Department of Sport and Recreation 2012/13 Annual Report briefing

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

05 February 2014
Chairperson: Ms M Makgathe (North West, ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) presented its 2012/13 Annual Report to the Committee. It noted that each year it would concentrate on one sporting federation and in this year it had adopted Tennis South Africa, whom it assisted with a turn around strategy. In relation to its own re-organisation, SRSA had had some challenges with the Worker Unions negotiations to get approval for its new organisational structure, since the former structure had been found to be inadequate and inappropriate. It would, in future, have one organogram showing the funded posts, and another with the ideal situation and non-funded posts. Other matters such as the Africa Cup of Nations tournament were highlighted, whose marketing had been delayed by disagreement over who would be broadcasting, but eventually the SABC was agreed upon as broadcaster, rather than the foreign company that Confederation of African Football (CAF) had wanted to use. Because sport in South Africa had contributed immensely to the liberation struggle, with many unsung heroes within the sports movement, SRSA held Sport in the Struggle exhibitions across all nine Provinces, to bring that sporting history to the public. It had changed the way it drew targets with the SASCOC, and had new agreements with that body. SRSA had seven programmes in partnership with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), including one to map all sporting facilities and stadia. In this financial year, the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) was first implemented, although there was not specific budget, but in the next financial year the budget and plans would be fully aligned. SRSA was aware that it needed about R3.6 billion per year, on top of its budget allocation, to implement it fully, so it was doing the implementation on a incremental basis. A Post Graduate Development Programme was being run with the Sector Education and Training Authority, and the participants were encouraged to do their research around NSRP topics. SRSA managed to get 813 volunteers to register for the National Sports Volunteer Corps Programme, and introduced the Big Walk Programme for recreation. It had finalised the National Facilities Plan (NFP), and the R2 billion it would received from National Treasury in April 2015, under the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), could be the “game-changer” for sports facilities roll out. Outdoor community gyms were also rolled out. Its Structured Development Programme was offering broad support to athletes. The Karate Federation was improving on compliance, but there were still problems with Athletics South Africa (ASA). The Minister would shortly be publishing the first barometer on transformation in sport, covering the football, netball, rugby, cricket and athletics as the targeted sporting codes, with other federations to be assessed in due course.

Members expressed several concerns on the situation with the provinces, including how their irregular, fruitless or wasteful expenditure arose, how SRSA could assist to prevent it, what SRSA was doing about Provinces who were not submitting any, or inadequate reports. SRSA stressed the need for the MECs to hold the Heads of Department accountable, as the lack of consequences did not encourage them to be properly accountable. It also noted that whilst money could be withheld, this was not always useful as it could mean that no sport would be pursued at all. Members asked about administration of sport in rural areas, cited certain areas where multi-purpose courts were desperately in need of upgrades, asked about the policy on multi-purpose courts and whether these were sustainable. They asked for more details on the School Sport Bursary Fund and whether it was sustainable. Members were reminded that school sport was only optional, and that although the Department of Basic Education said it encouraged Physical Education, it was not actually a part of the curriculum. Members asked what SRSA was doing to assist with developing sport for those with disabilities. They pointed to the International Move for Health Day and asked if this was offered in all provinces, and promoted also in the rural areas. Members asked what SRSA intended to do to speed up the implementation of the Master and Knowledge Management Systems Plans, how the administration of school sport in rural areas could be improved, which municipalities had been trained in developing, managing and maintaining sport, and if the training offered had measurable results. Members asked for further explanations why SRSA had not achieved the target for using BBBEE-approved service providers, but were pleased to see its internal audit charter, and encouraged this to be used in the provinces. The point was made that conditional grants were often not being used properly, as seen during oversight visits, and in general Members observed that there were many challenges in the implementation of policies properly at district and provincial levels. Members felt that transformation needed to be inculcated right from primary school level, wondered if kits were being handed over to the right schools and if SRSA checked that they had the facilities to play sports, and whether teacher unions were encouraged to urge their members to participate in sports coaching. Members also wondered why some communities were unable to access municipal sporting facilities. SRSA gave comprehensive responses and more background information on these questions, and described its own policies and its interaction with the Department of Basic Education in detail.  

