Documents handed out
Draft Committee Report on Sport Budget
[All Committee Reports available under Tabled Committee Reports once published on the ATC]
The Sport and Recreation Committee met to consider the draft Committee Report on the 2016 Strategic Plan and Budget of the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA) and the two entities who appeared before the Committee. The Content Advisor took Members through the report, indicating the important points that had been raised by the Department. Members held fairly substantial discussions, but what came out of those was that they were not so much debating the content of the Report as raising issues that had not been sufficiently aired during the meetings with the stakeholders. Some of the observations and recommendations were to be tweaked and Members were asked to have a closer look at those. A fairly substantial discussion was had on what the Committee still needed to get from the Department and in particular the information on transformation that was needed from the Eminent Persons Group. This comment led to one DA Member saying that part of the problem with this Committee was that it had not engaged in a strategic planning workshop with the Department, unlike other departments, and thus was still lacking much of the vital information It met only once or so a week and simply did not have time to address all the issues. This was regrettably taken as a criticism by other Members, of both the Committee Chairperson and the Content Advisor, and there was some extensive discussion on the point and how the Committee Chairperson would like to see meetings unfold. The Member assured the Chairperson that he had full confidence in her and did not intend this to be a personal slight, but was trying to stress that there was much information still outstanding before the Committee could properly adopt the report.
It was decided that the report would be adopted in the following week, with further input into the recommendations by Members in the meantime.
The Committee noted the difficulties that it had with oversight visits and lack of approval on the budget for these, but decided that it would continue to push for opportunities, including attendance at the forthcoming conference in Durban.
Members finally adopted the minutes of a number of meetings earlier in the year, with amendments to most.
Department of Sport and Recreation: 2016 Strategic Plans and budget: Draft Committee Report Deliberations
The Committee's Content Advisor tabled the draft Report on the 2016 Strategic Plan and budget of the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA or the Department) report, as well as the entities Boxing SA (BSA) and South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS). He noted that there were no major changes in their Strategic Plans.
He outlined the strategic goals, reading from the document. He noted that the departments in South Africa were all working in an environment that has experienced significant negative economic changes.
He then moved on to give an overview of the Annual Performance Plan (APP) taking Members through the document. He noted that the APP outlined the policy priorities that the Department intended to implement. He highlighted that the Department was preparing this year for the hosting of the 2022 Commonwealth games in Durban. Team SA will also be participating in the Olympic games and this is key to the realisation of the NDP goal of promoting social cohesion, because it will bring collective pride to all citizens.
He noted that the Boxing SA strategic plan had not changed for the 2016/7 APP. There had been progress in filling vacant posts. There had been an allocation of R13.1 million to BSA.
He then noted that in this year SAIDS would be allocated R21.8 million. These funds would be spent on the three main pillars as outlined in the document: administration, deterrence and education. The key performance areas were summarised.
He then took Members through the outlines of the following programmes;
- Active Nation, where funds allocated were transferred to eight provinces for school sport programmes
- Support to SRSA Mass Participation opportunities in nine provinces, although the Move for Health and Golden Games programmes were cancelled and R1.1 million was allocated for active programmes.
- loveLife's allocations were set out
- Winning Nation programme that is responsible for bursaries, describing the amounts allocated and the reasons for delays in transfers
The four international events anticipated for 2016/7 were set out, and it was noted that two had been approved: the African Sprint Canoe Championships in Roodeplaat, Pretoria and the World Masters Squash Championships in October in Johannesburg. The 2016 CANA senior Aquatics Championships and 2016 FISAF International Fitness and Hip-Hop Unite World trials are yet to be approved.
It was indicated that 93% of the allocations of R137.6 million were to go to the sporting federations, with the remainder to BSA, and the history of the allocations was set out.
The agreements with countries such as Cuba, Russia, Canada and Australia were outlined.
Page 14 went into the additional allocations by National Treasury to capacitate SRSA to support municipalities in using their Municipal Infrastructure Grants to build sporting facilities. It was indicated that SRSA should have a greater say in this year, and a list of 30 priority areas had been identified.
The draft Report then went on to describe the entities. Page 14 described Boxing SA and page 15 covered the programmes of the SAIDS, indicating also that there were weaknesses in the current legislation and it would need to be reviewed – which was then addressed in the Annual Performance Plan (APP). The Report suggested that the Committee would need to focus on the internal administration of the programme, and the comments of the Auditor-General (AG). It had been suggested that the employment of a financial manager will perhaps yield positive results.
The Content Advisor asked Members to give input.
