loveLife; SA Transplant Sport Association briefings

Sports, Arts and Culture

01 November 2016
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The South African Transplant Sports Association (SATSA) told the Committee that the organisation aimed to encourage people who had received an organ transplant to participate in sporting activities as a way of getting their lives back, and showing their appreciation to society for helping them get their lives back.

Members of SATSA participated in both local and international sporting activities. South Africa was currently ranked as the third best participating nation in the World Transport Games, and this included holding 17 world records. However, a lack of funding was greatly hampering its activities. 

Members of the Committee recommended that SATSA should reconsider its position that only organ recipients or donors could have full membership of the Association. Questions were also raised on its engagements with the Department of Health, and it was established that it had a good working relationship with the provincial departments. SATSA’s financial position was not presented, but it promised to forward this to the Committee. Members also talked about finding ways they could help the Association with funding.

LoveLife focused on the various sporting activities that had been established to help tackle the issue of HIV infection, which was prevalent among young people in the age bracket of 19 to 25. The LoveLife style curriculum was centred on a positive life style, healthy sexuality, motivation and careers. Activities which promoted health-seeking behaviour included sports, recreation, debating, arts and culture, while the activities that addressed structural drivers included computer training, media production and LoveLife training. Various Y Centres had been established to help in addressing this problem, and an update on the status of these centres was given.

Members asked how the activities of LoveLife could be promoted in a broader sense, and how such programmes could impact on sexually active young people who were not interested in sports. They also wanted to know about the funding of LoveLife, the use of credit cards, the reason for its overdrafts and the research studies carried out. It was asked for its views on virginity testing, and the extent of its interaction with young people.

Meeting report

South African Transplant Sports Association (SATSA)

Mr Stanley Henkeman, National Chairperson: South African Transplant Sports Association (SATSA), said the vision of the SATSA was to be a leader in optimising the quality of life of organ transplant recipients, and through sports and other physical activities, to promote organ donation and transplantation. The primary objective was to demonstrate the improved quality of life following transplantation through participation in sports activities, which included the national and world transplant games. The SATSA also aimed to facilitate the participation of persons from previously disadvantaged communities, to show recipients’ gratitude towards and recognition of living donors and families of deceased donors, to promote awareness, educate and inform the general public with regard to the need for organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

It also organised regional recreational events and competed at the South African National Transplant Games and the World Transplant Games. South Africa was currently in third position in the World Transport Games ranking. Participation in the games was based on a ten-year gap in age groups. The youngest participant in the games presently was six years old and the oldest was 80.

South African athletes currently held 17 world records at the World Transplant Games. In the 2009 games, there were 40 athletes from SATSA who competed, producing 16 gold medals, 12 bronze and 12 silver. In the 2011 games, a total of 50 athletes produced a total of 37 medals. The 2013 games hosted in Durban produced 107 medals in total, which was as a result of the large contingent of the South African team. The 2015 games in Mar del Plata had 46 athletes from the SATSA, and a total of 89 medals were won, 41 of which were gold medals. The next World Transplant Games would be hosted in Malaga, Spain, in 2017. The SATSA supported its members financially to the games, though not fully, because funding had been a great challenge.

 Full membership of the SATSA was open to transplant recipients and the associate membership was open to the general public, corporate individuals, donor families and family members of recipients. The regional representation of members showed that Gauteng had the largest number of members -- 123 full members, and a total of 184. The Western Cape had 85 full members and a total of 120 members, KZN had 39 members and a total of 64 members, the Northern West and Free State combined had 14 full members and a total of 29 members, the Eastern Cape had a total of 29 members, Limpopo had a total of seven, the Northern Cape had just two members and Mpumalanga had a total of seven.

It was important to note that the SATSA was a multi-coded federation and did not fall under specific districts. The districts were merely a reflection of where the athletes were from. The transformation in SATSA in its broadest context, must be tackled on several fronts and was being implemented accordingly: The focus areas were racial and gender transformation, economic transformation, sport performance, governance, administration and national priorities.  Some difficulties had been experienced with the transformation process. These included the rising cost of living, making it increasingly difficult for volunteers to support the work of the Federation. Delayed lottery applications were hampering progress and the continuity of programmes. SATSA needed more funding to improve family support amongst its disadvantaged athletes.

Some of the challenges facing SATSA included the lack of funding which curbed events, timeframes and planning, it was difficult for disadvantaged athletes to go to national and international championships without financial support. The affordability of transplants limited the economic base of the membership and transformation, and due to its very unique make-up and position in sport, SATSA did not have the possibility to draw large funding from traditional sponsors, who rightfully look for large returns through exposure on national and international television, radio and the printed media.

