School sport, facilities, championships; SRSA MOU; sport federations collaboration: DBE briefing; SRSA 1 Quarter 2016/17 performance

Sports, Arts and Culture

06 September 2016
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee on Sports and Recreation invited the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) in order to discuss a range of issues involving sport at the school level.

From the outset, the DBE premised its outlook on the National Development plan (NDP) in terms of the partnership with SRSA, which had been achieved in part through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on an Integrated School Sport Programme, the cooperation of sports codes nationally, as well as the revised format of the School Sport Championship to seasonal games, in an effort to promote mass participation as well as talent identification. Though many successes had followed from the signing of the MoU, a number of constraining factors still inhibited the school sport programme in schools across the country. Central to these was that the eradication of mud and asbestos schools in certain provinces, as this still did not guarantee that a newly built school would have sports facilities simultaneously built. In certain areas, this was attributed to topographical factors, while in others the issue pertained to the legacy of apartheid.

In deliberating with the DBE, the Portfolio Committee wanted to establish why traditional township and rural schools were not a priority in terms of the building of sports facilities. It also seemed that certain matters were not being adequately addressed by the DBE, especially in the Eastern Cape, as there were municipalities that the Department could engage with to overcome the topographical challenges which restricted the building of sports facilities on school grounds. The Committee was displeased at the apparent total lack of facilities at rural schools.

The SRSA presented plans to review the MoU with the DBE, and highlighted the developed and gazetted joint initiatives between the two organisations. The goal of these objectives was to clarify issues of custodianship and governance in terms of school sport. The SRSA went through achieved milestones and highlighted the need for trained teachers in sports coaching, especially at the lower quintile schools, which often proved to be a barrier to participation and talent identification. SRSA took the Committee through identified challenges, especially given the drastic budget cuts, as well as its recommendations for improvements in sports codes and participation at all levels.

The issue of the Durban championships was a concern for the Committee, as reports had surfaced nationally that there was not sufficient accommodation for the learners who had attended the event. The spending for this event was also scrutinised the Committee.

Meeting report

Department of Basic Education on school sports

Dr Granville Whittle, Deputy Director General (DDG): Sector Care and Support, Department of Basic Education (DBE) said everything the DBE did in government was attempting to address and achieve the outputs of the National Development Plan (NDP), and sports and physical education was part of that. As government, they were keen to meet the goals that the NDP had set. The key achievement since signing the MoU with the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) had been an integrated school sport programme which allowed for cooperation with sport federations and school sports codes nationally. There was cooperation across 25 sports codes nationally. This year had seen the introduction of a revised format of the school sport championship to seasonal games, to emphasise learner mass participation and talent identification. This year had seen the successful hosting of the athletics championships which had good participation, with some issues needing to be addressed going forward. The winter championships were also successfully hosted in Durban and were well attended. The annual national schools choral eisteddfod was recently concluded in Johannesburg with 10 000 schools participating, and through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), they had established a quality physical education steering committee to ensure improvement on work done in this area.

The achievements since starting the process with SRSA had seen a growth in participating schools, a joint national task team that allowed for planning with SRSA and a mechanism where the management of DBE and SRSA could sit together and plan jointly. There had been an increase in the number of schools registered to play in programme codes from four to 16, and they had segmented the annual national championships into three. They had started looking at how to improve physical education, which was part of life orientation in the current curriculum. Life orientation was often not taken seriously at schools and as a result, teachers did not offer physical education. They had started working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) last year, and had established a committee of university lecturers to streamline the curriculum to develop better learning and teaching support materials, improve textbooks, as well as to talk to all universities to see how to improve the training of teachers in this area. This would ensure that more schools offered physical education as part of the curriculum.

The DBE had achieved remarkable success over the last five years under the guidance of their two Ministers and DG, but there were constraining factors that needed to be addressed systematically going forward, otherwise the programme would not be able to grow as it was at the moment. In many provinces, inadequate attention was placed on the promotion of the schools’ sports leagues, and this was the part that was the responsibility of the DBE. The DBE wanted to plan better, fund better and provide more human resources to focus on this better. The DBE had had long discussions with SRSA on how this could be improved.

There were inadequate sporting facilities due in part to the apartheid legacy, which the DBE was working hard to address. There were challenges of human capacity, as the compensation of employees was the biggest cost driver in the education sector. There were inadequate budgets at school level and district levels, which compromised the DBE’s ability to render effective school sports leagues. Another important difficulty was that because different codes were able to fundraise separately, they offered parallel tournaments which compromised school sports leagues, and discussions had begun around this particular issue with SRSA. There was often tension between the national federations responsible for particular codes and school code structures, with football as a good example, and this had to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Within education at the beginning of this year, they had had a joint planning session with all the districts, with all the sporting officials, so as to plan jointly. There were often competing interests at the local level, and then districts did not understand what national was trying to achieve.