Meeting report

Sport & Recreation SA Annual Report 2012/2013 briefing
Dr Alec Moemi, Director General, Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa, apologised on behalf of the Minister and his Deputy, who were attending a Cabinet Legkotla, in Pretoria. He said there had been a new instruction from National Treasury (NT) that, other than the Director General, all departments should only bring a maximum of three delegates to one meeting in Cape Town. With him today were the Chief Operations Officer, the Chief Director for Strategic Planning and Executive Support and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Dr Moemi said that in the 2012/13 financial year, the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) had regarded Tennis South Africa (TSA) as its prime focus; each financial year SRSA selected a federation, which it then assisted with a turn around strategy and in whom it invested significant amounts of resources. Previously Netball South Africa (NSA) had been the federation of the year, and that the Committee would recall that the previous report had taken the netball theme. In this one, the main theme was tennis.

SRSA still had more or less the same structure except for a few amendments that had been made during that financial year. He said that it seemed possible that SRSA would move to “a blunt structure” where there would be two organograms, one which would be active with active vacancies that would be fully funded. The other would be an ideal, pre-approved structure, but where the vacancies were non-funded. This had arisen out of the SRSA’s organisational review. He said the main challenge for SRSA had been the process with the Worker Unions and the negotiations to get approval for the new organisational structure. SRSA had placed a voluntary moratorium on appointments pending the finalisation of that organisational structure. It had experienced difficulties with filling some vacancies and this had resulted in a very high attrition, since, when people were moving to other jobs, SRSA was unable to replace them as quickly as it was losing them.

Dr Moemi said that 2012/13 was also the year where the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) was first implemented. This alignment had some disjuncture because SRSA was still using the old budget structure, but trying to implement the new priorities. For the 2013/14 financial year the new budget structure had been aligned to the new priorities. SRSA had ironed out most of the difficulties the sector had experienced, including streamlining the work of SRSA with that of SASCOC. Previously SRSA granted SASCOC funding of about R12 million a year. As that was in a cycle of four years, SASCOC, by the Olympic year, would have already received about R48 million to prepare Team SA.

SRSA was previously in no shape or position to dictate to SASCOC how many medals it should win, and it had to wait for SASCOC to say how many medals it would return with. That had, however, now changed as could be seen from the targets set in the current agreements with SASCOC. SRSA had identified seven programmes where it would partner with the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). One of those programs was the Scientific Support Programme and another was the Geographic Information System (GIS) programme, which would map all the sporting facilities and stadia.

SRSA currently knew that for it to implement the NSRP completely, it needed about R3.6 billion every year, on top of its budget allocation. Therefore SRSA was implementing the plan on an incremental basis, choosing certain priorities that it would have to implement first, and selecting what would have to stay behind for later years. Dr Moemi said that Confederation of African Football (CAF) had wanted to use a company called Media Pro, a subsidiary of Sports Five, its media partner, to broadcast the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament. In principle, SRSA had some difficulty with that for SRSA was being requested to take taxpayers’ money and pay CAF to pay Media Pro, a European company, for services that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) had capacity to offer. That had resulted in a major disagreement, which was  the reason for the delay in marketing the AFCON, but it was eventually, resolved with SABC being the broadcaster.

The Post Graduate Development Programme was the first programme that SRSA ran with the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) for post graduate studies in SA sports. There were very few Masters and Doctoral enrolments in all the tertiary institutions that offered Sports Management in SA, as there was very little interest. He said that SRSA had encouraged the students who had become part of the SRSA post graduate programme to select from topics contained in the NSRP, largely school sport. Certain deviations which were allowed were for example, research around the youth camps that SRSA ran around the country. SRSA had exceeded its target of 300 volunteers for the National Sports Volunteer Corps Programme by 513, with a total of 813 volunteers registered on the programme. SRSA had introduced the Big Walk, a programme around recreation where eight provinces had participated.

The South African Sport and Recreation Conference (SASRECON) at Tshwane, which was attended by about 300 participants, had focused on the NSRP and its implementation.

