The scheduled briefing by Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) on its quarterly performance report and expenditure was cancelled as the Department had travelled to Auckland, New Zealand, where the Commonwealth Games 2022 host nation would be announcement.
The Committee therefore deliberated on its oversight draft report to the Eastern Cape and Gauteng. Members of the opposition parties were unhappy with the tone of the recommendations as they felt that the language was both soft and sought to only motivate state officials at provincial and local Government to do they work.
Members also felt that the language did not speak to how the implementation of the Committees recommendations could be measured.
The report was not adopted for several reasons - the findings at the Sports Council of Gauteng, the stalemate of two promoters associations existing in the Eastern Cape and the work of the task team set-up to deal with those challenges.
In addition, the Committee was informed about its planned oversight visit to KZN in the next term, approved outstanding minutes and agreed to conduct the remaining interviews for the Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Act Appeal board on 16 September 2015.
As the Chairperson had accompanied the South African Delegation to Auckland, New Zealand, where the host nation for the Commonwealth Games 2022 would be announced; Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) was nominated as the Acting-Chairperson.
The Acting Chairperson said that as the Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) had gone to Auckland for the Commonwealth announcement the agenda would not include the briefing from the Department.
Committee report on oversight visit to Eastern Cape and Gauteng
Mr Teboho Thebehae, Content Adviser, took the Committee through the report.
Mr S Malatsi (DA) noted a few grammatical errors.
Mr P Moteka (EFF) lamented the use of motivational language in the recommendations instead of enforcing or imposing language. The language was not imposing enough for compliance on provincial Departments and municipalities.
The Acting-Chairperson replied that Mr Thebehae had been highlighting that exact challenge in terms of the different pieces of legislation that regulated the use of Government funding. Unilateral decisions by the Minister of SRSA could land the Department in legal trouble if recommendations were imposed to force compliance though it would be well known that different laws regulated the use of state funds.
Ms Pauw said that the staff was aware that the same grievance in language had been raised by the previous Committee in the Fourth Parliament. The Parliamentary Legal Services had assisted in the phrasing of the recommendations by publishing a memorandum on how recommendations could be drafted. She referred to the intergovernmental Relations Framework Act (IRFA) which had been developed to facilitate cooperation between the different spheres of Government.
Mr Thebehae added that recommendations were drafted in such a way that there was no overreach between authorities of the different spheres of Government. Only through the Minister and Members of the Executive Council (MinMEC) forum could the Minister engage MECs to better enhance intergovernmental cooperation. Motivational language was the standard rather than enforcing language imposed by a Minister on a sphere of Government where he had no authority to do so.
The Acting Chairperson recommended that Federations be included in the recommendations by the Committee, in terms of participation in Infrastructure Development Plans (IDPs).
Mr Thebehae said that point was already captured in other parts of the draft oversight report.
Mr Moteka said that the Committee had already discovered that, as reported by other stakeholders, municipalities were misusing monies allocated for sport infrastructure and development because there was no cooperation between SRSA and municipalities. To say that because of the difference in powers of spheres of Government there can be no overreach, the same issues would stay challenges until 2019 and the Minister of SRSA would have to take responsibility.
Mr Malatsi said the language of the recommendations had to be drafted in such a way as to hold which ever parties responsible to account. His discomfort with motivational language was that there was no measure as to whether it was done and whether those receiving the motivation had followed through with implementation. He suggested that the Committee be assisted in making the language of the recommendations more solution orientated, so that whomever the recommendations were made to as solutions, such persons could then be held accountable for failing to implement.
Ms D Manana (ANC) sympathised with Mr Moteka but making the Minister become forceful with MECs about compliance would not work as ‘encourage’ was an adequate term to use in the recommendations.
Mr Thebehae said the Committee oversaw the executive authority of SRSA and measured the Minister through programmes of SRSA presented to the Committee by the Department. When recommending, the Committee could only speak to those programmes for example when referring to infrastructure development; that was not a competency of SRSA and therefore it was difficult to recommend anything on that point as IDPs were infrastructure development programmes at municipal competency.
Mr Malatsi asked for clarity on infrastructure development as he felt it spoke directly to the National Sports and Recreation Plan (NSRP). Every sphere of Government which had a sports and recreation function had to abide to the NSRP, from national to local Government. What instruments were available to measure the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations, if they were made to a particular authority in a particular sphere?
The Acting Chairperson shared the frustrations of the Committee but his difficulty was also the separation of powers between spheres of Government; as provinces had sport and recreation Committees at Legislature level, where it would be ideal if the Committee could interact with Legislature Committees.
He enumerated the number of times the Committee had had difficulty with getting even one member of the Legislature oversight Committee to do oversight with the national Committee. He suggested the Committee would have to come up with ways of enhancing interactions with the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Sports Committee as it had better access to provinces.
Mr Moteka said that the suggestion of interacting with the NCOP was very valuable.
Mr G Mmusi (ANC) suggested that all the recommendations with motivational language could be better worded by adding at the end of the sentence ‘to be strictly adhered to’ so that emphasis was achieved.
The Acting Chairperson suggested that inputs from Members could be addressed in the final draft as the Committee had been made aware that there were many untruths since being in Parliament.
Mr Thebehae reiterated that there simply was nothing the staff could do in terms of drafting the recommendations within the regulatory framework of recommendations, however the Committee could put more emphasis on accountability in terms of recommendations where the Minister had more powers in forums like the MinMEC.
Mr Mphumzi Mdekazi, Committee Researcher, said actually there was recourse legislatively for the Committee when recommendations were not implemented. Section 12 of the IRFA afforded the Minister an opportunity to invoke the Municipal Finance Management Act, 56 of 2003 (MFMA), the Public Finance Management Act, 1 of 1999 (PFMA) and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 12 of 2004 (PRECA) in the spirit of cooperative governance. The Committee could therefore recommend those tools to the Minister as tools to hold all spheres of Government to account for misuse of public funds.
The Acting Chairperson reiterated that after the inputs from the Committee the consensus was that MinMEC be the recommendation so that thereafter or before adopting the final oversight report the draft would have been improved to beyond using only MinMEC, but the Committee was allowed to propose better recommendations.
Mr Moteka said though the inputs from the staff were valuable they had to come to the Committee condensed and well prepared. He suggested that the recommendations could then be drafted for the next briefing with the Minister of SRSA so that he could prepare his own manner of engaging MECs on the recommendations.
The Acting Chairperson was concerned that the recommendations were possibly moving before a process of deliberating on the submissions from the two groups of promoters associations of the EC and the appointed task team to look into the challenges faced by boxing in that province.
Mr Malatsi agreed that there was an outstanding process of deliberation by the Committee on the two submissions by the promoters. Possibly it could be noted in the recommendations that there was an allegation of a biased task team and that there were also two promoters associations claiming legitimacy in that province. Additionally that outstanding process had to be included as part of the recommendation.
Mr Moteka suggested that the Committee should be given a list of the task team members with their history so it could determine whether it was biased or not. Alternatively, Mr Malatsi’s proposal could be supported by going through the deliberation of the submissions from the two associations.
Ms Manana believed the matter had been closed when the Committee had agreed that it would request the information as to why there were those challenges in the EC, from the Minister. Recommending alternative solutions from what had been agreed upon would be dragging matters.
Mr Moteka differed with Ms Manana as the Committee had actually agreed upon receiving submissions from the two groups so that it could deliberate over them. It would be wrong to only listen to the Minister without affording the associations a chance to address the Committee.
The Acting Chairperson said the recommendation had to include a deliberation on the submissions from the EC, so that the Committee could then request the Minister to come and explain issues that were not making sense, after the report had been adopted.
Mr Malatsi asked whether the Committee wanted to give the Minister a half mandate seeing that there was that outstanding deliberation. His concern was what would happen if the Committee found that there was more to recommend to the Minister over and above the current draft resolution.
The Acting Chairperson said the Committee also had to be cautious that it did not change into a commission of enquiry, as there seemed to be serious challenges with the boxing sector in the EC, though he agreed that the deliberations had to be concluded.
Mr Thebehae said that the findings in the draft report did speak to the incompleteness of the matter of the EC promoters and recommendation was speaking in response to that finding as per the resolution that the Committee had taken during oversight in the EC. He suggested that possibly the recommendation from the Committee could be that the Minister with Boxing South Africa (BSA) would have to engage the Committee regarding the outstanding matters in the EC, based on the submissions from those associations.
The Acting Chairperson said the other challenge with that issue was that it involved the MEC for Sport in the EC, which brought back the challenge of spheres of Government having different powers.
Ms Manana said that the resolution to call the Minister and BSA to account had come about because the manager of boxing in the EC had failed to satisfy the Committee in his response to the question of what interventions had he put in place, to resolve that impasse of two associations.
Mr Moteka said that where he differed with most of the Members was that the Committee had to process what it had promised the people of the EC. So that when it called the Minister and BSA it would be better equipped to deliberate the challenges of the EC that it had discovered during oversight.
Mr Malatsi understood Mr Thebehae to be saying in the amended recommendation the two associations deliberation should be included, which seemed fair as the concern was that there were two associations claiming legitimacy. Not including the task team in the recommendation was fair as it would be unfair to make any input regarding it without having been briefed on its mandate, terms of reference or having met its constituent members.
Mr Thebehae said that even including the content of the submissions was pre-emptive of the deliberation outcomes. The Committee’s resolution on the day as a recommendation for the purpose of the draft report finalisation had to speak to whether the Committee would like BSA and the Minister to appear before it so as to conclude the outstanding matter of those associations in the EC. How the submissions deliberation and when it would happen and what content would go into the briefing with BSA and the Minister thereafter, would all occur post the adoption of the oversight report.
The Committee agreed on the process to follow regarding the order of events in the manner as outlined by Mr Thebehae.
Mr Moteka reiterated his plea regarding the soft approach in the language of recommendations.
Mr Malatsi said that there was a glaring omission in the report concerning the fact that it had become apparent that the Gauteng Sports Council had no solid gender equality programmes, which he felt needed to be reflected in the draft report.
Mr Thebehae said that finding, together with a suitable recommendation, would be included in the next draft for consideration by the Committee. However, that issue would have to be covered across the board and not only in Gauteng province.
Ms B Abrahams (ANC) asked if it would be possible to add timelines for the recommendations so that at the end of a particular period the Committee could follow-up whether they had been implemented or not.
Ms Pauw asked the Committee to propose periods for implementation of the recommendations.
Mr Thebehae replied that the periods would have to accommodate the issue of when the report would be adopted, tabled to Parliament and the complexity of the issues being recommended for focus by the Minister. The associations’ submissions debate could occur at anytime the Committee deemed necessary but the other issues in the report would have to be treated as per his suggestion in terms of complexity.
The acting-Chairperson said all the issues with timeframes would have to be reflected in the minutes as matters arising and brought up consistently so as to remind the Committee going forward.
The Committee agreed that the draft would have to be re-written to include the day’s inputs. The report was not adopted.
Intended oversight visit to KwaZulu Natal (KZN)
Mr Thebehae reminded the Committee that the House Chairperson had issued a memorandum that on the week from the 14- 18 September 2015, Committees had to do oversight. The memorandum had been specific that where possible the oversight be a joint trip between NCOP and National Assembly (NA) Committees, but not to more than one province. The Committee had agreed on KZN and the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education had in principle agreed to join the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation on that forthcoming oversight. He outlined the proposed programme for sight visits as proposed for that week.
Mr Thebehae asked Members that when oversight was going to a Member’s home province it was always helpful if the concerned Member could assist staff in lobbying the legislature oversight Committee Chairperson(s) and MECs to join the oversight because the staff did send invites and inform the offices of those Chairpersons and MECs each time the Committee went on oversight.
Mr Moteka agreed with Mr Thebehae on the issue of lobbying of state officials to accompany the Committee on oversight because it was frustrating without provincial officials.
Adoption of minutes
Mr Moteka requested that in the next minutes report the staff clearly indicate who had been absent and who had submitted an apology, as the current template in use had no differentiation of the two matters.
Minutes of Committee meeting held on 26 and 27 August 2015were adopted with technical amendments.
The Committee deliberated at length over the issue of invitations from federations to attend events and how it could minimise Committee expenditure by allowing Members to attend as at least two to three individuals as representatives of Parliament at personal cost. Moreover, personal expenditure had to extend beyond the big federations and go to those federations whose sporting codes were not well known or better supported by either the state or the private sector.
The Acting Chairperson reminded the Committee that there were four outstanding interviews for the Safety at Sports and Recreation Events Act (SASREA) Appeal board establishment that the Committee had to conclude.
Ms Pauw informed the Committee that the next available dates for that were either 16 or 18 September 2015 the following week.
The Committee agreed that the staff should apply to the House Chairperson for Wednesday 16 September 2015, so that it could conclude the interviews.
Ms Manana reported back that the boxing event the Committee had been invited to was a success and that everything went well.
The meeting was adjourned.
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