Department of Sport and Recreation on its 2016 Annual Performance Plan

NCOP Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture

11 May 2016
Chairperson: Ms L Zwane (ANC, KZN)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) said the transformation charter had become the focal point of the Department’s approach to the work it was doing, with transformation agreements having been signed with federations for all five major codes. This year, agreements would also be signed with 14 other sporting federations. The Department was increasing the pool of federations it assessed. 

Although the slow uptake to fill current vacancies in the Department posed a significant weakness, the initial number of vacancies had been reduced from 24 to only six. Another significant weakness had been the Department’s poor adherence to departmental deadlines to submit documentation. Project planning was not adequately informed by research, so to mitigate that weakness the Department had started a new research unit that continuously conducted research and had began evaluating the key programmes. The schools sport programme had been the first one to benefit from this type of work.

A possible ban on alcohol advertising posed a serious threat, because if this happened the Department would lose about 80% of all available revenue for national teams. Another significant threat included the 15% of the municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) grant which the provinces and municipalities were supposed to utilise for sport activities, but based on the latest study it appeared that they used only 4%.

Members asked serious questions about transformation, particularly the ineffectiveness of the quota system; the collapse of the doping control laboratory used for scientific purposes within the sport industry; the need to encourage schools to concentrate on sports development; plans to increase mass participation in sporting events; and what had been done to ensure that boxing developed in South Africa. They asked why the pilot programme to develop talent scouts had been cut off, and how the government’s cost-cutting measures would affect the Department’s revised organogram. It was suggested that efforts should be made with the Department of Correctional Services to ensure that something was done to develop sport in its facilities as part of the rehabilitation of prisoners. 

Meeting report

Department of Sport and Recreation on its Strategic Plan
Mr Alec Moemi, Director General, Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA), said the strategic plan was reviewed on an annual basis in order to ascertain where the Department was struggling. Outcome 14 of the government’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) had now been issued as a part of the Department’s strategic plan, which essentially aimed at citizens’ empowerment. 2017 would be the year in which the Department implemented a full evaluation of SRSA’s 20-year plan, and it had been agreed that it must be reviewed every five years. The Department had drawn heavily from the plan to develop its annual performance plan (APP), and the most important feature that would come out of this was the flagship programme, particularly the Schools Sport Championship. Since the beginning of this year, the Department had changed the delivery methodology of the championship.  

The transformation charter had also become a very key aspect of the work being done, with transformation agreements having been signed with federations for all five major codes. This year, agreements would also be signed with 14 other sporting federations. The Department was increasing the pool of federations it assessed. 

The Department had drawn heavily on the White Paper, and it was now implementing the pillars of the National Sport and Recreation Plan (see document, page 8). Since then, it had realigned its structure and had completed the organisational redesign. Importantly, the active national programme remained the cornerstone of the implementation.

Annual Performance Plan for 2016/17
The Director General (DG) said he would focus on the key parts of the APP. He took the Members through the weaknesses of the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, indicating that the slow uptake to fill current vacancies posed a significant weakness. The initial number of vacancies had been reduced from 24 to only six. There had been a problem with the implementation of the performance management and development system, which now had been institutionalised. The Department had a poor adherence to departmental deadlines to submit documentation. He commented that the Department was naturally a late-starter, but he strongly believed that it was not so much about the starting point but how the Department finished that mattered. It was mainly because the major programmes took place in summer and most of the mass participation took place when it was warm, the third and fourth quarter were seemingly the busiest quarters. In the first and second quarters, it always looked like the Department would under-spend its budget, but once the third quarter kicked in, it was able to catch up, and last year it had spent about 96% of its budget. He also noted that project planning was not adequately informed by research, so to mitigate that weakness the Department had started a new research unit that continuously conducted research and had began evaluating the key programmes. The schools sport programme had been the first one to benefit from this type of work.

