The Committee received briefings from its support staff on the strategic plan and annual performance plan (APP) of the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) and their entities, and deliberated and considered draft reports on SRSA’s Budget Vote 40, the Department’s performance during the second and third quarters, and the Committee’s oversight visit to North West Province.
Overall, the Committee was pleased with the performance of SRSA and their entities, especially Boxing South Africa (BSA) and the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAIDS). It had raised concerns and recommendations for SAIDS to have its budget increased so that it could improve its laboratory in Bloemfontein in order to conduct its own doping tests on athletes. BSA had improved its governance under the new leadership, and had relocated its offices to the SRSA building to cut down on expenditure.
Committee Members raised the issue of provinces and municipalities not implementing the 15% of municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) funds for sport facilities, which they 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. They were awaiting approval from National Treasury in this regard. They criticised SRSA’s high expenditure on traveling costs, saying these funds could be better used in the communities. The need to put more money into indigenous games was welcomed, because they had never been prioritised under apartheid.
The Committee considered the draft reports on Budget Vote 40 and SRSA’s performance during the second and third quarters of the 2016-17 financial year. Most of the concerns were related to issues of clarity.
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) had sent an invitation to the Committee to attend the welcome reception of the Commonwealth Games delegation on 15 May 2017 at OR Tambo international airport.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had been without a content advisor since January 2017, and that Mr Mphumzi Mdekazi, the Committee’s researcher, had stepped in an unofficial capacity as content advisor and would be presenting the draft reports to the Members.
Draft report on budget vote 40: Sport and Recreation SA (SRSA)
Mr Mdekazi said that in respect of the Annual Performance Plan (APP), the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) was bound by outcome 14 of the medium term strategic framework (MTSF) to strengthen and improve the outcomes of society. There were concerns and challenges with regard to financial policy and procedures, as well as areas where there was a lack of staff in the internal audit function of the SRSA. SRSA had made recommendations to National Treasury (NT) with regard to the staff needed in the audit team, and they were waiting for NT to approve the recommendations.
The APP draft report identified a challenge in sourcing data from provinces and municipalities. Biometric data from the Department would be met with the challenge of tracking the performance of athletes. This concern had been raised with the SRSA, but the Committee was not receiving convincing solutions in terms of technology. Another concern was that many provinces and municipalities did not have a sports desk. This was the situation in both the North West and Free State provinces. Some provinces did not understand the models for school sports.
The mandate for SRSA was an unfunded one and was therefore not aligned to the expectations that came with available resources. This was another area that Committee Members were requested to consider as they headed into the budget vote. The Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) fund was another concern. The Committee was unaware how far the 15% portion would be increased, or if there had been any progress with that discussion. It was necessary for the Committee to put pressure on the National Treasury.
Looking at the spending patterns of the provinces, SRSA was not doing justice to under-privileged communities that lacked sport facilities.
The Ministerial Advisory Committee on Recreation had not been checked to determine how far they were with their mandate. The spending pattern indicated that indigenous games had taken a large chunk of the 2016-17 budget.
SRSA was doing well with regard to their budget spending, and this was evident when oversight was conducted.
There was a problem with the sport facility audit in the country. The audit report would inform the Committee on how best they could improve the situation. A request had been made to the Department, and the Committee was awaiting a response.
Boxing South Africa (BSA) had continued improving. There was a slight increase in their budget, from R10 million to R11 million. They had relocated to the SRSA building in order to reduce their expenses. BSA had improved on their leadership and oversight responsibilities. An internal audit function had been outsourced from January 2017, because it had not been functioning when it was under the control of BSA. There were boxers who had still not received their monies from promoters. BSA’s performance management policies were still being updated. Records management was in the process of being finalised, and this had revealed a danger of suppliers being paid without contracts being signed.
The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) was doing well. Their overall control and assessment had remained at the same standard. They were improving on their action plans to assess internal audits and supply chain management. Their reconciliations were not being done monthly, and this was an area where they could improve.
Mr Mdekazi said that there ought to be a way of managing fruitless and irregular expenditure. Effective and disciplinary steps needed to be taken against officials who permitted irregular and fruitless expenditure. Irregular expenditure could be condoned only by authorities who had the authority to sign off on them.
He wanted to know what the Committee’s response would be when dealing with provinces that did not budget for sport and recreation, and also those provinces that did not understand the SRSA’s model for sports. Disparities existed between sports and facilities in various municipalities and provinces. It was important to understand how much money from the municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) the various municipalities were spending. It had become a custom for municipalities to use the MIG funds for other purposes.
