Athletics SA briefing

Sports, Arts and Culture

31 October 2017
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Athletics South Africa (ASA) briefed the Committee on its governance, transformation programmes, successes, financials and challenges.

Members welcomed the presentation and asked if a cordial relationship exists between ASA and SASCOC?  In line with its transformation agenda how many board members of ASA are female? Who are ASA’s external auditors? What was ASA’s last audit outcome? How much was received from Lotto from 2015 to date? How can the committee be assured that the sustainability of black emerging athletes as we see today will not fizzle out in future?

Meeting report

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed Athletics of South Africa (ASA) for the briefing and noted that there was an article in news24 stating that ASA was recently taken to court. It would be appreciated If ASA could shed some light on the matter should they wish to do so. 

The agenda for day was then adopted by Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) and seconded by Mr T Mhlongo (DA).

Briefing by ASA

Mr Aleck Skhosana, President, ASA, gave a historical overview of the organisation. ASA was founded in 1992, as part of South Africa becoming a democratic country. The interim arrangement was agreed upon by all parties that all decision-making structures should have a representative ratio of 60% black and 40% white. For the past 10 years the above arrangements where no longer required, as elections of Office Bearers adhered to the demographic balance of the South African Society. ASA is affiliated to the IAAF, and are guided by the IAAF Constitution, Rules and Regulations. ASA has 6 Associates USSA; SAMA; SASA; SANDF; SAPS; DSSA which capacitate mainstream athletics. ASA is registered to SRSA and SASCOC as service provider in South Africa

Governance wise, ASA is governed by a Constitution which is in line with the IAAF Constitution and its Constitution fully adheres to the South African Constitution (Bill of Rights); National Development Plan; and National Sports Plan. The ASA board members are elected quadrennially by the ASA council consisting of the 12 ASA Board Members, 17 ASA Provinces, 6 Associates, 4 Commissions and the board meets at least twice per year. The board consists of 12 board members and Schools and Universities has direct representation on ASA Board.

In line with ASA transformation agenda, ASA board consists of: 8 black; 3 coloured, 1 white.  Commissions consist of: 14 black; 2 coloured; 6 white. Committees consist of: 7 black; 4 coloured; 8 white. Provincial Presidents consist of: 9 black; 4 coloured; 4 white. Provincial CEO/General Managers consist of: 5 black; 5 coloured; 7 white. Athletes are selected on merit to represent South Africa.

In 2017 ASA ranked out of 215 countries in the world:

- Youth: No. 1 on the medal tally at IAAF World Youth Champs

- Senior: No. 3 on the medal tally at the 2017 IAAF World Senior Champs

- No. 5 in the world on medal tally at 2016 Olympic Games

On its finances, ASA financial committee has cut its budget according to income and this committee only allows spending if funds are available. ASA submits financial related documents to external Auditors at the end of each financial year. ASA’s external Auditors present audited annual financial statements to the ASA Board. The current ASA Board inherited a deficit of from the previous ASA Board in 2014 of more than R24 million. In 2016, ASA achieved the biggest profit in more than 10 years. In 2015 ASA’s total liabilities outstripped assets by R12.89-million‚ but as at December 31 last year assets led by R4.81-million. The total income for 2016 rocketed to R85.78-million‚ an increase of just more than R68-million on the R17.72-million Investment income was R91‚000 (R50‚000 in 2015). Operating costs in 2016 were R12.64-million‚ more than double in 2015. The R18-million surplus is mainly generated because of an adjustment of R2.69-million for the VAT account adjustment which was negotiated with SARS and bigger sponsorships and grants received. The increase in sponsorships is mainly due to amounts received from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and licences from Old Mutual.  A major breakthrough was settling two major debts that had threatened to bankrupt the federation in recent years — the R10.4-million ASA was ordered to pay by a court to injured pole-vaulter Jan Blignaut‚ and R6-million owed to SARS.