He referred to the total number of schools registered, with some of the provinces doing really well. Gauteng Province (GP) was leading, with almost 100% of their schools registered followed by the Western Cape (WC). Mpumalanga (MP) had improved very well over the past few years, as there was a lot of political support in the province to reignite school sports. Limpopo (LP) and the rest of the provinces were struggling, and in the Eastern Cape (EC) only 32% of schools were registered. A question to ask was, even if a school was registered, it did not guarantee that they were participating, but it was important to recognise that schools were registered. Last year, there were probably about 12 600 schools, and over the last year 1 000 schools had been added to the number of schools that were participating, which was quite good. There remained a lot of work that needed to be done, as the goal was to be near the 24 000 mark.

As a result of the country’s historical legacy, there was a struggle around facilities. The DBE had introduced the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI), with the main focus of eradicating schools built with inappropriate structures, such as mud schools and schools built with asbestos. Based on the instructions of the NDP, the DBE also worked very closely with various entities in building partnerships to address some difficulties. The existing partnerships were with:

  • Supersport Let’s Play
  • UNICEF
  • Cricket South Africa – Hub system
  • Motsepe Foundation
  • Nestlé

Through these partners, the DBE provided multipurpose sports facilities to schools.

The ASIDI programme was to to eradicate schools made of inappropriate structures and to provide a basic level of water, sanitation and electricity to schools that currently did not have these. The DBE worked closely with the provinces to prioritise sporting facilities where there was a need on the ground. It was important to point out that the key objective of this particular programme was to eradicate inappropriate structures.

He informed the Committee about the newly built schools since the inception of ASIDI in 2011. In GP, no inappropriate schools had been identified, so no schools had been added through the programme. For most of the provinces, with the exception of the EC, when a new school was built, a sporting facility was also added. The EC was a special case, as it had not been possible to build sports facilities for every single new school built. He gave an example of what sometimes confronted the DBE in the EC. The topography in certain areas in the EC prevented the addition of sporting facilities. In such areas, spaces in the local communities had to be found where children were allowed to play.

Through the Supersport ‘Let’s Play’ partnership, the DBE had continued adding sporting facilities in partnership with the private sector, with great support from Hitachi Construction and Builders Warehouse. Through Unicef, six schools had been added with multi-purpose sports fields since 2014.

A three way Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed between Cricket South Africa (CSA), DBE and SRSA, as cricket required special facilities and equipment. With CSA, they had identified 58 hubs around the country and had specifically targeted hubs in disadvantaged communities. CSA provides a coach that goes into a hub, servicing on average 15 schools within the hub vicinity. The goal was to develop cricket in township and rural schools. They were working closely to grow the numbers of schools able to participate and grow the number of hubs available in the country. There was an active mini cricket programme, with hundreds of thousands of children participating already, and about 30 000 coaches. The difficulty arose when they started playing hard ball cricket, with the struggle for facilities and equipment. The idea was to work with municipalities where they were unable to provide the facilities in schools directly, to try and increase the number of hubs.

The Minister of Basic Education had signed an MoU with the Motsepe Foundation earlier this year for a R117.5 million partnership over ten years. The goal was specifically to allow the schools’ football and netball leagues to become part of the sports leagues. They were currently doing provincial eliminations, with two more to go -- one in EC and one in WC -- and in October, the two tournaments would be held at the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

One of the discussions the DBE was having with the SRSA was how to begin to guide the sponsorships they had so that they did not go into parallel tournaments, but rather became part of the league of a particular age category. This would encourage the schools to participate in the leagues, instead of competing in alternative programmes. Nestlé had already agreed to this approach, and one of things the DBE wanted to do was to continue engaging with the partners who sponsored school sports in SA to follow the lead of Nestle, by supporting school sports leagues.

Dr Whittle gave an indication of the funds allocated to school sport. The allocated budget was inadequate, with the exception of the EC. The EC, even though it had the biggest budget, had the lowest registration. What the DBE needed to do was to match the number of schools registered with the number of officials available, to ensure that the allocated budget went towards the running of the leagues. That was the challenge going forward. The budgets of the Free State (FS), KZN and Limpopo (LP) were inadequate. The DBE was pleased that in MP in the last few years, the budget seemed to have stretched upwards, although the 2016-17/2017-18 year showed a bit of a dip. The budgets were allocated to the provinces and were shared with districts, and it was seldom that the budgets were actually spent in the schools. It might be spent on some district level tournament, or some level of provincial tournament. Schools often said their biggest difficulty was to find a budget to play at the school, to buy kit, to have money for transport, to travel to the next school, or to provide something to eat when they did go to play at another school. This was another area needing to be addressed going forward.

He gave an indication of the allocation of staff for school sport. Often these staff members not only did sport, but also had other areas of work they were responsible for. The good thing was that most provinces allowed at least one district official per district. A difficulty was that in some cases, districts were much bigger. An example was Limpopo, which had only five districts which were really big, and to have only seven officials allocated was inadequate.

