for broadcasting, reviving the Soweto Open Tennis Championship and promoting netball. Franchises for basketball were progressing at a good pace, and the developments in cycling, golf and athletics were outlined. The SRSA was undertaking a facilities audit.

Members asked how the SRSA planned to assist when it had a small budget itself, asked about the relationship with the DBE and training of coaches, asked why tennis did not seem to be as well organised as other sport, enquired why South Africa was paying registration fees for African countries for anti-doping, and why it was involved in so many court cases. They asked about officials doing business with the Department, enquired about allegations of corruption in Eastern Cape, and what was done, and asked how SRSA was promoting more knowledge and acceptance of sport in the municipalities. Members felt that the presentation was too brief, asked that the challenges be outlined, and suggested the need to engage with the National Lottery. They asked about use of consultants, wanted a preliminary facilities inventory and asked for clarity on Boxing SA, whether the Department sat on the Board, and the Nicholson Report recommendations on governance at Cricket SA and how this had been resolved. An update was also requested on netball, and particularly its sponsorship, and the difference between the Australian and South African funding models. It was suggested by one Member that Netball SA and the SRSA be invited together for a meeting to sort out the issue of funding, although the Chairperson cautioned against undue interference by the SRSA into federations.

The Department gave a brief update on the allegations of match fixing involving the South African national soccer team and some referees, at the behest of Sport for You and the betting syndicate owned by Mr Perumal Raj, based in Singapore. There was some difficulty as to how South African Football Association obtained a copy of the preliminary report, and on the reinstatement of the President of the Football Association, and SASCOC was calling upon it for comment not only on the allegations, but on its precarious financial state. Members agreed that many problems plagued sporting federations, who needed to put their houses in order. Members adopted minutes of the meeting on 19 March.
 

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
Ms G Tseke (ANC) reminded the Committee that the Strategic Plan was supposed to be discussed on the 30 March 2013. Mr Lee concurred with Ms Tseke's assertion.

National Sport Development Plan: Department of Sport and Recreation briefing
Mr Alec Moemi, Director General, Department of Sport and Recreation, said that he would not go into too much detail, but briefly outlined the National Sport Development Plan. This would not be achieved within a year, as it was a three year programme. The Minister of Sport and Recreation gave the go-ahead for the School Sport Programme to be started. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) said that it did not have a budget for the School Sport Programme, and then the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA or the Department) had come in to take care of the School Sport Plan. The conditional grant was supposed to earmark 5% of its budget to support the School Sports Council. The School Sport Code Committees should be established with teachers. He mentioned that the National Sports Plan overall budget was set at R5.8 billion over the five year period. The SRSA would finance the whole plan, even though the Department of Basic Education was the lead department regarding school sport.

The SRSA had already started with the School Sports League countrywide. It had also started with a Big Walk to encourage learners to exercise and encourage healthy lifestyles. The Month of October was declared a month of recreation by the Department. The Director General had asked the Cabinet to declare the first Friday, every October, as the Month of Recreation. It had already called upon the support of the private sector to sponsor a popular campaign around recreation and healthy lifestyle. The Department had also initiated inter-departmental soccer and netball leagues. Three sports mascots were introduced to popularise different codes across all the nine provinces. The Department estimated that mascots would be very popular within three years time and that there would be merchandise spin offs to raise funds for sports promotion. Sports promotion had been sponsored with twelve buses to promote school sports in all provinces. The buses would visit different schools to do promotions and conduct coaching clinics.

The National Sports Plan was also incorporated into the National Development Plan and the Cabinet then declared sports as a priority. The National Sports Plan was also supported by the German development body, GTZ and the British Sports Council. South Africa was also elected to head various international sporting bodies. The country was also fulfilling its international obligations, like sponsoring sporting kits to Burundi as a post conflict healing process. An insurance plan for players had been set up. A plan was in place to support all the smaller sport federations. South African Olympic Committee (SASCOC) was busy developing curriculum and training modules for coaches. The Department was negotiating with two broadcasters to support other sporting codes like netball. In 2014, the priority would be on international competitions and the Schools national Championship. The Soweto Open Tennis Championship would be revived in 2013,and it would take place in September. South Africa would be hosting the World Anti Doping Conference. South Africa had also helped other African countries to register as members of the anti doping organisation.

Mr Moemi said that the development of franchises for basketball was progressing at a good pace. He explained that he would need sufficient time to give a separate briefing around the problems in boxing. A campaign around safe cycling would be launched, and Cape Town was encouraged to incorporate cycling lanes with every new road that would be built. The City of Cape Town would enact a bylaw, because the culture of cycling was more established in this city, and the Department had decided to support it on that pilot project.