Dr Moemi said that sport in South Africa had contributed immensely to the liberation struggle, with many unsung heroes within the sports movement. SRSA had held the Sport in the Struggle exhibitions across all nine provinces, to bring that sporting history to the public. Through that programme, SRSA had recently discovered Jake Thuli, a boxer in the 1950s, who was the first black man to win the Empire title, which was a forerunner to the Commonwealth Games. SRSA had finalised the National Facilities Plan (NFP), and the tier one facilities had started being rolled out. SRSA would be given R2 billion by National Treasury in April 2015, under the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), and believed that this could be the “game-changer” for sports facilities roll out. SRSA had signed an agreement with Wide Open Spaces where it was piloting 12 recreational centres in Gauteng, in anticipation of the MIG. It had also started rolling out the outdoor community gyms in the financial year under review.

In its Structured Development Programme, SRSA had started supporting athletes according to their needs, not only in the financial arena. SRSA had scored three in terms of the Management and Performance Assessment Tool (MPAT) rating, one of only five other state departments with this score.

SRSA, each February, held a joint retreat with SABC Sport where it presented all its programmes to them. All directors in SRSA were risk owners and SRSA had done that to try and achieve a clean audit for the 2012/13 financial year.

Although the karate federation was improving on its compliance to receive funding from SRSA, Athletics South Africa (ASA) was becoming worse, and the SRSA foresaw many challenges there, in the future. Dr Moemi said the Minister of Sport and Recreation would soon publish the first barometer on transformation in sport, covering the football, netball, rugby, cricket and athletics as the targeted sporting codes. He said that as the working formula had been established, the other federations would be assessed in due course. Finally, he concluded that SRSA tried not to overspend, but also tried to spend as much of its budget as possible.

The Chairperson said that the Committee understood that SRSA’s mandate was to develop policies and frameworks for provinces, but stressed that the main drivers were the provinces. That meant that the language the Committee was going to use would be different from SRSA’s language, as Members of the Committee represented their provinces in this Committee.

Ms M Moshodi (Free State, ANC) wanted to know whether, the Minister’s School Sport Bursary Fund would receive an appropriation from SRSA’s general budget or was funded from the Minister’s office. She further questioned if it was sustainable. She wanted to know if SRSA budgeted for facilities in rural schools or were those dependent on sponsorships. She wondered, in regard to staffing, if SRSA had employed unqualified individuals at some stage, and where those staff undergoing training were being moved. She wanted to know the state of sports the Free State provinces. Finally, she pointed out that for the past three years the provincial sports Departments of the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and the North West had been receiving qualified audits, and wanted to know what SRSA had done to help those provinces address those issues.

Ms D Rantho (Eastern Cape, ANC) said that the school where she had once taught had a multi-purpose court, which was largely used for netball. She questioned if it was in fact useful to have a multi-purpose court yet for one sport to have preference, and what the maintenance implications of that were. She asked whether, in the case of federations performing well, SRSA would lift its focus and then focus rather on the federations that were struggling. She asked about SRSA’s strategy on provinces that were not submitting reports, or where reports that were submitted did  not meet SRSA’s criteria. She asked if the provinces were assisting SRSA with developing sports among people with disabilities. Finally, she asked, in view of the fact that SRSA had an International Move for Health Day in Langa, Cape Town, there were other National Move for Health Day programmes specifically targeted at rural areas.

Ms R Rasmeni (North West, ANC) wanted to know the causes of the irregular and fruitless expenditure  within provinces and asked how SRSA was assisting provinces in addressing those issues? She noted that North West seemed to be regressing in terms of audit opinions, and asked if and how SRSA was helping Provinces not to regress. Ms Rasmeni pointed out that both the Master and Knowledge Management Systems Plans had not been achieved, and asked what mechanisms SRSA intended to put in place to speed up and improve that process. She asked how the administration of school sport was doing in rural areas, what challenges and achievements SRSA had experienced there. She asked SRSA to provide information on which municipalities had been trained in developing, managing and maintaining sport, whether these municipalities had succeeded in implementing those targets, and if SRSA noticed any changes since the training.