Looking at what needed to be done going forward, the MoU had been active for five to six years and was due for review in terms of what was working and what was not working. This process had started, in discussion with SRSA. It was time to focus on the codes so as to spend the current limited resources better. The role of school code structures in the current contract had to be reviewed. There could not be a situation where the code was fighting with the federations, and as a result of that children were not allowed to play. As a result of these fights, the one structure deliberately goes and disrupts events in schools because they do not want children to play because they were playing in the wrong structure. These were structures that were responsible for the same code. The conflict of interests between national, provincial and district officials in education must be addressed. Within the next week, the DBE would be meeting with SRSA to discuss the issue of national championships.

Once this process review and reflection had been concluded, the DBE wanted to do a fully costed implementation plan, with very clear targets on how to get around the 50% of schools that were not participating currently and how to get them involved.

The Chairperson opened the floor for Members to ask questions, and added that during the previous week’s meeting with the SA Football Association (SAFA), some questions put to SAFA had covered the same issues mentioned by the DBE.

Discussion

Mr D Bergman (DA) said he would strongly suggest that the schools be held responsible for trying to assist the SRSA in ensuring mass participation. Sport should not be part of life orientation, because it was a subject that was not taken seriously. The implication of a child not involved in sport was the obesity factor, which was already affecting places like America. Between the DBE, the Department of Health and SRSA, they must find it within their powers to introduce physical education in the curriculum as its own module. That would assist in terms of mass participation, as well as keeping the budgets low. The challenges of the districts and the schools, and legacy challenges, could be overcome by looking at creating shared resources that schools could use on a rotational basis. The schools would have to share the resources in terms of their upkeep.

Mr Bergman said that if delivery could not be accelerated at individual schools, then districts should be prioritised. In areas like the FS, NC and EC, in five years those school children would not be able to compete for provincial spots in any sports codes, because they were currently disadvantaged. More emphasis should be placed on teachers being trained as coaches.

At private schools, there were a lot of companies involved in fund-raising events, and at sporting events it was as though one was going to a world cup tournament. Although these were private companies, one could look at getting them to sponsor regular national schools’ championships.

Mr M Malatsi (DA) requested more clarity on ASIDI. He asked if the slides in the presentation, showing newly built schools though ASIDI, were entirely new schools or an upgrading of existing schools.

Dr Whittle responded that these were entirely new schools, where the old school had been demolished and a new school built in its place.

Mr Malatsi said that this created a very depressing picture for him, as according to the data provided, 197 new schools had been built and only 104 of those schools had sports facilities built. This meant that already there existed a massive backlog of newly built schools without sport facilities. The issue of topography could be debated at length, as the demolishing of a school should take into account the entire needs of a school, which not only meant classrooms. In 2016 one could not speak about new schools with no sports facilities. He asked what was being done in the communities, if not in the schools, to circumvent this problem.

Mr Malatsi referred to the National Education Infrastructure Management System (NEIMS) report, not highlighted in the presentation, but which spoke to the state of sports facilities in schools. He asked what the DBE was doing in terms of addressing the massive backlog of sports facilities, because there existed a situation where close to 9 900 public schools did not have a sports facility, and where the average learner who went to these schools was a poor black child. The poor black child therefore did not play sport at the school, and most likely not in their community either. He did not get a sense of what the DBE was doing to radically eradicate the backlog. He could accept the argument about a shortage of resources, as any government would always have a shortage of resources. He wanted to know what plans the DBE had to address the backlog, and thereafter the other issues could be looked at, like the issue of coaching and the availability of the teachers, as well as the attitude of the teachers in terms of spearheading sport, as any team would ultimately need a coach. He asked what the position of the DBE was in terms of engaging teachers, or the unions, as that was the platform to examine the blockages. He said that once the numbers were dismantled, one could see the impact on young peoples’ lives, and that sport was the only gateway out of a hopeless situation. Even the language used seemed to indicate that all was well, which painted a very depressing picture for him.

Mr Malatsi went on to look at the issue of budget allocations. He said he found it very interesting that comparing the spending per province with the implementation of the school sport programme according to the MoU, then the EC and NC had the lowest number of schools registered to participate in the implementation of school sports, yet in terms of their own spending, the figures seemed to be proportionally high. He wanted to know if there was a measure of output in terms of the number of schools participating compared to the money spent on particular sports codes, and also measuring it against performance. He knew that the performance of NC in the national schools championships provided nothing positive to write about in terms of victories. He wanted to know if there was tracking, and asked that best practices be used by looking at Gauteng as an example. When glancing at the figures, he saw no correlation and as such wanted to know what formula was used when resources were allocated. One way to deal with the issue of redress was to focus on where the worst impact had been in order to give the schools an uplift, so they could compete with Gauteng and the Western Cape.

Ms B Abrahams (ANC) wanted to know what criteria were used for assigning officials to the districts She wanted to know how many officials the DBE felt were reasonable for each district.

Ms D Manana (ANC) said she could see from the presentation that some of the teachers and school principals preferred choral music over sports. What did the DBE say when the schools prioritised choral music and other programmes, and neglected sport. She appreciated that in terms of the infrastructure issue and the ‘Let’s Play’ project, all the schools had been listed in the presentation, as that would make it easier for the Committee when going on oversight visits to visit those schools as well.

