The Department of Sport and Recreation received a clean audit for the fourth consecutive year. During the period under review, the Department had 28 targets of which 23 were achieved: a 82% achievement rate. Unachieved targets were mainly attributed to system failures in programme 1, financial constraints in programme 2 and failed collaborative efforts with local municipalities and provincial heads. The Department underspent a marginal 0.03% of its budget.
Members expressed concern at the lack of sporting programmes in schooling systems. They bemoaned the lack of qualified professionals teaching sport in public schools; and unfilled vacancies left unfilled were also of concern.
The Director General presented the Department’s financial reports for 2016/17 which indicated compliance with key legislation on most parts. All programmes underspent slightly within their allocated budget. North-West severely underspent, at 87.1% of their allocated budget. This resulted in a penalty of 5% on their first Provincial transfer, due to non-compliance.
Members expressed concern on the apparent lack of collaboration between various spheres of government. They discussed transformation in sport, particularly impediments to this goal. Broadcasting rights with relation to the SABC and Supersport were mentioned. Particularly, the lack of access to paid television that most citizens face.
Members expressed frustration at the Board of SA Sports Federation and Olympic Committee’s inability to account for allegations uncovered in the media. The Committee underlined their willingness to follow-up on the matter and ensure they are held accountable.
Presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Sports and Recreation
The Chairperson said there had been an amendment in the agenda from the previous day because Members of Parliament were fatigued and wished the Director General to be present.
Minister’s opening remarks
The Minister of Sport and Recreation: Mr Thembelani Nxesi, said it was an honour and milestone to present the 2016/17 Annual Report for the Department of Sports and Recreation to the Portfolio Committee and be held accountable. He noted the importance of the new Executive taking responsibility and accountability for acts, past and present. He emphasised developing programmes at micro-level (schools) in a bid to create a more equitable environment, in the long term. Regarding sports and physical education, there were currently very few physical education programmes at schools, as was prevalent in most townships, compared to the Model C schools where physical education was emphasised and dedicated professional sports people were hired. Without emphasis on school programmes, goals of community sports were mere dreams. The centre of any sports activity in villages has always been schools.
One goal was measured in terms of performance of South African athletes on international platforms. The Ministerial Bursary programme helped 66 learners placed into soccer schools nationwide. A process of talent identification was initiated at schools, followed by tests at the national training centre. 4 358 promising athletes were financially supported through provincial and district sporting academies. The 2016/17 calendar year saw 369 Olympic and Paralympic athletes receive scientific support. Numerous major international events received Ministerial support including the African Sprint Canoe Championships, Masters Squash Championship, CANA National Aquatic Championship, and the World Blindfold championships, including eight others. Outstanding accomplishments included the Big Walk and establishment of the indigenous games.
Minister Nxesi referred to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU’s) threat to protest against the Springboks vs All Blacks rugby game at Newlands Stadium. They bemoaned the situation of most citizens in South Africa’s inability to watch the game broadcasted live. Broadcasting of sporting events has moved almost exclusively to paid-television. It was clear that at some point the TV rights were sold to DSTV from the SABC. The SABC’s capacity and technical ability to remedy the catastrophe is in doubt due to their poor financial standing.
The dispute is prima facie between COSATU and Supersport, as the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) Regulations are concerned. These regulations are currently under review and the Committee should pay attention to the process. COSATU sought to deal directly with Government, as public representatives. They gave the Department an ultimatum between choosing the public or corporate interests. The main stakeholders are the Department of Communications. The Department of Sport and Recreation is working closely in collaboration with other departments to carry out their mandate.
Densely populated/underdeveloped areas in places like KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape (in the countryside) must be prioritised due to their disadvantage.
He prompted Members to probe more into nation building and a transformative agenda.
The Department received an impact score of 3.2 out of 4, indicating improvement.
For the 2016/17 Annual Report the Auditor General had issued a clean audit for the fourth consecutive year.
On overall performance, the Department achieved 82% of its targets. Unachieved targets related to the grant targets, which were not reliable. Greater collaboration is required between national government and provincial ones.
Interpretation of the Constitution has created confusion on the autonomy of spheres of government. The lower spheres take responsibility where funds are concerned, however, where mis-management is concerned, the Executive of higher spheres are questioned.
Provinces wanted money to procure their own contracts, however, the Department insisted on procuring contracts themselves after recommendations are given to them.
National Sports and Recreation plans were impaired due to lack of funding and absence of a chair overseeing the programme.
On a bid to host the Commonwealth Games, Cabinet approved in principle in 2015. However, in 2017 the bid was withdrawn by the Commonwealth Association of South Africa due to financial risks. The Department disagreed with signing a blank cheque, that would mirror the issues caused in 2010 with the FIFA world Cup. Where double the agreed amount was demanded by the organisation, causing the Department massive losses.
