Swimming SA status report; 2010 FIFA World Cup allegations: discussion

Sports, Arts and Culture

09 June 2015
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

Finance: Swimming South Africa had been very fortunate leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games as it still had a corporate sponsor together with the grants from the National Lotteries Board (NLB). The challenge with swimming was that investment was not short term as it took eight to ten years to nurture talent and to see a return. Due to a reduction in available grant funding, some of the trips overseas had been funded by athletes and their parents themselves. That situation had then created a barrier into swimming as a sport as most people could not afford to swim. SSA had finally signed a broadcasting agreement with the South African Broadcasting Cooperation which hopefully would attract sponsors to come on board as swimming would be back on television from the later part of 2015.

Transformation programmes: SSA had been supported by some provincial sport departments in their club development and learn-to-swim programmes. The federation had seven age group competitions happening between March and April annually were, from entry level to elite age groups, athletes could participate. Moreover there were national championships where a squad of 150 athletes were selected from the championships combined with the age group competitions, to be put a structured development programme.

Challenges and constraints: The one major value at a high performance level in terms of winning medals was: racing opportunity for SA swimmers. The good performances by SA swimmers currently was due to investment into SSA leading up to the 2012 Olympics. A risk would be how to maintain that investment going forward as financial constraints had caused SSA to rationalise even this racing opportunity for elite swimming.

Facilities: From a swimming point of view, the lack of facilities was not only impacting access for talent but the lack of heated facilities affected elite performance in terms of competitive medallist development.

The Committee wanted to know:
- Whether SSA was prepared to improvise, seeing that there were dams, streams and coastlines were rural youths could be taught to swim through SSA-supporting initiatives geared that way.
- Had SSA completed a formal survey of how many black Africans were actually interested in learning to swim and competing in that sport?
- How many swimmers were in the Operation Excellence (OPEX) programme?
- How many black athletes had participated and achieved amongst the top 16 rankings in the SA Swimming championship tournaments between March and April recently? What support had they received thereafter?

The Committee then deliberated on the Democratic Alliance petition to deal with holding to account individuals who were involved in soccer before and during the 2010 FIFA World Cup following new developments from the global FIFA investigation. This became heated at times.

All the ANC MPs then agreed that only the Minister should be called before anyone else came before the Committee.

The opposition parties maintained that it would be fruitless to have the Minister account to the Committee as he would simply repeat what he had said in the print and digital media. Moreover the contradictions between him and SAFA made it more urgent that the Local Organising Committee and the Bid Committee members be allowed to account to the Committee.

The Chairperson agreed that Minister Mbalula should be the one coming before the Committee before anyone else. She closed that deliberation with the statement that Minister Mbalula would be invited to account as the majority of the members wanted that.

Meeting report

Swimming SA status report
Mr Jace Naidoo, SSA President, introduced the delegation and proceeded to go through the SSA presentation with the Committee.
Finance
Swimming South Africa had been very fortunate leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games as it still had a corporate sponsor together with the grants from the National Lotteries Board (NLB). The challenge with swimming was that investment was not short term as it took eight to ten years to nurture talent and to see a return. Due to a reduction in available grant funding, some of the trips overseas had been funded by athletes and their parents themselves. That situation had then created a barrier into swimming as a sport as most people could not afford to swim. SSA had finally signed a broadcasting agreement with the South African Broadcasting Cooperation which hopefully would attract sponsors to come on board as swimming would be back on television from the later part of 2015.

Transformation programmes
SSA had been supported by some provincial sport departments in their club development and learn-to-swim programmes. The federation had seven age group competitions happening between March and April annually were, from entry level to elite age groups, athletes could participate. Moreover there were national championships where a squad of 150 athletes were selected from the championships combined with the age group competitions, to be put a structured development programme.

