The Committee met to consider and adopt report its report on the Department of Sports and Recreation budget and strategic plan for 2013.
Committee Members expressed concern about the reduction of funds allocated to municipalities, sport facilities not being used for its purpose, and a lot of money being spent on sport awards projects. The new programme, which focused on rural areas in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, was supported by the Committee. The Committee approved the report and agreed to refer it to the House for consideration.
The Chairperson welcomed Members to the meeting. After confirming that all Members had copies, the Chairperson asked Members whether they were happy with the agenda of the meeting. He indicated that the main item on agenda was the adoption of the report.
The Chairperson acknowledged apologies from Mr L M Mphahlele (PAC), Mr J McGluwa (ID), Mr B Holomisa (UDM), and Mr N Koornhof (COPE).
Committee Report on Department of Sports and Recreation Strategic Plan 2013
The Chairperson went through the report indicating the main subheadings and pointing out important points to be taken into consideration. He said that, initially, there was no direct reference to sports in the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Committee strongly argued that all catalysts for social change should be included in the NDP. Sport contributed to social cohesion and it was important that it be reflected in the NDP. The priorities of the Department were five directories which were called “programmes”. The Committee was aware that some of the resources mentioned in the report were not used for their intended purposes. The Committee was of the opinion that a lot of money was being spent on sport awards. With respect to requested financial information, the Chairperson said that it looked like the required information had been made available to the Committee.
Mr T Lee (DA) interjected and said that although he was not against sport awards projects, he was of the opinion that the Department was spending a lot of money on them.
The Chairperson requested the Members to ask questions or to comment after the report had been perused. After going through the report, the Chairperson commented on the bullets under Committee Observations resulting from engagements with the Department. He stated that it was an overstatement to indicate that the Annual Performance Plan was excellent. Excellent meant that the plan was beyond “very good”. In every situation and in every government plan, there was always room for improvement. He suggested that the Committee Secretary should find a relative term to replace the word “excellent”. There were no sufficient sport facilities as the report proclaimed. Some sport facilities needed to be improved. Some sports facilities were well maintained while others were not. This was a matter to look into. On the bulletin 3, he said that the 15% paid to municipalities was an issue raised by Mr Lee.
Mr Lee said that points on funds and finances could be given priority.
The Chairperson said that Members should first look at the general observations and then focus on recommendations so as to determine what the Committee’s recommendations to the House should be. As per the report, the Ministry of Sports and Recreation had indicated that it was improving its focus on rural areas.
Mr G MacKenzie (COPE) asked for clarification on points raised about the lotto.
The Chairperson said that lotto was initiated to mainly support sports. The word “causalities” used in the report was not a proper. It was confusing.
Mr Teboho Thebehae, Committee Content Advisor, said that the word was first used by the Committee Researcher.
The Chairperson said that the Boxing South Africa was being financed by the Department. Monitoring and evaluation was therefore important. If there was no monitoring, the Department might spend a lot of money. The audited sports facilities database grounded in geographical information system had already started. More information was needed in relation to the National Sports and Recreation Act (Act No. 110 of 1998). All legislation had unintended consequences. The government was going to try to assist but there were going to be things not effectively covered by the legislation that the federations would exploit and take the government to court. He said that the federations should resolve their matters internally instead of going to court as well as spending a lot of money on litigation. With regard to engaging the Department of Basic Education, the Department was going to speak on general coordination on Thursday, 23 May 2013. Continuous engagement was going to be helpful. The Minister of Sports and Recreation had started to go to the rural areas. He was aware that there were rural children who wanted to excel in sports but they did not have equipment and kits. It was important for the Department to assist in this area.
Mr Lee said that the items on agenda were very important and suggested that points related to funds and finances were very important. It was necessary to always make it the first or last item on the agenda. In so doing, it could be given enough time for consideration.
Mr M Rabotapi (DA) said that moving funds from municipalities was of concern to him. He asked whether the Committee was saying that they were failing. The movements of funds meant that there were allocated there strategically. If the officers at municipalities were failing, the Committee could not take the funds from them but the Committee could see how it could reinforce the municipalities with competent people and remove incompetent ones.
Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) said that 15% of funds was taken from municipalities and returned to the Department. He supported this decision and said that he had visited three places in the Eastern Cape where officials told him that sports facilities were not priority and the money allocated for sports was used to provide other services. This was because people were protesting for services. He had discovered that some sport facilities were not being used for their intended purpose. Recreation facilities were, for example, being used for funerals.
Mr Dikgacwi said that the Department was not taking all funds; it was just taking 15%.
The Chairperson replied that if the municipalities had the required budget and capacity, they were going to perform well, but if they did not have money to pay their workers and they had, for example, 1 million Rand, they would, of course spend it on wages. 15% should be taken to the Department. He strongly felt that the Minister should further engage with the National Treasury on the matter. The Committee should take a stand on this issue to allow Minister to look into other matters. The Department should be encouraged to deal with rural areas. In so doing, it would closely deal with the communities. Some new teachers (with required skills) would be employed to teach sports.
Mr Dikgacwi suggested that the Urban Settlement Development Grant should be used as “rural areas outreach” and should not be restricted to urban areas only. He said that the recommendation in terms of figures should be 5%.
Mr Thebehae said that the rural areas outreach started last year and the Minister and the Department wanted to expand it.
Ms G Tseke (ANC) supported this position and said that the outreach was a new programme.
The Chairperson said that if all the programmes succeeded, South Africa would be a winning nation. He asked members when the Williams sisters would come to South Africa to play Tennis.
The Chairperson moved on to ask Members to adopt the report if they were happy with it. If it was adopted it was going to be signed by the Chairperson and forwarded to the House.
All the Members said that they were happy with the report and there were no objections to it. The Committee Report was adopted.
The Chairperson tabled the minutes dated 14 May 2013 for consideration.
There were no objections and the minutes were approved with no amendments.
The Chairperson said that the report was well drafted and the language was clear and improved. The Committee was well-organised and disciplined. It was the only Committee that 90% of its members attended meetings compared to other Portfolio Committees. He stated that even though members of the DA differed with the ruling party everybody still worked well together. He was happy that they understood what national interest was.
Mr Dikgacwi informed members that Ms M Dube (ANC) had been in hospital and that she has been discharged.
The Chairperson wished her well.
Ms S Sindani (ANC) asked what the Chairperson meant by wishing her well. She said this was a formal announcement. There was a need to send Ms Dube a card containing well wishes from the Committee.
Mr M Rabotapi (DA) suggested that the card should only contain a word “welcome back” because she was no longer in the hospital.
The meeting was adjourned.
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