The Minister recognised the invaluable contributions by the previous heads of Department and Mr Fikile Mbalula, as well as Deputy Minister Gert Oosthuizen and Director General Alec Moemi. He ended his presentation.
The Minister requested to be dismissed due to an engagement on his study leave.
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) thanked the Minister for attending. On the political reporting statement, he asked why the oversight Committee was not invited to events such as the Big Walk organised by the Department?
Ms D Manana (ANC) thanked the Minister for always attending with his Deputy Minister. On physical education, developing children’s sporting ability at low levels is crucial to excellence at tertiary levels. She referred to the high commercial value attached to rugby compared to other sports.
Mr S Mmusi (ANC) also thanked the Minister for attending, referring to a previous situation in which the Minister travelled from Johannesburg to the North West to attend to a situation. Implementation of sports in school is lacking, yet it is discussed repeatedly. The mere absence of an allocated day for ‘school sports’ is a starting point. Building of facilities for sport continue daily, yet old projects already constructed have not been handed over to communities, nor have they been taught how to take care of their facilities. Instead, schools hold monopoly over them. This causes friction between schools and their communities because access and use is restricted.
He acknowledged the achievement of our wheelchair marathon racer, who finished 12th in the Chicago Marathon, indicating progress in our disabled persons’ sporting achievements. He expressed frustration at refusal from local municipality and provincial legislatures to collaborate effectively with Parliament.
Mr K Sithole (IFP) referred to transformation while commending the Minister’s commitment. He said transformation is treated as a long-term process. Our current approach is not yielding any results, instead we should begin considering it as an event to more efficiently deal with the issues that we face. The mentioned SAFA’s failure to account for the 2010 funds mismanagement saga.
Mr D Bergman (DA) referred to the Minister being demoted, saying that the Minister had been rotated. Transformation will be our legacy, and national and international judgement will stem therefrom. Although the Minister is tasked with official responsibility; the Committee’s role is equally vital in effecting the processes. Referring to the Rugby game between South Africa and New Zealand, the tickets were sold out within an hour, yet the majority of the supporters were White. Moreover, in the stadium itself, our own people were split evenly between the Springboks and the All Blacks. Raising issues as to the failing national identity and anti-transformation. The reasons for overwhelming support for the All Blacks potentially answered to our failing support of the Springboks. He suggested that other countries’ stars coming to play in the T20 tournament was anti-transformation. Our own talent should be nurtured. Most people cannot afford to pay watching our sport people. Collaboration from other departments is vital to ensuring this process is successful into the future. Empty promises are made.
Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) referred to the Apartheid legacy in sport and its impact on the access to sport, including television viewing. The majority of our citizens still do not have access to paid TV, such as DSTV. We must level the playing fields, promoting all sports and funding them equitably in schools.
The Chairperson referred to the rotation of ministers that has been labelled as “demotion” to the Department of Sports and Recreation. Although the budget for this department is smallest, it does not impact on the importance of the work they do. Progress is being hindered as other departments do not take this Department seriously. She agrees with the lack of collaboration between the provincial spheres and the national spheres.
The Minister first addressed the question about the invitations to the walk; it was a question of separation of powers, the problem is that their role is oversight and thus requesting tickets would create conflict.
On school programmes, money is often requested from schools but then the money is mismanaged or spent on other things. Policies on school sports and facilities are crucial. He asked for political affiliation to fall away, as it is in the interest in the nation’s success. The Department’s role is minuscule, while private interest funding the majority of programmes. Mediation of private interests and public interests must be balanced. Policies must be developed to guide private entities in how to allocate their funds. He stressed the need for SASCOC to account to Parliament.
The Minister agreed with Mr Bergman that faster approaches must be adopted to achieve transformation in sport. On physical education, “a healthy body is a healthy mind” so sport must be emphasised. However, there are two federations for soccer; South African School Football Association (SASFA) and SA Football Association (SAFA) for example, competing for funds and support, creating a further divide in schools. Parliament should be harsh on entities that divide the nation and make accountability difficult. Private entities are funding programmes that breakaway from the approved head federations. in some cases, they are matters of self-enrichment.
The Chairperson added SASCOC has changed dates repeatedly to avoid appearance, they have not come to account. He sought clarity on reasons and legitimacy of them for absence.
The Director General of Sport and Recreation; Alec Moemi Director General of Sports and Recreation continued the presentation. Instead of overspending, the Department tends to underspend.
We have maintained our highest score of 3.2 and are proudly the first department to achieve this. We wish to achieve a score of 4 in 3 years.
The Department’s audit committee has reported satisfaction with programme performance.
Following the Auditor General (AG)’s recommendations, repeat findings have been eliminated. An action plan has been implemented to correct those findings, and the team meets quarterly to review progress. On page 122 of the Annual report, dismissals have substantially improved in comparison to 3 years ago, indicating better compliance and job satisfaction. Financial promotions in form of bonuses have increased due to high performance.