Mr Moemi stressed that the issue of the concurrent functions governing three spheres of government was a prominent threat, because the view was that the capacity to deliver sport programmes at the provincial and municipal level left a lot to be desired, particularly at the municipal level. In fact, six of the provinces did not adequately budget for sports programming and some did not budget at all. This was one of the biggest threats, and the constitution provided that this was something that needed to happen. 15% of the municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) was supposed to be utilised by the provinces and municipalities for sport activities, but based on the latest study it appeared that they used only 4%, so this was a big threat in terms of advancing sport and recreation in the country.

The poor adherence to SRSA policy by stakeholders was another continuous threat, however. The Department had begun to implement tough measures on federations in this regard, and there were federations that bid for international events without government approval. Regulations were therefore being tightened to make it compulsory for federations to consult the government prior to bidding for such major events. Another prominent threat was the ban on alcohol advertising. If this happened, the Department would have taken one step forward and three steps backwards, as this meant that the Department would lose about 80% of all available revenues for national teams. This was the single biggest threat facing the Department, if it was not mitigated.

2016/17 Budget 
(See document for budget allocation)

The DG said that this was the first year in which the Department had surpassed the R10 million mark for infrastructure support, because Treasury was very clear that the mandate to deliver facilities rested with provinces and municipalities. Therefore, it had not allowed the Department to budget for infrastructure support, and the budget allocation could be used only for oversight, as well as to test new delivery methodologies and for coordination purposes.

The Department had been mandated by the President to ensure that substantial assistance was provided for junior athletes to turn professional. It was supposed to support at least 60 sports and recreational bodies with financial and non-financial support, and this target was exceeded every year.

The most important programme this year was the Rural Sport Improvement Programme, formally launched in Mthatha, and the roll out for this programme had already commenced. The Department had been impressed by how the House of Traditional Leaders had proactively taken up this initiative with open arms, with two of the kings being present at the launch of the programme. The programme was focused on rugby, netball, cricket, soccer and athletics, and would seek to promote sport in the rural areas -- strictly villages and farms. The Ministerial outreach programme would continue and it had been enhanced quite significantly. The first batch of sport buses would be delivered in June, and all 12 of them by the end of the year. Each province would be allocated its own bus, while the national programme would be allocated three buses. The Department was also commercialising the sport mascots in order to raise awareness and funding.

Another key initiative the Department was looking into improving and growing much bigger this year was the indigenous games festival, and more money had been allocated to it to ensure that it extended even beyond the level of national tournament by making the games a household activity, where people could play at their convenience. This involved the distribution of many of these indigenous board games. The Department had surpassed the 30 000 mark for the Big Walk initiative this year, and it was currently looking at the national youth camps in terms of participants.

The Andrew Mlangeni Golf Development Chapter was focusing on developing black golfers, and currently the Department had three candidates which it aimed to develop.  There were now two players in the scientific support programme for this. This programme was targeted at ensuring that the Department produced black golf champions.

The winning nation programme had been allocated a total of R91.1 million, including the major events support programme, which was currently allocated R10.8 million. However, in the next year the figure would increase to R70 million, in 2018 it would increase to R180 million, and by 2021 it would increase to about R400 million. These increases were due to the Commonwealth Games taking place in 2022, and the allocation was to ensure that there would be sufficient funds for preparation for the event. For this year’s event, the medal winners would receive monetary rewards, so the recognition system had been allocated a budget of R18.9 million.

The Department of Arts and Culture had allowed the Department to use the east wing of its building in Pretoria in order to establish a sports museum to showcase in retrospect South African sport and long forgotten icons within the sector.

Boxing South Africa had finally exceeded the R10 million mark this year in terms of funding allocation. Previously, boxing had been allocated about R5 million and that figure had been constant. However, in order for the sport to develop properly, a bigger funding allocation was imperative. Treasury had finally agreed after long negotiations to increase the funding allocation for Boxing South Africa, so hopefully they would utilise the money well and steadily develop the sport.