Ms Manana asked the DBE if they felt the MoU had worked for them, especially after 2011. When she looked at physical education, perhaps the DBE should insist on the implementation of physical education with a strategy to reimburse some of the teachers in some of the schools, as the teachers did the sports and administration in their own time after hours. If they reimbursed them, it would not be a problem to find a replacement if they left a school, because the replacement would know that they would be re-imbursed.

Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) said he was convinced that performance would not be maximised without physical education. If physical education remained a part of life orientation, then schools might end up performing more dismally. If physical education could be ensured, then people would be forced to want to play some kind of sporting code. He asked if the South African Schools Act (SASA), as it currently stood, would assist in dealing with school sport. At one point, they had been led to believe that it must change so that it could deal with the powers given to governing bodies and the attitude of teachers. The DBE presentation had not shown that there was a problem with the SASA, and he therefore wanted to know what the view of DBE was, as school sports must happen in schools and all impediments must be dealt with. DBE figures showed that nothing was happening in rural and township schools. The issue was one of creating access and bias in favour of rural and township schools. Engagements must continue with colleagues in the DBE. The outcome of one meeting with the DBE had led the Committee to believe that there was physical education in schools, and at least at this meeting, it was being honest in saying there was no physical education, but rather life orientation. The SA Football Association (SAFA) had felt they should take over school football directly, as there was no growth currently in participation. In terms of the MoU, the DBE was expected to be delivering up to district level, but currently that was not happening. There might have to be another joint meeting to engage further. Without physical education, there was no way one could be competitive, as research showed that countries that emphasised physical education, such as Cuba and Jamaica, were competitive at a very high level.

The Chairperson said that when she opened the meeting, she had said it was the second meeting with the DBE, and she could not understand how good work could be done in the EC when there was no access to sport facilities. Her secretary was showing her in the pictures, that some of the schools were in mountainous areas and at the bottom of those were municipalities which ought to have a relationship with the schools in terms of providing grounds for access to sports facilities. Once, while delivering sports kit, she had gone to a school next to Engcobo in the EC, close to big grounds which she was told accommodated district games. She pleaded that it was important to check with municipalities for grounds close to schools which could be used for sports facilities. She appreciated that the DBE was in the process of doing away with mud schools, but the issue of obesity in children should also be a priority in the EC if such schools were built without taking their health into consideration. There were traditional leaders who worked with municipalities on the councils, and they could also be engaged.

She referred to the DBE’s work with UNESCO, and asked when they intended rolling out a full curriculum of physical education as a stand alone subject. She asked how the DBE intended to train physical education specialists, and if the costing and planning for this had been done. She asked how much budget had been set aside by the DBE for physical education, school sport, physical education curriculum development and teacher training on physical education. SAFA was saying that School Governing Bodies (SGB) were not doing well, as according to the Schools Act they had latitude in terms of decision making. She said that even the SA Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) had not been assisting the DBE, but the presentation had not mentioned anything about it.

The Chairperson said that coming from the EC, she was worried that it could not carry on this way. The Committee had once gone to a former Model C School, Dale College, and they were doing well. She suspected that the Committee would take this report and go on an oversight again to the EC, because they had the biggest budget. The MoU was supposed to assist SRSA and the DBE in seeing an improvement in the rural areas, but nothing was happening. She was appreciative of some of the things the DBE was doing, but urgency was required on these issues. Transparency was needed so that when the oversight was done, they could whip the departments into action.

The Chairperson said that SRSA was very critical about sport, as it brought unity. She asked if the DBE could deal with those provinces that did not have facilities. Monitoring systems had to be put into place. She proposed that the Committee should direct the Director General to visit the rural areas of the EC, not because it was her home province, but because situation described in the report was horrible.

Ms B Dlomo (ANC) said that she came from KZN and according to the DBE report, 57.53 % of all the schools in KZN were registered, but when it came to the number of sports facilities, they had none. She said when comparing KZN with NC, which was a small area, NC had at least one. In the deep KZN rural areas there were no sports facilities whatsoever. It was very disturbing that after so many years of democracy, there were still such problems in those areas.

DBE’s Response

Dr Whittle referred firstly to the issue raised by Mr Ralegoma and the Chairperson around physical education. He clarified that physical education was in the curriculum as a module within life orientation. In the Foundation phase, there were two hours a week allocated to physical education, and one hour per week allocated in the Further Education and Training (FET) phase. He was aware that this was an area of struggle and that in the more affluent schools, they did offer physical education. In the poorer communities, quintiles one to three, there was a struggle. Sometime last year, with the help of UNICEF, the DBE had called all 25 universities and asked them what the problem was and what it was that the DBE was not getting right. The universities were saying that physical education must be a stand alone subject. He said that the country had had four phases of curriculum reform since 1994, which was very costly. The DBE had told the universities that engagements were needed to find out what could be done to strengthen physical education as it was. UNICEF had allocated grant to the DBE and work in this area would be co-ordinated by a professor of physical education at UJ. Part of the challenge was that the DBE was not training physical education teachers at the moment. Previously, students could go to university and study sports science with the goal of becoming physical education teachers, but now a lot of universities were closing down life orientation training. About two weeks ago, the DBE had had a very robust engagement with the Department of Higher Education (DHE), telling them the areas where they needed help. They were meeting the DHE again on 7 September to talk about these issues and the need for a pipeline of students that would be trained in physical education at universities to teach at the schools.