On budgetary constraints, and opening of vacancies, the Department cannot avoid to re advertise and fill them. This causes some employees to work several positions at once. This included himself and the COO, despite being paid the same salary, highlighting our commitment to excellence results. They managed to eliminate consultants in an effort to cut costs.
The Rural Sport Development Programme has been a success despite lack of funding, and has been implemented across 8 provinces. The goal is to achieve universal coverage within 10 years. Collaborated with Pick ‘n Pay to sell a bracelet encouraging healthy lifestyles. 32 917 people took part in the Big Walk in Pretoria. Provincial walks were introduced too. This was achieved within 4 years without external influence or media partnership. 50% of club development funding was moved to fund their project in rural areas for sport, this is a proud achievement. The National Recreation Day saw more than 6000 people in attendance. Indigenous games festivals have become a major spectacle attracting great numbers due to African food and fashion.
The Hockey Premier League has been launched.
He concluded his presentation and handed over to the CFO to answer further questions and present financials.
Responses to earlier questions
Mr Moemi: Director General, said built facilities must be launched and the community integrated to enjoy them. He expressed his doubts on management of funds allocated to such programmes. Sometimes the Department has delegated the task of opening facilities to community leaders. He disagreed with Mr Bergman on the approach to transformation. He disagreed with Afriforum, Freedom Front and Solidarity’s approach of merely funding the programmes and allowing for transformation auto correcting over time. They believed equality should underlie the funding and implementation of the programmes: he disagreed, saying that substantive equity is the goal, thereby recognising that people start on different levels. We have had one or two marquee players of colour being selected to national teams, but not a committed approach to ensure their long-term presence.
Prior to targets being set, athletes on our national teams like cricket have not reflected transformation. The board inquired into the owners of franchises and its impact of the transformative processes. If foreign players are wanted to play in the tournament in South Africa, regulations state the processes needing to be achieved. All franchises for the WorldT20 are owned by people of Indian descent. Thus, South Africans would not benefit from the tournament proceeding here.
School children are being considered already, 1000 tickets are left reserved for them. This is a separate issue from whether the allocated amount of tickets is enough, we must take into consideration the relative size of stadia. Broadcasting rights is the issue stopping SABC from competing with Supersport, the winner is clear in terms of financial capabilities. Access to these services will not change soon unless policy is directed towards those goals. The SABC already could not afford primary broadcasting rights, now they can no longer afford secondary rights like “delayed live”. Digital migration must be addressed.
Regarding FIFA, in the absence of evidence for the allegations, the Department will not act. If South African laws have indeed been broken, the Department will thoroughly investigate the officials implicated.
On Municipalities, the Department is aware tenders are being procured to drain state funds. Published rates as published in the Government Gazette will be paid to service providers.
Mr Gert Oosthuizen: Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation, questioned who was the source behind the World Cup corruption and the reasons for the allegations.
On physical education, South Africa signed an action plan in Kazan along other leading nations. The Department of Education was in attendance. It was decided that inspectors would investigate situations in various countries including South Africa and report back, helping form an action plan.
Presentation of The Annual Financial Statements for the financial year 2016/17
Concerning expenditure, an overall of R1 024 billion was spent, constituting 99.7% of the budget.
R2 978 million was underspent, namely across the following classifications:
→ Goods and services -R 2 249 million
→ Transfer payments - R 452 thousand
→ Compensation of employees - R 290 thousand
Spending on compensation to employees was 99.7%. This was due to a virement of R5 000 million to goods and services during the year.
Administration: Programme 1 spent 99,6% of its budget.
Active Nation: Programme 2 spent 99,9% of its budget.
Winning Nation: Programme 3 spent 99, 3% of its budget.
Sport Support: Programme 4 spent 99, 7% of its budget.
Gaps and weaknesses in the departmental Internal Control Systems, as noted by the Auditor General during the audit.
Gaps and weaknesses included in the Management Report.
Improvement on the payment to suppliers within 30 days.
Reduction in number of issues reported by the AG.
No emphasis placed on reported matters relating to performance and financial information.
Mr Ralegoma said provincial performance indicators were problematic to the assessment by the AG. Chairs of legislators must be engaged in provinces to have yearly meetings. This is vital to service delivery performance. Who had the responsibility to ensure that the money is being budgeted and spent properly? He expressed appreciation towards the Department for their successful clean audits, and recognised improvement in the two entities reporting to the Department, improving from previous areas of concern.
Ms Manana commended the recognition of women’s inclusion in development programmes. She suggested the Department visit each municipality in which stadia were built, because several stadia are being used while incomplete. There were still no learnership programmes.