As far as support infrastructure was concerned, the biggest news was that after years of debating with Treasury, it had now accepted the wisdom of the Department that it could run a pilot project for its support infrastructure. However, it had been a bitter fight for the 15% of the MIG, but the Treasury had now ring-fenced about R300 million outside the MIG framework formula, and the money was in the hands of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). However, the Department had gazetted 30 projects across the country to prove that the best way of delivering infrastructure for sport in the country was to pull the resources together, because ironically the municipalities that need the sport facilities the most were the poorest. If one looked at the equitable share and counted what the 15% of the MIG allocation was to those municipalities, many could build only multi-purpose sport courts. Basically, those municipalities would never have sufficient infrastructure if the MIG allocation was religiously followed. However, the Department also knew that many of the municipalities were not using the money for the intended purpose (which was to build the infrastructure), because sport was the first item to be neglected or sacrificed when municipalities were confronted by basic social service delivery problems such as water and sanitation. Therefore, the Department was trying to take the burden away from the municipalities when they were confronted by these problems, and having to make hard decisions about which items to forego in their budget allocation -- with sport being the common victim on the list. With the money ring-fenced, it was not available for expenditure for anything else other than what it was intended for. Treasury had given the Department the first allocation amounting to R6 million to hire new people and create capacity. Engineers and project management units would be hired to ensure that there was capacity to monitor the delivery of the 30 sites on the piloted project. In the next three years, Treasury would increase the allocation up to R10 million so that there was sufficient capacity to administer the delivery of the project, and benefits of economies of scale would be reaped.

The Department had delivered outdoor gyms to many municipalities. This project had been piloted four years ago to see how it would grow and it had worked very well. On a combination of 12 exercising machines, the Department had spent about R250 000 per facility. However, one metro (which he did not mention by name) was spending R1.5 million for the 12 exercising machines, so it was evident that there had been a total rip-off of the government resources made available. The advantage of pulling resources together addressed these types of problems, and now the Department had decided to set the prices for whichever supplier was appointed from the Treasury, or the office of the Chief Procurement Officer or COGTA, and insist on those prices. The Department was also currently insisting that all surveyors and engineers must be paid according to the published industry salaries, and insist that they charge those rates, and if they refused then it would get others to do the job who were willing to accept those rates. The rationale behind this was that the same engineers charged about R240 per square metre when doing private projects, but all of a sudden when they were dealing with government the rate increased up to R3 600 per square metre. This methodology would also remove the burden on municipalities -- irrespective of where the facility would be built, the rates would be the same across the country. This had not been welcomed by some provinces and municipalities, but the Department remained steadfast that this was the route it was going to take and Treasury was behind it fully.

National Sport Recreation and Events Centre (NASREC) Precinct
Mr Moemi said that over the years, the Department had become slightly dormant in as far as NASREC was concerned. In it, there were about 11 parcels of land, but the Department had woken up in the last five years and was now claiming its rightful position to take up the NASREC precinct. In 1993, before the national election, it had been sold into private hands for less than it had been built for. The Department was now working with state law advisors, and planned to issue an expropriation notice in the Gazette, because it would not have an opportunity to build another national stadium of that magnitude and size. The cost of building the other halls would amount to about R2.3 billion and they were needed for indoor games and other activities, so the NASREC precinct needed to be utilised for its contribution to the sport sector. There had already been encroachment by people who had built houses there -- the new suburb called NASREC had been built too close to the precinct and the Gauteng government had plans to build a smart city and also to build an industrial hub in the precinct. However, the Department was opposed to that, and would soon declare an inter-governmental dispute in terms of the inter-governmental policy relations framework. He appealed to the Committee to provide political support, because it was a fight between “David and Goliath.”


Mr C Hattingh (DA, North West) said the budget had been allocated strictly for mass participation, not for just a once-off event, but for sustainable participation. Secondly, he highlighted that he had seen how sporting teams needed to reflect the country’s demographics as well as transformation, but most blacks and coloured who were now part of the Proteas and the Springboks came from privileged schools were sport was held in the highest regard, with teachers dedicated to working very hard and putting in many hours to ensure that their sport was appropriately maintained. Perhaps the government needed to expand the budget into public schools to expand that culture. With regard to Athletics SA, it had been held in high regard as the most transformed sport in the country, but so many things had happened within that organisation, such as the looting of funds and the government pouring in millions into it, that it was now considered the most untransformed sport in the country. What had happened to it and what was being done about it by the Department?  In light of the collapse of the South African doping control laboratory, what support system or structure was there for the laboratory to ensure that it continued to carry out its mandate? Did the Department see itself as having a role in keeping sport in the country clean, by keeping the lab intact and updated to be able to do the blood sampling for athletes, and assisting the athletes with their passports? The collapse of the lab had not been overnight -- it had come over the years, because there was a time when results would take a long time to come out. What was the Department’s role to ensure that the lab continued to fulfil its mandate? It was the only lab in Africa that had given South Africa a certain status, but now it had collapsed. 