In respect of golf, the Department had initiated the Andrew Mlangeni Annual Golf Day. There were plans to honour former sports icons like Mr Tap Tap Makhathini, former boxing champion, and other icons of other codes. The Nelson Mandela Challenge would be played between South Africa and Argentina in soccer and rugby. The Department had been designing a programme to accelerate the development of athletes. A facilities audit was under way, so that SRSA could know how many sports facilities existed in the country, which ones needed upgrading and in which areas new facilities needed to be built.

Discussion
Mr Mackenzie questioned how, in the light of the small budget allocated to the Department, the teachers would organise sports code Committees, particularly if the Department of Basic Education did not have money for school sports.

Mr Moemi explained that his Department had very good relationship with the Department of Basic Education. A bilateral meeting between the two Departments was on the cards. He said that he was unable to answer for the Department of Basic Education as to why it did not have a dedicated budget for school sport. He said that he had briefed the Ministry on the challenges experienced, and the matter was receiving the urgent attention it deserved. In Australia, all learners were required to participate in five sporting codes in primary school, whilst in high school they were expected to participate in seven codes. Sports was used to identify the talented individuals, while others received obvious health and recreation benefits through their participation. He suggested that South Africa also should nurture the talented individuals using dedicated programmes. The Department would have to train teachers as coaches. He urged that the Sport Plan for schools could not afford to fail, and stressed that 40% of the Departmental budget was allocated to school sport.

Mr Moemi added that the Department had requested the Arts and Culture Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) to train 3000 teachers as coaches. Initially it had hoped to train 10 000 but financial considerations did not permit that. Teachers needed to be trained as coaches beginning from levels one to three. Cricket was the only code that was ready, after coaches had been trained.
 
Mr Mackenzie asked the reasons that tennis was not as organised as golf.

Mr Moemi added that tennis was not organised along the same lines as golf, and tennis had one Association for Tennis Professionals (ATP) governing the sport worldwide, to sanction all matches. The ranking system in tennis was responsible for all the Grand Slams, and the players were well known all over the world. The Soweto Open was also sanctioned by the ATP but participants would not come from the top fifty seeded players, but from those in the seventies downwards. South African development players would get a chance to compete with the best in the world. He said that the Department had pumped a lot of money in the Soweto Open.

Mr Mackenzie was concerned with the funds used to pay registration fees for African countries for the registration in the Anti Doping Council.

Mr Moemi explained that US$40 000 annually was used to pay registration of nine poor neighbouring African Countries like Malawi, Lesotho and Rwanda, to the Anti Doping Council, because they could not afford to pay for their own membership. He mentioned that doping in sports was not such a big problem in the neighbouring countries as it was in South Africa.

Mr T Lee (DA) asked why the Department was spending so much money fighting court cases; this could have been put to better use building tennis courts for the development of young people.

Mr Moemi responded that the Department had indeed spent money to defend itself in cases, such as that lodged by Mr Branco Milenkovic, who had sued the Department, claiming saying that broadcasting rights for boxing did not rest with Boxing SA but with individual promoters. In another matter, an individual went to a private Mpumalanga resort for hiking, and injured himself, thereafter suing the Department on the grounds that it had a duty to ensure that the resort was safe. He stressed that the Department had to defend itself from such ridiculous attacks, because it was taxpayers’ money that the claimants were claiming, and frivolous claims should not be allowed.

Mr Lee said that he supported the stance of the Minister of Public Service and Administration on the officials that were doing business with the Department. He cited an example of TK Promotions who had won tenders to run youth camps, and asked whether the officials were required to declare their business interests. He mentioned that in the Eastern Cape, in Buffalo City, about R50 million that was earmarked for the building of sports facilities simply disappeared and nobody had accounted for that money. He claimed that corruption was endemic in the Department.

Mr Moemi firstly assured Members that the Department was investigating the matter in Eastern Cape, with the help of the Eastern Cape officials. In respect of officials doing business with the Department, there was not as yet legislation in place, but staff in the supply chain division were required to seek permission to do any other business, even outside the Department. Each and every province appointed service providers to do the youth camps. One province would pay R600 000 while another province would pay R1.2 million for the same service provider, depending on the quotes chosen by the tendering committee. He explained that he did not know the people behind TK promotions.

Mr Moemi spoke broadly about corruption, mentioning that this Department had fired officials, some others were suspended, and some were under investigation, especially in the supply chain management section. Criminal cases were laid against certain officials who had awarded tenders based on one quote. Experienced managers from other sections of the Department were deployed to help in the supply chain management division. The Department was busy recruiting because vacancies reflected under-expenditure from the auditing point of view.

Mr Lee also complained that most municipalities regarded sports as a secondary issue even though 15% of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant was supposed to be allocated to sport infrastructure. It was completely incorrect to spend that amount on anything other than sports infrastructure.

