Minister of Sport; Sport and Recreation South Africa: briefing

Sports, Arts and Culture

21 February 2003
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


21 February 2003

Chairperson: Ms R N Bhengu

Documents handed out:
Sport and Recreation South Africa Powerpoint Presentation

The Minister of Sport addressed the Committee on a number of issues which he was concerned about: channeling of funds to national federations, school sports, access to facilities, drugs in sports. Sports and Recreation South Africa presented an introductory overview of their activities for the past year and plans for this year. They outlined their three programmes: administration, funding and the building of sport and recreation. They isolated those priorities which correlated with those of government: crime prevention, human resource development, marketing and promoting and eliminating inequalities. They also noted the status of legislation which will be completed in 2003.

Briefing by Minister
Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Ngconde Balfour described South Africa as a "sports-mad" country and elaborated on a number of issues, the first of which involved cricket. The Minister thanked the various organisers including Dr Ali Bacher and the United Cricket Board for the staging of the World Cup Cricket opening ceremony, which had made him proud to be South African and helped to promote sport in, and beyond, the country. The Minister referred to the problems that arose on and after the meetings of 8 February, especially those surrounding England, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Since these were mainly security concerns, the Minister thanked the South African Police Force, Departments of Safety and Security and Intelligence as they played crucial roles in the resolution of many of these problems. He praised the International Cricket Council (ICC) for its firm stance regarding security and other issues.

The Minister described the role of the Department of Sports and sports in general as being central to nation building, social development and to people's lives in general. He outlined the hosting and bidding strategy, which comes at an opportune time when many events would enhance South Africa's national and international sporting prowess. The strategy is not merely an ad hoc grabbing for events, but those which are suited to the name brand that is South Africa. He emphasised the role of government together with other structures, for example, the Tourism Board, to enhance and promote South Africa's image and reputation. He made reference to the World Cup Cricket final to take place on 23 March, as well as a golfing event scheduled at Fancourt in George which will see the likes of Tiger Woods and Ernie Els in contention.

The World Cup Soccer Bid for 2010 was also raised. The Minister assured the Committee that a good team with a great deal of experience is at work on the bid and that it should enjoy the support of government and affiliated structures. The Minister also encouraged negotiations with other countries in the running for the bid as to the best possible approach and result. The Spring Council of Sport is an event that would earmark the opportunity for such negotiations and the best options in terms of Africa as a continent.

The Minister also referred to the National Transformation Charter. He referred to the State of the Nation address by President Thabo Mbeki and how society should be corrected across the board. Mr. Balfour spoke of two transformation workshops already convened in two provinces: the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape. Another such workshop is to take place in Kwazulu Natal in March. The Minister was confident that all workshops would have been conducted by mid-year. These would culminate in the building of the National Transformation Charter.

The issue of school sport was raised as one that causes of worry because of its crosscutting nature. The Minister insisted that not only does the United School Sports Association of South Africa (USSASA) have centrality, but teaching unions, education Departments, school governing bodies and national federations also have a vital role to play. South Africa must be put on par with other countries and should serve as a nurturing ground for sports stars and legacies to come. The Minister mentioned provincial academies to look after youngsters. MEC's should be close to these academies and the infrastructure is indeed available. An example was made of the High Performance Centre at the University of Pretoria. Our young athletes should be rubbing shoulders with great African athletes not only in fields exclusive to athletics, but in other codes of sports as well.

The Minister raised a concern regarding the channeling of funds to the national federations. The ordinary club is not receiving what it needs on ground level, and a funding meeting will be convened soon to rectify any inconsistencies.

Access to facilities was also mentioned by the Minister. The "Building Sport and Recreation" Programme has not been easy to facilitate. The Minister spoke of being let down by local and municipal authorities in terms of planning. He described some municipalities as being slow and with little capacity. Facilities are sometimes used to serve the communities and not for other purposes. Many such facilities have been financed from programmes that seek to address the youth's need for access to such facilities.

The Minister referred to issues around drugs in sport. The South African Institute for Drug Free Sport should increase its role by training and educating health practitioners because the ordinary GP doesn't know the nature of banned substances. South Africa is on the founding board and executive of the World Anti-Drug/Doping Association (WADA), and is in contention for the position of deputy president of the Association within this year. The Minister said that South Africa should use its position of leadership and enforce the necessary sentences on offenders with consistency.

