The Portfolio Committee on Education and Recreation addressed budgetary issues and the deficits in sport for the 2018/2019 financial year. The Department of Sport and Recreation received R1 billion from the National Treasury and National Lottery for the 2018/2019 financial year budget, and the Department argued that that was insufficient funding, given the required infrastructure, the need to address gender inequality in sport and the required programs to make sport more accessible to South Africans of all ages.
The Minister of Sport and Recreation provided an overview of the deficits that the sporting portfolio, which included gender disparity, insufficient funding for required programs and the challenges in sourcing such funding. The Director General outlined the Annual Performance Plan (APP) which was geared towards addressing the issues outlined by the Minister. Other concerns included the inequitable allocation of funding to provinces, the necessary inequitable funding towards schools’ programmes dependent on sports offered, and the progress of grant-funded infrastructure in 30 municipalities.
There were plans for the re-accreditation of the South African Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein for blood testing and urine testing. The Department was looking at including a new indicator, ‘parity and participation of women in sport’, which would assess whether females were compensated similarly to their male counterparts. The Department would like to suggest the banning of alcohol advertising, a move which health stakeholders supported. The Department proposed that the Department of Health should allocate 3% of its budget to sport. There were plans for South Africa to host the BRICS games in July 2018. The Chief Financial Officer provided an overview of the Departmental budget and deficits.
The Select Committee had a diverse and extensive range of questions. Members asked what was being done about provinces and municipalities that did not budget adequately for sports. The Department made allocations to 30 municipalities nationwide, but there were only 11 had completed projects and the remaining 19 were in deficit. What was the Department doing to cover that deficit? Had consideration been given to using volunteers to work in staffing positions instead of hiring paid staff as happened in Jamaica? How did the Department plan on addressing the disparity in salaries?
When would the infrastructural process be completed in the schools’ programmes? In terms of the Doping Control laboratory in Bloemfontein, how would the laboratory be funded as a Non-Profit Organisation, and was there sufficient laboratory equipment? Why did boxing remain a main sport? Was there a need for boxing to be singled out above many other sports? Did the Department have a monitoring tool to assess the use of funds at the sporting academies? Were rural academies included in the budget? Had the Department considered implementing indoor sporting facilities, which were necessary during bad weather?
The Chairperson instructed the Director-General to address outstanding responses to the Committee in writing.
The Chairperson welcomed all members to the meeting, highlighting the importance of the Committee and the magnitude of its responsibilities. The Department of Sports and Recreation APP would be the last APP to be presented after the budget had been allocated. The next administration would engage with future APPs. She stated that the agenda included the following:
- addressing the issues faced by the Department during the lobbying for funds from which came primarily from the National Lottery,
- consideration of municipalities’ role in coordinating sport,
- provinces that received funding but did not budget for sport and required the Department to intervene.
Considering the above, she mentioned that sport was poorly performed, even though sports officers were present in each district. The lack, or withdrawal, of funding had had a negative impact on sport performance.
The Chairperson highlighted goals which the Department should consider:
- increased access to sport for South Africans,
- ensuring that transformation in sport was incorporated, such as the changes seen in the Springbok team,
- developing talented athletes by supporting all forms of sport,
- building a pipeline of athletes from a grass roots level.
Presentation by the Minister of Sport and Recreation
The Chairperson handed over to Ms Thokozile Xasa, Minister of Sport and Recreation, for the presentation on the performance plan and issues facing sport.
The Minister expressed gratitude for the welcome received by her departmental team from the Members of Parliament.
She highlighted that, although there has been some transformation, such as the inclusion of people of colour in sport teams’ leadership, e.g. Siyamthanda Kolisi’s appointment as the Springbok captain, other areas were needing attention. South Africa should experience fun and harmony through sporting participation, which demonstrated Nelson Mandela’s dream of unity across all classes and races. In the financial year 2018/2019, Mr Gert Oosthuizen was serving as Deputy Minister, having served a long time in the field of sport and his portfolio would ensure sport participation in South Africa.