Mr Moemi responded that the Department had engaged with the National Treasury in regard to consolidation of the 15% Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) into one fund specifically for sports facilities. National Treasury asked the Department to provide an audit of all the sports facilities that were still needed. Mr Moemi emphasised that the National Sports Facilities Plan was an important pillar of the National Sports Plan, but as yet there was no inventory of the sports facilities in the country. The facilities audit would be finished in 2015. The overall fund would be about R2 billion per annum. He however emphasised that the Department was not ready for the task of building sports facilities, especially when it came to skills development. The National Sports Facilities Plan was set up to ensure an equitable geographical spread of facilities, taking into consideration rural areas and population density.

Ms G Sindane (ANC) felt that the presentation was not very clear or specific on numbers, and although it painted a good overall picture, it was not so clear on the challenges. She also said that the briefing did not really address the strategic plan and outputs enough.

Mr Moemi explained that whilst, at first blush, the briefing might sound as if everything was “hunky dory”, he hastened to add that this was because the Department should celebrate every small victory towards the way sports was run in the country. He admitted that the briefing was sketchy on outputs, but explained also that the Chairperson had asked him to keep the briefing short and not go into too much detail.

He outlined some of the challenges. The funding allocated to the Department was not enough for all the programmes to be carried out. The restructuring process within the Department took too long, because of negotiations with trade unions. Vacancies were being filled to bolster the staff complement. The Department might appear to be under spending, but this was largely because the provinces were not paying their service providers on time. The Federations that were in the red were rescued by the money left behind by others at the end of a financial year.

Mr M Rabotapi (DA) raised his concerns regarding the tennis courts that were built by the National Lottery Fund in schools that were now to be closed by the Department of Basic Education. Some children might be interested in playing tennis but the problem was the unavailability of mentors

Mr Moemi explained that the National Lottery had a chamber for sport promotion, but that chamber was appointed by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). The SRSA had requested a meeting with the dti to present the Sports Plan in its entirety, emphasising its priorities. The SRSA would also ask the National Lotteries Board not to sponsor tournaments haphazardly. He said that the German Government funded the building a multi purpose sports facility in Batho, North West, but then the Sports Trust built a similar sports complex with money from Nedbank just two blocks away, thereby duplicating facilities in one place because there was no overall plan linking the two funders.

The Chairperson said that all sporting federations were complaining about shortage of funds, with the exception of South African Rugby Union (SARU). He agreed that the country needed a sports facilities inventory, and urged the Mr Moemi to give the Committee a preliminary report of facilities inventory. He also mentioned that there were government-owned facilities that were controlled by private clubs, and all those also had to be audited.

Mr Moemi explained that the former Sport Commission had no asset inventory, and most of the equipment was obsolete, something only discovered after the amalgamation. The SRSA would be forced to auction off the ageing equipment, and the proceeds would be insignificant.

Mr Lee raised his concern regarding the continued use of expensive consultants.

Mr Moemi replied that the Department had no problem with the use of consultants, because 90% of work was done by internal personnel.

Mr Lee then asked for clarity around the problems with Boxing South Africa (BSA).

Mr Moemi explained that the SRSA was helping Boxing SA to turn around, and to balance its books. National Treasury said that it could not fund an entity that did not have its house in order, but the Department argued that BSA needed skilled auditors and other qualified finance staff..

The Chairperson asked about the baseline funding of the Department.

Mr Moemi explained that the National Treasury was cutting back the Departmental baseline by 1% per year. He said the Department would try to stick to principles of good governance.

Mr Lee suggested that the Department should ask for money from the National Lottery because the Lottery was set up mainly to fund sports development.

Mr Lee wanted to know if the Department was represented on the BSA Board.

Mr Moemi explained that he sat on the Boxing SA Board, although he was not required by law to do so. This was rather as a courtesy on the part of BSA.

The Chairperson enquired about the recommendations of the Nicholson report on governance at Cricket SA.

Mr Moemi replied that the Nicholson recommendations were taken up by Cricket SA, except for the issue of the board. The report recommended that the Board should have five independent board members and five from Cricket SA. SASCOC was opposed to that, saying that SASCOC,  as an umbrella body, dictated that all board members should come from the sporting federation concerned. The issue of geo-political representation was important to SASCOC because South Africa was composed of nine provinces. Both parties agreed to have a sixteen member board composed of nine SA Cricket representatives and seven independent board members. Mr Moemi mentioned that the Department was considering using this model with all other sports federations.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on issues around Netball South Africa.

Mr Moemi said that the Department had approached the federation with concerns around unprofessional manner in which the code was run. Netball was the biggest female sport in the country, but all the officials were volunteers who were working somewhere else. The Department felt that netball should be structured along professional lines. He then applauded the efforts of the people behind netball in the country for their dedication, because, despite not being professional, they had managed to be ranked fifth in the world. Spar, the sponsor of the National netball team, was benefiting immensely from its association with the sport, and it had also been persuaded by the Department to double its sponsorship for the national teams to include juniors. Mr Moemi mentioned that SRSA had set up the African Netball Diamond Championship, to grow the sport throughout the continent. The tournament had been a huge success, and subsequently South Africa was ranked No 1 in Africa.