With regard to the highly spoken about transformation process and transition in the country, the Minister was a frequent spectator at National Basketball Association (NBA) matches, but the NBA itself did not reflect the demographics of America, with blacks comprising 75% of the players. This seemed acceptable to the Minister, as the 75% of blacks had the right type of genetics required for the sport. Was that type of system also considered in determining the amount of black players required by the quota system in the least transformed sporting codes in the country? Was that system being applied in South Africa?

With regard to the FNB Stadium, there were agreements when funding was needed to build stadiums. However, in those agreements there were rights that were agreed upon, so the Department could not infringe upon rights that had been agreed upon, especially when the country had been in need of funding from the private sector to build the Stadium. The negotiation process needed to cater for this too.

Ms P Samka (ANC, Eastern Cape), noted that the stadium in Mthatha had been dismantled and the Committee had been making a lot of noise in trying to get the Department to have it rebuilt. It now appeared that the Minister had intervened and the National Lottery would also be contributing towards building the stadium in Mthatha. There was a Community Works Programme (CWP) where the Department was assisting the learners who had passed matric and putting them into a training programme for sport, but the problem was that these children lacked sporting gear and other important equipment. The Department needed to ensure that these children were catered for. It was well understood that the Department was often given a small budget, but there were business personnel who were interested in sport and would like to be part of contributing towards strengthening sport development in the rural areas.

What could be done to ensure that boxing in the Eastern Cape was developed and supported by the Department, because the youth in East London lacked support from the Department? This applied not only to rural areas in the Eastern Cape, but to other parts of the country as well.

Mr M Khawula (IFP, KZN) agreed that the Department did not receive a sufficient budget allocation to carry out its mandate and receive the recognition it deserved, The Department was expected to do so much that the budget allocation should reflect the extensive work that it performed. He expressed his fears about the threat alluded by the DG in the SWOT analysis in respect of the concurrent function in the three spheres of government. He asked if these things were not addressed in the meetings with the provinces, because a lot was being said about issues at the national level, but at the provincial level there was not much happening or things happened at a slow pace. When the Department met with the provinces, what was the content of the discussions to try and eradicate some of these problems? 

He said that there was a problem in the country about pilot programmes not being taken to full scale. There was a programme that had been piloted a while ago for sport officers responsible for sport development and identifying talent, but that programme had eventually been cut off. Why had it been cut off, because it had proved to be very useful, and the country already suffered from the lack of ability to identify talent in sport. Another issue which had been in the media quite frequently recently was the Department’s attempt to ban the bidding for international sports events by the major sporting codes which did not conform to the transformation standards. With regard to school sport, much was being said about prioritising it and developing it, but it did not seem like it had even been kick-started – why was that so?

Mr D Stock (ANC, Northern Cape) said that it seemed like the Department seemed to be focusing too much on the federations that were not meeting the transformation targets, and the transformation issue seemed to be centred on the four sporting codes that did not meet the transformation targets. It would be appreciated if the Department shared some light of those who had met the set targets. What was the reaction of those whose privileges had been revoked?

What was the situation regarding the provincial allocation, particularly in the Northern Cape? It had been highlighted last year that the Northern Cape had a wide demographical spread but a smaller population in comparison to other provinces, and the small budget allocation obviously did not suffice. What had the feedback been in terms of addressing this issue from the engagements at the national level?

The review of the organogram had been coming since the Fifth Parliament, and the Minister had made a pronouncement regarding cost cutting measures. What were the implications of the implementation of that programme, and what had been the reaction from the different stakeholders as part of the consultation process to implement that programme.