Speaking of organ donation and transplantation, there were more than 4 300 patients listed awaiting an organ transplant. Another 30 000 were in need of soft tissue like skin, bone and tendons. Out of the population of over 50 million in South Africa, there were only about 200 000 registered donors, and only 500 transplants were done yearly on average. In South Africa there were only 1.7 donors per million population, compared to Spain which has 35 donors per million. There was a declining number of deceased donors and transplants. According to the spokesperson for the Gauteng Health department, Mr Steve Mabona, over 2 000 people were awaiting kidney transplants in Gauteng. Patients from seven of the nine provinces have their kidney transplants at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg and Steve Biko Academic hospital in Pretoria, but only about 50 transplants had been conducted over the past three years due to the unavailability of matching donors.

On the way forward, it was imperative to continue the previous successes at the World Transplant Games in Argentina in 2015 and at previous games, and to work towards a lasting legacy that would show in the following:

  • Greater awareness and knowledge of transplant sports;
  • A better understanding of how transplanted persons can live a normal life and take their place in society again;
  • Measurable increases in the number of people that register as organ and tissue donors;
  • Increased donor/transplant rates across the whole of South Africa and even further into Africa;
  • Improved knowledge of the state of organ donation and transplantation in other countries in Africa and as a result, increased cooperation between the various transplant centres in Africa;
  • The need for political support from local to national level;
  • Corporate South Africa, especially medical companies, should be encouraged to support transplant sport.

He recommended the need for political support from the local to the national level, and for government to assist in creating awareness of organ donation in thr sports community.

Discussion

Ms B Abrahams (ANC) asked how the SATSA marketed itself and how the Committee could help in this regard. She was impressed at the number of medals accumulated at the World Transplant Games. She asked about the possibility of expanding the membership of SATSA to everyone, irrespective of whether they were organ donors or recipients. She also asked what could be done to assist people without medical aid who were waiting for an organ transplant, and the age limit for receiving an organ transplant.

Mr M Malatsi (DA) asked if there was an interaction between the Department of Health and the SATSA, and if there had been any response to this. He asked about the level of engagement with the provincial Departments of Health, because he felt that was important to create awareness at the grassroots level. He wanted to know what was being done to encourage healthy lifestyles among organ donors and recipients. With regards to the financial burden of the games, he was of the opinion that it was expensive to travel to these games every two years, and therefore proposed that this be discussed with the federation. Lastly, he asked for the financial statements of the SATSA.

Ms D Manana (ANC) referred to the transformation of the SATSA, and commented on the delayed response of the lottery to their application, wanting to know if a reply had been given. Regarding the budget for SATSA, she said the Committee could only make recommendations about this.

Mr Henkeman, responding to the question of membership, said only the full members could participate in the games, but associate membership was open to all members of the public. The Organ Donor Foundation was an organisation which was actively involved in raising awareness in the public about organ transplants and donations. Therefore, the SATSA efforts were aimed at recruiting associate members.

Mr Hermann Steyn, Executive Secretary: SATSA responded to the question of the relationship between the Department of Health and SATSA, and asked for help from the Committee to be introduced to the Health Portfolio Committee, because it had been difficult getting access to them. He said that the SATSA had a working relationship with the provincial Health Departments. Regarding the age limits for receiving a transplant, he said there was a limit for this at the public hospitals because of the expense involved, and a lot of other criteria were looked at. The issue of healthy living for donor recipients was highlighted, and he stressed the need for health compliance for this category of people. At the provinces, there was a good working relationship between the hospitals – both private and public. He was of the view that low memberships in some regions was because there were no transplants going on in there.

Responding to the question of the financial sheets, Mr Henkeman was apologetic and said the absence of that information was an oversight on his part. He asked that he be allowed to email that information. He pointed out, however, that the income received from the Department of Sport and Recreation in 2016 had been R1 000 050, and its total income had been R1 000 932, compared to R416 000 in 2015. The SATSA had only one employee, and the rest were volunteers.

The Chairperson was of the view that it was important for the Committee to have the financial information so that it could be in an informed position to help in sourcing funds. She also asked if attempts had been made to seek funds from other areas such as none-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the lottery.

Mr Henkeman talked about the application for funding from the lottery which had been made in February 2015. The lottery had given a response only a year later, and had refused to give funds because they felt the event which the funds had been applied for, had already taken place. He lamented the difficulty in communication between the lottery and the SATSA.

Mr Steyn also referred to the funding issue, but told the Committee they were not present to lament about lack of funds.

The Chairperson in her closing remarks said the Committee appreciated the good work being done by the SATSA and enjoined them to continue the good work they were doing. She also pointed out the issue of gender representation in the SATSA organisation.

