The Portfolio Committee met with the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) for the presentation of their second quarter performance report, ahead of which the Minister highlighted exciting current and future developments, such as Caster Semenya’s success at the recent Sports Award ceremony, and South Africa’s bid for the 2023 Netball World Cup. Other important dates were the National Schools Championships from 9 to 14 December, and the Youth Camps which were set to take place from 30 November to 8 December 2018 in all nine provinces.
The Department reported on a number of areas where its targets had not been met. It was particularly concerned about the poor performances in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. Where provinces were not spending their allocations, these funds would be transferred to those that were performing well.
The Department drew attention to the target which focused on the number of schools, hubs and clubs provided with equipment and/or attire as per the norms and standards, which had not been met. In the second quarter, the target had been 250 receipients, but only 80 had been achieved. The provinces were indeed spending their money, but they were paying courier partners to deliver the equipment. The delivery signing off was questionable in terms of who received the equipment. Tracking of progress was difficult, as officials were not being honest about what was taking place.
Members asked about the cost of the sports awards function, and whether it had been sponsored. Were there any skills development systems set up to assist sports federations? They were worried about the delay in the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill reaching the Committee, as it still needed to be processed through the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). They welcomed the support given to Boxing South Africa, which was experiencing financial challenges.
The Chairperson said that Mr Mabika had since stopped forwarding his apologies and had not been attending meetings. He had been going to Whips of various political parties, indicating that his party was not well represented. Representation of members of committees was determined by Parliament, and the majority party, the official opposition party and the rest get represented accordingly. She said that the Department of Sport and Recreation would be asked to come and present to the Committee on the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill. However, this affected the cycle of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The Bill had a direct relationship with Section 76, and thus the NCOP must be involved in the decision-making processes.
The Minister thanked the Committee for its support at the recent 13th edition of the national Sports Awards. She was happy that Caster Semenya had received the winner’s award, as a representation of women in sports. The venue had been acquired very late and this had come with challenges, but the Department was working to resolve this in the future.
Success was seen not only in South Africa, but through regional integration. Two days before the African Investment Conference, the Department had hosted the African Union (AU) Sports, and 10 countries of Region Five had participated. Of the 10 countries involved, there were six women Ministers in leadership positions. The Malawian leader had been appointed a day before the event.
She expressed here gratitude fpr the African Investment Forum, because it gave them an opportunity to participate in sport. She highlighted that the business side of sport helped with job creation and the creation of entrepreneurs, as well as contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) itself. Sports needed to be quantified more often.
The Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) was confident that they would meet their targets in the fourth quarter. However, most of the spending would take place in the third quarter due to the alignment of certain targets. The performance looked better currently in comparison to the state that they were in a year ago.
In the next week, they would be going to Singapore. Netball SA wished to bid for the 2023 World Cup. Netball as a sport in South Africa was not that big, and affordability of this event could be possible. The Department would be bidding. This was a reaffirmation of women in sport. SRSA was also finalising their Women in Sport policy, and a draft would be ready by December 2018. Provincial road shows were also set to take place to allow for consultation to take place, and she extended an invitation to Members of the Committee to participate.
Regarding the Gambling Amendment Bill, the Minister said SRSA was stuck regarding the processes of inquiry. The Presidency had requested an inquiry, but the issue had since been forwarded to the Department of Justice and Correctional Services. Not much had been done since the 2010 Act.
She said that the Department was looking forward to the two last events for the year. These were the National Youth Camps and the National School Sports Champions, which would both be held in December.
The Chairperson said that next Wednesday, 14 November, the Committee would be presenting in the House, but would be allowed only two minutes and had to highlighted the Department’s successes.
SRSA Second Quarter performance
Mr Alec Moemi, Director General (DG), SRSA, said that of key importance in their presentation was that all their targets in the quarter would be met by the end of the financial year. He would focus only on targets not yet achieved, as the Committee was aware of those already achieved.
In administration, the Department had missed one invoice payment out of 707 within 30 days, and this was due to a dispute with a supplier, which internal audit had justified. The Auditor General (AG) had not flagged this as a concern.
