The Committee was briefed by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS), Boxing South Africa (BSA) and the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) on their plans to make an impact with a wide range of sports initiatives in the country.
SASCOC said its key priorities from 2017 to 2020 were focused on the preparation and support of athletes and the development of coaches leading up to the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. The main thrust would be via Operation Excellence, which aimed to provide every South African athlete with medal potential with all the opportunities they needed to prepare and win medals for the country. Support services would be anchored through an Operation Excellence (OPEX) programme encompassing the provision of living expenses, medical aid, transport to and from training, access to training facilities, campaigning overseas, as well as the payment of coaching fees, career planning and life skills support.
Members asked questions relating to the lack of a local sponsor for athletes’ clothing, commenting that sponsorship of any organisation by companies had to do with image and credibility. SASCOC was asked whether it could commit to successfully delivering medals in Tokyo, as it had done in Rio, and if it could vouch with certainty that there was social cohesion and harmony within the organisation. Members wanted to know the average monthly expenditure on athletes in the past year, and how much had been provided for this purpose in the 2017-2018 budget. SASCOC admitted that its shortcomings had been a hindrance to receiving allocated funds on time from SRSA, and these were being dealt with and would not recur in future.
SAIDS said there were plans to network and collaborate with federations and the DBE to inaugurate a schools drug-testing protocol. There was also a greater outreach programme to educate citizens on the Institutes activities in the rural and township areas in languages such as English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had been requested to send their team to check the SAIDS laboratory’s readiness to be accredited in the second phase. SAIDS was close to passing the accreditation test for the new phase.
Members sought an explanation on the total Lottery funds received and also if SAIDS had the tools to reach communities in many other languages, apart from those mentioned. Further answers were demanded on WADA’s lab accreditation, and whether SA had lost its accreditation again. SAIDS were also asked if they sometimes involved traditional healers in the education of athletes regarding drugs.
Boxing SA said its plans included raising boxing’s profile, and to grow the women in boxing programme further. Challenges still remained with the SABC and the television pay channel, and there still remained disputes with promoters to comply with regulations. BSA also lacked the resources to establish boxing committees at the provincial level
Members wanted to know who BSA sponsored, and an explanation on the state of its finances. What mechanisms had been put in place to help boxing promoters to get funding from the municipalities? Had BSA ever thought of using retired boxers and boxing legends, just like soccer did with legends? The issues BSA had with the SABC should not be looked at in isolation, but rather whether the SABC’s organisational problems were affecting the programmes of BSA.
SRSA said its strategic focus remained to encourage corporate investment in grassroots sports, adequately resource school sport, ensure that the demographics of each sporting code approximated that of the country, and promote the sharing of public spaces and common experiences. The medium-term strategic framework (MTSF) covered the promotion of social cohesion across society, participation and transformation in sport and recreation, the development of talented athletes by providing them with opportunities to excel, and supporting high performance athletes to achieve success in international sport.
Members asked the Department to give more clarity on the projects being undertaken in provinces, and the gaps in terms of facilities.
Minister of Sport and Recreation: Overview
Mr Thulas Nxesi, newly appointed Minister of Sport, recalled that his Parliamentary experience had begun with chairing the Portfolio Committee on International Relations. His work today was to sketch a broad overview and strategic content of where the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) was headed. As a former school teacher, he was mindful of the important role sport and recreation played in the holistic development of the child, and restated his commitment to school sport. He promised to arrest the decline of sports in schools, especially in rural and township schools, and would continue with the good programmes put in place by his predecessor.
His vision for sport in South Africa (SA) was that of an active, healthy and winning nation. These were fundamental human rights recognised by the UN that had health benefits for SA. No country could expect to achieve and sustain sport at an elite level without strong participation based in the community. The talent pool from which the national teams were selected had to be widened. The bedrock for sports development was South Africa’s schools sports. The reason why Bafana Bafana had not lived up to expectations was because people had not put in place a scheme for talent to be identified. His interactions with the Department had made him aware that a looming crisis was on the horizon if nothing was done to address the challenges in sports.
The Eminent Persons Group, which annually looks at of the state of the various sporting codes, had found that the present strategy of some sports codes relying on ex-model C and private schools to unearth talent was unsustainable and inimical to sports development in the country because it left the majority of talent undiscovered. SRSA had decided to work closely with the Department of Basic Education (DBE), parents and communities to expand school sports programmes. They were also going to look at the funding models of schools sports. The present budget was inadequate, because half of it went on salaries.
