The Department of Sports and Recreation, with the Minister and Deputy Minister also present, tabled its Annual Performance Plan (APP) and the five-year Strategic Plan to the Committee. It was stressed that this was in alignment with the National Development Plan and there was an emphasis placed on the small budget of the Department and consequent limitation of the activities it was able to undertake. The Minister of Sport and Recreation gave a brief overview of the achievements, noting the clean audit report, and the efforts to transformation, which included setting up the Eminent Persons Group, and the signature of transformatory agreements in some sporting codes. However, there was still a need to achieve more equity, particularly by encouraging sport in all schools, and teaching the history of sport, as well as setting up a Hall of Fame. Physical education must be implemented as a subject in all school curricula. A National Training Centre in Bloemfontein was selecting and training athletes and a Ministerial Sports Bursary allowed for talented children to be moved to sports-focused schools. He also mentioned the limitations of the budget and said that the Ministry was investigating more ways to raise funding, including the introduction of a ticketing levy, which would not raise ticket prices to the public but would ensure direct funding, leveraging Lotto funding and introducing taxes on alcohol and cigarettes
The Department's presentation set out the five key strategic goals - of sound administration, having an Active Nation, a Winning Nation, maximising sport support and setting good sport infrastructure. Strategic workshops had been held in 2011, and these developed into a White Paper, presented to an approved by Parliament, but the reality was that no specific funding had been allocated and so SRSA had only been able to implement portions incrementally. Lotto funding was used to optimise the budget and was beginning the process of funding streams. The SRSA continued with its general vision and mission, and continued to try to promote mass participation in sport, not least to identify the talented athletes of the future. SRSA had begun to roll out recreational facilities such as children's play parks and emphasised the importance and impact also of outside gyms. The goals for the current year were to achieve a 10% annual increase in citizen's access to sport and recreation, continue with transformation efforts, with 8% of codes meeting transformation targets by 2019, encourage athletes to achieve international success, use enabling mechanisms such as a Sports House and better sports broadcasting, and using sport as a tool to support government. On the goal that South Africa should be an active nation, there was discussion on creating a National Recreation Day on the first Friday of October. The Department would run national championships. Finally, the SRSA noted that the equitable share formula for provinces could cause disadvantages in terms of sports allocations and the SRSA took this into account when distributing its own allocations. It would try to ring-fence portions of the budget so that it would be spent on sport.
Mr Groenewald (DA, North West) expressed concern that the SRSA had a very small budget Members asked for more details on programmes due to be delivered. Several Members expressed concerns about the budget but wondered why the SRSA was still paying money to municipalities despite proof that the money was not being spent on promotion of sport. They appreciated the efforts to transformation but called for more attention to the structures so that achievements in sport would be spread more evenly across the provinces. Members suggested more emphasis on training youth, particularly since sport was conducive to instilling discipline and social cohesion. More details were requested on the Hall of Fame, the play parks, and clarification was required on cage fighting. Members asked about partnerships with the Department of Arts and Culture, requested the numbers of sporting codes and the support that government offered to professional sportspeople. Problems with boxers still not getting their winnings were highlighted, and details of schemes for sports federations were requested. Some of the questions stood over for written responses.
Chairperson's opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed both Mr Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Sport and Recreation and Mr Gert Oosthuizen, Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, appreciating their effort to attend this meeting despite their other obligations. She commented that when departments drew Annual Performance Plans (APPs), they must take into account the National Development Plan (NDP), laws, bills, regulations and other instruments. She specifically commented that the budget allocations to the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA or the Department) was extremely small in comparison to its wide mandate, which posed a challenge from the outset.
She noted an apology from the Chairperson of the Select Committee on Social Services.
Department of Sport and Recreation Strategic and Annual Plans 2015
Ms T Mampuru (ANC, Limpopo) enquired why there were only four people from the Department at the meeting.
Minister Mbalula responded that in terms of the National Treasury guidelines on cost-savings, a maximum of three members from a department was permitted to travel to Parliament at any one time. The Ministry of Sport and Recreation stipulated that only the most necessary members come to the meeting. He promised that this would not affect the quality of the presentation or information provided, nor the responses.
The Minister made some introductory remarks. He explained the new concept of clean audits and said that the SRSA had achieved clean audits across the board. He agreed with the earlier remark of the Chairperson that funding was always a problem, particularly with so many competing priorities, and that although sport was said to be very important for the nation, the budget allocated to it remained very small. The Minister was advocating for a new Sport Ticket levy, which would not raise ticket prices to the public but would ensure that a greater percentage of the price would go directly to the government, to be spent directly on sport development. Overall, it was clear that a greater budget allocation was necessary to meet the requirements of the National Development Plan framework, where the budget had been originally outlined.
The Minister stated that SRSA had made a lot of progress, particularly with transformation. An Eminent Persons Group had been set-up. There was evidence of big results in the "Big Five", there had been signature of an agreement on transformation, in terms of cricket, rugby and other sports. He mentioned that this area had arisen in the discourse of the Ministers' Council and this was a positive step towards engaging with what the SRSA wanted to achieve.