Challenges and Constraints
The one major value at a high performance level in terms of winning medals was: racing opportunity for SA swimmers. The good performances by SA swimmers currently was due to investment into SSA leading up to the 2012 Olympics. A risk would be how to maintain that investment going forward as financial constraints had caused SSA to rationalise even this racing opportunity for elite swimming.

Facilities
From a swimming point of view, the lack of facilities was not only impacting access for talent but the lack of heated facilities affected elite performance in terms of competitive medallist development.

Mr Shaun Adriaanse, Chief Executive, SSA, said that other than Mangaung and eThekwini municipalities SSA experiences regarding facilities were that municipalities generally were reluctant to invest in township facilities. For example, the City of Johannesburg had 55 swimming pools alone; but most of the pools were still closed around September 2014. Unfortunately most of those closed due to budget constraints were those in the townships. He said that eThekwini had targeted to put heaters in at least one township pool over the next five to eight years.

A volunteer from the Western Cape SSA added that he had recently been attending meetings with the City of Cape Town municipality events department which currently looked after swimming in the city. SSA was consulting the municipality over a Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) invite for the city to host a Swimming World Championship in 2025/26. SSA had been asking the city whether it would be prepared to host such an event which would bring in in excess of 250 countries to Cape Town, which was more than the 2010 Soccer World Cup had done. At those engagements, SSA had been told clearly that the City of Cape Town would never establish an aquatic centre.

A swimming programme which had been running in Khayelitsha had stopped recently because of an unfortunate incident where the SSA accredited coach had been sexually abused during her work there.

Discussion
Mr D Bergman (DA) said that one of the challenges at the Alexandra pool in Johannesburg where he had been a former councillor, was that there had been repeated drownings because there was no permanent lifeguard and its general maintenance was not well coordinated. Pools were high maintenance and needed constant monitoring. That case was a good example of how; municipal infrastructure, Sports Recreation South Africa and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) were not speaking to each other. He suggested that SSA and DBE had to work together to get citizens to be able to swim and to develop swimming talent. The Committee would need to intervene and support SSA when it was consulting municipalities about facilities and who was responsible for maintenance and who would be paying the swimming coach in a local club.  

Mr S Malatsi (DA) noted that the lack of an effective schools sport programme was affecting mostly federations that really needed to transform.

Mr S Mabika (NFP) said that his concern about swimming was whether SSA was prepared to improvise. He said that there were dams, streams and coastlines were rural youths could learn to swim but was SSA prepared to support initiatives geared that way?

Mr L Filtane (UDM) said that as much as transformation was a political agenda in SA, when it came to SSA that agenda was beyond the current SSA administration. There was very little appetite for competitive swimming amongst the black African populace in SA. He conceded that it was unrealistic for the Committee to expect SSA to implement transformation when its budget was so small. However he wanted to know, how much swimming advocacy had SSA done in communities with its current crop of champion swimmers.
Over and above that, when looking at transformed sporting codes like soccer; where numbers had not improved the quality on the pitch. SSA had to compare whether it wanted lots of African swimmers that were mediocre or a quality group of swimmers. Had SSA completed a formal survey of how many black Africans were actually interested in learning to swim and competing in that sport?

Ms D Manana (ANC) lamented the lack of female representation on the senior management delegation before the Committee.

In terms of athletes paying for themselves to attend championships; how many athletes recently paid for themselves to attend the Russia championships and how many medalled? How many swimmers were in Operation Excellence (OPEX) programme?

How many black athletes had participated and achieved amongst the top 16 rankings in the SA swimming championship tournaments between March and April recently? What support had they received thereafter?

In terms of facilities, the Mpumalanga Swimming affiliate of SSA currently had to travel to Middelburg to participate in swimming. Could SSA speak to that?

Ms B Dlomo (ANC) agreed that as far as Africans were concerned, SSA would certainly face an uphill battle since township and rural schools from the previous regime had been marginalised in terms of having swimming facilities installed. Amongst the very large townships in Durban, only one pool would be installed for each township. The other challenge was that SA was a very water scarce country and installing swimming pools would be a costly operation, even for sport and recreational purposes. Children also had to start swimming earlier if SSA was serious about teaching swimming as a life skill.