He said that teachers already in system did not know how to teach physical education, and the DBE was going to produce new life orientation textbooks with a particular focus on physical education. The universities were assisting with this process in terms of what must be included in this new curriculum and how the teachers had to be guided to teach it properly. The DBE had also asked the universities to also look at what minimum equipment would be needed to teach physical education at schools so that the DBE could provide that equipment on an annual basis. Last year, with Supersport, the DBE had introduced a physical education obstacle challenge for grade 4 at schools where the teachers had to get children through a course in 45 minutes, and that would be the score for the school. He said the quintile one to three schools had struggled to get 50 children through, while the quintile four and five schools often got 100 children through.

He said this issue was an elephant for the DBE, and the colleagues from Infrastructure had alluded to this when they had to dismantle a mud school and build a proper school. Where they could add a facility, they did put in wonderful facilities. However, he would take the discussion back to them to say that when they built a new school, they had to include a sporting facility. Since he was also responsible for nutrition, he had now to convince them that when they built a new school they had to include a kitchen. It was important that the children ate in dignity, and that infrastructure must also put proper sanitation in place.

Dr Whittle responded to Mr Malatsi by saying the issue of facilities was an important one. The area was difficult for the DBE, and he referred to a study that had been conducted by UCT previously, which said the DBE should build centralised facilities that would be accessible to a number of schools. Part of the solution was to work very closely with local government to find the space for these facilities. That had been the solution used in the Cricket SA (CSA) hub system and the DBE was busy having discussions with Swimming South Africa around these same issues, as it was important that children learnt how to swim. He would go back and have these discussions with his colleagues in infrastructure.

He said that engineers reported that the EC sometimes was very difficult due to the topography, but they would continue thinking of creative solutions.

Responding to Mr Bergman, Dr Whittle said the issue of sponsorship was a good one, but he felt that sometimes the DBE was not good at ensuring it got money for what they needed. What happened at times was that a schools’ sports code raised the money with a funder, and then the code said they would take a certain percentage for administration. From the DBE’s side, they could not see what the money taken by the code was used for. If they as government could control the funding, then they could be up front about prioritising township schools and schools in rural areas for sponsorships. He said maybe they should have these schools on a database, with a robust monitoring system.

Regarding the issue of the budget versus performance, the presentation showed that there was no scientific way in which the DBE budgeted. Each province got an equitable share and made their own allocations from that share. In trying to address this issue, the DBE should perhaps talk to their colleagues to establish a norm for school sports.

Dr Whittle responded Ms Manana on the issue of choral music versus sports. He said teachers did not want to be paid for choral music. They were easily able to participate in their spare time and were excited to participate, but for school sports they often wanted to be paid and made payment comparisons amongst the schools.

The SASA was something the DBE was in the process of looking at, and they would be bringing an amendment to parliament shortly regarding the school governing bodies (SGBs). Part of the difficulty in this area was that SGBs decide what the extra-curricular programme of the school was. This was a problem for social cohesion and for integration. This was something they were looking into, as they encouraged mass participation at sports school level.

Regarding coaching and coaches, the DBE was working with corporate sector partners, and Nestlé was working on an academy in JHB specifically to train teachers as football coaches. CSA was developing an on-line programme for teachers, with an accreditation certificate. This would ensure that teachers and technical officials were properly trained as coaches.

Dr Whittle said that he accepted the criticism of the Committee, and conceded that the DBE had a lot of work to do. The DBE had done really great work, and it was a positive sign that they had been able to grow at the rate of 1 000 schools per year being added on to the programme. A lot of work had been done and they were working well with corporate sector partners in terms of facilities. He asked the Committee to contact the DBE if they found a school that they felt needed facilities. The relationship between SRSA and DBE was very open and robust, and there was a great commitment to make things better, particularly for poorer children in SA.

.Mr Malatsi said that he did not have a follow up question, but rather the discussion had got him thinking. The last time they had had the joint Committee with the DBE, the Deputy Minister had participated and the discussion had been very proactive. Perhaps it was time to engage the Education ministry to close the existing policy gaps. At the root of all of this, it came down to implementation, but the policy gap in place was creating a conducive environment for the slow pace of redress. If the current pace persisted, then in five years there would still be thousands of public schools with no facilities.

The Chairperson responded that the Deputy Minister had promised that the Department was tackling the issue of changing policy.

The Chairperson asked Dr Whittle if he had any other response.

Dr Whittle said they were not quite sure where the legislation was a,t but they could check and write back to the Committee.

The Chairperson responded that that was exactly the criticism they had for the DBE, as a response was needed, especially as Deputy Minister had been part of the last meeting.

The Chairperson thanked Dr Whittle for his comments and honesty, so that the oversight by the Committee could be carried out properly.