In Programme 2, Active Nation, the Department had fallen short on the number of people actively participating in recreation promotion campaigns and events per year. They were confident that the target would be met in Quarter 3. The Youth Camps and the Big Walk were still to happen, which would drive up the numbers.
The target that focused directly on the number of people actively participating in sport promotion campaigns and events had not been achieved. Considering that there were outstanding provinces, numbers would improve. The Ministerial outreach programme also played a vital role. Grants relating to the number of people actively participating in organised sport and recreation activities had not reached the targeted level.
The number of learners participating in school sports tournaments at the district level was below target, with challenges in districts in the North West. What was not achieved in the second quarter would be achieved in the third quarter, because of the provincial championships.
Target which focused on the number of schools, hubs and clubs provided with equipment and/or attire as per the norms and standards, had not been met. In the second quarter, the target had been 250 receipients, but only 80 had been achieved. The provinces were indeed spending their money, but they were paying courier partners to deliver the equipment. The delivery signing off was questionable in terms of who received the equipment. Tracking of progress was difficult, as officials were not being honest about what was taking place.
In Programme 3 (Winning Nation) all targets had since been achieved.
Programme 4 focused on the number of sport and recreation bodies receiving financial and non-financial support to assist them in meeting their transformation targets. The annual target had been 60, and but only 10 had been achieved, with three in the second quarter. In the third quarter, 49 were set to be achieved. One of the biggest challenges was that the financial year cycle, as that of various federations was not the same as that of the government. Rugby and cricket were examples.
In Programme 5 (sport infrastructure support), the number of community gyms and children’s play parks constructed came up short. Three outdoor gyms were set to be completed in the second quarter, but these were still being constructed. By the end of the financial year, all should be completed.
Budget and Expenditure Analysis
Mr Lesedi Mere, Chief Financial Officer (CFO): SRSA, said that they were currently sitting on an overall expenditure of R627.6 million in the second quarter, against the total budget of R1.1 billion. In the first quarter, expenditure had been R74.1 million. Spending on compensation of employees had amounted to R50.2 million by the end of the second quarter, rising from R23.8 million in the first quarter. Vacant posts were yet to be filled. Expenditure on goods and services reached R70.2 million out of the full year’s R167 million budget. Expenditure was expected to improve in the third and fourth quarter through projects such as the Big Walk.
R341.8 million in transfer payments had been made out of a budget of R809.8 million. Three provinces, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, had been penalised on their second tranche of transfers because of non-transfer to federations as scheduled. If they did not resolve this, the funds would be awarded to other provinces. Transfers to non-profit organisations would be made in the third and fourth quarters because of the alignment of the financial year.
The Department was left with the following funds for the balance of the financial year:
- Compensation of employees – R61.357 million.
- Goods and services – R96.866 million.
- Transfers and subsidies/provinces – R467.974 million.
Looking at programme 1, the Department was yet to transfer R92 000 to the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (Cathsseta).
Overspending took place in programme 4 on goods and services, where R6.318 million was budgeted but R9.528 million had been spent. This was the result of a BRICS project which had been incorrectly budgeted for under programme 3, but expensed in programme 4. National Treasury (NT) had noted the request to shift the funds to the correct programme.
Mr D Bergman (DA) referred to the Sports Awards event, and asked how much it had cost. These functions used to be sponsored in the past -- had sponsors contributed anything? The SABC needed to be used when it came to awards. He highlighted the under-spending that was taking place in the provinces, and asked if this could continue in the future. Which were the three worst under-performing provinces? He asked about the date and the venue of the national schools tournament? Had this been budgeted for? What federations had not yet complied? Unemployment was high, so where critical positions existed, they needed to be filled.
Mr S Mmusi (ANC) asked when the Youth Camps would be held, and if there would be an invitation to the Committee for this. He said that not enough was being done on the recreational aspect of the portfolio. He referred to Thato, who won the 2018 Idols singing competition recently, and said that the Committee should support him and those who came from small towns.
Ms B Abrahams (ANC) said the situation with the invoices had been sad. Was there nothing that could have been done to resolve the dispute more quickly? Were there any skills development systems set up to assist federations? She wished the Minister well for the Singapore trip.