The Minister mentioned the Provincial Awards to take place on 7 March 2003. They will be awarded to recipients who seek to enhance sport. He asked that recommendations for such candidates be made known.

The Minister noted that the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill has been resubmitted to Cabinet after its previous draft was said to vest too much power over certain structures. The Minister assured the meeting that the concerns are being addressed.

Briefing by Sports and Recreation South Africa
Professor Denver Moses spoke on the structure and objectives of Sports and Recreation South Africa (SRSA). The objectives include increasing participation, enhancing the profile and improving the performance at national and international level. Professor Moses pointed out that the Social Crime Prevention Initiative came as a result of the involvement in anti-drug campaigns and is aimed at promoting social cohesion. As a result, the core business of sport and recreation is the promotion of more people, more medals, more places and more events.

Professor Moses expressed appreciation for the Ministerial Task Team that provided the necessary guidance on the way forward for SRSA. Seventy two of the 143 sports federations are funded by SRSA, but each receive only a thin slice of funding, which in turn has a negative rather than a positive impact on their efforts. He suggested that thirty federations would better be able to produce positive results as participation would increase. Funds for facilities would also increase access to the said facilities.

He outlined an example of a sub-programme within the Facility Creation Project that focussed on the maintenance and management of the facilities, as well as the establishment of, inter alia, community sports councils. SRSA sought to promote active lifestyles and youth programmes.

Professor Moses spoke about affirmative action and the transformation charters that would serve to represent women and the disabled. The issue of ethics for Sport and Recreation was also touched on, particularly with regard to drug-free sports in terms of testing and educating those in the field. This would then expand the role of SRSA as investors in society as a whole. Professor Moses mentions that a publication relating to ethics in sports is on the verge of completion. An international relations policy is on the cards, with the involvement of New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and its older structures from the African Union (AU).

The Professor also touched on the priorities of sport and recreation and how closely these correlate with the priorities of government. Among these are crime prevention, human resource development, marketing and promoting and eliminating inequalities. He also described the vision and mission of SRSA as seeking the most efficient and effective manner in which to deliver sport and recreation. He described SRSA as a small entity with approximately 60 people in three programmes, namely, the administrative, funding and building programmes.

The SRSA budget was then presented. Ms Elsa Cloete provided a breakdown of funds awarded, spent and that which might not be spent. Additional monies had been channeled through rollovers and the granting of funds from the Department of Trade and Industry for the World Cup Cricket project. A South African Rugby and Football Union (SARFU) courtcase also resulted in an amount made available. Ms Cloete said that R34 million had not been utilised by the end of January this year. There would a 50% decrease in funds from March 2003 to April 2005 because of difficulty with the Facilities Programme. She went further to say that no final decision had been made concerning the Love Life Campaign.

Mr Gideon Boshoff referred to the National Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill raised by the Minister earlier. Problems were being addressed and the resubmission of the Bill was imminent even though it was difficult to ascertain exactly what the Cabinet's concerns were.

The Boxing and Wrestling Control Amendment Bill encompassed recommendations from the boxing commissions. Mr Boshoff said that the recommendations seemed acceptable.

The South African Sports Commissions Amendment Bill has been put on hold while the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport Amendment Bill awaits the Minister's approval.

The Safety at Sports Stadiums Bill is in the process of being typed and the Commission of Inquiry pointed out that effective security measures be identified. Mr Boshoff described the measures taken according to English law whereby games staged carry varying degrees of risk and are categorised accordingly. The category of risk should be the determining factor in South African sport. The local authorities should assume the responsibility and provide criteria for suitability.

Mr Boshoff said that a major cause for concern is that security personnel are not properly regulated, and that private security companies and their staff should be registered and recognised as either an accredited institution or a trained person respectively. Failure to do so would be considered a criminal offence. Ticket scalping was also mentioned as a concern and Mr Boshoff said that an interim bill had been drafted and further consultation was necessary before carrying legislation forward.

