The Deputy Minister and Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) briefed the Committee on its Organisational review for 2012/13. Members were concerned about the late arrival, not for the first time, of the Director-General, who had been delayed in Bloemfontein, and pointed out that other officials ensured they were on time for Parliamentary meetings even if they flew in the previous evening. This meeting, as a marker of performance of the SRSA, was particularly important. Their comments were noted, and the Deputy Minister, prior to the Director General’s arrival, assured the Committee that no disrespect was intended and noted that he appreciated Members’ concerns.
The organisational plan was presented, albeit briefly, as Members had to attend another session in the House. The Department had identified gaps in spending and was addressing them. It was explained that a number of resources were used, including the White Paper, National Development Plan, government Programme of Action and National Recreation Plan. In this year, the implementation of the National Sports and Recreation Plan had begun, and the SRSA would ensure proper alignment and spending that was linked to achieving transformation scorecards. The National Development Plan recognised the vital and integral role of sports in the development of the State. The National School Sports Programme would focus on capacity building, the School Sports plan and National Schools Tournament. A brief summary was given of the performance under each of the Department’s programmes. There were still challenges around unfilled posts, because of delayed recruitment processes. The SRSA was finalising funding models. Mass Participation programmes, which included school sports, were intended to mobilise communities. Sporting agreements had been signed with various countries and there were various projects initiated, including soccer and rugby fields in George. SRSA had not managed to complete its national database of sports facilities, and was sometimes struggling to obtain information.
Members asked when the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Basic Education would be finalised, asked how the apparent tensions could be resolved, wondered if all stakeholders were being included in sports indabas, but heard that the South African National Boxing Organisation had been advised by its mother body not to participate. Members asked questions about the boxing, netball, swimming and rugby codes and the efforts to promote these sports, and several were concerned that the register of sporting facilities had not been finalised. They emphasised the importance of the SRSA promoting and publicising all sports heroes. A follow-up session would be arranged.
Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) tendered an apology for Ms M Dube (ANC).
Oversight report on North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape
Mr T Thebehae, Content Advisor to the Committee, tabled the oversight report on the Committee’s visits but noted that the Committee was not expected to adopt that report immediately
The Chairperson said that the Report should have one central theme running through it, as this would enable the next Committee to have an evidence base from which they could more easily understand the key challenges, successes and progress.
Members agreed to adopt the report at a later date, after they had been through it in detail.
Consideration and Adoption of Minutes
The Chairperson tabled and asked Members to consider the minutes of the meeting on 20 August.
The Minutes were adopted, without any amendments.
Consideration of the Committee Fourth Term Draft Programme 2013
Mr Thabehae went through the draft Committee programme, page by page, and invited comments from Members.
Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) suggested that the Committee should meet with the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry to discuss issues related to the lotteries funding.
Mr T Lee (DA) supported this suggestion.
The Chairperson agreed to write a letter to the Chairperson of that portfolio committee requesting a meeting between the two committees.
Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) briefing on its Organisational Performance Review 2012/13
Mr Lee asked to be given the reason that the Departmental officials arrived late for the briefing, noting that this was one of the most important dates for the Director General of the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) to observe.
Mr Siyazi Tyamtyam, Departmental official, explained that the Director-General would arrive at 11am. He had been delayed at Bloemfontein Airport whilst waiting for a connecting flight to Cape Town.
Mr Lee said that most of the Director Generals were travelling to Cape Town but they managed to reach Parliament on time for meetings. He commented that it was not the first time that the Director-General had arrived late for a Committee meeting.
Mr Dikgacwi said that the matter was a very serious, and said that this was particularly so since the Department of Sport and Recreation was given ample notice of meetings, to give it time to prepare for them. He was surprised that the Committee continued to experience such problems.
Ms G Sindane (ANC) felt that the Committee was not being taken very seriously by the Department. She said that she understood that the Chairperson had the right to overrule and protect the delegation.
Mr Dikgacwi pointed out that in the case of other departments, their officials flew in a day before the meeting to avoid unnecessary delays.
The Chairperson noted the Committee Members’ concerns.
Ms Sindane suggested that the Chairperson should let the delegation explain for themselves the reasons they were late. She said it was troubling when even political deployees of the ruling party were not taking the Committee very seriously.
Mr Gert Oosthuizen, Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, apologised profusely on behalf of the Department. He also tendered the apologies of the Minister, who was away on another commitment. He emphasised that it was not the intention of the Department to undermine the Committee, but he fully appreciated the concerns of Members. He said he would ensure that similar delays would not recur in the future.
Mr Lee commented that this particular meeting was very important, because it would outline the way in which the money allocated by Parliament was being spent. He drew an analogy that a person should “never be late for his wedding as this showed disrespect for your bride”.
The Deputy Minister proceeded with the briefing on the SRSA’s organisational plan. The Department had done some interrogation and had identified a lot of gaps in spending, as guided by the government Programme of Action, the National Development Plan, the White Paper on Sport and Recreation and the National Recreation Plan. All of this was considered in the context of the Medium Term Economic Framework. The 2012/13 financial year was one in which there would need to be implementation of the National Sports and Recreation Plan. It would have to be aligned so that there was spending on all programmes, and these were in turn linked to the transformation scorecard for all sports.
The National Development Plan recognised the important and integral role that sports would play in building the developmental state. The National School Sports Programme would focus on capacity building, the School Sports plan and National Schools Tournament. National School Championships would take place in Bloemfontein in December 2013.