Ms M Boroto (Mpumalanga, ANC) thanked SRSA for its practicality in keeping its promises to her province. She wanted clarity on the statement that “the discrepancy was caused by payments that were made to high performance institutions that are not classified, although they are state institutions” which was made when SRSA noted that it had not reached its target of having 70% Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) service providers. She applauded SRSA’s internal audit charter, which she wished could be transferred to provinces, as she felt that would help the provinces to avoid qualified audit outcomes. She too was interested in how SRSA was dealing with those federations that did not submit documentation. She was also concerned that school sport was not progressing as well as expected, despite the conditional grants that were given to districts and provinces. She suggested that possibly conditional grants needed to be deferred, because it was of concern to her that when the Committee had visited the districts it had found that such grants were not being utilised properly, but re-routed to other areas. She also asked for a breakdown of educators who had undergone training, and the learners that had participated in the SRSA competitions. She said that the Committee was aware of SRSA efforts at national level, to make policies that were targeted at women and people with disabilities, but asked whether it was monitoring the implementation at lower provincial and district levels.

The Chairperson said that it was clear from Members’ questions that there were challenges in implementation of SRSA policies still at provincial and district levels. She asked how far SRSA had engaged with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in making sure that physical education became a curriculum subject. She felt that the idea of transformation needed to be inculcated from primary school, and this involved a change of mind set, so that public and township schools did not only offer soccer or netball as sporting codes. Since most of SRSA’s budget went to provinces, she wondered if it was doing profiling and ensuring that it was not handing over kits and other equipment to schools that did not even have facilities to use that equipment. She also asked whether SRSA had engaged with teacher unions to plead with their members in public schools to make themselves available for after school sport and recreation with learners, without raising the long standing refrain that those hours were seen as overtime. She also said that the state needed to engage municipalities on why, even though they had facilities, communities within those municipalities were not allowed access.

Dr Moemi said that the school sport bursary was called the Minister’s School Sport Bursary, even though it was not under the Minister’s Office allocation. It was part of the school sport programme within SRSA. SRSA had classified schools into three categories, and one of those was the “generalist school”, where the School Governing Body (SGB) decided what sport would be played, in line with the prescripts of the South African Schools Act (SASA). Once that decision had been made, SRSA could only make suggestions or encourage the schools to play other sports, other than soccer or netball. In general, SRSA left those decisions to the School Governing Bodies. Generally, in the private schools there could be eight codes being played, whereas in township schools there would be two codes, which were typically football and netball. That was a historical fact, as SGBs inherited and endorsed what they found, and even if they wanted to change the status quo, it was often difficult, as possibly the new sporting codes would have no facilities to be developed on.

He explained that there were also 53 regional support schools across South Africa. Those schools were blessed with facilities and had rich histories of playing sports. SRSA encouraged those schools to share their facilities with other schools close by, through outreach programmes. Additionally, those schools were supposed to host district tournaments. Most of these schools were public schools, but the majority had been former model C schools. The biggest challenge with those schools was their lament that their maintenance budgets could only cover their basic needs. SRSA had come up with a model whereby those schools could get an annual maintenance grant. The SGBs would have to pass a resolution agreeing to the schools being regional support schools, and sign the agreement with SRSA, and then would receive an annual grant of R150 000 per year per school, for maintenance and outreach programmes. That programme was still to be established and would be initiated with the schools in March 2014.

Dr Moemi added that at the top of that system, were sport focus schools, and those were not necessarily chosen by region or district, but were sporting code targeted schools. SRSA had prioritised 16 codes. The country needed 870 of such schools at minimum, but currently there were only 340 such schools. SRSA had decided that for each sporting code, selected from the 16, each province had to have two schools focusing on one code, for example tennis. Additionally that school needed to have already a tennis court, a tennis coach and educator. There also needed to be residential facilities, because all children selected from within that province to play tennis would be sent to that school.

Dr Moemi said that SRSA could not build swimming pools for every school, but it could build ten Olympic size swimming pools in at least two schools per Province. This would boost the level of competition at such schools, because “the best of the best” within Provinces would be sent there. SRSA had begun accrediting such schools, but he reiterated that it would have to work with the federations. Those that were quick off the mark, like hockey, had had all its 18 schools accredited. Rugby had had 78 schools accredited and cricket had 47 schools accredited. There were other federations where, despite the fact that there were many schools partaking in the sports, there was no specific sport-focus schools, for example soccer. The issue there was that SRSA could not impose the schools on the federation. SRSA had to agree with the federation on the schools, and only after that could there be engagement with the principals of those schools. It was up to the principal then t raise the issue with the SGB, who would have to agree that, although there would be other sporting codes offered, the priority would be, for instance, on soccer. It was not an easy process to get the governing body's approval, particularly when Department of Basic Education (DBE) was not pulling its weight in engaging governing bodies in support of SRSA.