The following observations were noted from the Department to the Committee:
- Provinces were not budgeting properly for sports (expanded upon). Members would need to assist the Department by liaising with provincial heads of the departments
- the Sport Focus Schools Programme supports schools with poorer pupils and that should become a strategic observation
- Follow up would be needed on municipal expenditure of unutilised MIG funds that were reserved for sport and recreation in previous years.
- Members had noted their appreciation of the work of BSA in raising visibility of the sports - Members had been grateful for invitations to events, even if they could not attend - Members had highlighted that there were two boxing associations in the Eastern Cape. The points addressing this issue on page 15 should be rephrased
- The emphasis placed on the entities' approach to marketing in view of the relatively small grant from the department was offered
- On page 16, he noted the point “the entities strategy to increase the number of female boxers and ringside officials was not clearly reflected in the strategic plan”. This observation came from the presentation of Boxing SA at the meeting held last week. He reminded Members that they wanted to have a briefing by the Department on boxing in schools.
He then read through the remainder of the observations and said these were drafts only and Members should amend as they saw fit. Although there was a list of recommendations on page 17, he asked members to come up with a new set on the basis of what would be discussed in the meeting. The last recommendation – “the Minister must ensure that the process of preparing draft legislation is expedited during the 2016/7 financial year” - may not happen because the legislation needs still to be reviewed by the SRSA.
The Chairperson noted that she did not yet know the date for the budget vote debate. She felt that the document just presented was largely correct, but the recommendations would need to be amended. She added that information was provided on the Eastern Cape but a written report was still needed, but the Committee was pleased to hear that there was some interventions by the Minister. The issue would have to be updated in the Report.
Ms D Manana (ANC) referred members to page 4, on the key projects on the Department, and noted her concern that two of the projects had been cancelled. The Golden Games were very important in promoting a healthy lifestyle, especially for older people and it also involved the Department of Social Development and was recommended by it as part of the community programme agenda. She felt this cancellation should not be allowed to go ahead. She hoped that the Committee would keep pressing the Department to fill vacancies.
Mr S Mmusi (ANC) wondered how the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) project would be beneficial and the reduction in numbers of trainees.
Mr M Malatsi (DA) said there were a lot of inconsistencies in the APP, one the one hand the Department talked about increasing participation of school children in sport and then spoke of a reduction in the national school sports championships. He said this was alluded to on page 10. He found contradictions in school sport agendas versus nation school sport championships. He also thought that there was a contradiction between SASCOC targets and the Department's aims for medals. Part of the allocation deals with support for elite sport preparation. He thought the resource allocation agenda was questionable. He also shared Ms Manana's concerns on the cancellation of the Golden Games. The impact of these on active sports participation, leading healthy lifestyles and the impact in reducing the national burden of disease must be remembers.
Mr Malatsi felt that Members should encourage transformation, in terms of the financial contribution for driving administration. More clearly defined outcomes would need to be included. The outcomes stated by the Department were problematic because again there was a contradiction between fostering transformation and the contradictory statement that it had been adequately addressed. The agreement with the Big Five federations was a rolling mandate and had not yet been concluded. The austerity measures were creating a gap, particularly in the programmes that drove the political programme. He thought there had to be an indication at level of the Ministry of what are some of the austerity measures implemented.
Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) suggested that these points about continuing and discontinuing programmes should be placed under the Observations section of the document. The difficulty was that the Committee had lost the opportunity to raise issues, and in order to ensure that the views were covered they would have to be captured in some of the observations. This should include the cuts in programmes. Some programmes can’t continue because of the austerity measures. The second point he wants to make was that the Committee showed good focus, and it would have to ensure that the R300 million was put aside by Treasury to do the right developments in municipalities. The list would be vital because it would affect the oversight work of the Committee.
He made the point that the Committee would have to be quite sure of the phraseology it used – for instance to check on the exact titles of the boxing organisations in the Eastern Cape. It would also have to be careful that it did not appear to align with one or the other.
He added that the Committee had already started to focus on the EPG and it needed to have capacity, which was something this Committee could promote. The difficulty was that there was no commission accountable to the Minister, although the Committee had been lucky in the interactions to date. He thought that the Committee would also have to be briefed on the timeline that have been agreed to between the five federations and the Minister, and it would need to hold the federations accountable. It would also have to speed up progress in the eleven other federations and ensure that they signed. Finally he said that the Committee must ensure that the inconsistencies are cleared in their interaction with the Department. He questioned the figures and asked that they be checked. The Committee must not become involved in the dispute between SASCOC and the SRSA but encourage the Department to sort this out, as it was ultimately responsible to the Minister.
He suggested that the Committee must add some more observations. Generally, most recommendations did make sense. They had to do with issues the Committee had been dealing with over a long period of time.