Department of Sport and Recreation

Mr Alec Moemi, Director General (DG), SRSA said the MoU between SRSA and the DBE had been signed in 2011, after which the two departments had finalised the Integrated School Sport Framework (ISSF) to ensure that the departments looked at their joint responsibilities as well as focus on their respective responsibilities as per the MoU. The DBE had then gazetted the Schools Sport Policy (SSP) to ensure that all other stakeholders had custodianship as well as role clarification.

They had achieved a number of milestones, and he did not want to repeat what had already been said by the DBE. SRSA had already achieved the review of the existing policy on school sport, which had been gazetted. They had finalised the National Academy Framework (NAF) which, for the first time, had placed the sport focus schools as an entry to the National Academy System (NAS) of the country. They still had the challenge of identifying all other schools as sport focus schools. The sport focus schools operated on the basis of specialisation in the codes they were designated for. They had learnt this largely from rugby and cricket, as about 90% of the Springbok rugby players were produced by about 50 schools, and that 50% of the Protea cricketers were produced by about 40 schools.

SRSA had already begun the designation of the schools according to the 16 priority codes, together with provinces, the federations and DBE, and they had begun investing in those schools. They were still in conversation with DBE over the development of arts and culture, using the model of the Dinaledi schools initiative. SRSA would not have the money that the Department of Arts and Culture had to pay the teachers, and so they had agreed with DBE that some of the teachers needed to be retrained to be able to do that work, particularly in the designated sport focus schools. They were still working on the talent pool to ensure that talent identification continued and was not lost. This work was on-going and a foundation had been established to ensure this work continued to be done better. The championships had been held since 2012, and this year they had begun with the seasonal championships. Though the model was ideal, it had proved to be more costly than anticipated. 

He said SRSA had developed a five-year competitive schools sport plan with national federations, and after a period of long resistance by code structures, there was beginning to be sanity towards working together towards single championships, as smaller parallel championships drained resources and affected impact. They had started using their instruments much more sharply, and the funding given to provinces through conditional grants was now being restricted and directed by SRSA in terms of how the funds must be utilised. They now insisted that provinces must set aside R10 million from SRSA, and that money could be used only to support teams to participate in the national championships. In addition to what Dr Whittle had already said, they were now working with the Sports Trust in rolling out multipurpose sport courts, and 43 of these had already been installed in different schools. 12 new courts would be rolled out in the current financial year.

In 2013, SRSA had worked with the Economic Development Department (EDD), which was responsible for infrastructure coordination, and they had reviewed the nine schools built in the EC through ASIDI and had been concerned when they found those schools without facilities. Part of this was rooted in the norms and standards, which included sports facilities after months of lobbying by the former DG. SRSA had looked at best practices all over, and had seen that not all schools would be football or netball schools, as some would just be chess schools. Sports facilities should also be seen in the context of play areas, especially at primary schools.

Mr Moemi said the more affluent provinces tended to have higher registrations and greater correlation with participation as well, because of the legacy of apartheid. In the poorer provinces, there were a lot of barriers to participation, and even though the principals at these schools might be eager and even register the schools, they might not have the means to actually go and participate. It was for this reason that they were reviewing the MoU with the DBE this year. They had made significant progress and might not be able to grow at the rate of 1 000 or 2 000 schools per year, as they had reached saturation in terms of budget. Because the budget had been stretched out as far as it could go, SRSA would no longer be able to reach out to more schools. After the “Fees must Fall” issue, the budget had been cut by R20 million, and this year they had been informed that it would again be cut back by up to 2%, as per the last budget cluster meeting. It was impractical to keep on registering more schools when they could not afford to help those schools. They should actually not be held accountable for how many schools they had registered, but rather for the number of schools they had managed to get to participate.

Mr Moemi said the MoU must be implemented in full, as agreed upon between SRSA and the DBE. The SRSA welcomed the commitments made by the DBE and that if the SASA was to be amended, then that would be a great for the future of where things needed to go. The elephant in the room remained the reluctance of the teacher unions to come on board. It was easier to say the teachers were doing choral work, because they were being honoured. as there were special awards there. If he were a teacher in a rural school without facilities, then he would also make children sing if he had the choice. Singing was the easiest art form, as it needed no other equipment or technical expertise. Incentives needed to be put into the system, without necessarily speaking about paying people. They needed to invest in teacher sports awards.

Winter national championships

The Chairperson referred to reports in the newspapers about children not having accommodation in Durban at the School Sport Championships. She said that this was due to terrible planning from the provincial departments and not the national department, and as a result the national department must monitor the provinces.

Ms Kenetswe Mosenogi, Director: Scientific Support, SRSA, said that the National Championships had come out of the league systems. The Winter Championships had accommodated a total of nine sporting codes, with seven of them being team sports. The exceptions were tennis and chess. The national championship stakeholders had included eThekwini municipality, where the championships had been held. There had been different playing venues for the different sporting codes. The participation breakdown saw football with the highest participation, followed by volleyball. The total number of participants at the championships had been 6 319.