The APP for the 2018/2019 financial year was a guiding compass towards implementing a sports plan. Currently, the sporting arena required vast support, but survived on a thin budget. While there were many South Africans keen on participating in sport, the budget fell short of supporting all of them. The federations which the Department funded needed to market sport more widely in order that information reached all South Africans. The APP for the year specifically focused on reforming schools’ sports programs, because schools formed the foundation for athletes. Attention would be given to schools to address the lack of participation in sport.
The Department noted that schools differed according to class, and some schools focused on sports requiring more capital, while others had sports requiring little financial support. Elite Model C schools with the capacity to train rugby, cricket and hockey, for instance, benefitted the advantaged youth able to access this facility, while youth from poorer or rural backgrounds were excluded from such sport. Although the Department would not have additional funds for the year, it needed to strategise channelling more varied sports to poor areas. Such strategies would include the erection of infrastructure at schools that benefitted the wider community, and not just the schools themselves. The budget for the current financial year had only increased by 3% over the previous year. Because of the thin budget, infrastructure would comprise facilities that could be utilised for several sports on a single pitch.
There had only been a 3% increase in the budget as opposed to the 15% that the Director General needed to carry out the sports program. The Cabinet was initiating a review of the allocation as there was need for a 15% increase, with support from the National Lottery and other funding associations. Federation beneficiaries struggled to stay viable because there was a three-year gap between the injection of funds which affected the income for infrastructure development.
It was noteworthy that when there were huge sporting events hosted by the country, the revenue received in hardly reached the Department’s budget. For instance, when Mamelodi Sundowns and Barcelona had their match, at least 94 000 tickets were sold and money from interested parties was poured into catering, security and accommodation facilities, but despite the profit made by stakeholders from a sporting event, the Department did not benefit from the profits. Consequently, there needed to be consideration of the Department’s importance when fundraising, allocating funds to municipalities and ensuring that authorities coordinated well when using departmental funds for sport.
Where a province’s emphasis, and skills, was on rugby or any other sport, that province should be made a hub where athletes could go to train and develop their skills. The Department would like to initiate a campaign, called ‘I choose to be active’, geared to encourage sport participation. That included what was called the ‘“Thuma mina” walks’, where leaders would invite the public to participate. The Department would also like to support sporting women even further, particularly those excelling in their fields. A function would be held for Banyana Banyana on 7 June, sponsored by Brutal Fruit, to honour women in sport. Currently, the sporting pool was dominated by males, while women comprised only 25%. The low compensation for women reflected the gender inequality in sport. Sporting regulations also prevented some women from participation, such as the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF’s) regulation for levels of testosterone in women. Women having higher testosterone levels than the standard were disqualified.
The Chairperson thanked the Minister for her presentation and highlighted her support to carry the mandated efforts. She handed the podium over to Mr Mokoditloa Moemi, Director-General of the Department who outlined the APP and budget deficits.
Annual Performance Plan 2018/19 and Budget Deficits
The Director-General introduced his speech by highlighting a few fundamental issues. Firstly, the National Treasury had said that it could only give the Department a maximum of 6% increase in the budget, with the emphasis that funds could only be used for sport. Provinces had used some of the funding to pay salaries of staff who work in sport. For instance, 60% of the funding given to KwaZulu-Natal was used to pay sports staff salaries, including academies that had depreciated greatly. National Treasury did not support payment of salaries as there was subsequently a greater demand for a budget increase for the province. Treasury had rejected the request for an increase of 6% to 8%. Secondly, there was an unevenness in the wages that staff received from province to province. Some staff had higher salaries and allowances than others, depending on how rich the province was. Only three out of nine provinces, including their municipalities, budgeted for sport.