The learners who came to the National Championships were selected by talent scouts who were employed by the federations. SRSA’s stipulation was that for each game there needed to be three scouts watching the game, who must agree and score a particular learner above 70, for that learner to be identified as a talented person. If two out of the three scouts selected a learner, that learner would not be considered for the bursary. He emphasised that the 14 learners who had been selected to receive bursaries had gone through rigorous selection processes. Once identified, those learners would get the necessary support through the bursary, but they had to attend a sport focus school that focused on his/her particular sport. Those schools, of course, had all the necessary equipment to support those learners. SRSA thought the bursary was indeed sustainable, because in terms of the Sport Academy system, sport focus schools were the entry level to the academic system. That would be the first time a learner was getting exposed to high levels of coaching and proper equipment, and that resulted from the fact that the learner already showed intrinsic talent. The bursary emphasised sporting excellence and average grades in class and progress at school.

Dr Moemi said that unqualified persons working in government were found across all departments, because most offices had “inherited” people who had got into the system in some or other way. Certain people had come in through the Ministerial Handbook, with no qualification requirements. It would sometimes happen that as a Minister was leaving s/he would plead with the incoming Minister to look after these people, but the incoming Minister would not want them, and they tended to become the burden of the SRSA, whilst the new Minister would bring in his or her own chosen “handbook officials”. This cycle would repeat itself. SRSA had then resolved to rather train those officials and to redeploy them where they could be useful. He said that in many instances those officials came in at high notches, despite the fact that they were less qualified than their juniors, and that had caused unhappiness at SRSA. Management was trying to find a balance.

Dr Moemi said the Free State was largely doing well in school sport, as it was quite organised and had received a clean audit from an accountability standpoint. In regard to the audit qualifications in the other provinces, Dr Moemi said that management at SRSA had been discussing whether sport should continue being a concurrent function. He explained that, for instance, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development had regional offices which abided to a common structure, culture, institutional capacity and values. However, the same did not apply to the SRSA, for the provinces were the delivery agents for sport. He quipped that SRSA was essentially “an ATM”, transferring funds, but when those funds arrived at provincial level, because that was another sphere of government, SRSA had no direct say in how they were spent. At the beginning of the 2012/13 financial year, SRSA was in dispute with the Premier of Mpumalanga over the Division of Revenue Act (DoRA) Grant Framework. The MEC, as long as he/she was in that office, could take the funds from SRSA and spend it all on facilities in only two districts if s/he so chose. SRSA had written to the Head of Department (HOD) to say that if she proceeded as per the Premier’s instructions, SRSA would press charges as it was essentially breaking the prescripts of the law. Eventually Mpumalanga Province had accepted that it must follow the conditions of SRSA in relation to the grant. Dr Moemi said that the only control he had on grants, was to set conditions. If, however, it was made a specific condition that provinces must  get an unqualified audit opinion, it would result in any who got qualified audit opinions not in fact receiving any grants in the following financial year, and that was self-defeating for essentially the provinces would not be able to move forward on sport without the benefit of the grants. If, for instance, three provinces were disqualified, the remaining six would receive more, but there would be no sport in the three. It was important to raise the matter at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), because in fact there were only three provinces – Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Free State - that budgeted for sports from their own equitable share. The other six were entirely dependent on the SRSA grant, and without that grant, there would be no sports offered in those provinces. Although from a theoretical stance, sport was a concurrent function, meaning that the various provincial treasuries also had to budget for it, in practice this was not happening. This issue had to be taken up with the treasuries, the Premiers and MECs for Finance in provinces, as that was a serious setback.