Change was needed to effect a positive change in sports development in the country. SRSA would ensure that monies budgeted for sports development in municipal and provincial levels were used optimally. There also could be no schools sport without the teachers, so SRSA was going to engage with the teachers’ unions led by the DBE. To do this successfully, SRSA also had to draw from the institutional knowledge of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and work closely with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and universities. His dream as a minister in charge of sports was to ensure that every village and township would have sports clubs. He also promised that he and the Department would be available to this Committee at all times.
The Chairperson welcomed and thanked the Minister, and assured him that the Committee would work to ensure the success of his tenure, and asked for cooperation from the entire Department to develop sports in SA. A copy of the speech was asked to be made available to the Committee so that the Minister would be reminded should he deviate from the promises and commitments made today. The Minister was also asked to look into bringing back sports on Wednesdays, and infrastructural development, especially in the deep rural schools. There also was a lack of physical education in schools, which the Members believed was obtainable only in model C schools.
The issue of lack of transformation in sports was also raised, and the Minister was asked to look into the situation. Another concern of Members was the 15% of municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) funds for sport facilities, which municipalities were using for other purposes. They had asked National Treasury to have MIG funds sent directly to SRSA so that it could allocate them appropriately, and control and monitor the expenditure. The issue of the R300m multi-purpose centre that was not in the hands of the Department was also raised.
Mr Gideon Sam, SASCOC President, referred to previous Ministers of Sport who had all spoken on the issue of schools sports, yet there had been no headway and tangible results because agreements signed were never implemented. He advocated that the debate should now be opened in the presence of this new sports minister, who was ready to crack the whip. He suggested that the sports movement, the Committee and SRSA should now debate a sports model for SA because the country was going nowhere with what it had now. The lack of funding for sports was a big problem. SASCOC needed R500m to prepare for Tokyo 2020, and where was that money going to come from?
A minute of silence was observed for three persons from the boxing fraternity who had passed on recently.
Mr Sam said SASCOC had identified three core strategic focus areas for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. This would start from 2017 leading to the games in 2020. They were to act as the controlling body, which would include a positive perception and brand image for SASCOC. They would promote high performance systems which would involve people and the systems, and successfully deliver Team South Africa. This approach would comprise of logistics planning, finance and stakeholder relations, and would be a tangible instrument that could be used to monitor and evaluate SASCOC.
He informed the Committee that SA presently had no clothing sponsor for their athletes for the upcoming Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.
Ms Ezera Tshabangu, General Manager: SASCOC said the key priority for SASCOC was what they hoped to deliver to Tokyo in 2020. Those areas were on athletes’ preparation and operation excellence, with a special support programme forming part of the package. Coaches’ development was another priority and this would involve the launch of the Coaches Association of South Africa (CASA), a Master’s degree programme in sports coaching, and the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
Another flagship SASCOC initiative was the Operation Excellence Programme (OPEX). It aimed to provide SA athletes in any competition who were medal hopes the opportunities to prepare and ultimately win a medal. Consideration for the programme would depend on the athlete’s current international ranking, regularity of podium finishes in the past year in international events, and demonstrated ability to perform consistently at higher levels and return with medals. To be considered for support in OPEX, the athlete would have been a medalist at the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympic Games and was still eligible to participate or committed to prepare for Tokyo 2020; and athletes who were finalists, including those that had finished fifth in Rio and were committed to Tokyo 2020, though SASCOC reserved the right to amend the qualification criteria should international criteria vary or be amended at any stage prior to any SASCOC endorsed event. OPEX would also include support services such as living, medical, transport to and from training sessions, international and local camps, coaching fees, career planning and life skills support for athletes, and salaries for head coaches, monthly coaching fees, cost for travel with athletes to camps and competitions, and medical support teams for coaches.
Ms Debbie Alexander, SASCOC board member, said that the performance programme had been looked into, and every aspect that could impact on the athletes had been taken into consideration. Role players had been interviewed and their inputs considered. The Minister had suggested incorporating different areas into sports programmes, and one area to be considered in sport was the health sector -- especially how sports people could get free consultations in the various health disciplines, and if not free, at a reduced rate.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) directed his question on issues related to clothes and other sponsors, noting that sponsorship of any organisation by companies had to do with image and credibility. What was the role of SASCOC on this issue? He wanted to know the relationship between SASCOC with the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) and Boxing South Africa? On budget and financial management matters raised by the SASCOC President, he asked how much had been used in the last financial year on high performance (HP) and OPEX, and what SASCOC was providing for these programmes for this financial year. Regarding OPEX, would people who had attended the Rio games also do same for Tokyo? What criteria would be used, and what was the time frame for OPEX contracts? Had any agreement been signed with the Commonwealth Games Federation now that SA had declined to host the Commonwealth Games? If yes, this Committee needed to see the contract. Where was the Council meeting in August to be held? Had this Committee been invited, as the oversight body? What about the Commonwealth Games -- what had happened? Was it true that SA had committed to the Commonwealth Games? There were reports that the National Treasury had committed R4.6b to the national Olympic training programme -- was that true?
