South African Sports Commission: briefing

Sports, Arts and Culture

08 April 2003
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Meeting report

PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE: SPORTS AND RECREATION

SPORTS AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
8 April 2003
SOUTH AFRICAN SPORTS COMMISSION: BRIEFING


Chairperson: Ms R N Bhengu

Relevant Documents:
South African Sports Commission Powerpoint Presentation
Vote 20: Department of Sport and Recreation (Link to Treasury Website)

SUMMARY
A delegation from the South African Sports Commission focussed on encouraging mass participation with the co-ordination of a number of events, including an Indigenous Games Festival and the staging the All Africa Games, Zone Six Games and the South Africa Games. Concerns were raised about the lack of available facilities and challenges faced with limited resources.


MINUTES
South African Sports Commission

Dr MJ Phaahla, the CEO of South African Sports Commission (SASC) described the vision as producing world class sporting excellence and the mission to create opportunities for all people to participate in sports. Empowering people was very important as a major investment to overcome shortcomings as far as facilities and equipment were concerned. There should be development across the spectrum as well as interventions at the level of mass participation. The intention was to manage, promote and co-ordinate the provision of sport and recreation.

SASC aimed to operate according to various thrusts, each dealing with a different aspect. As far as mass participation was concerned, Dr Phaahla said that an objective was to promote and revive indigenous sports in South Africa, and that research was being conducted to broaden the scope. Two-hundred and thirty facilitators had been trained in conjunction with local authorities. Traditional sport should take a rightful place of prominence in South African sports.

An Indigenous Games Festival was mentioned as planned for 4-6 September 2003. Team South Africa would be sent to participate in an indigenous games event in Montreal in July 2004. With regard to recreation, Dr Phaahla said that it was important to involve people in basic activities. Plans included co-ordinating a National Walk in August 2003. Recreation must occur at local level. There had been interaction with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and most provinces had recreational officers in place. There had been interaction with other Departments including Health and Correctional Services. The Department of Correctional Services in particular had expressed interest in using sports and recreation as a means of rehabilitation.

Dr Phaahla added that unused facilities built between 1995 and 1998 were targeted because there was a shortage of personnel and equipment. He used aerobics as an example of a sport in which all could participate. The Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Guateng provinces have already been engaged, and the Guateng Province had made provision for training of aerobics instructors.

It was imperative to have the support of the local authorities to make the venture a success. The Junior Dipapadi project would train care-givers, educators, federations and sports and recreation officers in the facilitation of junior sports and talent identification in this area. Workshops had already been convened in various provinces and other Departments, including Education, had been engaged in the project and made provision for it in their budgets.

The modified approach to sport would place emphasis on participation rather than competition. Regarding women and the disabled in sport, a successful Women and Sport workshop had resulted in the possibility of a National Award for Women. Mainstream sport assumed that only women's structures were responsible for the safeguarding of interests, and therefore did not see the need for transformation. A platform had to be created with SASC leading the co-ordination efforts. Dr Phaahla pointed out that a policy on women and sport was in the final stages of development, but questions ensued as to whether such a policy would remain inferior to others not concerning women.

Dr Phaahla referred to the organised participation in international and major national events, as well as talent identification by increasing access to scientific support, coaching and a supportive environment. Team South Africa and the All-Africa Games was the main focus at present. There were partnerships with sixteen centres across the country, including the Sport Science Institute in Cape Town and the High Performance Centre in Pretoria. There should not be perpetuation of the imbalances between urban and rural. The demand for services was explained as ever-increasing and therefore there should be a great deal of resource investment, and limited resources made this difficult.

The next item involved giving the area of sports technology a leading edge. The initiation of a multi-coded coaches association in April 2004, as well as a multi-coded athletes coaches association was mentioned. Concerning sports academies the intention was to monitor sports academy infrastructure to identify and support athletes so as to enhance performance. Each province had already established sports academies, appointed managers and finalised blueprints.