LoveLife

Dr Lebo Maroo, Acting Chief Executive Officer, LoveLife, said the organisation was established in 1997 in response to the new infection of HIV among young people. The primary target population was young people in the age bracket of 12 -19, and the secondary target was young people between 19 and 24 years of age. On average, about 500 000 young people at 1 500 sports events had been impacted and there were programmes active in about 6 000 schools, sports hubs and legacy sites, with activities at 460 health facilities, and covering 12% of total population in South Africa. There was a total face-to-face reach of 33.5% of South African teenagers.

The LoveLife style curriculum was centred on a positive life style, healthy sexuality, motivation and careers. Activities that promoted health-seeking behaviour included sports, recreation, debating, arts and culture while, the activities that addressed structural drivers included computer training, media production and LoveLife training.

The board of the LoveLife was constituted by nine individuals who were leaders in society and willing to give their time at no cost. The meetings took place three times a year, while special meetings took place as and when required. There was also an executive management committee which met bimonthly.

LoveLife had strategically aligned itself to Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA). During the strategy period of 2014-19, LoveLife would be a strategic implementing partner for government on issues relating to young people and in particular with SRSA for sports, providing linkages with national sport federations and school sport events, offering HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns, life skills training, learning materials and other resources to equip the coaches with the “soft skills” required for working with young athletes.

On its deliverables for 2015, LoveLife was involved in mass participation in school sports, youth camps, sport for social change and development, and community sport, and had conducted a study which was focused on extreme sports. The school sport activities were targeted to increase sexual and reproductive health (SRH) knowledge, to change attitudes among youth on SRS, and behaviour change. In this regard, 576 701 youth had been reached, 1 323 tracked through the athletes’ tracking system, 34 477 had been reached with psychosocial support services, 189 881 through social media platforms, 28 976 000 through radio programmes, 250 coaches had been trained on Coach4life, and 13 role models had interacted with youth. At the youth camps, 2 102 trailblazers had been reached, 18 camp masters trained, and 180 camp stewards trained. A total of 875 leagues had been formed in 2015, reaching a total of 4 570 participants. This was in respect of sport for social change and development.

For the National Volunteer Corps, a total of 1 284 volunteers were trained by LoveLife in 2015. At the community sport level, 19 LoveLife ground breakers were trained on the community sport model in 2015 and 15 LoveLife Y-Centres had been recognised as sports clubs. Orange Farm Y-Centre refurbishments were under way and scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2016. One study investigating the role of extreme sports in reducing substance abuse risk was carried out and completed in the second quarter of 2016.

The 2015 financials showed a reduction of R40 million in its earnings. 80% of the grant amount received from Department of Sport and Recreation was spent on programmatic activities and a significant amount of expenditure remained unfunded, as the cost of implementation was higher than the grant income received. Consequently, LoveLife had been reporting deficits for two consecutive years. The grant income reconciliation for 2014 showed that the total grant income per LoveLife financials was R34 918 750, while that for 2015 was R36 291 500. 

The areas with informal settlements were prioritised in terms of programme implementation because the HIV infection rates were higher in these regions. The early rapid growth of LoveLife was driven by a specific logic: that in a generalised epidemic, one needed to be everywhere at once, and that the greatest gains could be made in unreached communities. This logic had worked in the past, but now that LoveLife better understood where pockets of new infections were, and the dynamics of these local epidemics, there was a need to focus more on these specific areas, making the interventions more efficient and more effective. A lot of focus was placed on women because statistics had shown that every week in South Africa, 2 363 women get infected with HIV.

The total spent to date on the Y Centre sport facility renovations upgrade was R900 000. The Orange Farm (Gauteng) sport facility construction was in progress, and for other priority centres, architectural drawings had been completed. The implementation of priority centres was scheduled for 2016, but costs had escalated since receipt of the money and LoveLife would have to fundraise to meet the difference. R1 300 000 was ring-fenced for 2016 implementation. The total cost to upgrade sport facilities for Orange Farm, Knysna, Mandeni, Botshabelo and Lenyeye, was R4 950 044.

Dr Maroo gave a status report on specific Y- Centres. The Umtata Y centre was not renovated, but it was fully utilised for programmes, and meetings had been held with the municipality and agreements reached to integrate the municipal youth desk into a Y centre. The municipality had agreed to inspect the state of the infrastructure and to budget for renovations. The Bizana Y Centre was not renovated, but was still utilised with minimal programme offerings. It had been lowered to a hub status. The facility required overall refurbishment to increase utilisation. The Emathulini Y Centre was not renovated, and had been abandoned for health reasons. It had been lowered to a hub status. The architecture report advised LoveLife to move the entire Y-Centre into an upper-ground facility due to the current building being in a wet-land. LoveLife programmes were provided in a leased municipal building which was 6 km away froma vacated Y centre. The Arconhoek Y Centre was not renovated, but fully utilised, and had been elevated to Y-Centre status. The renovation plans had been completed and the tender process completed and awarded, but costs were R1 194 051 for sport facilities only. The municipality was considering moving the Y Centre to a new location and building. At the Kutloanong Y Centre, there were no planned renovations on the current building. The new Y-Centre building was constructed by Free State Sport, and the arts and culture building had also been completed. The building had since been utilised by the Department of Sport, with no plans to hand over or integrate LoveLife Y-Centre programmes. These noted changes were as a result of new leadership within sport in the province.