The Department then approached the broadcasters like the SABC and Supersport but SABC did not have money to stage the tournament. Supersport said that netball as a sport was not suited for television broadcasting, because a player sometimes had to catch the ball and wait before shooting. In broadcasting terms, that waiting was called wasted airtime, because viewers could change channels, and since advertisers followed viewers it would mean lost revenue. Rules had to be adjusted for the Diamond Challenge. Supersport had subsequently bought the broadcasting rights to all netball tournaments.

Mr Moemi noted that Netball SA could not pay their rent, and the Department therefore declared 2012 as a Year of Netball, and had doubled the grant. The Department set up franchises for the provinces. Netball officials then went to Australia, but came back to say they were not interested in franchising unless all rights were owned by the Federation instead of private entities so that they could pay the players. Basketball, on the other hand, was progressing in selling its provincial franchises. The impasse led to a situation where netball lost its popularity it gained from the Diamond Challenge. When sponsors declined to fund netball, journalists had asked the reason why the Department was not funding the Netball League, to which it had responded that all the other professional leagues – soccer, rugby and cricket – were all funded by the private sector, so it was believed that netball should also follow suit.

The Chairperson asked about the difference between the Australian and South African funding models.

Mr Moemi replied that Australia had a special lottery to fund sport development, Banks funded the Australian Netball League. In South Africa, the banks refused to fund the model under which franchises were owned by the federation. The Australian government support for sport development was relatively large, compared to SA. The private sector spend on sports funding was massive in Australia, because all sporting codes attracted huge crowds and had captive audiences for advertising.

Ms Sindane said that the Committee should invite the Department and Netball SA together for mediation purposes. She added that the Committee should do more research on the matter in preparation for that meeting.

The Chairperson cautioned against undue interference by the Department into internal issues of Federations, saying that he feared they might take the Department to court with a challenge of interference. He said he admired the French way of doing things where the Government was allowed to interfere on issues of national interest.

South African Football Association (SAFA) allegations of match-fixing: update
Mr Moemi mentioned that after the allegations of match-fixing involving the South African national soccer team and other nations, during the friendly matches in the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup, Mr Kirsten Nematandani, President of South African Football Association (SAFA) had been suspended.

A company based in Singapore, known as Sport For You, owned by Mr Perumal Raj, had organised friendly matches for South Africa in the lead-up to the World Cup. It was alleged that referees who were to officiate in those matches were bribed to swing the matches to favour Mr Raj’s betting company. Sport For You also offered to organise friendly matches for Bafana Bafana, at no cost to SAFA, as a gesture of goodwill. The referees had already signed a deal with this Singaporean sports company to decide the winner dubiously. The FIFA Security and Technical Team then found out that those matches were fixed. Mr Raj and Sport For You were also discovered to be a member of the Singapore betting syndicate. Mr Moemi cited an example of a match between South Africa and Guatemala, where the latter were the odds-on favourite, but when South Africa won, a small number of people would be paid out and the rest of the winnings pocketed by the betting syndicate.

South Africa was not part of the global investigation. However, some officials in SAFA approached FIFA to hand over the report, although it was not entirely clear how the report landed with SAFA, prior to the investigation having been finalised. The preliminary findings were that Mr Raj was fixing matches in Norway, and in other codes, like cricket in India. Mr Raj was arrested in Norway and was also wanted in Singapore and India.

The investigation commissioned by SAFA officials was not taken into consideration and the officials concerned were suspended. Adv M Nonkonyane, Vice President of SAFA, suggested a Commission of Inquiry led by a retired Judge, and Mr Nematandani was reinstated.

SASCOC then decided to send the dossier to the Hawks who undertook a forensic report and then asked SAFA to comment on the dossier. Safa claimed that it was unauthorised and declined to comment.

Mr Moemi mentioned that SAFA was R9 million in the red, so it was also officially bankrupt but was disputing  this fact. SASCOC then asked SAFA about the measures taken to remedy the situation, but SAFA had not yet presented its turn around strategy.

The Chairperson said that there were many problems plaguing sports federations in the country. Until all federations in the country had a proper governing structure, and their poor leadership had improved, sports in our country would continue to have problems, and that was perhaps to be expected in any situation where there was a lot of money at stake. He applauded cricket and rugby sporting federations for putting their house in order. All the federations that were experiencing problems needed assistance, because if the Department did withhold funds to bodies like BSA, then they would say that they were unable to fix problems due to shortage of funds and staff. He felt was important to look at the issues case by case.

Adoption of Committee Minutes
The Chairperson went through the minutes of 19 March 2013. After brief discussions, the minutes were adopted without amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.
 

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