Discussion

The Chairperson thanked ASA for the presentation and reminded Members that they should be proud of their contributions in ensuring that disputes between the Federations and SASCOC are resolved amicably without resorting to expensive litigations just as the ASA has done.  That ASA is following the international norm as mandated by IAAF that issues involving associations should be resolved through arbitration and not the courts is a welcome development. The work done by ASA to propel SA to become world beaters in athletics is highly commendable, their success spoke for itself.  The Committee is happy with the strides made concerning rural sports because that in itself is a testament to transformation of sports in SA.  This Committee can take some pride that Luvo Manyonga is a product of the committee. After reading an article about him in the media, permission is today sought from committee members for the chairperson to visit the home of Luvo. The work done by the Committee, SRSA and SAIDS is worth commending to refocus this young boy’s life.  “We all love sports and it gives us so much joy that our sports people are excelling and flying the South African flag”. 

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) welcomed the presentation and wanted to know if ASA adhered to its constitution with regards to its membership of SASCOC board. The Department should be present next time when ASA is invited to the Committee because their absence means the Committee cannot establish the lack of synchronisation between the ASA and SRSA. Is there a cordial relationship between ASA and SASCOC?  How many board members of ASA are female? Next time, the Committee demands the ASA Organogram that should state the names and gender of all members. Can ASA confirm that no member of the board is remunerated and are just volunteers?  Going through ASA’s finances, it is very unclear. What is the income composition? What was ASA’s biggest profit to date and in 2016? There was a decrease in income and figures available are from 2007– 2011. After 2011 only the figure is captured meaning that there is no transparency when it came to ASA finances.  Who are ASA’s external auditors? What was ASA’s last audit outcome? How much was received from Lotto from 2015 to date? Is ASA still indebted to SARS and if yes by how much?  How much was received from SRSA and Parliament? Can ASA’s R86m revenue be broken down; salaries and flight tickets included? 

Ms D Manana (ANC) asked how many female athletes participated at the recently concluded IAAF junior championships.  This is because only one female won a medal.  However; ASA should be congratulated for achieving first position on the medal table.  What was the audit outcome for ASA in the present financial year? On being blacklisted by SARS, what are the reasons for that?  Does ASA have a member serving in the SASCOC board as mandated by its constitution? On transformation, in future if for instance eight blacks are on the board as is composed presently, it should differentiate between the number of males and females, and also the other ethnic make ups.

Mr S Mmusi (ANC) also congratulated ASA for the success it enjoyed at the moment. He asked that ASA push hard to reinstate one of school sporting federations because schools are where the talents are unearthed.  That two South Africans who took first and second positions respectively in the 200m at the Junior IAAF world athletics championships, is something to be commended. The Committee would also want the provinces where the world beating athletes come from to be included in the presentation next time. This is for the Committee to check if the rural athletes are being incorporated into the SA athletic programmes in fulfillment of the transformation agenda.  What would be the response of ASA should a rural community secure funding or sponsorship to construct a stadium with an athletics track for them? ASA should be proud to tell other countries how much they were able to achieve on a shoestring budget. It is a thing of pride for this country.

Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) shared an appreciation for ASA’s presentation. The Committee would want to know who ASA sponsors are for the financial year ending in 2016. Again, how were the funds spent?  Can the Committee safely assume that ASA is no more in the red financially? Are there still debts to be paid? Is ASA aware that the Lotto has changed its funding model to a two year circle instead of yearly?  This means that ASA as recipients of Lotto funds has to plan accordingly. Another issue is the assertion that there is no forum whereby ASA shares with SRSA and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to discuss a common plan of action. This might not be true because there is existence of a memorandum of agreement entered into by DBE and SRSA and it ensures that federations are represented in matters dealing with schools sports.  Finally, how can the Committee be assured that the sustainability of black emerging athletes as we see today will not fizzle out in future? Lastly, has ASA sorted the outcry when the world championship squad was named and the junior champions were omitted? Were ASAa reasons for not including them understood by the junior athletes?