Ms M Moshodi (ANC) asked how the APP and strategic plan of the Department linked with the National Development Plan (NDP). Secondly, she noted that the President and the Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan, had put a lot of emphasis on cost containment, wanted to know how the Department planned to implement this.

Ms T Mpambo-Sibhukwana (DA, Western Cape) commended the DG on the performances of athlete Caster Semenya, as it showed that efforts had been made to ensure that she was brought back. She said that there was hidden talent in the Correctional Services Department, and it appeared that not much had been done or budget allocated to cater for these people. What efforts had been made with the Minister of Correctional Services to ensure that something was being done to develop sport in Correctional Services as part of the rehabilitation of the prisoners? She asked what the stance of the Department was on wasteful expenditure, saying she was adamant that this was something that occurred in every state department. She believed that not much had been done to direct the youth to consider taking up sport as a career -- or whatever was being done, it was not enough. Lastly, she asked about sporting activities being initiated for people living with disabilities, particularly people who were deaf.

The Chairperson commented that the Committee did not have the space to influence the processes of budget allocation for the Department, because it was inarguable that the allocation was quite meagre for the mandate it had to carry. One would appreciate that the Department was now going to focus on rural development in sport because there was a huge lack of sporting facilities. There were officers for school sports who were residing within the Department of Basic Education, and the DG was welcome to share some light on this issue. The matter of the budget being insufficient and reduced even further continued to raise concern. She commanded the Department for finally achieving the ring-fencing of the R300 million to build sporting facilities in the country, and asked the DG to provide some light on how the Department had gone about achieving transformation in the four major sport codes.

Department’s response
The DG said four years ago the Department had done a study to look at the value for money and the quality of the services rendered for athletes, as well as the school sport development programme. In 2012, the Department had reached about 7 000 clubs for support in supplying equipment and sporting gear. In mid-year of the same year, sport development officers had been deployed to evaluate those clubs and it had turned out that the equipment and supplied gear that had been provided by the provinces was either torn or non-existent. This was due to the quality being inferior which, to some extent was understandable because targets needed to be achieved with limited resources, so the impact had not been really substantive. In the following year the provinces had to go back to those clubs and provide them with equipment and gear again -- it basically became just a vicious cycle. In addressing the issue of impact, the Department had then decided to centralise the procurement of equipment and gear for sport, and the packages had been classified according to the sporting codes. It turned out that in providing a good quality of sporting equipment and gear to the clubs with limited resources, the Department could reach only up to 800 schools a year and 1 800 local clubs in the provinces. These numbers were very low, because the very same money that had been allocated to cater for the schools and clubs needed to address other issues as well, such as travelling when the teams went to play in other places, accommodation and coaches.

However, although the numbers were low, they had been balanced out by the quality and impact that the Department was providing. Even when the Department narrowed the sporting codes to one basic package for one sporting code, it was able to reach only 11 000 schools of the 24 000 targeted. This proved that the real issue was the limited budget allocation, and the only time the Department might be able to achieve the targets was when provinces stopped seeing sport as a dumping ground. If sport was only given marginal support at the provincial level, the mandate would continue to be difficult to carry out. It became evident that the sport departments in provincial level did not even have a chance to influence budget outcomes, and this was also the case at the national level anyway. However, the Department had decided to target the most important things to take up with Treasury, like the ring-fenced amount in the MIG, and more budget allocation for sport development in schools.

Last year, three of the provincial departments had achieved clean audits from the Auditor-General for the first time, so this was the approach that the Department had decided to engage the Treasury on by having robust systems in place, clean audits at the national and provincial level, and producing value for money in the activities it took part in. The Department had extended its own audit function to provinces to ensure that by the time the Auditor General (AG) came in for audit, the provinces were ready.

On the issue of transformation, there were six dimensions now. It was imperative to note that the Department was opposed to the system of quotas and did not subscribe to the idea of just having numbers of black players on the field, because it was not useful. It did not speak to transformation from a holistic point of view.