Mr S Mmusi (ANC) said that even though he came from an inland province, looking at children from deep rural areas, one could see across the length and breadth of the country children swimming and learning to swim in murky water streams and dams. Certainly there was a passion to swim and if the sport system in SA was not monitored, one would find well developed sporting academies in urban areas with adequate participation, at the expense of rural sport development.

Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) said that participation in swimming was about access for black Africans; and not about lacking the passion to swim, as that had been a deliberate barrier set up during the apartheid regime. In that regard, it was comforting that all sporting federations had endorsed the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) with the Transformation Charter. The Committee would put pressure on local government to make available facilities so that the sport could grow and lobby National Treasury to make available more resources for that.

Mr Ralegoma asked SSA to clarify the recent dispute that it had with the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Council (SASCOC) on the criteria for qualifiers for its elite athletes.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on how much funding SSA received from SRSA and the NLB, respectively. It was certainly not ideal for rural children to learn to swim in streams as they were very deep and no coaches or life guards would avail themselves to go and teach using such natural resources.

Mr Naidoo said that agreed with Mr Ralegoma that the low number of black Africans in swimming was a legacy issue, where limitation to resources had been deliberately used as a barrier to entry into the sport. For example during his swimming years, the best swimmer was from the townships, namely Mr Brian Hermanus who had been in the top 25 swimmers in the world during those days. Currently swimming was about giving children of all colours, the opportunity to participate and then to invest money into that talent as evidenced by recent junior and intermediate level championships where athletes had risen to the occasion. Of course, there was one swimming pool in Umlazi, Durban but there an athlete from there who had won a medal in Luanda, recently.

The national team was white indeed, but if one considered that athletes had to qualify purely on time to be on the national team going to the championships in Russia in 2015: only five swimmers, black or white, in the country’s squad had made the qualification times.  

African children could currently be seen only in the junior national teams but an independent BMI study had shown that swimming was the fastest growing sport in SA. The challenge was moving them from school sport swimming to club and competitive swimming which had a cost implication as swimmers had to pay for a full time coach.

In terms of rural sport, SSA had limitations in that historically it had built facilities in some rural areas where the current challenge was the maintenance cost. Currently though it had installed portable pools in some schools for children to learn swimming as a life skill. Moreover, SSA had a programme called ‘rural splash’ where it taught instructors to demarcate safe swimming areas and depths to ensure that children were not pulled by currents and were able to acquire the basic swimming skill.

In SSA's negotiations with SABC the federation had been forcing SABC to have swimming programmes on the channels watched mostly by black Africans to change the perception that swimming is exclusive.

There was a fine line between quantity and quality because if SSA continued to focus on quantity; the current crop of swimmers were a very small portion of the population in SA and the numbers to develop talent from in the future would be completely gone. Therefore, that opportunity had to be afforded to as many people as possible in SA.

There were women in SSAs executive structures and certainly from a participation perspective swimming was fairly a gender equal sport. Unfortunately from a performance aspect, female swimmers struggled to swim past their schooling careers and SSA conceded that it was struggling with that challenge.

In terms of sponsorships, the team would be going to Russia in July and the ring-fenced funding that SSA received from SRSA was used to support athletes that could not afford to go. There were some subsidies from the International body SSA was affiliated to. More importantly though, SSA had to pay in advance for the international championships as athletes had to acclimatise and prepare which was a cost. Where there were shortfalls, SSA engaged provincial SRSAs, SSAs, and SASCOC.

Currently SSA had four athletes on the OPEX programme which were funded by SASCOC.

The challenges experienced by Mpumalanga were ongoing and affected Limpopo as well, where there were no facilities or they were not well maintained. SSA would raise the issue with SASCOC so that it could be attended to when SASCOC would be meeting with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). That was one reason most talented athletes came from urban areas and when they did emerge from rural areas they quickly moved to urban areas if they could afford to.