Mr Sithole commended the unqualified opinion. He asked if there were a timeframe for the establishment of sports? Rural sports programme is a necessary initiative. How far was the transformation charter? He questioned why the North West repeatedly severely underspends or overspends?
Mr Mhlongo said the Department has issues with vacancies. For example, security officers in the Pretoria head office (National Office) are employed as receptionists. This cannot be positive to our service delivery. The Department allowing one person to hold multiple positions is not an advisable stance to take, and it lowered performance. How was the score on standard of service obtained? On the Commonwealth, how much had been spent and how was it spent? He requested a signed performance agreement from the Director General.
Mr Bergman said transformation is not a racially divided issue. It’s about creating a positive and enabling environment for all citizens, and not members of races. It concerns all stakeholders at micro and macro levels. Transformation should entail interest from the public, sponsorship interests and schools. Currently most sporting events fail to attract spectators. The SABC has lost its ability to broadcast various events due to their poor financial standing, perhaps the Committee should summon them to Parliament to account for reasons for their situation. This way we can find an effective remedy.
Mr Ralegoma stated oversight responsibilities should be adhered to. The Committee is committed to compliance and collective achievement.
The Chairperson affirmed that Mr Bergman was entitled to his own perspective of transformation, however there is lack of consensus on what is meant by transformation. The majority of the Committee did not agree with Mr Bergman’s view of transformation.
On the North West, Mr Moemi replied that they have not been compliant because reports are not submitted timeously and when submitted, they are unreliable.
On the Charter and responses to it; racial tension and discrimination is still prominent. Race cannot be taken out of the equation but it must be paired with governance and other aspects to judge progress properly. The Charter was properly adopted, if it is problematic now, then it must be repealed or amended. The Charter speaks to race and issues of legacy. This is not a debate. Instead, when non-compliance is recognised, are there measures that ensure self-correcting? The declining white population has projected that in 20 years they will constitute 6% of the total population, this represents obvious dangers to selection from a narrow talent pool. We cannot side-line people of colour in sports, it will only negatively impact our future achievements and targets.
Equity is advocated for, not equality. He referred to the Barnard case; which permits discrimination given it benefits those previously disadvantaged in order to realise their human dignity and substantive equally, beyond formal equality.
On the performance report, the laws of the nation entitled Chapter 9 institutions to determine such answers - The Public Service Commission. Hence, reliability can be placed on their findings. He condemned the allegations of wrongdoing without evidence to back up those statements.
As to the Commonwealth report, it is yet to be finalised and made public. Just as the 2010 World Cup, CAN and cricket.
As to timeframes, they differ from province to province thus no certain answers can be given.
On service delivery, these are relating to community services and other indicators instead of whether a receptionist is rightly qualified.
The Deputy Director General, Ms Sumayya Khan, answered on vacancies. Budget cuts are attributable to the lack of filling vacancies. Fees must fall was responsible for cutting funds.
On filling posts, following the Cabinet reshuffle, the Minister had directed posts to be left vacant until they can determine which areas of delivery are priority. Structures speak to the funds available, which in turn inform strategy.
Mr Mhlongo agreed with the DG’s statement about the right to ask and not to answer questions. He stressed reconciliation, diversity, redress in order to promote transformation. Admitting that ‘pro transformationalists’’ have the ability to recede once it suits them, mirroring racist views of the past.
Ms D Manana (ANC) asked how much would it cost an ordinary citizen to download the document? She resubmitted her previous question on follow-up on building of stadiums.
Mr Moemi responded that the South African Language Board recognised them as the best government entity that promotes diversity of language communication. The library and Sports resource centre publish books in English, Zulu, Sepedi and Xhosa. The documents are readily available for youths to access, however, one difficulty experienced is often a day or two-day delay in printing the documents. Download speeds have been increased to respond to the needs of access.
The Ms Khan said a Chief Director has been employed and site visits developed to monitor governmental facilities and others. The premature use of facilities will be raised prior to one of their visits. World Cup build stadiums are being encouraged to become self-sufficient like Moses Mabhida that is run by the city.
Members collectively expressed concern regarding the failure to report quarterly statements during the year, yet the end of year report includes these seemingly random numbers.
The Chairperson expressed distaste for SASCOC repeatedly rescheduling meetings and not following through on their promises.
Mr Ralegoma suggested they brief the Committee, allowing for alleged issues to be raised in the discussion. The board must come and account.
The Chairperson reminded Members that the Board is divided, and thus all members of the newly elected Board must account together, avoiding one-sided accounts.
Ms Manana concurred with the Chairperson, stressing the importance of the Board to appear together. She said the Chairperson of the SASCOC board did not respect the Committee.
Mr Mhlongo suggested the Committee fly to Pretoria to hold SASCOC accountable, since their absence was premised on lack of funds for travelling.
The Chairperson said they should be given until the 24th of October 2017 to account.
The meeting was adjourned.