The School Sports Bill will coordinate the delivery of school sports in South Africa. The framework for the fitness industry is being finalised with the legal advisors of the Sports Commission.

Funding and Prioritisation
Mr Greg Fredericks outlined the achievements of SRSA, namely a new funding policy and reprioritisation among others. Policy and monitoring were also touched on and Mr Fredericks stated that SRSA had entered into agreements with Nigeria, Iran and Canada as well as having hosted sportspersons from the Netherlands, China, Flanders and Nigeria. SRSA sought to successfully coordinate events. Mr Fredericks spoke of reprioritised funding to those national federations yielding the most medals and participation, as well as the intention to partner with 30 national federations after commission research was conducted on membership of national federations.

Mr Fredericks also mentioned a number of plans for sport including the said Transformation Charter, moral regeneration programmes and a Young Champions Programme. Along with agreements made with other countries, Mr Fredericks said that existing agreements would be serviced. Regulations on the number of athletes immigrating to South Africa was also raised and Mr Fredericks suggested that these individuals pay a fee for coming to this country and the monies be forwarded to a trust.

Building of sport and recreation
Mr Solomon Pango then addressed the meeting to outline the building of sport and recreation. Two workshops have been planned to take place in Pretoria to train local government officials. In addition, a number of projects span a three year period from 2001 to 2004, resulting in 65 000 temporary and permanent jobs. Mr Pango said that this results in income generation and poverty relief, as the relieving of rural poverty is the focus of the programme. Targets have to be achieved through integrated development plans between local, provincial and national bodies.

Mr Pango offered a status report which revealed that the majority of projects have been completed and those currently in construction are to be finished by 31 March. Mr Pango described some delays regarding planning in terms of internal capacity constraints. Rollovers of funds may occur but SRSA is not guaranteed those monies. Mr Pango said that projects are planned ahead, and those planned in October of last year should be completed by February 2004. He expressed concern that sport does not enjoy priority in some areas and funds would not be allocated to the construction of sports facilities in these areas. However, a number of handovers have already taken place and another is scheduled for 21 March 2003 in the Free State.

Professor Moses said that facility projects yield tangible results that show the people that SRSA is doing what is necessary to fulfil its goals. He said that it would be unfortunate if the project should be terminated as only 10% of the funds (R500 million) allocated for a ten-year period (1995 - 2005) had been utilised.

The Chair referred to programme 3: building sport and recreation, asked whether identification of areas and implementation of projects could take place at provincial and local level instead of moving through all tiers of government. She understood that the process moves through various levels and reaches the MEC when approval for those areas is required.

Mr Pango explained that identification takes place at local level through Identification Programmes (IDP's) and once the local municipality agrees, it is the prerogative of the MEC to reprioritise. Professor Moses added that the MEC knows how much is available and then makes a recommendation to the Minister for approval. Professor Moses answered that within social infrastructure there is a need to lobby for the encouragement of sports facilities, and therefore they must compete.

Mr R Petersen (ANC) had some concerns regarding the presentation. He said that assistance could be offered without taking over any responsibilities. He pointed out that women's sports had been left out of the presentation that gave the overall impression that all sports is equal, when in fact it is not so. He also mentioned disabled athletes; there should be greater access to facilities because he did not see evidence of this yet. The Chair reiterated the question.

Dr E Schoeman (ANC) expressed concern regarding the vandalising of facilities and asked whether there is any monitoring of facilities in terms of maintenance.

A Member took the opportunity to express disappointment at the poor attendance of the meeting. He asked why less than 50% of funds had not be used by the end of January. He also asked why certain posts were not filled. He mentioned that the Eastern Cape and surrounding rural areas do not have any sports facilities, and that with the rolling over of funds, the necessary capital would be available for next year. Another query was made as to the need for swimming polls in the Limpopo region as well as clarification on the Young Champions Programme and what it entailed. The Chair asked about the impact of vacant posts on the performance of the Department was.

Professor Moses explained that with regard to specifying the programme there was no real detail. The role was policy formulation and monitoring. The Transformation Initiative encompassed gender inequality, rural areas and disabilities. Professor Moses mentioned drafts for women and the disabled in South African sport and that the implementation of these would be monitored.