Mr K Sithole (IFP) asked if SASCOC had a forum in which sports, education and health addressed issues relating to sporting codes and if not, were any mechanisms in place to inaugurate it? Were there any plans to address the lack of sports facilities and clubs in the rural areas and townships?
Mr D Bergman (DA) referred to the high performance and OPEX expenditure on contracted athletes, and asked what the average monthly expenditure on athletes had been in the past year, and how much had been provided for this purpose in the 2017-2018 budgets by SASCOC. What was the period of payment for athletes that took part in the Rio Games? What was the normal contract signed with participant athletes and what happened to athletes who met the qualification criteria and standards? What would the core activities of SASCOC be, leading up to the Tokyo Olympics? It was understood that it would need R500m, and seeing that this was way beyond the sports budget, how was it going to secure funds as SASCOC? Before accepting BRICS Games, one needed to know more before committing to that, as SA did not want another Commonwealth fiasco on its hands. He that the Committee was amenable to attending not only the glamorous events, but even school and club games.
Ms D Manana (ANC) asked whether SASCOC could actually vouch that it was an organisation of integrity and transparency, as it had claimed in the presentation. Was there actually transparency at SASCOC? Did SASCOC commit to successfully delivering medals in Tokyo, as it had in Rio? Could SASCOC actually say with certainty that there was social cohesion and harmony in the organisation? On establishing, implementing and maintaining a state of the art information technology (IT) digital customer relations system, how far was the organisation in establishing a biometric system to unearth talented youngsters and avoid cheating? The question that had kept recurring since 2008 was who the major sponsors of SASCOC were. How much had the Lottery allocated to SASCOC in this financial year? How many high performance facilities were close to the people in the townships? SASCOC seemed to be soft on the SA Football Association (SAFA) -- why was there no national coach for the most popular sport in SA for so long? The Committee should be told how much SASCOC received from each sponsor. Why would SASCOC not invest in rugby and cricket, and had instead chosen to do so in a horse racing company that was controlled by a sports federation that accounted to SASCOC? Did that not smack of a conflict of interest? How was SASCOC going to ensure that 361 Degrees, its kit sponsors, would not kit SA’s athletes with another round of laughable gear? The last time, the athletes had been called all sorts of names, such as ninjas.
Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) affirmed that his understanding of the duty of SASCOC was that it prepared athletes, so it had a special relationship with SRSA and the Minister. Was the way they spent their funds different from SAIDS and Boxing SA? The Committee felt that when they meet with SASCOC outside of the Department, a gap arises and that was why it felt that SASCOC should be a part of this meeting, so that the issue of compliance could be dealt with. The Department sometimes accuses SASCOC of non-compliance, which causes delays in the release of allocated funds. He concurred with his colleagues with the assertion that SASCOC had to account for the funds given to them. Compliance and funding went together. The Committee was aware that there were provincial SASCOCs, and having visited seven of those, it had discovered that they were not functioning as expected in comparison to the national organisation. The Free State and North West came out worst, so there were serious problems with SASCOC’s provincial structures.
The Chairperson said she suspected that the delays in transferring funds to the various sports federations, was as a result of a lack of transparency. They were all under the tutelage of SASCOC. It was good that the Department was present, and the Committee expected it to respond to the assertion the SASCOC President had made regarding the late receipt of funds. She wanted SASCOC to strengthen their monitoring systems so they could deal with complaints from the Department about not receiving business plans and audited financial reports which were mandatory before releasing funds. She further asked for a breakdown of all funds received by SASCOC to be sent to the Committee.
Mr Sam said that in terms of funding, late payments and accountability, at the last meeting when the Director General (DG) had explained what the problem was, SASCOC had decided to deal on the spot with how the finance department within SASCOC would report back to the DG. There were certain legal requirements that needed to be followed, and that was one shortcoming. He wanted the Committee to understand that SASCOC had an internal management committee that had a CEO. Its function was to perform an oversight role, and what was happening was communicated to them only at board meetings. Interactions with SRSA had alerted them to what SRSA required from SASCOC as political leaders of the organisation. He admitted that the shortcomings of SASCOC were a hindrance to receiving allocated funds on time from SRSA, and these were being dealt with and would not be the case again going forward.