Portable pools were cheaper than installing a swimming pool and principals in rural schools where there were such programmes welcomed them, though maintenance was a cost for the very deep rural areas.

Over and above installation of a pool, additional resources in terms of programming a swimming curriculum and contracting a full time coach were additional costs that township and rural schools could not afford to fund. SSA would certainly welcome the Committee’s engagement with Treasury for funding in that regard.

Regarding selection criteria, SSA had consciously decided to set the standard at an internationally competitive level so that at the current Olympic rankings, SA was amongst the top six in swimming.
In terms of a pipeline, SSA together with SASCOC had development programmes for the different age groups so that athletes would get to senior levels prepared for international competitions.

Mr Adriaanse said that in 2012 SSA had received from SRSA close to R4 million which then contracted year-on-year to R1, 8 million in 2015. From the NLB federations, R8 million per annum had been allocated at the end of the Olympic cycle in 2012 but that had remained constant at around R2 million from then on. This meant a drop of R6 million and that had impacted SSA programmes which spoke to the rationalisation of programmes mentioned in the presentation.

Mr Zikie Molusi, Board Executive, SSA, said the biggest challenge the federation had was getting corporate SA to sponsor SSA as a federation. Unfortunately, corporate SA had a tendency to sponsor individual athletes through endorsements, using them for to sell their products. Therefore the private sector had to be held to account on why it was not assisting SSA.     

Mr Naidoo said that SSA was audited independently annually, and the Auditor General SA (AGSA) also audited SSA financial statements and all those were made public to the federation's AGM.

A Western Cape SSA volunteer said that SSA in the Western Cape ran programmes on Women’s Day for women which were both educational in terms of swimming safety and taught children basic swimming.

Mr Malatsi said that seemingly, there was a fundamental misunderstanding between what gender equality and women empowerment meant; because empowerment could not be reduced to a day event were women and young girls were equipped with some skill as that was not genuine equality. There needed to be proper planning to address even the executive level challenges at SSA concerning female executives. 

FIFA investigation motion: matters arising from the minutes
The Chairperson asked whether the three mandated members had listened to the audio recording of the minutes of the 26 May 2015.  

Mr Malatsi replied that he indeed had listened to the audio clip and it had not been conclusive.

Mr Ralegoma agreed with Mr Malatsi, noting that his proposal then could be simply be captured as a statement instead of a proposal or rather be deleted from the minutes of that day.

Mr Malatsi seconded the motion to have that statement deleted from the minutes of that day.

Mr Malatsi said subsequent to the previous week’s Committee agreement that he could revive his submission on issues surrounding the United States Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) investigation, there had been new developments. He requested again that the Committee should deliberate on whether to call the South African Football Association (SAFA) management and other stakeholders that were involved as part of the Bid Committee for the 2010 World Cup in SA.  

Mr Ralegoma raised a point of order, saying that previously the Committee had actually agreed that as soon as the time was right the Committee would call whomever it deemed necessary to call but the deliberation had not occurred on whether the time was right, currently. Moreover, it was problematic that a member of the Committee had alluded to key stakeholders coming to that day's briefing in digital print and social media because that was making it difficult for the Committee to actually determine at that time it was proper to call persons to account.

The Chairperson cautioned the Committee that the process underway was to check whether the contents of Mr Malatsi’s letter were the same.

Mr Bergman reminded the Chairperson that the process was actually matters arising from the minutes.

Mr Malatsi continued that he had been referring to what was in the minutes that his motion ‘would be reintroduced to the Committee every Tuesday. He took great exception to two misleading statements made about him by another Committee member.

The Chairperson interjected asking Mr Malatsi whether any member had actually declared his name concerning the reference he was speaking to.