The Chairperson said she was having a problem with the new observations as the Department had worked on this document with the Committee, and was not present today. Prior to the debate, the Committee would have to get the information and tidy up the observations being raised today. She noted that the Committee had discussed the issue of the medals with SASCOC. Last week SAIDS AND Boxing SA and the Department were present and did assist the Committee. The Committee was learning as it did oversight, and she spoke to the various discussions that had been held. SASCOC and the Department needed to be called in together.
The Chairperson also made the point that there was still some gap between the Committee and Department and she made the point that the Commission had only been asked for once. On the question of transformation she took the point raised by Mr Mmusi and proposed that once the Committee had received all the information it must reflect on it. She asked the Content Advisor and Committee Secretary to follow up on that. It was not possible for the Committee to debate matters fully without the facts.
The Chairperson referred Members to page 3, the last paragraph, and asked the Content Advisor to clarity the wording around the “cut” from R25 million to R18 million, and asked him whether this referred to cuts in numbers, or cuts in budget.
The Content Advisor said that this referred to budget cuts, and the Report qualified what had happened. After the Department had tabled its report, the support staff should do a full analysis.
The Chairperson said that the person he was speaking of was not here and he should not speak to this.
The content advisor outlined the process of Parliament and said that the timeframes demanded of the Committee that the report be presented at the end of the month, but the Committee had then had to meet without having had sufficient time to process it. The time was very short but some changes could still be made. IN September the Committee would also be trying to deal with the Annual Report and the budget report, and this did not give the Committee enough time to have an engagement to properly prepare. The Committee had no control over this.
He said that the points raised on grammar and phrasing would be taken into account when drawing the final report. He would get clarity on the figures of R11 million and R13 million – the first figure appeared in the budget, but the amount of R13 million was mentioned in the presentation. In relation to the EPG, a form of agreement had been reached with the Big Five federations in May 2015. The EPG must monitor implementation and make adjustments. In March, the EPG had tabled a report of all the sixteen federations’ transformation status. Therefore it is not a draft report any more but a benchmark report. This report was sent to the Minister.
The Chairperson noted that Members must get the full report with amendments before deliberating further on it.
The Content Advisor said the full report that had been tabled with all the sixteen federations, but the eleven could later enter into the contract.
The Chairperson interrupted, and said that all Members would need to be fully up to date on what the five federations had done. This was a national issue and the Committee must be seen to be doing its monitoring duties.
The Content Advisor said that this was an issue that would need to go on to a specific agenda but the progress report would be discussed in the next meeting.
The Chairperson said that Members still did not have all the information they needed to adopt the report. Members would have to know what is going in the transformation process, in order to fulfil the goal in five years. The Committee must make progress on transformation, and whatever information had not been presented anywhere else formally still had to come to the Committee. This did not only involve issues of colour but social and poverty levels, and the Committee must look at whatever was not transformed. She asked that Members comment in the meeting if they felt that issues were not being covered in the Report.
Mr Manana said that one of the people who would normally respond was not in the meeting.
The Content Advisor said that some of what Members had highlighted was not so much about rephrasing the Report but was raising issues that he could not deal with – such as whether the Golden Games should have been cancelled. He would change the wording from boxing associations to boxing promoters. He noted that there was nothing specific said about which programmes had been cut. In the previous year seven promotional sports campaigns were planned, and in this financial year only three were planned, but the Department had not said which were discontinued.
The Chairperson and Content Advisor discussed when it would be best to reconsider the Report. She also noted that points would have to be raised with SRSA before the final debate. The matter must be finalised by 3 August 2016.
The Content Advisor reminded Members that once the Report was tabled it was a document of the Committee, and there was a meeting scheduled for 3 May.
Mr Ralegoma suggested that this Report should be adopted in the following week and that some of the issues raised were already being dealt with by the Department.
Mr Malatsi agreed with the Chairperson that there was a need to engage further on matters raised in the previous meetings. He thought that there was still an opportunity to get the necessary responses from the Department. The committee should fully use that opportunity. Some of the matters can be dealt with by written submissions to the committee. Members must debate with sufficient documentation before them.
Mr D Bergman (DA) felt that part of the difficulty was that the Committee had not had a strategic workshop similar to what other committees were doing. He said that the Committee was still saying that it had to raise questions when the relevant people had already been to the Committee. He felt that the Committee had become unproductive, it met only once a week and had a tight schedule. Instead of recalling the boards, he would like to have a full workshop to take presentations and ask questions that would lead to finality.
Ms Manana said that the Committee must focus on the business on adopting the report. She suggested that it be adopted today, and information still to come in from EPG could be used for the debate on 6 May.
The Chairperson told Mr Bergman that she was not quite sure who he was blaming about the Committee being unproductive, and was quite distressed at this. The Committee was guided by the rules of Parliament and Committee meeting followed guidelines. She did not know what else it could do. She asked other Members to consider the points raised and come up with suggestions on how the Committee could operate.