Each academy had been allocated R1 million by the National Lottery Board. R850 000 had been granted for projects at ground level. They could not depend on National Funding as there was an undertaking to lend support for a period of three years, after which there was a review. Dr Phaahla highlighted the challenges faced: project implementation, a clearer working relationship with stakeholders as well as playing a supporting role in South Africa.

The second aspect of Thrust Two was the All-Africa Games and Team South Africa participating as the defending champions. Fund-raising efforts were being made but would not accumulate sufficient funds. The National Lottery Board or the private sector might grant the funds. Dr Phaahla touched on the Zone Six Games and said that the event was not getting off the ground as Malawi withdrew from hosting due to financial constraints. He emphasised the importance of games such as these because southern Africa did not feature in international competition.
Either Botswana or Mozambique may host the Games and that South Africa was not yet in a position to undertake the responsibility.

Regarding the South Africa Games, Dr Phaahla said that important marketing and mobilisation opportunities came with the event. The next event scheduled to take place in Buffalo City in the Eastern Province, 4500 participants across thirteen codes were expected to feature at these Games. The Games were planned to coincide with the ten-year commemoration of democracy in South Africa and showcase sports to attract the youth. The individuals identified would then have to pass through an academy training programme.

Concerning client services, the aim was to monitor federations and ensure structures were run properly. Induction courses had already been conducted for incoming leaders. Training was to be provided with accreditation so that skills could be employed elsewhere. The SASC intended to provide financial and logistic support for a number of ventures. Dr Phaahla felt that a Sports Museum would tie in with Freedom Park, but was deemed as inappropriate by the Minister. Transnet was said to make a R10 million contribution to the upgrading of an appropriate facility.

Dr Phaahla referred to the budget and said that extensive funding would increase their resource base. It was difficult to procure funding for mass participation events because businesses wanted returns on such investments. Junior Dipapadi programme was one that had helped sustain a good allocation for further expansion. Another concern was that federations did not have the capacity to execute plans properly, and that financial management training had to be provided. Limited funding made team preparation more difficult. Funding for provincial academies and the South Africa Games had been reduced, and Parliament and the private sector had to assist.

Discussion
Mr M Mzondeki (ANC) questioned whether the concept of Indigenous Games would benefit those who were actually targeted. Was there support for and connections with the 230 facilitators trained? He commented on the new approach to women's sport and suggested a similar approach to disabled sports.

Dr A Schoeman (ANC) suggested one over-arching body instead of the many that existed.

Mr A Mlangeni (ANC) commented that SASC should be allocated more funds to ensure that teams produce sportspersons of the highest standard.

Ms N Lamani (ANC) said that each province had its own traditional games and asked if a manual could be made available to amalgamate the concept.

Mr T Lee (DP) agreed that insufficient funds was granted to SASC and suggested that officials paid by the government should be co-opted, particularly in sports academies. Unused facilities should also be made use of.

Mr R Pieterse (ANC) commended SASC for its work despite limited resources. He asked about leveling the playing fields as far as women and the disabled were concerned.

Dr Phaahla said that sport needed to have a marketing profile as part of national development. A major interactive process had to be initiated to generate more interest among young people. He handed over to Ms P Shikwambana, the National Co-ordinator of the Provincial Sports Academy Programme, to deal with the question about facilitators.

Ms Shikwambana explained that facilities would be more available if there was co-ordination between the provincial administrations and local government. Manuals would be made available after the launch. The same games were played differently in different provinces. Workshops were convened to discuss standardising the games, but it was felt that the focus and heritage would then be lost.

Dr Phaahla said that the long term goal was to have all codes of sport included in the mainstream of sport. He suggested an integrated approach so that the focus was not lost.

Ms Shikwambana said that facilitators of disabled sports were trained to identify talent and co-ordinate events.

Dr Phaahla said that two main structures should exist instead of so many different structures: one outside government to mobilise other bodies better managed outside of government constraints and another to serve the public sector. He hoped that new organisations would be more aligned.

The Chair commended the team on identifying shortcomings and challenges and also providing possible solutions.

The Committee approved Budget Vote No. 20. The Chair deferred the adoption of minutes to a later date.

The meeting was adjourned.


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