Ms Manana said that she would be repeating her previous statement that the Committee was not accountable to Mr Malatsi. The Committee was simply not going to entertain a debate on an ongoing international investigation until it was finished; even then! The Committee would do so if SAFA was implicated.

Mr Mabika said that finger pointing would be useless at that time for the Committee. It had to realise it was faced by a unique situation because, as the Chairperson had alluded to earlier, the Committee could not rely on press briefings and media information on occurrences involving SA sport. Unfortunately, if someone who had the right to do so did not brief the Committee, then it could not be expected for members to not rely on the media. The Committee in agreeing that the investigation was international, it had to also concede that it needed to be taken into the confidence of the Minister before he held press briefings.

The Chairperson said Mr Mabika and Mr Filtane had not been present at the previous meeting. They were then disallowed from participating in the matters arising from the minutes of a meeting from which they were absent.
 
The proceedings then disintegrated into a howling match between the Chairperson and the members of the Committee where the members mentioned by the Chairperson pointed out that they in fact could not be barred from partaking in matters arising from the minutes.

The Chairperson maintained that they were indeed barred from participating even on matters arising.  

Mr Bergman requested that the Chairperson's ruling that members were indeed barred from participating on matters arising be sent to the Rules Committee to check for procedural correctness. Moreover, the Committee was definitely not accountable to Mr Malatsi nor was it accountable to the Minister of Sports and Recreation. In fact, the Minister was accountable to the Committee. The Committee had to be consistent because during the match-fixing scandal it had followed a definite route and therefore he was requesting that it do similarly on the current FIFA issue.

Mr Ralegoma rose on another point of order saying that media sourced information simply could not be brought to the Committee for debate. He reiterated his earlier point that the Committee would call whomever it deemed necessary to call to account, but it was not proper to continue discussing media sourced information.

Mr Filtane said that Parliament had established and maintained a practice of deliberating matters that were in the print media and Mr Ralegoma was misleading the Committee if he maintained that that was not going to happen.

Mr Bergman said that Mr Ralegoma had not risen on a point of order when Ms Manana was speaking and he was currently only responding to her utterances. If there would be no consistency with the rulings, he would reserve his right to discuss the matter from the previous meeting of the letter which had been submitted by Mr Malatsi.

The Chairperson and ANC Committee members became agitated, noting that Mr Filtane was out of order by replying to the Chairperson’s statement and that he was disruptive in a Committee that was generally unified on matters.

Mr Malatsi was concerned about the interaction amongst the committee members, such that he felt as an opposition Member of Parliament, that he did not feel protected by the Chairperson. There had to be other ways that MPs could react to statements from which they differed with each other. He then reported to the Chairperson that Ms Manana had switched off Mr Filtane’s microphone whilst he was speaking and that incident could have ended very badly. The Chairperson had to intervene in such cases because when topics were difficult they should always be brought to the Committee and the decorum of the House had to be kept always; even if views differed.

The Chairperson called on Ms Manana to apologise to Mr Filtane.

Ms Manana apologised.

The Chairperson reprimanded Mr Filtane for speaking without her recognising him.

Mr Filtane said that he apologised unconditionally for that behaviour.

Mr Mmusi reiterated his earlier statements and the fact that he was surprised that the proceedings had deteriorated so badly. Moreover, the minutes from the previous meetings had captured the agreement that since there was an ongoing investigation the Committee would wait for its completion and that Mr Danny Jordaan could be called, but that would still be deliberated on going forward.

He then advocated that Minister Fikile Mbalula should be the first individual to be called to account about occurrences to do with the FIFA investigation.

Mr Malatsi again reported that Ms Manana was continuing her misconduct.

The Chairperson appealed to Ms Manana to refrain from what she was doing.

The minutes of the 26 May and 2 June 2015 were adopted with amendments.

FIFA investigation petition
The Chairperson read a second letter from Mr Malatsi petitioning the Committee to deal with holding to account individuals who were involved in soccer before and during the 2010 Soccer World Cup following new developments from the global FIFA investigation.