Ms B Ndlovu (ANC) referred to the BRICS project which had resulted in over-expenditure of the goods and services budget, and asked if the Department had taken the PFMA into consideration, or sought permission from the relevant authorities.
Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) said it was given that targets set per quarter would not be met. He asked for more details on the litigation that was in the briefing notes, as it was something that might be seen in the newspapers. Had SRSA interacted with Boxing South Africa? His main worry was the Gambling Amendment Bill, as it had reached the Committee late as the quarter. He agreed that the briefing that was set to take place should be open. He was worried about the performance in the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Sanctions must be imposed on those provinces for not performing well, and awards should be given to provinces that were performing well.
The Chairperson thanked the Department for the invitations extended. She was also worried about the three provinces which were not performing well, but said if resources were going to be taken away from them, they would suffer more. She said the Gambling Amendment Bill needed to be tabled soon, and the NCOP should actively be involved before the year ended. The Committee would always support sport, especially through the new initiative to drive the growth of netball as a sport.
Mr Moemi said that National Schools Championships would take place from 9 to 14 December, and would be hosted between the University of Johannesburg and the University of Witwatersrand. The Youth Camps were set to take place from 30 November to 8 December, and would take place in all nine provinces.
He said that he was confident that funds allocated to the provinces would be spent. Provinces were doing their best, knowing that they might lose their funds. North West in the last year had lost about R330 000, but this year the provinces were being nudged to do well. The meeting of targets and submission of portfolio reports was still a major challenge. The provinces tended to relax when funds were given to them, and did not comply. Withholding funds tended to work, as it helped them to put things in order. Support was being given to the North West province to do well, and managers had been allocated to assist them. In the current financial year, North West was not part of the list of under-performing provinces.
The biggest challenge with the sports federations was the misalignment in financial years. The Department was not worried about this, as it always ensured that payments were made. SRSA sends staff to smaller federations to help prepare their annual reports. Smaller federations were run by volunteers and did not have full time staff. Personnel turnover at federations was high, and leaderships changed regularly. The staff were the ones who needed to be trained, not those in managerial positions.
Compensation of employees was being carried out, and positions were being filled. The Minister had appointed a few prescribed positions already. Treasury itself had released funds towards programme 5.
He said that the Sports Awards were still being done by the Department, and they still relied on sponsors in some instances. The Department had reduced the cost of the awards -- this year it was R8.8 million. They wanted to cut this figure down even more, but this had not been done as the Minister had insisted on not doing so, as she was still new and assessing how the awards worked. There was concern over number of awards, because of the number of categories, as this required funding which the Department was trying to cut down. The SABC was a public broadcaster, but they were not well funded, and this would affect the branding of the Department if they did not cover theawards. They have already taken shortcuts in terms of quality, such as the number of cameras available etc. If the awards were done by Supersport, it would have been a different story in terms of quality. Greater achievements were guaranteed if a partnership was established with Supersport. The awards would start paying for themselves.
He said that “Idols” was not part of sport and recreation. Recreation existed within the Department if it involved physical activity. The Department of Arts and Culture would focus primarily on this.
The DG said that that Department interacted with Boxing South Africa, and they were being supported financially. SRSA was helping the association to follow up on sponsors that were not paying them on time.
Regarding litigation, the Department was ready to defend itself if it was taken to court. The power of the Minister could not be challenged, and her powers needed to be protected. The Department had been taken to court by entities such as Solidarity and Afriforum.
Mr Bergman said that the sporting awardst should not be a party issue. Funds should be allocated and awarded based on the sports themselves. Cell phone companies could be involved in the same manner as done with shows like “Idols.” Individuals could not compete against teams. There should be awards for women, men, disabled men and disabled women in various sports. Everything connected with the awards needed to be uniform.
The Chairperson commented that Boxing South Africa was not doing well financially. She was pleased that the Department would be assisting them.
The Minister assured the Members that when provinces were not performing well, SRSA was extremely proactive. At both the administration and political level, this was being dealt with.
The meeting was adjourned.