Allocated funds for sport from Treasury differed according to province, where most funding was given to provinces with the highest sport performance. That meant only three provinces out of the nine would excel in sport. Thus, the Department proposed a minimum of R20 million to be allocated for each province to support that sporting functions and programs. Engagement with the National Lottery would continue so that it reviewed its allocations to sport.
The Department supported the idea that sport was related to the Department of Health and suggested that the budget of the Department of Health should be shared with the Department of Sport, and this should be 0.3% of the Health budget. That funding would assist people to engage more in sport and consequently improve their health, whether the health budget was increased. The Department relied on provinces to support that initiative. The growth of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) had dropped from R300 million to R78 million, which had to cover 35 projects in the financial year. The Department had a target of reaching 600 000 people annually to participate in sport, with 42 000 learners at a district level.
Sports such as volleyball were cheaper sports to finance as opposed to others such as cricket. As such, the financial packages to schools differed according to the sports offered at schools and the school population. To reach 16 000 on particular budgets, the Treasury needed to understand the conditions according to which funding was allocated, so that the amount of funding given to schools was not under suspicion when more money was given to some than to others. There would be an increase in the number of sport academies in districts from 20 to 35, and an increase in athletes from 1 600 to 3 600.
With reference to women in sport, the Department was looking at including a new indicator, ‘parity and participation of women in sport’, which would assess whether females were compensated similarly to their male counterparts. In volleyball and softball, there was a gender balance in compensation, but not in soccer. There was also no soccer league for women. That should be initiated.
The Department would like to bring back the Nelson Mandela Sports Culture day, to honour his centenary. The Golden Games would end at a provincial level because the elderly were too frail when to travel long distances to engage in national competitions. Provincial levels will be the limit. That limitation would allow more funding allocations to caring for the needs of the elderly when they competed at other levels.
The rural sport program would be improved with the goal that between two and five rural household should participate in sport. It was remarkable to observe the support that the rural chiefs offered to their competitors. The chiefs were seen travelling with their competitors to tournaments and other matches.
The Department would like to suggest the banning of alcohol advertising, a move which health stakeholders supported. As there was a struggle with resources, banning alcohol advertising could re-channel funds to sporting or health programs that were priorities to human life. There should be a 2% levy on the alcohol industry which should go to rehabilitation and other health-promoting areas.
The South African Doping Control Laboratory in Bloemfontein would be accorded re-accreditation for blood testing and urine testing. The Department had requested authorisation from the Free State Municipality to register the Laboratory as a non-profit organisation at the University of the Free State.
Softball would have a federation of the year competition, and a new premier league just as other sports. There were plans for South Africa to host the BRICS games in July 2018.
The Director General handed the podium to Mr Lesedi Mere to briefly outline the budget.
The Department had been allocated approximately R1 billion, which covered the programmes: ‘Administration’, ‘Active Nation’, ‘Winning Nation’, ‘Sport Support’ and ‘Sport Infrastructure Support’. In terms of provincial revenue, KwaZulu-Natal had the most revenue of R98 739 000. The second largest was the Free State with R95 986 000 (which included the National Training Centre), and the third was Gauteng at R85 482 000. More than 60% of the Department’s budget, R 809 million, was allocated to provinces and federations.
The Department also supported Boxing South Africa which received R12 million and the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport which received R24 million.
Revenue collections were made from rental parking, commission on insurance and garnishee, replacement of lost property; interest, dividends and rent on land; sales of assets that less than R5 000 and transactions in financial assets and liabilities.
The Chairperson invited the NCOP Members to discuss the presentation.
Mr D Stock (ANC) (Northern Cape) asked the Department what was being done about provinces and municipalities that did not budget adequately for sport. What was being done for the other six provinces that had the smallest budgets for sport. In the 2016 financial year, the Department made allocations to 30 municipalities nationwide, but there were only 11 completed projects and the remaining 19 were in deficit. What was the Department doing to cover that deficit? Although the Department was not necessarily responsible for the completion of the programs at National level, they would be held responsible as funders. As such, how would those issues be resolved in various provinces?
