School Sport: update by SRSA & Department of Basic Education; Drug testing for school sport legislation

Sports, Arts and Culture

25 August 2015
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Sports and Recreation South Africa updated the Committee on the implementation of the MOU on schools sport between SRSA and Department of Basic Education (DBE). They enumerated the achievements and the challenges and concluded that a lot of progress has been made. Nonetheless, it is essential to ensure that schools, educators, school governing bodies and district offices prioritise sports programs as well as the development of new and/or renovated facilities.

SRSA presented the fourth draft of the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) Amendment Bill. Among the most relevant inclusions is the random testing of learners in schools that participate in sports. This would not only include schools, but the whole fitness industry would be subject to doping control tests in order to ensure a drug-free environment during professional tournaments and championships.

Meeting report

Update on the implementation of the MOU on schools sport between SRSA & DBE
Mr Mokoditloa Eliakim Moemi, SRSA Director General, reported on the status of the activities that were developed since 2012 until 2015. Some of the activities that are still ongoing or have been finalised are:
- Finalisation of the Schools Sport Policy (soon to be published).
- Finalise guidelines for agencies support (talent identification and support of talented athletes).
- SRSA engagement with provincial governments and federations for talent identification.
- Development of training material for teachers (in partnership with the British Council).
- Capacity building programs for teachers on technical, administrative and coaching issues.
- Assistance to the National Federations in hosting the National Junior Championship.
- Host National Junior Olympic Games biannually in conjunction with SASCOC. 

In terms of the challenges, the following were identified:
- There is a persistent focus on sports such as athletics, netball and football, which raises concern as other disciplines are being neglected.
- Across all the provinces there is no dedicated funding for Schools Sport. Instead, the funding goes to Curriculum and Enrichment Programs (Choral Music, Arts and Culture).
- There is still a gap between the autonomy of the School Sport Code and the National Federations.
- There is no annual sports development plan by schools.
- In most schools, sport plans are created only occasionally except in the Western Cape and Gauteng
where they are constitutionally established.
However, despite the challenges, a lot of progress has been made. It is essential to ensure that
schools, educators, SGBs and district offices prioritise sports programs as well as the development of new and/or renovated facilities.

Drug-Free Sport Amendment Draft Bill briefing
Ms Sumayya Khan SRSA Chief Operations Officer, presented on the purpose of the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) Amendment Bill. Amending the SAIDS Act of 1997 gives the opportunity to introduce new definitions. Among the most relevant proposals is to provide for the consent for random testing of learners in schools that participate in sports. The testing of school learners will be handled by a formal request by the Institute to either the school governing body, parents or legal guardian in order to arrange for a laboratory analysis (doping control) to establish whether the learner has been using prohibited substances. The idea is promoted to ensure a drug-free environment during school tournaments. However, the Amendment Bill does not only target learners at school but the whole fitness industry. The same doping controls will apply as well as inspections by inspectors of the Institute, without previous notice, in order to ensure that banned substances are not being distributed to any athletes. A contravention of the Act may lead to a fine or to imprisonment for a period between 5 to 15 years, or to both a fine and imprisonment. The Bill is currently in its fourth draft form and has already been approved in principle by SRSA MANCO and Minister. There has been consultation with external role players and stakeholders for their comments, which include the Chief State Law Adviser Office. SRSA Legal Services is currently considering all inputs and working towards refining the fifth draft of the Bill.

Discussion
Mr M Mabika (NFP) asked how DBE is planning to ensure that all schools have access to a sports program as it seems like a difficult task, especially when considering the budget that must cover all provinces.

Mr S Malatsi (DA) was concerned about the effectiveness of the Schools Sport Policy. He spoke of the low impact of the MOU and called the SRSA and DBE for an absolute commitment in developing sports facilities and tournaments in schools.

Mr D Bergman (DA) said that the legacy the Committee wants to leave behind is pure transformation in schools. The efforts are not enough in promoting physical activity among the students, as participation is drastically decreasing. He called the SRSA and DBE to work with the Health Department in order to provide snacks to students before their physical activities.

Ms D Manana (ANC) said that the Committee relies on the SRSA and DBE to promote sports at an early age. She highlighted the importance of the teacher’s role in motivating the children and asked for full implementation of the initiative.

Mr S Mmusi (ANC) showed skepticism about the policy by DBE and asked for details.

Ms B Abrahams (ANC) asked both the DBE and SRSA to promote different sport areas as opposed to the traditional ones.

Ms Khan replied that there is full commitment to develop sport programs and professional tournaments at schools. The training of teachers is one of the indisputable priorities. Students do get meals before their physical activities in order to ensure their health and optimal performance.

The Chairperson thanked the presenters.

The meeting was adjourned.



 

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