According to the results and medals table, GP was the to province, followed by WC, with NC being the last due to the challenges noted in Mr Moemi’s presentation. She indicated the total number of verified participants per province, including athletes, coaches and managers, and also referred to the table showing a breakdown of the number of talent scouts and technical officials. She also indicated the Local Organising Committee (LOC) members that were responsible per category. It had cost about R30 million to deliver the championships.

The biggest challenge for the Durban championships had been accommodation, as the universities were unable to help as the residences did not provide catering for students. As a result, they had had to source accommodation from commercial establishments, and other people to provide catering for technical officials. The National Championships had come at a time when there had been budget cuts across departments, and this had been a constraint for the delivery of the championships. The budget cuts were still going to affect the championships in a big way.

Ms Mosenogi said the National Championships had been an overall success. A further review of the programme’s technical requirements, as well as aligning it to the transformation targets of the national federations, was ongoing. More funders and sponsors were required in order to sustain this competition and make it grow to the level where the teams could compete with the quintile 4 to 5 schools. A gap still existed, as there was no financial support for the National Championships specifically from the DBE. The national federations and provincial Departments of Sports and Recreation would be meeting soon to debrief on the implementation of this new edition of the National Championships.

Collaboration with sport federations

Ms Mosenogi continued with the presentation on plans for school sport collaboration with sport federations and the DBE. Out of the joint national task team process in July 2012, a policy on the establishment of school sport code structures had been developed, consulted on and adopted by all stakeholders. The forum had recognised that school sport structures were non-existent at local, district and provincial level, and that there were national structures which did not have a fundamental base of local structures. There was the national federation and school sport structures which they were trying to address so that they had one code, and in that way there would be an alignment in the delivery of the school sports programme. 

Regarding the funding structures, during the review of the conditional grant in 2012, SRSA had introduced funding that was dedicated to school sport support and implementation of the schools sport strategy at provincial level. 40% of the conditional grant allocation to the provinces was dedicated to schools sport. Not only was the conditional grant allocated to the provinces, but also the grant allocated to the federation. With the grant given to the federation, it was expected that the federation would deliver a certain percentage to the school sports programme, and therefore this was a multiple approach. The fund was allocated on the following basis:

  • Establishment and support of school sport structures at local, district and provincial level;
  • Training of educators and volunteers that supported school sport administration, coaching, technical officiating and running of leagues;
  • Procurement of sport equipment and apparel for schools in quintiles 1 -3;
  • Running the district and provincial level tournaments;
  • Preparing and presenting the provincial team for the national championships;
  • Identifying and supporting sport focus schools;
  • 15% of the grant to be used for employing district coordinators to coordinate the school sport programme.

The SRSA ring-fenced funding for the 16 priority codes that were dedicated to supporting the school sports structure operations.

Ms Mosenogi said that in terms of support at national level, SRSA had mediated several times in the disputes that existed between the national federations and school sport structures. There were discussions under way to review this process in order to have one federation and one code. SRSA had provided capacity building workshops to support the national federations in establishing the schools sport structures for struggling federations, who at times had been placed under administration by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) when not fulfilling their responsibilities. SRSA continued to support the indigenous games structures for them to become established as fully fledged national federations. SRSA supported 120 schools annually with sporting equipment and apparel for the identified national federation of the year. SRSA had established one-on-one forums with the national federations in an effort to align the schools sport programme with the national federation.

On the alignment of schools sport to transformation, there was a certain percentage allocated for federations to deliver on developmental issues. This sought to address the transformation targets that the national federation had to deliver on. Largely with cricket and rugby, the federations themselves gave SRSA a target that they had to achieve as a response to their achieving their transformation target. Some of them had not performed well in the previous Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) review, but SRSA continued to engage with the federations to ensure that they achieved the targets.

Ms Mosenogi said SRSA believed they had provided the necessary support frameworks for the national federations and schools sport structures in implementing the schools sport programme. The SRSA continued to make efforts to improve the working relationships between the national federations and schools sport structures. In consultation with the DBE, the national federations and all relevant stakeholders, a process of reviewing the MoU was currently under way. Despite all the challenges that existed in the implementation of the schools sport programme, a lot of progress had been made.

Discussion

The Chairperson said that before she took questions, Ms Mosenogi had assisted on one thing that had brought the Committee into the limelight. On behalf of the Committee, she would like to thank Mr Malatsi for taking the initiative to reflect on the work of the Committee on the uLuvo achievement silver award. She also thanked the Department for heeding the call to assist with uLuvo by engaging SASCOC. She assured the DBE that if the Committee was hard on them, it was not because the Committee was harsh but because they were working as one government.

Mr M Mabika (NFP) said the SRSA had spoken about 120 schools that were given equipment for sports every year. The last time he had checked, all schools that were registered to participate were given equipment. However, rural schools did not get equipment. He asked what criteria were used to give registered schools equipment, as rural schools did not get equipment even if they were registered. Did federations merely get grants to support schools without any conditions attached? He gave the example of hockey, where there were no plans to take hockey into rural schools in accordance with the last meeting at which hockey had been present.