Dr Moemi confirmed that SRSA encouraged multi-purpose courts, which was why it was also rolling out multi-purpose courts, and those of SRSA could accommodate at least five sporting codes. Dr Moemi said that the answer to their success lay in a sporting code schedule, where the educator needed to assign days and hours for specific codes, for example netball on Tuesday afternoon, followed by basketball, and Thursday being devoted firstly to tennis, then volleyball. All those codes could be played on the same surface using different lines. That saved money and time, and, whilst also accelerated the roll out time, also encouraged five alternative codes almost instantly. SRSA had researched extensively, with the Sports Trust, a surface which, laid outside, could last for 25 years, with the only maintenance required being sweeping of the court to keep it clean, and repainting the lines every five years. If that court was put indoors, the lines could stay intact for a good 30 years without repainting. Additionally the courts were designed in such a way that they could cushion knees and joints. SRSA had chosen those courts because they only cost R1 million each in comparison to the R3.2 million it would have cost to lay three different courts for netball, tennis and volleyball. The only other consideration was that as part of teacher training as sports coaches, these teachers also needed to be trained in basic sport administration, such as making suitable rosters for the sporting codes that also took into account the length of the school day and when learner transport would depart.

Dr Moemi then moved to the questions on federations. SRSA had only a certain amount that it could do to assist in supporting them administratively. Governments across the world were struggling with the interpretation of the balance between the so-called “interference” and “intervention”. When federations needed money from SRSA and SRSA agreed to pay their debts, they would describe this as “decisive intervention”. However, if there were disputes over money or reporting, federations claimed that SRSA was “interfering”. Since South Africa was signatory to the Olympic Charter, it said that administration of sport should be left outside of Government, and the current situation where there were Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and directors of federations achieved that. SRSA had needed at times to intervene – one example being Athletics South Africa (ASA) where the new executives claimed to be “the best thing to ever happen to that federation”. However, soon afterwards, there were allegations that these executives had bought themselves huge saloon cars, and were paying themselves bonuses undeservedly. Currently, SRSA was engaged in a dispute with the ASA chairman, and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). SRSA wanted to investigate, but the IAAF said it would suspend South Africa from international athletics if this happened. A similar problem had arisen with South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), when the Minister wanted to investigate allegations about match fixing, but FIFA had objected. SRSA always worked better with federations that asked and welcomed assistance, for example Basketball South Africa (BSA), which had asked for help. Through the SRSA efforts, BSA was even able to start a professional league.

Dr Moemi responded to questions as to what could be done to get provinces to comply, and repeated that the only strategy that SRSA could use against non-compliant Provinces was to withhold the transfer of funding. It had done so to non-compliant provinces in the third quarter of the 2012/13 financial year, which had resulted in several calls and promises to now comply to the Chief Financial Officer of SRSA, when the provinces realised that their money had not come through.

Answering questions on disability, Dr Moemi said that SRSA had consciously taken a decision not to have a target in regard to a separate tournament for people with disabilities. He said that out of the 3 718 participants in the National Schools Sport Championship held in the 2012/13 financial year, 23% were learners with special needs. SRSA did have a compulsory criteria that in all sporting activities, there should be inclusion of people with disabilities. One of its major policy interventions was to have funding for athletes with special needs. He reminded the Committee that after the Paralympics, the Minister had promised para-athletes similar rewards to those of able bodied athletes. SRSA had also implemented that in the 2012/13 financial year.

SRSA had proposed to Cabinet that the first Friday of October 2014 be declared National Day for Recreation. It would not be a public holiday, but SRSA was encouraging cooperates and schools to do recreational activities on that day. It would continue observing International Move for Health Day, but that was an event where all United Nations affiliated countries were expected to engage in recreational activities in their own countries. The day that it was held happened to have coincided with the Minister of Sport and Recreation’s budget speech, which was to be tabled the following day in Cape Town. The National Day for Recreation event would rotate every year as it was done in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH).

Speaking again on the challenges around qualified audits and problems in provinces, Dr Moemi said that there were accounting officers in provinces, and all that the MECs had to do was to charge the Heads of Department (HODs) there. He said that he was quite scrupulous to avoid having any fruitless and wasteful expenditure at the national office, because this could result in the Minister charging him as the accounting officer. However, in provinces where the HODs were well aware that the MEC was unlikely to act, they were not concerned and therefore did not worry overmuch about accountability. He said that he still maintained that every agreement made must be honoured and no matter how many times an MEC might change, the basic deliverables should be honoured. He had had instances where MECs were saying that they were not prepared to honour agreements signed by their predecessors, but he noted that in this case he believed he would be justified in withholding grants because the State had to work with succession in mind.