SRSA found itself in a position where failure to achieve targets would have certain distinct consequences, but this could be seen as something positive, as it incentivised the Department to meet goals.
The Department had been trying to get the federations to get involved in transformation, talking about the history of South Africa as a strong nation. He felt that they needed to level the playing field in order to address equity, equality and access. He contrasted townships and suburbs as an example that sport should be played everywhere, not just from a select group of schools in the country, and transformation was a way to achieve this. He also stressed the importance of teaching the history of sport in South Africa with more emphasis on pre-apartheid history, and specifically highlighting achievements of South Africans in sport. He advocated for a hall of fame in football, similar to the rugby museum.
The Minister stressed that Physical Education must be a core subject in the school curriculum. This was not currently being implemented, but he hoped to see this improve over the coming year.
The Minister highlighted the existence of the National Training Centre in Bloemfontein. Athletes would be selected here, including those selected for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He also mentioned the Ministerial Sports Bursary, which would allow for children to be transferred to sports focused schools.
The SRSA no longer had its previous Chief Financial Officer and had also lost some other staff members, but the SRSA was looking to find candidates for all vacant positions.
Mr M Khawula (IFP, KwaZulu-Natal) wanted to know about some of the programmes that had been promised to be delivered the previous year. He felt that there had been little progress.
Mr H Groenewald (DA, North West) wished to congratulate the Department on its clean audit report. He asked why the SRSA was putting funds into municipalities and allowing them to be in charge of development, for there was continuing evidence that this money was not in fact being spent on sports. He was sure that there was a better way to achieve the aims within the communities. He pointed out that there were sporting facilities in the better suburbs but wanted to see far more development in the poorer communities.
Mr Groenewald had a positive view of the efforts made in terms of transformation, though he called for more attention to the structures so that there was more sporting achievement spread evenly across the provinces rather than seeing it only in a select few.
Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA, Western Cape) felt that there should be a greater emphasis on youth who were ‘the cornerstone of our society’. She felt that sport was a good way of instilling discipline, which was of utmost importance, as well as social cohesion. She commented that sport would be the future of the country and was concerned that the Department had been overlooked in terms of the budget allocated to it. She asked what this Committee could do to assist. She echoed concerns that there were so few staff present at this meeting, but also commented that she believed the Department was under-staffed and it would be unfortunate if its members were under undue stress.
The Chairperson was encouraged by the clean audit report, and hoped that the DPE would be able to find an equally competent person to fill the CFO job. She also shared her appreciation of the efforts made on transformation, saying it was important to widen the network and create greater opportunities.
The Chairperson was worried that 15% of the budget went to municipalities and argued that, given the choice,municipalities would probably choose to spend it on street lights, water and other services, and asserted that it was unlikely that the money would be put directly to sport, unless decision making was centralised.
The Minister once again emphasized the need for greater funding for sport and recreation. He urged the Members to advocate for more funding whenever they could. He explained a few different forms of funding the SRSA was involved in, namely lotto funding and looking into taxing of alcohol or cigarettes. He stressed the importance of generating profits independently too, ensuring there is support and accountability.
Due to time constraints, the Minister was unable to answer the other questions.
Mr Alec Moemi, Director General, SRSA, presented the Strategic Plan. He began with an overview then looked at the strategy goals and the five key objectives of the Department, namely:
He talked about the strategic process, reminded Members of the 2011 strategic workshops from the Minster, and said that since then the document had been used to push for optimal performance in sport. The stakeholders had also identified key areas for the Department to look at. A White Paper had been developed as the official policy of the Department, and this had been tabled in Parliament and approved. However, no funding was allocated to it, and the onus was put back on the SRSA to indicate the priority areas for implementation. As a result of lack of budget, the SRSA had only been able to implement 23% of the plan in the previous year, and 36% this year. He contended that the SRSA ideally needed ten times the budget otherwise implementation would take an immensly long time.
He noted that the SRSA was a recipient of Lotto funding and this was used to optimise the budget, as well as being prescriptive, beginning the process of funding streams, introducing a ticketing levy in order to put resources into community sport facilities, and transformation.
He said that the vision and mission had not changed in this year. For the first 18 years of democracy in South Africa, the priority of SRSA was to be an active and winning nation. It was crucial that there was mass participation in sports so that it was possible to identify the 3% of talented athletes that could represent the county.
In the last year, the SRSA had begun rolling out recreation facilities such as children’s play parks, and the SRSA was dedicated to doing more along these lines.
He outlined the legislative mandate and said that SRSA was looking into repealing and amending certain Acts as well as introducing new sporting Bills into legislation (see attached slides for full details).
He then moved on to explain the strategic goals of the 5-year plan in the strategic framework. These included goals for:
-Citizen’s access to sport and recreation, looking for an annual 10% increase
-Sports and recreation transformed, with 8% of codes meeting transformation targets by 2019
-Athletes achieving international success
-Enabling mechanisms such as a sports house, better sports broadcasting
-Using sport as a tool to support government
-Efficient and effective organisation; SRSA was aiming to be the first department to achieve an Monitoring, Performance and Assessment Tool (MPAT) rating of 4, within five years
Mr Moemi spoke to the goal of South Africa being an active nation and mentioned that the Minister had talked of creating a national recreation day on the first Friday in October. He noted that the SRSA was going to be running the National Championship, which he described as the Department’s ‘flagship programme’.