Was it because certain sports were the purview of certain races -- like the NBA for black people -- and genes determined who you were and what kind of sport you must take on? In fact, the apartheid policy in sport was based on that, and to suggest that basketball was a sport for the purview of the genes of black people and that was why in America 75% of them played, reflected not only a misleading ideology but it was utterly racist. The director for scientific support for the Department would confirm that in order for the Department to know if an athlete was suitable for a particular sport, the athlete must be assessed for different physiological aspects such as endurance, how well the athlete could run, how fast they could pick up pace and speed, the rate that the muscles oxygenated and the type of muscle fibre the athlete had. These types of analysis came from scientific assessment, not race or demographics. So the real issue as far as transformation was concerned, was opportunity for everyone. He submitted that it was indeed true that the Department did not reach out to an adequate number of people, but about R9 million had now been allocated to train talent scouts, and this amount had been increased from R400 000.

Sight should not be lost of the persistent problem with teachers in schools in respect to developing learners at that level. There was a problem with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) -- an MOU had been signed, but the Department had not implemented it fully. The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) even uses sport as a bargaining chip when negotiating with the DBE. Managers had been deployed by the Department to ensure that sport tournaments happened at the district level, so the DBE just needed to ensure that sport was embraced at schools.

The Department had engaged with the DBE to amend its Act to make sport a compulsory exercise in schools, because gone were the days when sport was compulsory in schools. Now the system was not designed to compel children to participate in sport at school, which made it virtually impossible for the Department foster sport development at the school level. The Department could not introduce an amendment of the Basic Education Act to Parliament -- the DBE needed to do so. It was very evident that sport development was not a priority to the DBE -- its Director General was more concerned about better matric results and textbooks swimming in Limpopo rivers. However, for him as DG for SRSA, it was a priority. However, children with talent were now offered bursaries worth R100 000 to enrol in schools that prioritised sport in order to assist in developing their talents, but the reality persisted that the Department could not cater for everyone, especially when the DBE was not meeting its end of the deal.

With regard to the laboratory, the Department was not given the opportunity to intervene and consequently it was at the mercy of the university concerned, and this had been the position for the past five years. The Department was engaging the university for funding, but due to the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) there were certain conditions that needed to be met in order for the Department to provide the funding. This was going to happen when both the Minister and the council of the university appointed members to the board for the joint sporting facility that the Department intended to establish at the university -- only then would the funds be transferred in order to establish the joint facility. However, the Department had already invested about R20 million to buy equipment for the facility and other support equipment.

The four sport codes had signed agreements with the Department, and therefore a baseline had been established. The sporting bodies previously met the transformation target because it was based solely on demographics -- basically the quota system. However, this system had not addressed transformation holistically because there were also no proper governance procedures and processes put in place and the money provided by the Department could not be accounted for. The new transformation charter sought to clarify what transformation really was. The whole sector had agreed on this charter and all ambiguities previously existing in the former system had been removed. The charter went along with a scorecard. When a federation was being measured on whether it had performed or not, it was measured based on the six dimensions that had been agreed upon and the demographics were just one aspect of those dimensions. The four major codes had therefore been presented with a target ratio of 60:40 by the Minister, and each code had been consulted on whether it would be able to achieve the target ratio. They had all said no, but by the end of the first five years -- by 2019 -- they would have reached a 50:50 ratio, and the Department had accepted this.

The Department had then sought to establish what each sporting code would be able to achieve in the first year. The SA Rugby Union (SARU) had said it would be at 40%, and consequently this had been registered as a baseline for SARU and had been signed off. However, SARU had not reached its 40% target for the year -- in fact, all the codes had not, except for football. The SA Football Association (SAFA) target was actually in reverse, as it needed to reach out to white players and schools, so for the demographics of the country to be represented in football, it had to have 9% white players at all levels, as well as for female teams. When SAFA had achieved its target, the Department had issued a Ministerial directive as per the Act to go further show their presence in white schools, and SAFA had also achieved this. As for the remaining codes, none of them had reached their set targets. The Department had consulted widely on this issue. 

The meeting was adjourned.


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