Regarding the maintenance of facilities, Professor Moses said that efforts are made to have contracts signed to ensure maintenance. He described model facilities where entrepreneurial ventures are encouraged and income generation is stimulated. Referring to R5 million of unspent funds, Professor Moses said that an indoor facility was not forthcoming and that the funds would be diverted.

He said that long planning processes and delays with approval accounted for less than 50% of funds being spent. Money is spent during the building phase and there is large expenditure at present. He remained confident that less than R5 million will remain, as rollovers only occur in October the following year. Money allocated in that particular year will be used to complete the projects.

Professor Moses explained the nature of the three-year project and the need to plan ahead and begin building in July. A new area requires that new people be trained for increased efficiency. Responding to the question regarding personnel, Professor Moses explained that the Ministry may not feel an immediate need to fill these posts and that temporary personnel saves money. However, he did concede that pressure was felt with the small personnel. Facilities are expensive and resources are limited because they are spread over three years. Funds are allocated to provinces and then local authorities identify areas and make recommendations.

Professor Moses elaborated on the Young Champions Programme by saying that it takes place on the ground. Areas are divided into wards which then compete. Themes at launches relate to moral regeneration, women and child abuse and so forth. Sustainability was the challenge here. Regarding swimming pools in the Limpopo region, Professor Moses recognised the need and said that swimming pools are expensive to build and maintain. People should become "water-literate" as most drownings occur inland in farm dams and rivers.

Mr Fredericks added that the idea is not to launch events, but to launch projects. There is a close relation with the Guateng province among others. Co-ordinators in the various wards have proved to be a good thing. There is a close relationship with the South African Police as they are best able to identify the areas that need going into. The function is to provide the kickstart and ensure the filtering through to community level. Mr Pango said that local municipalities sign contracts. He outlined the plan to appoint a Senior Sports Promotion Officer to ensure that facilities are really maintained. The filling of such a position for a one-year contract will commence on 1 April. Mr Pango also said that a R22 million swimming pool is to be found in the Limpopo region, but regrettably only in one place. He explained that identification in rural areas included rural areas at local and district level.

The Chair referred to national policy regarding black empowerment and suggested that those companies and institutions which did not supporting the previously disadvantaged, women and emerging companies not be credited with points. She asked if such a policy was being considered and that it should be taken into consideration. Developing the prevalence of women and the disabled should be a priority.

The Chair referred to the building sport and recreation programme and its links to other Department delivery plans. The community is located in a specific place but without any facility for the children of that community. These children see large boards promoting liquor and substance abuse, and come to identify with these images in their communities. The Chair suggested that a facility plan go hand in hand with a housing plan so that both projects are erected simultaneously. The Chair spoke of a learnership programme to promote skill development in communities. She asked if there was a link between such a programme and the building of sports facilities. Such a link would ensure employment opportunities in the future. She urged that a relationship be formed between the Housing and Labour Departments to create employment. She then asked about the criteria used to identify areas for crime projects because people are easily absorbed by crime. She asked how people in these areas would be mobilised. If there are no mechanisms in place to identify such hotspots, these should be put in place.

Mr Pango responded by saying that an integrated approach was necessary because new schools often do not have sports facilities. It is vital to work together through the IDP's. Mr Pango then said that when sports counselors train as facility managers, they earn credits which will empower them to running facilities. The project then leaves a legacy of empowered people.

Professor Moses said that isolation is worse than integration and therefore cooperative governance is essential to identify high crime nodes. The intention is not to encroach on local authorities, but problem areas must be identified. He referred to the advertisement boards mentioned by the Chair and said that the brands advertised are prominent in South African sport. After research conducted by himself and Mr Fredericks, it was found that South African sport would collapse unless government provided the resources.

The Chair suggested that workshop-type meetings should take place with federations to ascertain the direction sport is taking. She also encouraged a close relationship between the Portfolio Committee and such federations so that any problems arising could be addressed. A workshop on public policy analysis should take place in the first term of the year so that corrective measures can be taken where necessary at implementation level so that the impacts thereof can be analysed. The Chair encouraged the Department to give input on performance agreements relating to goals, progress, standards agreed to, impact and areas of improvement.

The meeting was adjourned.


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