Mr Mdekazi said that the Director General of SRSA continued to mention barriers to entry in sports, especially for females, and it was important for the Committee to look into that issue and determine which entities were compliant with enforcing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Looking at the quarterly reports and Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) reports, SRSA continued to improve. The Department was encouraged to apply consequences for poor performances and transgression, and to implement controls for transgression.
The Chairperson asked Committee members if they had any input or additions to the budget report.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) said that while Mr Mdekazi had reported that the Department was spending well, he had noticed that travel costs of officials were too high, adding to its large expenditure, and there was no balance in his view. Instead of money going towards implementation, it was being used for traveling.
Mr D Bergman (DA) said that at the Committee’s first budget vote meeting, he had mentioned that SRSA had creative accounting, and that was a concern he had raised. AGSA had now also raised concerns about it. He proposed revisiting that issue, because there was confusion as to which programmes were doing what specifically. They sounded too similar. It would be more useful for the Committee to understand that programmes had been designed for specific targets, such as school sports, provincial sports, etc. It would make accounting easier, and it would fall under normal principles, not creative ones. He added that if sports were used for the correct intention of nation building, then the Department could assist a lot of communities, irrespective of the small budget they received.
Ms D Manana (ANC) said that she was worried about the unfunded mandate, because sports played an important role in the country and it was necessary to put pressure on National Treasury to increase the budget. She asked how SRSA could achieve social cohesion, even without a greater budget, and said that the Committee should insist on sports desks in municipalities.
Mr S Mmusi (ANC) said that the issue of disability in municipalities should have been noted. It had been reported that there were municipalities that did not care to entertain the question of MIG funding being used for sport, and he did not know what could be done at those municipalities. He asked whether it was a question of municipalities knowing that they did not directly answer to Parliament, but through the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (COGTA). What could the Committee do to help the Department to hold municipalities accountable for implementing MIG funding for sports? He said that female participation in sports was occurring in small numbers. It was important for the Committee to go to rural areas and encourage young children and girls to participate in sport, and even to consider it as a career.
Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) said that the Committee needed to add context to the introduction of the budget vote report in terms of the economic climate that the country was facing. The Committee had been raising the issue of unfunded mandates since he had joined the Portfolio Committee, and they could not change the situation and no longer raised it. The Committee had always pointed out the weaknesses of the SRSA and made recommendations. The SRSA had in turn always considered the recommendations made by the Committee, and this needed to be stated in the report.
Mr Ralegoma said that the Committee had concluded that municipalities were not spending the 15% portion of the MIG funding meant for enhancing sports. The Committee had requested National Treasury to transfer this MIG funding directly to SRSA, and they would be accountable for how it was spent. They were still waiting on approval from National Treasury in this regard. The need to put more money into indigenous games was not a problem. It was historical and political. Indigenous games had never been prioritised under apartheid, hence the need to ensure that SRSA was spending more on indigenous games. He said that there was a need to interact with the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) more closely, since the NCOP was by its nature supposed to deal with some of the challenges that the Committee was facing with the provinces. The Committee was trapped by the reality that provinces were a sphere of governmentm and they therefore had a right to decide how they spent their funds.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Mdekazi for his briefing on the draft report. Committee Members needed to add to the draft report and highlight where they thought Mr Mdekazi had not done well, since he was merely stepping in as content advisor and this was not his initial job title.
The Chairperson said that a few Members had raised the question as to how the Committee would monitor the “Active Nation” approach to sport during their oversight visits. This needed to be discussed further, because the Department had budget constraints and they would have to compromise by interacting with provinces and municipalities, and by making it a standard practice to invite communities to their meetings so that they engaged with them and gained knowledge of the issues on the ground. SRSA would also be able to alert communities on the challenges that national government faced. The Chairperson said that the Committee should emphasise the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for sport so that it was implemented, irrespective of officials leaving office after their term was over.
The Committee was in agreement of the need to recommend that SAIDS was in need of a bigger budget to conduct its tests, and the laboratory in Bloemfontein needed to be completed so that SAIDS could conduct its own tests. The Committee also needed to recommend that SRSA needed more money in order to monitor provinces and municipalities, and their implementation of the MIG.
Mr L Filtane (UDM) said that the Committee needed to take advantage of having a newly appointed Minister of Sport and Recreation who had also noticed that the budget for SRSA was too small, and perhaps a new voice could add pressure on the National Treasury for more funds. He asked if there was anything that prohibited the Committee from pushing for amendments that could stipulate that provinces should receive funding from National Treasury only after they had accounted for their expenditure.
Mr Bergman said that there was also a move to promote sports tourism in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, and the Committee could also look at how they could promote sports tourism in South Africa.