Mr Skhosana thanked the Committee for the congratulations the passion it has for sports in SA. He also commended the Speaker of Parliament and the President of SA for congratulating ASA for their achievements in Nairobi and London.  He noted the questions of the Members and confirmed that ASA adheres to its constitution. The ASA Constitution is interlinked to that of SASCOC of which ASA is a member. ASA always speaks around its constitution and not about personalities.  A cordial relationship exists between ASA and SASCOC. ASA did not bash SASCOC in it briefing. ASA prepares teams and hand them over to SASCOC. South Africa climbed to number five in the athletics discipline in the last Olympics games.  A team was sent to the recently concluded Commonwealth Youth Championships. 

Mr Skhosana addressed the matter of gender representation. Out of the 12 board members, two are Associate members from SA Schools Sports (SASA) and United Schools Sports Association (USSA) and five of the members are elected black female representatives. There are also women representatives in the sports commissions.  ASA is one of the progressive movements in IAAF because the world governing body is only now talking 50% gender parity which SA has already achieved.

ASA is lacking funds and the board members are not paid. They wished they had those perks doled out to serving board members of other entities. ASA is not a fully fledged company and has no Executive Chairman.

The audited financial statement attached separately has all the financial details and what is in the presentation is just a summary.  The last time ASA was in Parliament, it was asked to present a turnaround strategy, and he was happy to report that ASA has been salvaged. When the present board was inaugurated, ASA was sinking; a case in point was when it was taken to court by an athlete but had refused to defend the case and was slapped with a R12.4m award against it. This amount was paid and was a painful going through that as the new board was not party to the litigation. This shows how bad things were. Concerning SARS, for ten years from 2006, ASA did not have a SARS clearance certificate. The board opened negotiations with SARS when it was appointed in 2014 until the matter was settled. This cost the new board R1m; paid to SARS.  Even the SABC that ASA sells broadcasting rights to for money making races like Comrades Marathon, Two Oceans Marathon and Nelson Mandela in Pietermaritzburg had refused to pay ASA citing ASA’s  noncompliance with SARS, so the new board had to go and negotiate with SARS to clear this debt. Again, ASA was under administration around 2009 and even court cases between ASA resulted to another R6m paid by ASA and yet another R3m was negotiated to be written off by SASCOC. Even ASA House was about to be auctioned and this board also had to negotiate with creditors. This is a snapshot of where ASA was coming from. The names of the external auditors are reflected in the audited financial statement likewise all ASA’s funders.  ASA receives R2m since 2014 from SRSA. Out of this amount, R1.2m is for ASA while R800 000 is for schools athletics. 

ASA has no problems with SASCOC as is bandied about; the context is that ASA was asked by SASCOC to co-opt its president into the SASSCOC board. After consultations with ASA board it was agreed that ASA president accept the invitation. On the day of the SASCOC AGM, it was discovered that the board membership was more than was constitutionally mandated so one member was asked to be dropped. Three rounds of voting took place to drop one member but SASCOC president then used his powers to drop ASA president from the board. The question was then asked if the SASCOC president has the powers to act unilaterally. So the issue was not a personality battle as was reported but constitutional.  Athletes selected to represent SA are chosen purely on merit and are picked by board of selectors. ASA sends small but powerful teams that bring results.

Mr Mhlongo asked how many senior managers are employed by ASA.  In the document it is stated that ASA has a CEO but the same person was introduced as an acting CEO. What are the functions of the CEO with regards to raising of funds? Why did ASA pay so much for accommodation now compared to 2015/2016? What does ASA consultation fee entail?

Mr Jakes Jacobs, ASA Board Member, said that in 2016 an admin workshop was held for all the provinces, coaches workshops and technical symposium. Reservations for flights and accommodation were made for all attendees. No consulting was done in the previous years but realignment in the structures for job creation and job description were done by one consulting firm. In 2016 a payment of R16 600 was made to four members of the previous board that worked in an interim basis for seven months.  This was to cover for their petrol.  Travel costs were also made for council meetings covering accommodation and meals.  The CEO is an acting one because ASA cannot afford a full time CEO at this time. The salaries are quite steep to pay a full time CEO.

The Chairperson thanked ASA for a job well done and enjoined them to continue to fly the South African flag very high.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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