On provincial sports federations, Mr Sam said that SA’s sports programme was complex. The provinces were allowed to have competencies and were autonomous, so how then could SASCOC account for their activities? If it interfered, they sued SASCOC, which ended up draining its meagre resources. There was a case of an athlete not qualifying for a competition as a result of set criteria but the rich father, resident in the USA, had taken the organisation to court.
The Northern Cape, for instance, against the DG’s guidance, had decided to do things their own way. Free State was the best performing sports federation in the country, followed by Gauteng and then KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). They coordinated well and funded all their districts, and had functional funded district academies. Most of the provinces were doing well, but it was the Northern Cape and North West that were not performing well. The North West government had decided to give their money to the University of the North West to deal with SASCOC members instead of to SASCOC’s structures, which were the sports federations there.
SASCOC was working hard to ensure that its staff understood the organisation’s values.
Mr Sam invited all Members to attend the council meeting in August, and said he would convey the concerns of the Committee at not being invited to SASCOC meetings to the management. The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee used always to be at these meetings, but not lately. Had the relationship soured?
On who funded SASCOC, it received a sizeable allotment from SRSA. Secondly, there was a share of the profits after an Olympics Games from the Olympic Committee. Thirdly, Olympic Solidarity made money available for administration to send SA’s athletes for better training programmes, and fourthly, there was funding from the African National Olympic Committee of South Africa (ANOCSA), where it had been decided at a meeting in Abidjan two weeks ago to make available $1m to draw from. Finally, it received support from an international agency that raised money for Olympic associations. They had an anchor in South Africa managed by a South African. Before Rio last year, SASCOC had asked if they could raise funds for us. This agency had gone to Telkom and Discovery Health and had raised some funds for the organization, while it had also been able to get discounted tickets from SA Airways (SAA) to transport the athletes to Rio.
SASCOC did not generate its own funds because it did not charge its members subscription fees. However, its shares invested in Phumelela horse racing had grown, and it was sitting with reserves of R83m. With this situation, there could never be a stage in which athletes could not get what they needed, though SASCOC did not advise dipping into its reserves when it was still able to raise money from different sources. The critical issue was the Lottery that funded SASCOC one year, with a cool off clause the next. Moreover, it had placed the organisation among those that could be funded only to the tune of R5m a year. SASCOC had been appealing to them to reconsider with the help of the Deputy Minister, who was aware of the issue.
On the subject of clothing, SASCOC had appealed for clothing sponsorships from apparel companies in SA, but to no avail. It had only been able to get a five year sponsorship deal with a Chinese firm. They had not produced a perfect fit for the athletes in Rio, but as the DG had rightly said, SASCOC had to ensure they produced a better cut for the next Olympics games.
The annual financial report, audited by a reputable audit firm, was now with SRSA. All the information, down to what the board members get per month -- even his own salary -- was in there, which was to show how transparent SASCOC was. The short term financial breakdown until the end of March and all the figures received by the organisation from sponsors would be made available to the Committee. 361 Degrees, the kit sponsors, were still interested in sponsoring for the next four years, and what SASCOC would do was to send a team to them with the specifications of how it wanted the kit to look like and the fit, so it would be a decent kit deserving of Team SA. This company already sponsored ten other countries which were all in the Rio Olympics.
Mr Sam explained how SASCOC became involved with Phumelela as a result of Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) requirements. Phumelela had approached it to be their partner to upscale their score card, and it had taken up shares cheaply in the company during the days of the National Sports Council. It was after Rio that they had informed SASCOC how much its shares with them had grown. The dividend received from them was over R1m, which goes into a bursary scheme for SASCOC-sponsored student athletes. SASCOC would like to take shares in rugby, but they say they are bankrupt.
Minister Nxesi clarified that protocol dictated that all invitations passed through the Chairperson of the Committee, who then decided either to send a whole delegation, or selected delegates that would go. It was the Chairperson’s prerogative. He further explained that the R4.6b was what had been committed to the Commonwealth Games, and not the training centre. The problem had started when the Commonwealth Games Federation had raised the figure required to over R8b.
The Chairperson responded that some invitations received sometimes specified attendance by the chairperson alone, and sometimes Parliament did not grant permission to go, maybe due to a lack of funds. She added that the Committee had received a full briefing on the Commonwealth Games debacle.
Mr Alec Moemi, DG: SRSA, said that the journalist who had interviewed the Minister had misrepresented some facts. He had confused the figures for the National Training Centre (NTC) with those for the Commonwealth Games. The ground framework for the funding of provinces now allowed using the funds for infrastructure, which was not the case before. Ten percent of this grant, about R55m a year, would go towards building the NTC, which was a long-term commitment and would be built in phases. The first phase would cover swimming and athletics, and would be completed in the first four years of would be a 20 to 25 year project. The volatility of the building sector index, which fluctuated a lot, might stretch it to even 30 years. As the project proceeded, the design plans may also be altered.
The BRICS Games had been committed to, and it was important to join with the BRICs partners in setting out the modalities for these games. So far, only football had been approved at the U17 level. Presently, every country was lobbying to include the sport where they had the advantage of winning, so compromises would have to be made.
SRSA had had to give SAFA space to appoint a competent and affordable coach, who understood local football and whose salary would not take a bulk of its operational costs, as had been done previously.
On the qualification criteria to participate in various games, SRSA supported SASCOC’s policy that one could not take a huge contingent that would not deliver medals commensurate to its size, because of costs.
South African Institute for Drug Free Sports (SAIDS): Annual Performance Plan
Dr Muziwakhe Qobose, SAIDS board member, said that the primary sources of funding for SAIDS were the National Treasury (through SRSA), the National Lottery and the licensing of promoters’ fees. SAIDS had been funded to the tune of R7.7m from national lottery this financial year, R5m of which was new funding this year and R2.7m carried over from last year. The Department of Basic Education had given SAIDS R1.25m for schools curriculum integration.
The Anti-Doping Education plan for the next three years had been presented and endorsed at the Education sub-committee meeting held on 23 March 2017. SAIDS’s aim was to better integrate with schools through the curriculum and the recruitment and training of education officers. There were plans to network and collaborate with federations and the DBE to inaugurate a schools testing protocol. There was also a greater outreach programme to educate citizens on their activities in the rural and township areas in languages such as English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu.
SAIDS had obtained an unqualified audit for compliance on procurement and supply chain management in the prior financial year, though irregular expenditure had still been identified as a result of overspending on the budget. This had been tabled to the board for condonement, which had been approved.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had been requested to send their team to check the SAIDS laboratory’s readiness to be accredited in the second phase. SAIDS was close to passing the accreditation test for the new phase. Committee Members could be assured that the government was on top of the situation and would support SAIDS and the laboratory all the way.
Mr Mhlongo wanted an explanation on the total National Lottery funding for SAIDS this financial year, which totaled R7.7m. There was also the R1.25m earmarked for better integration with schools through the curriculum. Was this a separate amount, or part of the R7.7m? What did the R5m it received from Lotto this year entail? The Department was giving SAIDS 60% of the R32m it needed for testing, and 8% for education – what was another 12% for?
Mr P Moteka (EFF) asked if, in terms of outreach and the language of communication in particular, SAIDS had the tools to reach people in the many languages spoken in South Africa.
Mr Bergman referred to the WADA laboratory accreditation issue, and said SAIDS should be doing its utmost not to lose its accreditation again. He knew of the March deadline -- had WADA been satisfied with the progress, and were those involved aware of who they should be talking to so as to be abreast of what should be done?
Ms Manana asked if the 8% set aside for education was to cover all nine provinces, and if that money was adequate. On sending drug samples overseas for analysis, did SAIDS have a separate budget put aside for this purpose? SAIDS should also travel to all the sporting codes to introduce what they were doing. With regard to outreach, mention had been made of onlyEnglish, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu, but in Limpopo they spoke Tsonga, Sipedi and Venda. How then would SAIDS communicate with people there, when some of the locals could not even speak English?
Mr Ralegoma asked how far SAIDS had gone towards getting a clean audit and addressing the audit report regarding procurement and supply chain management.
Mr Sithole asked if SAIDS sometimes incorporated the traditional healers in the education of athletes regarding drugs. Secondly, concerning outreach, had SAIDS set a target -- and if yes, had they achieved it?
The Chairperson asked if SAIDS had additional revenue streams for funding. Did the organisation have biometric data of athletes? When was it proposing to have draft legislation or a bill to enable it to gain access to schools because of the inclination of some parents not to allow SAIDS to randomly test their children. Was long jumper Luvo Manyonga doing well and happy? Was the Department happy with his performance? This Committee had not seen him for some time now to at least show appreciation to the Department, this Committee, SASCOC and SAIDS after they had collectively done for him. Could the SRSA arrange for him to come to see the Committee?
Dr Qobose responded on the expenses and budget SAIDS was dealing with this year, and said 60% (R22.9m) was going for testing because that was the key function of SAIDS. 8% would go for administration and government, while 17% went for education. The money it received was not enough, so it was using part of its lottery funds for educating athletes.
It now had education officers all over the country, training as far as Limpopo, conducted by people who were based there and who could speak the local language, unlike when its staff from Cape Town travelled to the provinces. The education officers structured the programme and came to present to SAIDS, as they knew the problems on the ground and had designed their interventions to address them. In terms of outreach, SAIDS was also going all over the country. These interventions had enabled it to spread its wings far.
On the issue of budget and couriers, the Institute had been caught off guard because its labs were functioning well, and WADA had suddenly suspended its accreditation. It had then found itself in a situation where it had to courier its specimens and pay more for the tests. It hoped that with the improvement and smooth functioning of the lab, those costs would come down.
On the school testing issue, SAIDS could not just go the schools to test -- it had to be invited by the principal via the school governing body. This was problematic, because even in cases where it had credible information, it could do very little. Even when it came back with a positive test, the disciplinary process and sanction had to be to be imposed by the school. The school did not even report back to SAIDS informing it what action had been taken.
Mr Onke Ngwane, Finance Manager: SAIDS, confirmed that SAIDS were funded to the tune of R7.7m from the national lottery this financial year, R5m of which was new funding this year and R2.7m carried over from last year. The Department of Basic Education had given SAIDS R1.25m for schools curriculum integration. The R5m was broken up between doping control and education, of which R4m was purely for education and R1m for doping control.
Mr Moemi said that an agreement had been signed with the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA), and hopefully SAIDS would be supported in order to attain a clean audit in the next financial year. If this did not happen, the Minister would be expecting the board to take consequence management very seriously.
The issue of testing in schools could be addressed only by enacting legislation to that effect.
On the WADA lab issue, one had to understand that SAIDS had invested a lot there, and had given R2m for the lab in Bloemfontein to do its work. WADA’s code of conduct, lab control and statutes stated there should be no interference in the functioning of the lab. WADA expected SAIDS and the lab to be separate, so the lab was independent. The lab tests the specimens which they collect from athletes. The university board had finally passed a resolution that paved the way for the Minister to appoint a new board, and he would appoint a new board for the laboratory in Bloemfontein during this financial year. The Department would allocate funding for them, and in fact they had already applied. SRSA would invest in them to turn around, and they had already achieved the first of phase of the turnaround strategy. They had regained their accreditation for blood testing. They had two stages of testing, which were blood and urine. Presently, SRSA had retrained the staff to work on newly procured equipment. WADA had been requested to send their team to check SA’s readiness to be accredited in the second phase. SAIDS was close to passing the accreditation test for the new phase. Committee Members could be assured that the government was on top of the situation and would support SAIDS and the laboratory all the way.
Boxing South Africa: Annual Performance Plan
Boxing South Africa (BSA) said their strategic goals covering 2015 to 2020 were to ensure an effective, efficient and sustainable organisation, to guarantee the development and transformation of boxing and create synergy between professional and amateur boxing, and to market boxing and promote interaction between associations of boxers, managers, promoters, trainers and BSA officials. Their five-year strategic plan was to implement the resolutions of the board, reduce negative audit findings, fill all declared vacancies, put in place performance management development, and develop and implement a stakeholder engagement framework. Other plans were to raise boxing’s profile, and to grow the women in boxing programme further. Challenges still remained with the SABC and the television pay channel, and there still remained disputes with promoters to comply with regulations. BSA also lacked the resources to establish boxing committees at the provincial level.
Mr Mhlongo wanted to find out the nature of the structure and diversity in BSA. Why was the leader not designated as the chairperson, instead of the chief executive officer (CEO) because it sounded like a department, not an association in a sporting code? When were the two vacancies going to be filled? What had BSA put in place to raise the R2.6m, which was to be generated from sanctioning, licensing sponsors or penalty fees? Who were BSA’s sponsors? The Committee did not know the state of BSA’s finances and the indicators for its finances. Since the Association had disputes with promoters, what was its strategy going forward, especially in the Eastern Cape? One kept hearing about the issue of age in boxing -- what was it about? Regarding the issues with the SABC, there seemed to be no timelines and no consultation.
Mr Sithole was concerned about the appointment of promoters by the SABC, and said SRSA had to intervene because it was embarrassing. What mechanisms had BSA to help boxing promoters to get funding from the municipalities? He knew of boxing clubs that struggled to get venues for the clubs and funds were allocated only to clubs in the cities and nothing to those in the townships. Transformation was awful in the municipalities.
Mr L Ntshayisa (AIC) wanted to know if the boxers used modern gloves to minimise the chances of fighters dying during matches. Was this recommendation enforced, especially as the Chairperson had mentioned the death of fighter during a fight? Why were the provinces giving money to outside promoters to stage fights in their provinces, to the detriment of local promoters? Was it because of the lack of capacity of local promoters, or sheer arrogance on the part of the provinces? On SABC taking decisions alone, he realised he who had the purse dictated the tune, but to what extent could this be attributed to the former SABC chief operating officer’s actions?
Ms B Dlomo (ANC) said that boxing infrastructure was not difficult to build, and wanted to know what plans BSA had to develop boxing in schools so as to inculcate boxing as a sport for youths at an earlier age. What plans had BSA had to expand the sport of boxing In rural KZN?
Ms Manana appreciated the progress being made by BSA, and reiterated that it was their mandate to promote interaction with promoters, associations, managers, trainers, officials and amongst the boxing fraternity in SA. Had BSA ever thought of utilizing retired boxers and boxing legends, just like soccer legends? Had it thought of using those who had produced local, international and world champions and ex-boxers to become trainers and popularise boxing in the communities? In BSA’s co-function of strategic support, was it helping in the collection and disbursement of boxers’ payments? Boxers had complained of not getting paid, so clarity was needed.
Mr Ralegoma said the Committee had always advocated for extra revenue for BSA, like leveraging SABC and other pay channels. Its intention was for more income generation so that BSA could become more effective in discharging its core function of regulating professional boxing. What one saw today was that the Department was funding BSA to a large degree, instead of promoters buying a slot of the TV rights for broadcast coverage. What was the proportion of revenue generated for all the fight coverage so far? Cricket and rugby were able to generate their own revenue, so why not BSA? Why were the fights concentrated in the Eastern Cape?
The Chairperson praised BSA for their achievements, knowing where they were coming from, but the Committee could not fail to point out gaps where they found them. The concentration of fights in the hands of one promoter and in Eastern Cape was still a problem -- why could BSA not correct that? SA had lost many titles in the boxing ring, especially with the IBF -- what was BSA doing to reverse the trend? What was BSA doing to develop boxing at schools? If BSA waived its title fight promotion rights to the SABC, how was it going to generate revenue? On non-compliant promoters, where boxers were not getting their due, especially with the South African National Boxing Organisation (SANABO), what was BSA doing?
Ms Muditambi Ravele, chairperson of BSA, said she would give clarification on the SABC issue. BSA had hosted a boxing Indaba which had included BSA, SRSA, SABC and the provinces, where it had been decided on how to move forward on the question of broadcasting. The catch phrase, “boxing is back” had been adopted. The Department was going to support BSA for a year, but had ended up doing so for two years with the understanding that a system would be put in place for a roll out thereafter. BSA had also had meetings and workshops with the SABC so that at the beginning of this financial year, in April, BSA would have advertised all the fights for the whole year. This meant that BSA, SABC and promoters would agree on processes, modalities and systems. That had been the agreement reached. When BSA had been supposed to have had workshops, the SABC had declined to honour its invitations and as a result the workshops were not held. BSA’s issues should not be looked at in isolation, but rather the SABC’s problems should be holistically looked at. At the moment, BSA did not know who to speak to at the SABC. If SABC had honoured the meeting invitations, BSA could have agreed move in sync and signed all the necessary agreements of collaboration, such as advertising all tournaments for the whole year by March already. This could have helped it meet its tournament targets set for the year. This state of affairs was also going to affect its income generation efforts. This was very serious, because boxing was not like football or rugby where the federation controlled broadcasting. The BSA did not, because of the regulations and the Act. It relied on the 5% and 10% it got paid after they raised the sponsorships and broadcasting. The problems at SABC were affecting the BSA as well.
The CEO of BSA, Mr Tsholo Lejaka, said the two vacancies at BSA were for a driver and receptionist. The Association was going to undertake an organisational review this year, and that was the reason it had not filled those vacancies, because it did not want to make a commitment ahead of the review. BSA badly needed a communications person who would manage its marketing and promotions. The BSA structure looked top heavy, and that was because this was the national office which dealt with mostly administration compliance. The drivers of the work of the BSA were the provincial managers. They were not BSA employees, but BSA had contract and service delivery agreements with them. Provincial committees had powers as a result of the boxing Indaba resolutions, to sanction fights, to generate ratings and to license within their respective provincial jurisdictions.
The R2.6m was contributed by licensing fees. BSA had 1 041 licensees across different divisions. They were boxers, trainers, managers and ring officials. Each person paid a certain amount annually. The lowest amount paid was by boxers (R250) and the highest was the R5 000 paid by a promoter with rights to deliver international tournaments. The average paid by ring officials was R700. Another revenue stream for BSA was by sanctioning tournaments from promoters. If a promoter was a sponsor, BSA collected 5% of the gate takings and 10% from a broadcaster. It was yet to develop additional revenue streams from sponsors. The sponsorship market was shrinking, so dynamic methods were needed to get sponsors.
The disputes BSA had with non-compliant promoters stemmed from their not paying the 10% of gross on the broadcast revenues, while the promoters say it should be on the net amount. BSA had sought legal opinion and would go to court to enforce its rights if the mediation process failed.
On the issue of age in boxing, Mr Lejaka said the Boxing Act stated that a professional boxer must be between the age of 18 and 35 years. When a boxer was past the age of 35, the requirement criteria must then be tightened when he applied for licensing.
Regarding modernised boxing gloves, BSA said that most boxers were not hurt in ring, but BSA was working on tightening medical screening during boxing tournaments, and this had to do with brain scans before tournaments.
BSA had not heard of incidents of prize money not being paid to boxers in the past year. This had happened a long time ago, and had been addressed. It was aware of cases of promoters signing contracts with boxers, applying for sanctions and canceling the tournament later. That was why BSA now required promoters to pay a 10% cancellation fee on application for a tournament. There was also a trend of fight a monopoly by certain promoters, and this was mostly because of the quality of tournaments that could be delivered by only certain promoters, and the quality of boxers the promoter had. Funding of boxing also seemed to rely on networks, access and the ability to influence decision makers. BSA was working with all stakeholders to ensure that not one promoter continuously benefited from fight promotion.
Mr Moemi said SRSA was dealing with the issues between the SABC and BSA, but it also had to accept that fight promotions and professional boxing was a business. A promoter had to put up a bid and convince broadcasters that what he had TV value so that the broadcaster would buy the rights. The problem was that the broadcasting rights had to be obtained through a competitive bidding process, which was not happening now. This Committee had previously asked the former Minister how promoters were selected, because it appeared some promoters were handpicked by the public broadcaster, which caused a lot of unhappiness among many promoters. The new Minister was committed to working with the BSA to address these anomalies. He would soon meet with the Minister of Communications, because without support from SABC and Supersport, one might as well forget about professional boxing in SA. Boxing was complex all over the world, because unlike football and rugby for instance, where one had one controlling body like FIFA, in boxing there so many controlling bodies with separate rules.
In the schools system, there was a challenge because the Department of Education had published regulations which ruled out all combat sports, saying it did not to want promote violence in schools. So sports like boxing and karate were not allowed, but SRSA was engaging the DBE toview the regulations because it was counterproductive. It was working with SANABO to run boxing clubs for school-aged children, and it ran a national tournament. SRSA was using club development programmes for amateur boxers, instead of schools.
Department of Sport and Recreation: 2017/2018 Annual Performance Plan
SRSA said that the plans of the Department had not changed much, and its strategic focus remained to encourage corporate investment in grassroots sports, adequately resource school sport, ensure that the demographics of each sporting code approximated that of the country, and promote the sharing of public spaces and common experiences. The medium-term strategic framework (MTSF) covered the promotion of social cohesion across society, participation and transformation in sport and recreation, the development of talented athletes by providing them with opportunities to excel, and supporting high performance athletes to achieve success in international sport.
Ms Manana asked that when referring to the projects, the DG should give clarity on the municipality involved per province. If one talked about the Inkomazi municipality, for instance, there were about 49 wards, and it would help if he could mention which ward was being talked about. The DG could be given a paper, while nothing was happening on the ground.
Mr Ralegoma asked what the gaps in terms of facilities were.
Mr Moemi confirmed that the Department had gone and visited the municipalities. The Departmental engineers had issued preliminary results, and the scoping exercises were now complete. It was now aware of the magnitude of the work to be done on all the facilities. In terms of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA), SRSA could not just impose on municipalities but had to consult with them. These programmes had also being nominated by the municipalities and were designated as such. SRSA was starting first by renovating and refurbishing some of the abandoned projects. Greenfields would be reached soon, and further details requested by the Committee would be provided.
The Department had not discarded the audit, but had completed the reports. The accounts had been done and the municipalities knew that whenever they started a new project, they had to fill in the requisite forms and send them to the Department. By so doing, SRSA did not lose count of new facilities that it have. The audit told it the state of the project, its capacity, what amenities it had and in what condition it was. The Western Cape and KZN had completed their audits, and both had indicated even their street addresses and GPS coordinates. SRSA had decided to audit one province at a time, and right now it was in Gauteng province. It was looking at taking two years per province, so it would take 18 years to complete. He assured the Committee that it would be done.
The meeting was adjourned.
- SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport 2017 Annual Performance Plan presentation
- Boxing SA 2017 Annual Performance Plan presentation
- SASCOC 2017 Annual Performance Plan presentation
- Sport and Recreation SA 2017 Annual Performance Plan presentation
- Sport and Recreation Facilities 2017/18 MIG Sport Infrastructure Project
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