Ms Manana said that while schools had cultural days, there was no sports day. She asked why the Committee could not be involved in international exchanges to see how sports programmes were carried out in other countries.
Mr Mmusi suggested that Mr Ralegoma be tasked to meet with the NCOP Committee on Sport and Recreation to discuss how this Committee could work with them and help each other to implement sport better, going forward.
Mr Ralegoma said that with regard to BSA and SAIDS, the Committee needed to ensure that they could differentiate why BSA received funding directly from SRSA. He said that physical education (PE) in schools needed to be differentiated from life orientation (LO). It existed only in Model C schools, and where it was present, there was no needed to force children to participate in sports. There was a need for public participation, but this needed to be defined properly.
Mr Mdekazi said that he would incorporate all the suggestions made by the Committee into the final draft report.
Draft report on SRSA 2016-17 second and third quarter performance
Ms Suné Pauw, Committee Secretary, Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation, said that the Committee was in the process dealing with the Department of Public Works (DPW) on the Nasrec Expo Centre facility, which was now approved as a sport and recreation site.
R24 million had been shifted from Program Three (‘Winning Nation’), mainly from the goods and services section. R13 million had not been spent, because the ‘Ikhaya’ project not been implemented. There had been a reduction in the southern delegation, and this had shifted R14 million to programme two (‘Active Nation’) for indigenous games, which the Committee had noted would be a whole new project focused as an annual event because the games had become so popular. Sport support had received more money during the third quarter. 18 out of 24 performance targets had been achieved in the third quarter and because most of the implementation took place during the third quarter, there was greater expenditure.
SRSA had applied for money and issued funds through transfers from federations to cover spending on their household expenses. SRSA had rectified this accordingly for the next financial year. Greater attention to detail was evident. It had appointed a Director of School Sports, and there were no other vacancies specified in its report. Under-spending on compensation of employees was mainly a result of unfilled vacancies within the Department.
Not enough information had been provided for sport support, and could therefore not be recorded in detail in the draft report on SRSA’s second and third quarter performance. SRSA expected increased expenditure reporting once invoices for outdoor gyms were received and processed. Two out of three targets had been achieved under programme one, and 74.9% of its budget had been spent on that programme. Only 40.5% of operational expenditure for compensation had been used due to vacancies within the Department.
Draft report on Committee’s oversight visit to North West Province
The Chairperson said that the draft report on the oversight visit to North West had been circulated quite some time back, and asked what the Committee suggested she should do about the matter.
Mr Ralegoma said that the Committee needed to compare the objectives in the report and then make observations on only the five areas they had been tasked to look at. All additional observations outside the original purpose for the oversight visit were not directly linked to the objectives, and therefore should not be defined as findings.
Mr Mhlongo said that during their visit, the Committee had not been well received, and asked if an apology had been received.
The Chairperson said that no apology had been sent to her, and she was still awaiting a response.
Consideration of Committee minutes
Minutes of 29 March 2017
Ms Abrahams asked, with regard to page nine, when the Committee would see amendments made to the respective pieces of legislation. There were a few grammatical errors.
Mr Mhlongo said that minutes needed to be adopted at every meeting so that issues could be resolved speedily and the Committee could keep track of issues they were yet to resolve.
Ms Manana said that while she was inclined to agree with Mr Mhlongo, she also disagreed because sometimes the Committee was faced with time constraints, and minutes ended up being carried over to a later stage.
Mr Ralegoma agreed with Mr Mhlongo that minutes should indeed be dealt with at every meeting, but the fault lay with the Committee since they tended to push the adoption of minutes to a later stage because of time constraints.
The Chairperson put forward the minutes for adoption. Ms Manana proposed their adoption, with the corrections, and Mr Ralegoma seconded.
Minutes of 3 May 2017;
Ms Manana said that some of the questions asked at the meeting had not been included in the minutes.
Ms Pauw said that Committee Secretaries had been instructed to make their minutes only two to three pages long, focusing on the resolutions of the Committee.
The Chairperson said that some meetings tended to be very long and detailed, and therefore would require detailed minutes. Omissions would need to be included where they were identified by Committee Members. The Chairperson further said that Ms Manana’s point needed to be included in the final minutes before they were adopted.
Mr Mhlongo said that there was no turnaround time indicated on page five, where Sascoc President Gideon Sam had promised to send a short detailed report.
Mr Mhlongo asked when the term of office for BSA would expire, as page six of the draft minutes was not clear.
Ms Pauw responded that the turnaround time was indicated in the APP, and that was what Mr Sam had said at the meeting.
The chairperson put forward the minutes for adoption. Mr Mhlongo proposed their adoption, with corrections, and Ms Manana seconded.
The meeting was adjourned.
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