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SPORTS AND RECREATION: PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 June 2003
DISABLED SPORTS SOUTH AFRICA (DISSA): BRIEFING
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Disabled Sports South Africa (DISSA): Presentation (PowerPoint):
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The delegation from Disabled Sports South Africa (DISSA) briefed the Committee on a wide range of issues including funding, progress and challenges faced by the organisation. It was apparent that lack of funding and accessibility presented major challenges. DISSA outlined their strategy for the inclusion of sports for the disabled into mainstream and able-bodied sports, as opposed to operating separately. The issue of transformation was also raised and the importance of including disabled people in all spheres, including sports, highlighted.
Mr Peter Goldhawk (DISSA) explained the status of DISSA as the national controlling body for disabled sports, recognised by a great many associations including the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The organisation catered for seven different disabilities which all had to be considered within one sport code. This meant managing a very large community. He outlined achievements at the IPC Championships and said that team selection was made on the basis of pre-qualification.
Regarding funding, Mr Goldhawk said that the aim was to market the brands of Paralympics, Special Olympics and Deaflympics in order to attract sponsors. All their constituencies should be afforded equal access to international competition. However, funding from Sports and Recreation South Africa (SRSA), while appreciated, was insufficient. The main objectives were to secure support for development, equipment and transport, which they were currently attempting to have subsidised. Other sources, including the National Lottery Fund (NLF), the Sports Trust and the Poverty Relief Programme, were mentioned as alternatives to the Paralympic Development Trust. DISSA still did not have the resources to employ people to implement various development projects.
Concerning progress, Mr Goldhawk said that the strategy of inclusion emphasised the desire to work with and not alongside able-bodied sports associations. He mentioned a number of sports codes that are either fully or partially integrated. Transformation was so important that Mr Cowley had been relieved of his other duties in order to dedicate his efforts to this. In terms of mass participation, Mr Goldhawk outlined the role of Transnet as the main sponsor for the Transnet Linkage Programme, a talent-identification project that was envisioned to be in every province by the end of the year. Mr Goldhawk then referred to DISSA's contribution to African sport and expressed pleasure at the cohesion between DISSA and the South African Sports Commission in the area of sharing teaching resources.
Regarding challenges, Mr Goldhawk said that accessibility was a major concern. The regional cluster competitions that had been developed had proved successful. DISSA remained committed to working with all groups, including able-bodied organisations, to promote equity in their area of sport.
Ms N Lamani (ANC) said that the use of funds granted by the NLF as well as the unavailability of transport and parking were issues to be addressed. She commended the delegation for focusing on rural areas and giving attention to the provisions of the Transformation Charter.
Mr R Pieterse (ANC) said that there were competing priorities that often resulted in able-bodied sports being given more attention. He asked whether the tide was turning in this respect.
Mr Goldhawk answered that sponsors expected returns on their investments, which were often more difficult to secure for disabled sport. However, perceptions were changing. Twenty-eight disabled athletes had received awards at the Presidential Sports Awards.
Ms Lamani asked what was entailed in the training of medical personnel for disabled sport and how it differed from the standard mode of training.
Mr Goldhawk explained that different disabilities had different needs, but that all handlers had to have a measure of understanding and empathy.
Mr J Louw (ANC) asked whether there was a programme in place to assist disabled athletes from rural areas.
Mr Goldhawk replied that support was given to such individuals through provincial academy programmes. Mr Arthur Cowley added that it was necessary to empower disabled people through the Employment Equity Bill.
The Chair asked how Government could be of assistance.
Mr Goldhawk estimated that the cost of administration amounted to R2 million and the only available source was the NLF. Criteria needed to be altered so that funds could be made available for the administration of development projects. He added that the roles of the Department of Education and the United School Sports Association of South Africa (USSASA) needed to be finalised as DISSA's hands were tied until this was done.
Mr S Simmons (NNP) said that the Western Cape did not have a school sports policy in place, and that a multi-faceted approach was necessary. He expressed the importance of uniformity in the implementation of policy as well as capacity-building among personnel and the need to promote a culture of awareness.
Ms Mpume Nkabinde (DISSA) raised the issue of home-bound disabled people, saying that the Department of Social Development should be brought in. She said that the Special Olympics had drawn attention to the rural areas, especially where children were unable to attend school or be accommodated in homes. She said that a holistic approach would bring parents with similar challenges together and in so doing, educate society to accept and embrace these individuals. Concerning sponsors, she said that a recognition programme should be devised for attracting them.
Regarding sports policy in Western Cape schools, Mr Cowley replied that it was the responsibility of the Western Province Department of Sports and Recreation to formulate such a policy.
The Chair asked what the position of the Special Olympics wing was in relation to DISSA. Policy at provincial level should be in line with policy on a national level. Regarding the role of business in sport, their social responsibility should be geared more towards development than public relations and promotion. Concerning accessibility, she agreed that other Departments (Housing, Public Works, Education) should be brought in as well as local government with regard to infrastructure and development policies.
Mr Goldhawk said that the role of business was critical and essential. Programmes in the provinces were convened in conjunction with each provincial department. Business provided support while DISSA offered expertise drawn from international experience and their own programmes.
The Chair commented that the important issue was the channelling of funds and the number of sources that could be tapped into. The Committee's task would include reviewing policies and possible changes. The delegation would be called before the Committee in due course regarding the Transformation Charter. She expressed disappointment at the absence of Committee members who would have been the most vocal on these issues.
The meeting was adjourned.
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