Mr Ralegoma re-emphasised his earlier statements regarding the first letter.

The Chairperson interjected that she has just received another letter from the secretary which had originated from SAFA headquarters. It involved the federation’s response to the FIFA bribery allegations.

Mr Malatsi requested that the Committee be given copies of the letter from SAFA.

The Chairperson then read the letter.

Ms Manana said that Mr Jerome Valcke had responded to the allegations distancing him from the allegations. Moreover, Minister Mbalula had explained that the money had been for football development.

She agreed with Mr Mmusi that the Minister should be called before any other entity.

Mr Bergman said that a lot of the work of MPs was media sourced. The challenge currently was that Minister Mbalula was holding rolling press conferences without briefing the Committee first and that was to his own detriment as there were contradictions between what he was saying and what SAFA was saying. The Committee was not investigating anything, and clarification through a briefing was all that was needed since everyone else was being briefed except for the Committee.

Mr Malatsi said that there was no pre-emptive judgement on the persons possibly implicated in the investigation. SAFA was an entity accountable to the Committee and therefore it was important that persons involved with SAFA at the time of the 2010 World Cup brief the Committee on what transpired around the transactions being investigated. Moreover, it was not correct to reduce the need for a briefing to personalities because the briefing would simply enlighten the Committee on what factors resulted in the decisions that were made then. SAFA had also already published the letter that the Chairperson had just read.

Mr Filtane agreed that it would be useful to have a briefing with the members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) since SAFA had published such a letter as well.

Mr Mmusi said one of the reasons the Committee had refused to call Dr Danny Jordaan was that the investigation was fluid with new developments every day. Moreover, one member of the LOC had been indicted already which meant that the investigation was sub judice and could not be deliberated on.

All the ANC MPs then agreed that only the Minister should be called before anyone else came before the Committee.

The opposition parties maintained that it would be fruitless to have the Minister account to the Committee as he would simply repeat what he had said in the print and digital media. Moreover the contradictions between him and SAFA made it more urgent that the LOC and the Bid Committee members be allowed to account to the Committee.

The Chairperson agreed that Minister Mbalula should be the one coming before the Committee before anyone else.

Ms Manana said that she understood that there was a hidden agenda being pushed by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and possibly, it was working towards unseating Dr Jordaan from his current post as Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality.

The Chairperson called Ms Manana to order and told her that political agendas abounded from all parties for the 2016 local government elections but they were not Committee business.

She also pleaded that Members need to check their emotions.

Mr Ralegoma said that they would not agree to the narrative that wanted to reduce the SA Government to a corrupt government; which seemed to be what certain political parties wanted to peddle.

Mr Malatsi proposed that if there were differences in understanding about how sub judice applied in the current case, Parliament had law advisors that could explain it.

Furthermore, the opposition parties proposed that if the Minister would be coming before the Committee, could he be requested to come along with members of the Soccer World Cup LOC and the Bid Committee?

The ANC MPs rejected that proposal.

The Chairperson closed the deliberations with the statement that only Minister Mbalula would be invited to account as the majority of the members wanted that.

Programme for proposed oversight visits during period 21 June – 23 September
The Chairperson reported that the Management Committee (MANCO) had heard that parliament was proposing that oversight visits should be done through cluster committees and she had then advised the staff component not to circulate the documents from the meeting of the MANCO from the previous week as it would affect the Committee’s oversight programme. Only after the secretary had official details about the clusters from the House Chairperson on oversight visits, she was proposing that the Committee should park that oversight deliberation.

Mr Ralegoma seconded the Chairperson’s proposal.

Announcements
The Committee decided some members needed to attend the forthcoming SALGA Summit together with SASCOC.

It also agreed that members who were able to accompany the 2022 Commonwealth Bid Evaluation Committee delegation from the Commonwealth organisation in Durban should accompany that delegation as soon as the dates were made available. 

The meeting was then adjourned.

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: