Committee Outlook for 2016; Committee Report on Oversight Visit

Sports, Arts and Culture

16 February 2016
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was supposed to be briefed by the by Minister of Sport and Recreation on the Reawakening-the-giant initiative and the Sasrea Appeal Board appointment process. However, he was not able to attend due to other commitments. Instead, the Committee did some internal work - it considered and approved an oversight report as well as outstanding minutes and discussed its programme.

The Committee Researcher complained that municipalities continued to misuse the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) and urged the Committee to do somerhing about it. He related his experience where a mayor told him he would prioritise the provisison of water services over sporting facilities. He said the Committee had the power to request expenditure reports from municipalities on how they had been using the MIG in the previous five years as it was glaringly apparent that misuse was purposeful. The Committee agreed that it was painful to repeatedly speak about one thing without any resolution as it had witnessed during its oversight. Government officials did not recognise the need for MIG portion for S&R and they showed no remorse about misusing it.  They agreed that the Researcher could do more research on this subject and produce a comprehensive report to the Committee.

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson informed the Committee that the Minister had apologised for his absence as there was a cabinet lekgotla that he was attending. She also praised the effort of SA sporting heroes over the recess, especially the recent emergence of players of colour in the national cricket team.

Committee report on oversight visit to KwaZulu Natal
The Chairperson said that the report before the Committee was the third draft and as such she expected members to deal only with specific areas in the report where there were still disputes. Barring that she was calling for the adoption of the report.

Ms D Manana (ANC) said she did not see any further need for substitutions or insertions both in the draft report.

Mr S Malatsi (DA) said that if Ms Manana was proposing adoption of the draft report he was seconding the motion.

The report was adopted without any amendments.

Committee minutes dated 4 November 2015
The Chairperson called for adoption of the draft minutes.

Ms Manana moved for the adoption of the minutes.

Mr P Moteka (EFF) seconded the adoption.

The minutes were adopted without any amendments.
 
Announcements
The Chairperson then read out a letter of invitation from the Member of the Executive Committee (MEC) Ms Pemmy Majodina, Department of Sport and Recreation, Arts and Culture, Eastern Cape inviting the Chairperson to attend the Eastern Cape Sport and Recreation Achievers Awards (ECSRAA)  which would be hosted by her Department on 27 February 2016. The Chairperson said she had not responded yet because she wanted the Committee to deliberate the matter. Moreover any member that wanted to attend could represent the Committee could go on her behalf.  

Mr D Bergman (DA) said that he would go only if the Chairperson was not available on the day but he preferred that she attend if she had no commitments on the day.

Ms B Abrahams (ANC) agreed with Mr Bergman that the Chairperson had to attend if she no commitments.

Mr Malatsi said that seeing as the Chairperson seemed reluctant he was putting Mr Bergman forward otherwise if Mr Bergman was also unavailable Mr L Ntshayisa (AIC) could also represent the Committee as well.

The Chairperson said she did not have any commitment on that day but had thought it best to inform the Committee first.

The Committee agreed that she should attend the awards but on other invitations if she would not be able to attend, Members would represent the Committee.

Committee outlook for 2016
Mr Teboho Thebehae, Committee Content Advisor, said that the Committee’s focus since the start of the fifth Parliament had been to increase its oversight mechanism as well as ensure that stakeholders who supported Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and the Committee had been engaged so that the resources of SRSA were better utilised. They included the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and South African Local Government Association (SALGA). The Committee had also engaged chapter 9 institutions like the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) in its broader transformation agenda regarding S&R. The Committee had indeed managed the increase of its oversight.

National Treasury (NT) had also addressed the Committee regarding the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) and sports facilities establishment; which were serious matters on the Committee’s agenda. That work was of course ongoing since sports federations always bemoaned facilities funding as a barrier to access for interested individuals in sports, particularly in rural areas. 

On the draft first term programme; the Committee was expected to make follow-ups with the above stakeholders, specifically the Department of Basic Education (DBE) regarding the Schools Sport programme: COGTA and SALGA on the utilisation of the MIG and federations on reports of how much work committed to had been achieved.  

The Committee remained with four weeks of the first term to do all that work before the financial year concluded. Thereafter would be the budget votes which would then make the first term a challenging term  in as far as getting stakeholders like the NT, COGTA and DBE to engage the Committee on their particular issues. However, that still left the Committee with considerable planned work as it had not met the top five sports federations - South African Football Association (SAFA), Athletics South Africa (ASA), South African Rugby Union (SARU), Netball South Africa (NSA) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) - as often as it had done previously.

Mr Thebehae then talked the Committee through its draft first term programme including that day’s meeting. In the following week, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) would brief the Committee on preparations for Rio 2016 and its annual reports. At that meeting, the Committee would receive a progress update on the transformation agenda from the federations since they had signed the transformation scorecards on 31 May 2015. SASCOC would also brief the Committee on the recent match fixing investigation into domestic cricket and SARU issues.

Mr Thebehae outlined when SRSA would be briefing the Committee and when the Committee expected Minister Fikile Mbalula to brief it on: Reawakening-the-giant initiative and on the Sasrea Appeal Board appointment process.

The Committee could expect to receive SRSA’s second and third quarter reports presented during its meeting with the Department. The last meeting would be on 10 March 2016 where the Committee was expecting to meet with SAFA. Although the Committee wanted to meet with SARU in the first term that was not possible as SARU said it would only be available during Parliament’s constituency week from 23 March 2016.  
 