The Content Adviser said the strategic plan is a five year plan and key points will be the priorities and the areas of focus, so that the Committee can exercise oversight. Annual Plans are put into operation in line with the mandate, resources and priorities. This could have been done in the first week of Parliament, but there were various pressures and postponements of meetings, which made it impossible to do that. He pointed out that the Committee tried to get allocations dates, and the Annual Performance Plan presentation was a briefing session of priorities. The key points isolated for prioritisation by the Committee were to address the changing pressures, increase school sport programmes and focus on transformation. The Strategic Plan was in place until 2019 and could not be changed. The Committee had to look to the Annual Performance Plan now for updates. This Committee was somewhat privileged in rarely having any disagreement about the stakeholders and the focal areas were largely the same – governance, transformation, financial affairs and other priorities.
The Chairperson interrupted him at this point and said that the Committee did oversight.
The Content Advisor agreed but said that oversight included calling people in to meetings – not just the times when the Committee met with other stakeholders. The committee hardly ever went without having a weekly meeting. It was not able to go on site visits all the time, particularly when budgets had been reduced, but the Committee had taken opportunities when it could, based on the Parliamentary programmes. Site visits were not allowed in this year. Despite the lack of budget, the Committee had found its way to doing some oversight.
Mr made a way to make things possible, for an allocation for p[aliment and members to go on an oversight,
Mr Ralegoma felt that the comparisons between this Committee and others by Mr Bergman were not helpful. This Chairperson goes out of her way to allow Members to express themselves freely and the Committee never had to vote. He urged that the Committee should act as a collective, and in its own unique way under the Chairperson's leadership and not try to copy others.
Mr Bergman responded that he has confidence in the Chairperson. He did not, however, agree with the Content Advisor and he was fully aware of what a Strategic Plan was. It was important for the Committee to understand how the Strategic Plan would be implemented. The APP is a guideline to how many oversight visits the Committee needed, and he was not sure that the Content Advisor understood this need.
Mr Ralegoma raised a point of order and said that Mr Bergman should not be criticising the Content Advisor.
The Chairperson said that she was now about to do something she had never done before. When the Committee met with the management structure, it was presenting what was in the Parliamentary programme. If Mr Bergman was not happy about the responses of management as a collective he must say so and then provide a solution. It was not helpful to draw comparisons between committees and she felt offended. The Committee wanted to do more oversight but Parliament had not allowed this. The Content Advisor was trying to explain what the Committee had missed, and he was right to take Members through that. She was not happy with the turn that the meeting had taken.
Mr Bergman said the point of order had made his point. He expressed his view that the Committee is “ frivolous when it comes to dealing with the actual issues” and had become “a graveyard for politicians, because our budget is low”. This was not a personal attack on the Content Advisor, but he would have expected that all Members must know what an APP is, and also know that every time a visitor speaks to the Committee, that is oversight. The Committee must focus on implementation. This is done through members giving input and when we give input, the Committee must put it down. He conceded that it was wrong of him to try to compare this Committee to others – but sitting on other committees had given him a broader experience and benefit of other plans. He had been trying to engage constructively and give the direction to the Content Advisor and the Whip. He again wanted to express his full confidence in the Chairperson and apologised if he had offended her. He wanted to say was that there was an opportunity for Members in the meeting to particularly engage on the report, and ensure that all questions, comments and information were considered.
Ms Manana responded that Mr Bergman should apologise because he raised the point in an incorrect manner. She had heard praise for the way this Committee was performing.
Mr Malatsi said that the Committee should be a platform where everyone could make contributions to help the Committee, and Members should engage to enrich the Committee. He made the point that points made may be misinterpreted by others, but robust political engagement in such meetings actually distracted the Committee from its tasks. Members would make contributions in meetings when they took their roles seriously, and everyone must act in good faith.
The Chairperson responded by saying that she does not have a problem with what had been said, but any criticisms had to be directed to particular areas, not the whole Committee. She said that the Committee had followed its programme and to her mind had done well. There must never be a day when Members are suppressed and cannot express their views. Engagement must, however, come with clarity and that was why it was useful to clarify what Mr Bergman had meant. She noted that the Committee did not attend a workshop as members were unable to get to it, and the Report had some gaps. Those could be addressed with a written submission.
Mr Ralegoma suggested that the Content Advisor should edit the document, and add in observations that came out of the meeting, and re-present it at the next meeting. The Minister needed the Committee to have more information on the contract between the Big Five federations and that would inform what was happening with the other eleven. This information should be sought by the next meeting.
Mr Bergman said that he would reserve his rights and comment at the next meeting.
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