Dr Moemi explained that part of the seven programmes that SRSA was doing with CSIR included the knowledge management system, which was at an advanced stage at that moment. He said the information should be applied to achieve the goals of SRSA, and that was the purpose of commissioning the system.

Dr Moemi said that SRSA had admitted that it had challenges in the administration of school sport in rural areas. It had done an analysis, at the end of the 2013 School Sport Championship, on the profile of the schools coming to the Championship. He reminded the Committee that school sport was still optional in South Africa, and SRSA was thus bound by the South African Schools Act. In Up to 1994, school sport had been compulsory but the current SA Schools Act said that a parent must authorize the child’s participation in school sports. In private schools, at the beginning of each year, the parent would be told about the school’s policy, including the SGB’s decision on what sporting codes would be played. Five summer codes and five winter codes were offered, and the parent would be given a form to complete, choosing two summer and one winter code. If the form was not returned, the child would not be accepted, because the SGB, representing the parents, had already ruled that sport was compulsory. In public schools, however, this had not worked because a child was not obliged to play sport. That had been a big challenge. An opt-in system was used in rural schools, where SRSA would issue a call for all schools to come and register for the league in 2014. Schools had to fill out and submit the form, and each year SRSA had 14 volunteers sitting with DBE to capture all schools that wanted to partake in the league. In the first year of the league, SRSA had 15 000 of the 24 000 schools playing in the league. There were 18 000 schools playing in 2013, the majority urban based. The few rural schools that came typically played football, and it was notable that these youngsters showed great tenacity. They had no apparel and were training on dusty pitches with no shoes, yet when they attended the district tournaments they generally beat their urban- based counterparts. A very few of these children somehow made it to provincial level and eventually National level – and that was illustrative of the oddness and the disjuncture in the system in the country. SRSA knew it had to send more facilities to rural areas. It was found that rural educators were the most committed to being trained, as they always were the first ones to volunteer to receive coaching training.

When SRSA did the School Sport Programme, it had involved all teacher unions and DBE. SRSA was not always seeing eye-to-eye with DBE in the past, and the Minister of DBE had felt that DBE needed to engage with the unions first. There had been a “gentleman’s agreement” between Dr Moemi and the currently-suspended Director-General of DBE, Mr Bobby Soobrayan, to the effect that the latter understood the concerns of SRSA, but nonetheless DBE’s main priority was matric results. Mr Soobrayan had said he would open the gates slowly. However, at least that agreement had allowed SRSA to move ahead, because there was historical contestation over whether school sport lay with SRSA or DBE. Since the new policy shift, SRSA had decided to donate and place facilities at schools, rather than in communities, even though those schools did not fall under SRSA. SRSA did not really mind who was leading school sport, as long as it was happening. He emphasised that the entire NSRP hinged on school sport, because if SRSA failed at school sport, nothing, including transformation, would be achieved.

Even with the meagre resources it had, SRSA had managed to register 18 000 schools for the league, of whom 11 000 actually ended up partaking (although this was an estimate, as the schools, districts and provinces were “not ardent record keepers”). Provincial departments sent their officials to districts, who conducted tournaments on a particular Saturday. However, they were currently only recording the winners, although SRSA wanted to know who partook and who lost. If a school was eliminated around March, that school still needed to continue playing throughout the year, and should continue to take part in local sport festivals, but that was not happening much. In 2013 SRSA had sent its national managers across all nine Provinces to check that indeed the provincial tournaments, with their eliminations, were happening. SRSA commended Mpumalanga for holding one of the most organised tournaments, and said that KwaZulu Natal had a very big tournament. SRSA was going to start monitoring the districts and the provincial tournaments as well, in 2014.

Dr Moemi conceded that SRSA was not doing so well in investing money at the most basic levels nor was there enough marketing for the district or the provincial tournaments, but they were taking place. SRSA was massively marketing the National Tournament, which, for the first time, had been broadcast on SABC sport. SRSA had an understanding of its limitations, but emphasized that if a principal of a school did not sign his or her school up for participation, then SRSA could not force the principal to do so.

In answer to the question around the targets for BBBEE, Dr Moemi explained that universities, even though paid by SRSA, were not regarded as BBBEE. They were the only state entities with high performance equipment, but SRSA was not supposed to count their BBBEE scores. If it had done so, it would have achieved higher than the 46% BBBEE targets on service providers appointed by SRSA. The portion that SRSA was paying to universities for high performance athletes was very high.