Mr Thebehae said that the Committee had to prioritise its strategic plan at the beginning of the second term so that it could be able to see what the priorities were going forward. That would assist the Committee with emphasising an increase in its oversight mechanism. That mechanism would also be streamlined so that the Committee could have partnered oversights with provincial legislatures and other Departments like COGTA, DBE, the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) and SALGA.

The Chairperson asked Mr Thebehae to produce a copy of his outline and distribute it to the Committee. She also said that during the Chairpersons’ workshop, committees had been asked to do oversights as clusters.   The Management Committee (MANCO) had also prioritised informing the House Chairpersons office about the lack lustre cooperation the Committee received from provincial legislatures during oversight.
 
Mr Mphumzi Mdekazi, Committee Researcher, made reference to MANCOs suggestion that the Committee had to place a premium on the status of rural schools sport. The rationale was that SA was mostly rural. He pleaded with the Committee that it consider what could be done with municipalities that continued to misuse the MIG as he had engaged two municipalities during recess. In his analysis, he was checking MIG usage against SALGA’s annual report. He had personally called one mayor and reported that he had noticed in SALGA’s report that that the municipality was using money meant for sport on water services. That mayor’s response had been that there was no way he would not provide waters services. Citizens were asking for just a pavilion or grass patch as a facility according to that SALGA report but a specific mayor was saying his hands were tied, but  that same mayor had underspent on the MIG and returned to the fiscus R40 million out of the total R70 million. He would not mind if the Committee charged him to research what other municipalities were doing with the MIG, especially rural municipalities. Of course cities were doing a lot with the MIG and regarding schools sport however; the danger was that transformation would not occur if rural children were left behind. The Committee had the power to request expenditure reports from municipalities on how they had been using the MIG in the previous five years as it was glaringly apparent that misuse was purposeful. Since the Committee had resolved that rural sports development, schools sport and transformation was its mantra he was pleading that those issues be prioritised.
 
The Chairperson reminded the Committee how NT and COGTA officials had responded to the Committee’s inquiry into the misuse of the MIG. They were not committing to anything and said they would refer the issues to their seniors. The Committee would need to strategise on how to tackle that matter going forward. She had already met the new Minister of COGTA, Mr David Van Rooyen, where she had updated him informally of the challenges the Committee had met in dealing with the MIG. It was unbelievable that Directors-Generals were making as if the challenges with the MIG were centred around SRSA only though those officials attended strategic meetings of the state together.

Mr Bergman emphasised that invitations to the Committee had to be prioritised such that the not so well known events were attended. Those would be the National Schools Championships and games played by not very known sporting codes.  Moreover, the Committee had to buy its own tickets as a show of support for those codes. He shared the Chairpersons shock about people who were summoned to appear before the Committee but wanted to come at their own time not when the Committee requested them. If a federation like SARU wanted to come during the constituency week then possibly the Committee could seek accommodation so that it received SARU as there was too much going on in SA rugby to postpone that briefing.

Ms Moteka said that the SARU briefing had to be brought forward possibly and the brief had to include the previous Rugby World Cup (RWC) performance as the longer it was postponed the more those memories would fade from recollection. It was painful to repeatedly speak about one thing without any resolution as the Committee had witnessed during its oversight. Government officials did not recognise the need for MIG for S&R and they showed no remorse about misusing it.  He agreed with Mr Mdekazi’s proposal on how the Committee could approach the entire challenge.

The Chairperson reiterated that the Committee needed to focus on transformation and how to approach the MIG during its strategic plan meeting as she was also quite frustrated. However, there had to be an adopted approach to how things would be attended to.

Mr Malatsi concurred with the Chairperson noting that the Committee’s repeated bemoaning of the misuse of MIG hampered the transformation agenda which was a mantra of its stance. Moreover, many of the federations that had been to Parliament did not seem to feel the urgency which the Committee felt about its work.  A streamlined consensus about what transformation meant and was supposed to look like would make the Committee more able to hold federations to account when it came to transformation in sport. Some federations had a skewed view and attitude about what the Committee was supposed to be doing, an example would be what SARU had done by simply stating that they were not available to come to the Committee. They were not suggesting a future date either but the Minister in his apology had suggested a future date for his briefing. He agreed with Mr Moteka and Mr Bergman about the need for SARU to be followed through.

Ms Manana supported Mr Mdekazi’s suggestion that the Committee should charge him with doing more research on the misuse of the MIG by municipalities so that when the Committee called COGTA it could have reliable and specific information to deliberate on. The Eminent Persons Group (EPG) was there exactly to ensure that transformation would be a premium across the board in sporting federations.

The Chairperson thanked members for attending. As soon as Mr Mdekazi could produce a fully researched report then the Committee could go and do oversight to the affected municipalities. The Committee would simply inform SALGA and COGTA about that oversight. She was giving Mr Mdekazi permission to do the research and come to present it to the Committee. The postponements by SARU were an anomaly that the Committee would certainly have to work around.

Mr Moteka said that at Makhuduthamaga Municipality where SAFA had zonal leagues the soccer teams there had to resource themselves with no assistance. Even the equipment was from individuals as owners. That was a typical example about the treatment sports was receiving from municipalities.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Moteka for the example.

The meeting was the adjourned.

 

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