Department of Sport and Recreation Quarterly performance

Sports, Arts and Culture

21 August 2019
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by the Department of Sports and Recreation on their 2018/19 4th Quarter Performance. The Report reflected that on the whole the Department had achieved quite well with for example 89.3% 25 of 28 targets set for the quarter; overall achievement was at 75% in Administration Achievements; 99.9% achievement in terms of the percentage of invoices paid within 30 days; 90% of the targets achieved with Active Nation and 100% achievement on all the targets for the Winning Nation.

The high vacancy rate and the failure to construct any community gymnasiums were the only glaring failures. Overall performance was 95% due to underspending due to the high vacancy rate. 100% of the allocated budget had been used spending 97.9% of the allocated budget, totalling R166.4 million out of a budget of R169.9 million. Members proposed that the Department implemented the use of an Excel spreadsheet with a tracking system to track advertisements of vacancies

Members were concerned about underspending with regard to human resources and the vacancies. They asked what was the root cause of this problem and if the Department had advertised the vacancies in the national newspapers. Another concern was why most of the money was usually used in the last quarter instead of being used evenly in all the quarters. The Department was asked repeatedly if it was over performing or under-targeting, and about the impact of youth camps. The Committee was worried about whether there was perhaps duplication with what LoveLife was doing and the impact of the Rural Development Programme. Members were pleased to hear that the Department has now aligned their programmes with LoveLife – they now worked together as social cohesion programme; and that government has provided support to the Semenya case consisting of medical and legal experts. It was noted that what was happening to her was against the United Nations Human Rights Framework.

Members asked the Department to conduct a survey on sports tourism and its impact on the South African economy, and a brief report on the National Vision for Sport and Recreation 2020 was also needed. The Committee noted that nothing had been said about the Bills in the report as they wanted the Department to fast track the Bill. It was also noted that the problem of underspending has been present for a long time.

The Committee asked if the ‘Active Nation’ programme was only aimed at certain communities; what was the Department doing about Caster Semenya’s dilemma; overachievement with regard to the training of employees; what are the challenges that the Department was faced with regard to training; why was only R3.2 million spent with a budget of R6.5 billion; what was the Department doing about the correlation between school sports and committing crimes; what was happening with the R10 million rand allocated to the Department for transformation around Softball ;and the transformation score cards in different sporting codes.

The Committee was briefed on the SASCOC/Morocco matter. The Department said that it would furnish the Committee with a formal report on the matter. In short the South African Football Association (SAFA) had written to the Acting Minister of Sport Arts and Culture, Ms Thoko Didisa requesting an intervention as the men and women’s under-20s football teams went to Morocco to participate, but there was a disagreement between SAFA and SASCOC. The reason advanced by SAFA was that the teams had qualified before the decision was made by SASCOC that they did not actually qualify. This matter could result an adverse impact on the participation of the teams, as the team had to play in the opening fixture against Morocco, and SASCOC had indicated it would like to have interaction going to games. Minister Didiza resolved that two conditions would have to be met: that South Africa would have to try to late register, and should that be considered favourably, they would have to pay US$2000 for each team to register. That was done by the SASCOC leadership engaging with the Olympic committee in Morocco. The matter was eventually resolved and the teams could at least participate. This was an extreme intervention but everything turned out positively in the end.

Meeting report

The Chairperson asked everyone to introduce themselves and asked whether anyone wanted to adopt the agenda.

Mr Vusi Mkhize, Director General, Department of Arts and Culture, apologised for the absence of the Minister who was in a Cabinet meeting, and for the Deputy Minister who was in Morocco.

The Chairperson responded by saying that the Department should be here every day, since it does not assist to think that the Department of Sports and Recreation and the Department of Arts and Culture are separate Departments. They should work together. The Committee expected the full participation of the Department. They have seen discrepancies when the presentations are happening; they have seen that the two Departments are not working together. The Committee needs contract advice. She will try to meet the entire Committee today. She added that DGs had to assist the Department with the presentation.

Briefing by the Department of Sports and Recreation on their 4th Quarter Performance

Ms Summaya Khan, Deputy Director-Genera (DDG), Sports and Recreation South Africa (SRSA), presented the 4th Quarter Report of 2018/19 to the Committee. The Department will give details on areas of achievement and underachievement and paint a picture of what the achievement was at both the end of the quarter and the end of the financial year. The report notes progress on several key indicators. In the Department, a target is only marked as achieved if it is verified and validated. The report is given to the Risk Committee, Treasury, and the Auditor-General.