Dr Moemi said that SRSA had, and could provide breakdowns for, educators that had undergone coaching training, and participating learners. SRSA had indeed trained facilities managers and it had seen changes in municipalities. SRSA had called a meeting with the managers of the World Cup Stadia to understand what their problems were and had also held special training for facilities managers, including basics like drawing rosters for when to water pitches, cut grass and so forth, and there were improvements even in the secondary stadia. Smaller municipalities had also been targeted for similar programmes.

Dr Moemi confirmed that access to facilities was a problem because facilities belonged to municipalities, who had the prerogative whether to provide them for free for certain events and on certain days, provided communities booked ahead of time. Some, like the City of Cape Town, which rented all its facilities, and the OR Tambo Sports and Recreational Centre in Khayelitsha cost R7 800 per day. SRSA had been engaging with the City of Cape Town and a resolution of the Municipal Conference of Sport and Recreation was that at least on one day a week, there should be no charge for use of facilities. All municipalities had adopted that resolution, and SRSA must check whether that had been translated into municipal by-laws and was actually happening. Municipalities must honour that undertaking, providing facilities had been booked.

The issue of equipment distribution hinged on the fact that SRSA had to supply a school, based on what its SGB had voted as the schools sporting code.

Dr Moemi said that there was no Physical Education (PE) provided for currently in the SA school curriculum, but the DBE insisted that it was happening. SRSA said it wanted to have it listed as a separate subject, but DBE said that to reintroduce it formally would cost about R4 billion, for which it did not have the budget, since DBE would have to train new educators, retrain those already in the system and have all of them as dedicated PE teachers. Currently PE was taught as part of Life Orientation. Schools apparently had the choice of when PE would be taught, but experience told SRSA was not the case. SRSA maintained that the three pillars of a successful school sport programme included PE as one pillar, but sports under the PE model was only one of about nine modules. In the past, learners were encouraged to do squats and jumps, and encouraged to play games in the playground, which were essentially sports training.  

Ms Sumayya Khan, Chief Operations Officer, SRSA, said that SRSA had a very prescriptive grant framework saying how Provinces could spend the grant. SRSA sent out a team made up of the Mass Participation Unit and the Internal Audit Unit to do monitoring in Provinces, checking whether provinces were delivering according to their business plans. Additionally, the provinces were required to submit quarterly reports, with a portfolio of evidence, on activities and workshops carried out, with attendance registers and pamphlets and photos. Site visits were very important to SRSA, for it had, in one instance, discovered that an individual who was supposed to be a Mass Participation Hub Coordinator to coach volleyball had merely erected two poles outside his house, using his family members as participation. The internal audit unit looked at the financial statements to make sure the funding was spent on its intended targets.

The SRSA Annual Performance Plan catered for the conditional grant and special entities separately, and SRSA had to ensure that it delivered on all the targets. Previously, it had depended on Provinces, which was a challenge, because when provinces did not deliver, then SRSA would get a bad audit opinion.

The Chairperson repeated what she had said earlier about key implementers, and the ill-fitting distribution methods of just handing over equipment without sports grounds. She said it was high time SRSA consulted ordinary citizens at provincial level, without necessarily involving their provincial counterparts, because that was how SRSA would get the truth. The Committee had raised the issue of SGBs with DBE previously, and she felt it untenable for the State to say its hands were tied on that issue, because of the School Sports Act and said it was being raised as an artificial barrier. The Committee had found that many SGB members were unqualified. She wondered if the MOU between SRSA and DBE was merely a formality, and commented that it would have been useful to get both departments present at the same meeting.

Ms Rantho commented that it would be excellent if the local leagues could be marketed all the way deep into the rural areas, because she was aware that there was a local league in Aliwal North, Eastern Cape. She too lamented the failures of provincial sporting officials. She urged SRSA to look seriously into the sporting system in Eastern Cape, and said that walls around the existing combination courts were falling apart, and even a R50 000 donation from SRSA would go a long way in reviving sport, particularly in Sterkstroom.

The Chairperson noted appreciation for the progress achieved, but still felt that far more needed to be achieved in the provinces.

The meeting was adjourned.


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