Mr E Alec Moemi, Director General, Department of Sports and Recreation, who had arrived by this point, noted that the Deputy Minister had essentially set out all the major points. He noted that he was bound by time constraints and thus would touch only on some important points from the slides (see attached presentation).
He outlined that in this financial year, Programme 1: Administration achieved 16 out of 19 objectives. The challenges in this programme included the fact that some vacant posts were not filled, due to unavailability of the selection committees conducting the recruitment process. There was a general disregard for deadlines for submission of inputs.
In Programme 2: Sport Support Services he highlighted the process of finalising new funding models.
Programme 3: Mass Participation included the school sports programme. It was intended to mobilise communities around sports programmes, with the aim of building a healthy nation.
Under Programme 4: International Liaison &Events, Mr Moemi noted that South Africa had signed a number of agreements with New Zealand, Burundi, Lesotho and Australia.
In programme 5, there were a number of projects initiated, including five projects in George for soccer and rugby fields. One challenge had been that the SRSA did not manage to generate the national database of sports facilities. The problems here were largely ascribed to the fact that managers had failed to submit the source of evidence when setting targets, or when supplementary projects were achieved.
Mr Dikgacwi asked when the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) would be finalised.
The Deputy Minister responded that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DBE had been on the pipeline since 1995, since there had been other discussions and understandings even preceding the meetings on the MOU. Many people, however, were pursing an agenda driven by profit and that was sometimes delaying the progress and transformation.
Mr Lee asked the reason why there were tensions between the two departments, and asked what SRSA would be doing to try to address the problem.
Mr Lee also asked whether the SRSA involved all stakeholders in Sports Indabas, especially the boxing fraternity.
The Deputy Minister replied that all stakeholders were involved except for the South African National Boxing Organisation (SANABO). This was apparently because the international mother body felt that the government wanted to take over boxing, and had, in consequence, advised its South African national chapter not to participate. As a result, all SANABO members were barred from taking part in the Sport Indaba. He mentioned that the Indabas that had taken place over the weekend also did not include participation of SANABO. He said it was important to constantly remind people that government's involvement in Sport was meant to unify and achieve progress in sport.
Ms Sindane wanted to know the reasons that boxing had more officials than athletes. She wanted to know what checks and balances were in place when the Chief Executive Officer of Boxing SA was appointed.
Mr Moemi added that the Boxing Indaba had been was meant to help towards the promotion of boxing as a sport, and the Department would hold separate sessions with boxers alone. The boxers were reluctant to speak in the presence of the promoters, because they feared victimisation.
Ms Sindane commented that the presentation had said quite a bit about Netball SA but wanted to have more clarity.
Mr Moemi noted that Netball SA had a league with franchises that were on sale. The Netball League sometimes clashed with the domestic League. The League was wholly owned by Netball SA, and it had been able to suspend the matches for international matches between countries. The SRSA had managed to secure broadcasting rights with Supersport, and were only waiting for funding from the Lotteries Board for this to proceed.
Ms Sindane asked how many facilities were available for swimming.
Mr Moemi said that swimming was a Category one Code amongst the top five, and that meant that it received a greater allocation than those which were not in the same category. He said that some Codes were spoilt as compared to others. For example, 400 metre runners could get medals domestically, when they finished the distance within 10 minutes, although in order to compete at an international level, a finish time of six minutes was needed. For this reason, when it was not properly managed South African could waste a lot of money flying athletes around the world even though they did not stand a chance. Other countries focused on the few who stood a chance. He added that the SRSA did not have a register of sporting facilities.
Mr Lee was concerned about the delays in the sports facilities audit, and asked how the Department would ensure that the sports facilities were not vandalised.
Ms Sindane asked how provinces such as Mpumalanga, where there was no historic rugby heritage amongst black people, were assisted to promote that code. That province had recently had a rugby tournament but the stadium was empty except for the players and coaches.
Mr Dikgacwi asked about the progress so far on the Schools League.
Mr Lee asked what was being done to document and preserve the history of former sports heroes. He then asked Members whether they knew who Eric Majola was, and said that if a Google search was done, there was simply not enough worthwhile, although he was one of the best sportspersons to emerge from South Africa. By contrast, however, a Google search on Naas Botha would reveal full documentation about his sporting career. He was concerned that future generations would not be able to know about former sports heroes who played sports for the love of doing so, without compensation.
Mr Moemi replied that nothing much had been done about the history and legacy of former sports heroes from disadvantaged backgrounds. The SRSA would gather information, intending to set up an online resource. Some Codes had been organising their own sports Halls of Fame. The Department of Arts and Culture felt that museums were more aligned to their Department and the sports Hall of Fame was regarded merely a museum.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would be measuring the Departmental performance in all high impact areas. He noted that regrettably there was no time to continue, since Members were due to attend a House debate on heritage. He apologised to Members who were eager to ask more questions, but he told the Department that the Committee would organise another session before the end of the year.
The meeting was adjourned
- Department of Sport & Recreation presentation: Sport & Recreation South Africa Organisational Performance Review
- Department of Sport: Organisational Performance Review Report Quarter 1: 2013/14 Financial Year
- Department of Sport & Recreation: Executive Summary of Prelimanary Report: Performance Information: 1st Quarter 2013/14 Financia
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