Mr Moemi then spoke to the budget. He noted that the equitable share formula for provinces actually was disadvantageous for sport. He explained the budget allocation process, saying that the SRSA would start by assessing a baseline figure for each province, and then look at the equitable share and other factors, and would ring-fence the rest of the money on a discretionary basis. He stressed the importance of allocating the budget correctly because a number of studies had revealed that where there was money there was also higher performance.
Mr Groenewald (DA, North West) expressed concern that the SRSA had a very small budget allocation and said that it would be very hard to help sports people within those constraints. He asked how many athletes were identified in 2014 and requested more details on the "hall of fame" idea, including the cost implications of such a project. He repeated his scepticism that the budget allocation would not allow the SRSA to do much.
Mr Groenewald wanted to know what challenges the province faced, with facility audits.
He asked how many had been involved in children’s play parks, and requested more information on this project.
Mr Groenewald asked for clarification on cage fighting, including when the events were, and how they were organised.
He also asked about the partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture with regards to the "flags in schools" project. He wanted to know who was leading this project.
Mr Groenewald commented that there was much talk of sporting events but the Committee was never invited to these events and he asked that more invitations be extended.
Mr Groenewald asked how many sporting codes there were in South Africa.
Mr Groenewald wanted more information as to the support that the government offered to professional sportsmen and women. , .
Ms T Mampuru (ANC, Limpopo) commented that there was no alignment in the provinces and asked how this being handled.
Ms Mampuru mentioned that many boxers were still not getting the winnings due to them, as it seemed that the organisers did not pay out.
She noted that additional schemes for sports federations had been mentioned, and asked if these had already been established, and called for details on exactly what this involved. She also asked what the Department was already doing and planned to do about unemployed graduates in sports.
Ms Mampuru asked for further clarification on the allocation to equity and transformation, and asked how the Department was going to support the provinces to facilitate the audits in the sporting facilities.
The Director General explained that there were 55 athletes identified this year, although the SRSA had had to disqualify some, because of problems with age categories. He outlined the process whereby the children were selected by talent scouts, then put through scientific and health checks, then finally selected on the basis of how they had done in these tests.
Mr Moemi noted that in relation to the Hall of Fame, he had spoken to the Department of Arts and Culture who had allocated to the SRSA three houses to renovate and use as a sports museum. He intended this to be a temporary measure until the budget became available for establishment of a more permanent museum. The other collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture was in relation to flags, but here the SRSA played only a secondary role, providing flags at sporting events.
He noted that in terms of facilities, the SRSA had held four workshops in 2013, creating a grading system for facilities, looking at the norms and then identifying if the facilities were good. He noted there had been a great improvement and the SRSA was continuing to work on involving local religious and tribal leaders in prioritising sport infrastructure.
Mr Moemi conceded that the SRSA had not yet managed to do much towards establishing play parks. The SRSA had created a model example in the Northern Cape, turning a patch of land into a play park, outdoor gym with beach volleyball, multi-use court, cycle lane and an area with water and trees. The Department was encouraging all provinces to follow suit on this. He also emphasised the benefits of outdoor gyms and the recorded success of these in the past few years.
Mr Moemi explained that cage fighting was both legal and illegal; the SRSA wanted to regulate all forms of this sport through legislation and outlaw the illegal sporting practices, which had resulted in a number of deaths in the past.
Mr Moemi confirmed that the SRSA had sent out invitations to Committee Members for sporting events. However, he highlighted the distinction between sports with federations and those without, and explained that only sports with federations provided tickets to Members. He noted that there were 64 recognized sports bodies in South Africa and there were even more sports codes but he could only speak of the legally recognised ones.
Mr Moemi said that support was provided to athletes and this included full rounded support, and paying medical fees for injuries, even outside of sporting events, and food supplements. The SRSA took the line that the individual athletes should not have to pay, out of their own pockets, for what was necessary to enable them to compete.
Mr Moemi fully agreed that the budget was not sufficient, but stressed that this was in reality what the SRSA had and what it had to work with. The SRSA had already allocated over and above that. It recognised that the provinces did not budget enough for sports internally, and wanted this to change. In terms of the misalignment of departments and provinces, SRSA could do little for it was the prerogative of the local governments but SRSA continued to encourage the setting up of distinct sports departments.
The Director General agreed the lack of payment of boxers was a major issue. He explained that there were regulations that required a deposit from promoters to guarantee payment, but that many boxers waived this right in order to fight. He talked about an ongoing legal battle on this topic, on which the SRSA was hoping for a positive outcome so that it would set a legal precedent for claims in the future.
The Chairperson noted that there was no further time to take responses and requested that the remainder of the questions be answered in writing.
The meeting was adjourned.
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