Mr Malatsi asked what the Department’s stance was on the SA Rugby Union’s (SARU’s) application to host the 2023 rugby world cup in terms of the latest adherence to transformation targets. What had the arrangement been for funding the national schools championships, and what had been the role and contribution of the provinces? He asked if there were any plans to have an official apparel provider for the games, or were internal procurement processes used.

Ms Abrahams asked how well in advance SRSA planned for the games, to avoid situations like a lack of accommodation. Were the marquees and tents hired every time? What happened to them, because in terms of branding, no dates were put on them, as certain events had certain themes? She also asked whether the Department could buy their own public address equipment over time, instead of spending almost R1 million on hiring it. She also wanted to know what cleaning was done in seven days that had cost R80 000.

Ms Manana said she wanted to support the sentiments of the Chairperson: that the national departments must intervene when provincial departments run events. She also wanted to know about old schools that were participating in sports but had no facilities. She asked if there was a list of the 120 schools that were receiving equipment and apparel.

SRSA Response

Mr Moemi firstly responded on the issue of the apparel. He said that the Department had issued a transversal tender with National Treasury on apparel and equipment, as they bought these items more frequently. The intention was to control the prices. The prices in some provinces were very high, so the tender was to ensure a price index so that they could be price setters. After adjudication, they had finally appointed five service providers and had appointed them to the provinces as well as nationally. They had also harmonised specifications in terms of the type and quality of apparel provided. They had not had a sponsor, but five service providers officially appointed on a transversal tender.

The intention was that all schools would be provided with apparel and equipment. As of last year, this had been made an indicator. The issue had been the quality versus the quantity. Different codes required different equipment. As a result of this the Department had come up with starter, intermediate and advanced packages of start up equipment. It had agreed with the Presidency and Treasury that with the money available, they could reach 6 000 schools with the provinces combined. It was not possible to give all 24 000 schools apparel and equipment every year.

He responded to Ms Manana by saying that the criterion was that the school must have registered, and if they were not registered, then they did not get apparel. The second step was that the Department would roll out the apparel per code registered for, and if a school’s code for that year was not on list, then they were not given equipment for that year. They also accepted requests, but they did not service the same schools over and over.

On the issue of SARU, he said SRSA had to meet with SARU, and they would have to explain what was going on. In their own explanation, SARU had said they were bidding for time, as they believed and were confident with their work that by next year they would have met their 2016 targets as well as previous targets. SRSA would wait to hear what the EPG had to say as independent body.

Mr Moemi responded to the questions asked by Ms Abrahams, and said it was important that the figures be considered in context. They had been hosting more than 6 000 children, officials and technical officials. They had spent R2.9 million on marquees and had needed them for catering, which included a number of serving points. Tents were also needed for medical personnel whenever games were played. Regarding the PA system, they needed a number of them wherever there were games were being played. Buying these systems would affect issues of storage, transportation, and the employment of sound engineers. Regarding the cleaning, there had been a number of facilities that had to be cleaned on a daily basis.

Mr Moemi addressed the issue of grant funding and accountability. He said the federations had to provide annual reports and audited financial statements to SRSA. SRSA had a reputation of punishing federations that did not comply with accountability. Currently they were giving federations what was called targeted money. They meet with the federations on each priority code, and they were also beginning to plan ahead. Where things do not go right, then they act and turn the federation around. He said no federation could take chances by not accounting.

The Chairperson thanked Mr Moemi as well as the two departments for empowering the Committee to enable them to do their oversight.

Committee minutes

The Chairperson requested consideration of the minutes of 30 August. While the minutes were being distributed, oversight visits needed to be looked at within the week. A visit to the Free State was due.

Mr Bergman said instead of going to the Free State on an oversight, why not stay within the Western Cape instead of going to the Free State and wasting funds.

The Chairperson said the issue was not the funds, as the funds were there for oversight. She said nothing was official, but this needed to be looked at within the week.

The Chairperson took the Committee through the minutes page by page.

Mr Malatsi said there had been an exclusion on the first point on page three. He remembered making an input with regard to an apology, and his input was not covered.

Ms Manana said that her input on Members leaving the meeting, representing themselves and not the country, must be reflected in the record.

Mr Bergman said that consistency must be reached in terms of what was required in the minutes. He said it seems there were certain things that were insisted on, and not others.

The Chairperson said Mr Bergman’s input did not tell the Committee what must happen.

Mr Bergman said he would like consistency in the minutes.

Ms Abrahams said that the Committee must be consistent, but also decide what must be put in the minutes and whether the names must be put in or not. She said minutes were very important and if the Committee could not agree, then maybe they must decide to get a recorder.

Ms Manana said she was covered.

Mr Malatsi said his understanding of the minutes process was that where a particular member moved or proposed, then there was resolution that moved with their name.

Ms Abrahams said that her understanding of a proposal was that there must be a seconder.

The Chairperson said she would leave it up to the Committee to correct things accordingly. She asked if the minutes could be adopted with corrections.

The Chairperson went through the rest of the agenda and there were no additions.

Ms Manana proposed the adoption of the agenda with additions and corrections, and Mr Malatsi seconded the adoption.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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