Mr M Khawula (IFP)(KwaZulu-Natal) concurred with the questions above, and further asked whether there had been consideration given to using volunteers to work in staffing positions instead of hiring paid staff. There would be no money needed for salaries, as seen in Jamaica’s use of volunteers who eventually became coaches and sporting managers.
Mr C Hattingh (DA) (North West) asked when the infrastructural process would be completed in the schools’ programmes. In terms of the laboratory in Bloemfontein, how would the laboratory be funded as an Non-Profit Organisation, and was there sufficient laboratory equipment? Why did boxing remain a main sport, and was there a need for that out of many other sports?
Another Member of the ANC enquired about badminton which had been side-lined, particularly in disadvantaged schools. Could there be an update on the status of that sport? She asked about efforts made for people with chronic diseases has been answered.
Ms M Moshodi (ANC) (Free State) enquired as to whether there were any follow-ups from the Department after funds are allocated to municipalities.
Ms D Ngwenya (EFF)(Gauteng) commended the Minister on her appointment as a female leader in sport and appreciated her mention of Banyana Banyana needing further support. Did the Department have a monitoring tool to assess the use of funds at the sporting academies? How was the Department supporting academies? Had the Department identified an interest in softball by disadvantaged schools? How would it ensure that such sports would be culturally acceptable and would be promoted by the community? When would the projected plans for the laboratory in Bloemfontein be completed? Sports had not been given the recognition it deserved, but what would the Department foresee happening should they be successful in gathering the levies desired. Was the Department financially viable to manage that potential?
Ms L Dlamini (ANC)(Mpumalanga) highlighted that women’s emancipation remained an issue, particularly in the salaries of Banyana Banyana. How did the Department plan on addressing that disparity? Had the Department considered implementing indoor sporting facilities, which were necessary during bad weather?
The Chairperson submitted her questions which related to the Department’s plan for all provinces, after commending the Minister on her good work so far. She encouraged the Department to take the matter of the need for increased funding forward, seeing that the budget was indeed too small for the goals outlined, and seeing as some other departments received much bigger budgets amounting to R100 billion. Another question was about rural academies and whether they had been included in the budget. In the light of sport and health being related, the Chairperson concurred that the budgets for Health and Sports should be shared. Overall, the Chairperson commented that the Department had drawn up a good policy for women in sport.
Mr Moemi provided responses to questions posed by the Select Committee.
He responded that the Department followed-up on municipalities performing badly on a quarterly basis and halted future funding.
In response to Ms Khawula who had asked about the provincial budget for sport, he said that former Ministers have also tried proposing more funding with poor response from the National Treasury. South African has no legal framework for the placement of volunteers. The Development Bank of Southern Africa’s (DBSA) guidelines stipulated how to work with volunteers, but the Department’s requirements for work in sport did not match those described in the Development Bank’s guidelines. The reality was that those employed requested a salary, mostly based on their expertise in sport.
In response to Mr Hattingh, he said that in a three-year period, the Department had dealt with Prof Jonathan Jansen in the first one and half years. Because he had a negative attitude towards the national government, Prof Jansen had not wanted intervention from the government, despite the university housing the only laboratory of its kind on the continent and needing support. It had been difficult to support the laboratory because of that position. The only route to funding an entity depended on the beneficiary’s status as an NPO, which made it slightly independent of the University. When the laboratory became an NPO, it would be easier for it to source funding.
Boxing was an historical sport that the public had grown to love. For other combats sports to be allowed, a Combat Sport Bill needed to be drafted to cover safety, safeguarding and other measures to avoid death, and to avoid the Department being sued.
In response to Mr Stock, he said that the solution was to migrate the municipal grant funding, but the Treasury required that the Department built more capacity to facilitate that.
The Chairperson remarked that time had run out and that further responses from the Director-General would be provided in writing. The Chairperson expressed gratitude for, and satisfaction with, the presentation.
The meeting was adjourned.
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