Discussion

Mr L Ntshayisa (ANC) thought LoveLife was dead, and was happy to get a report on the organisation. He wanted to know how school sports and community sports were organised because he did not see schools in his community participating in LoveLife sports.

Mr D Bergman (DA) commented that LoveLife was focused too much on the spread of HIV and was neglecting other secondary diseases that affected the young, such as obesity. He also believed there were a lot of young people who were sexually active but were not interested in sports or LoveLife activities, so he asked the Board to look at ways the programmes of LoveLife could be promoted in a broader sense. On the coaches trained by LoveLife, he wanted to know if they were being encouraged to use their skills to get employment.

Mr Malatsi asked if LoveLife had explored the possibility of international funding, and where LoveLife stood in terms of the school bursary “virginity test.”

Ms Abrahams asked why there was no information about the sponsors of LoveLife. She asked how many consultants benefited from the consultancy fees, and what they were used for. What was the difference between restricted and non-restricted funding? Who were the beneficiaries of the credit cards, and how were they utilised? She also asked about LoveLife’s overdraft.

Ms Manana wanted to know if she could get the contact details of the LoveLife person in her area.

Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) asked about alcoholism among the youth, and whether the study carried out on this by LoveLife indicated there was a serious alcohol problem.

The Chairperson proposed that Members must be given information on a provincial and municipal basis, and suggested that a proper follow-up was needed by the Committee to assist LoveLife.

LoveLife’s response

Dr Maroo said that the school sports activities were not meant to be carried out by LoveLife permanently, because a lot of schools did not need to be covered. LoveLife rather went back to those schools to see if the activities were being sustained. The community sports were being limited to the Y Centres, and not the community centres, which was why the Y Centres had to be fully utilised. She also spoke about the non-availability of funds from the Department of Social Development in 2015.

Responding to the question of Mr Bergman, she said that discussions were taking place with the Department of Education to take over some of the activities of LoveLife. Proposals had been submitted to the provincial Departments of Education, and responses were being awaited.

Mr Raxmax Mashigo, Senior Executive Manager: LoveLife, said that the programmes were designed for people currently in sport and were knowledgeable about it. For those who were not active in sports, provisions were made for specific programmes to enable them to participate in fun activities.

Dr Maroo said that LoveLife sought external funding, but it was difficult because the agenda of funders may sometimes differ from that of LoveLife.

Regarding the virginity tests, she said that LoveLife believed in basic human rights and hence it believed in the voice of young people. They would only do those tests if the young people actually wanted them.

Mr Malatsi responded to this by saying his question was not about human rights, but to establish if LoveLife really interacted with young people. He wanted to know on what basis those assumptions were made -- whether they were a result of the responses of young people, or not.

Dr Maroo responded that a forum had been established where interactions were organised with the young people, and young people saw virginity tests as gender-based violence against them. A study had been carried out in collaboration with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), and one of the outcomes was that young people viewed virginity tests as an abuse of their human rights.

The LoveLife credit cards were not used by any of the LoveLife officials, but by an entity that was responsible for organising travel and accommodation for LoveLife, and could be used only after approvals had been received.

The LoveLife overdraft was a revolving overdraft, which was used as a form of revolving facility. One of the problems of LoveLife was its ability to pay salaries pending the approval of funds, therefore overdrafts were used at such periods.

Unrestricted funding referred to funds not attached to any programmes, and restricted funding was money tied to a particular programme.  The kind of fund-raising being done now was for unrestricted funds.

On the issue of consultants, she said that the LoveLife Academy was established in 2015, but it did not have a full time managing director, so there had been a need to find someone on a contract basis. Presently there were no consultants working for LoveLife.

Mr Mashigo said LoveLife would gladly comply with the request for invitations and contacts. Regarding alcoholism, the study was to see how sport could be used to help young people struggling with alcohol and drugs.

Dr Maroo gave an assurance that from now on, every document from LoveLife would acknowledge its sponsors.

The Chairperson in her closing remarks said that LoveLife had been doing well and she appreciated their work. She stressed the need to engage with municipalities on what should be done and to make their presence more visible in the rural areas.

The meeting was adjourned.

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