Ms Kahn said that overall, achievement has been 89.3% - 25 of 28 targets set for the quarter, not considering each programme’s average achievement percentage.

In Programme 1, Administration Achievements, overall achievement was at 75%. In terms of the number of employees trained the Department had overachieved – the target was 10 employees trained, but the Department had achieved 30. In terms of percentage of invoices paid within 30 days, the Department had 99.9% achievement, due to 2 invoices that were not timeously paid. This was something they had considered internally.

In terms of Programme 2, Active Nation, the Department had achieved 90% of targets. The only target that the Department failed to achieve was the number of participants in national school sport championships per year. The target was 5000 but the Department had managed 2233. However, the Department uses the Summer Championships as a catch-up event.

In Programme 3, Winning Nation, there was 100% achievement on all the targets. The Department had achieved their goal of supporting a major international event receiving intra-governmental support, by supporting the 2019 World Angling Games.

In terms of Programme 4, Sport Support, the Department had achieved 100% achievement.

In terms of Programme 5, Sport Infrastructure Support, the Department had met 50% achievement. The Department had targeted constructing 4 community gyms but had failed to construct any. There were delays in the finalisation of the sites list due to lengthy consultations with municipalities and changing needs at the community level. Outdoor gyms are very popular to communities, and promote an active and healthy lifestyle, so the Department was disappointed by not being able to achieve on this front.

Mr Itumeleng Tlhasedi, acting CFO, SRSA, continued with the financial performance of the Department. The overall budget of the Department was R1.1 billion, of which they had spent 98.7%. Of the R110.9 million budgeted for compensation of employees, the Department had spent 88.9%, totalling R99.8 million. This was due to a high vacancy rate experienced by the Department.

In terms of transfer payments, the Department had used 100% of the allocated budget, totalling R807.3 million out of a budget of R807.4 million. In terms of goods and services, the Department had spent 97.9% of the allocated budget, totalling R166.4 million out of a budget of R169.9 million.

In terms of Programme 1, Administration, the overall performance was 95% due to underspending due to the high vacancy rate. In terms of Programme 2, Active Nation, the performance was 99.8%. In terms of Programme 3, Winning Nation, performance was 99.6%. In terms of Programme 4, Sport Support, performance was 98.2%. In terms of Programme 5, Infrastructure Support, performance was 58.3%.

Briefing on the SASCOC/Morocco matter

The Chairperson asked the Department to brief the Committee on the Morocco/SASCOC (South African Sports Confederation & Olympic Committee) matter. On the 28th of August the Committee needed SASCOC and the Department to be with the Committee in a meeting. Before asking questions, both DG’s (Director’s General) had to give reports on the problem regarding Morocco. The Chairperson did not want to respond to the media asking her about the Morocco issue before the Department had a chance to explain it to the Committee.

Mr Mkhize responded that the Department will provide a formal report on the matter. At a high level, the Department highlighted that the South African Football Association (SAFA) wrote to the Acting Minister of Sport Ms Thoko Didisa requesting an intervention. The men and women’s under-20s football teams went to Morocco to participate, but there was a disagreement between SAFA and SASCOC. The reason advanced by SAFA was that the teams had qualified before the decision was made by SASCOC that they did not actually qualify. This matter could have an adverse impact on the participation of the teams. The team had to play in the opening fixture against Morocco, and SASCOC had indicated it would like to have interaction going to games. The kids who were already supposed to go there had already been identified and had already incurred the costs en route to Morocco.

The Ministers engaged both parties to enquire as to how that matter should be resolved. When the parties could not agree on how that matter could best be resolved, The Acting Minister of Sports Arts and Culture Ms Thoko Didiza, looking at issues that could possibly impact the country negatively, decided that the two teams must be allowed to participate and SASCOC should facilitate that process. She Minister was very clear about respecting the authoritative role of SASCOC and the decision about who could go there. But paramount to the Minister’s decision was the negative impact on the athletes and the reputational risk faced by the country. Based on that, She looked at Section 16 of the Sports and Recreation Act and decided that the decision be communicated to the SASCOC President in writing. At this time, Morocco was not sure about the state of South Africa’s participation.

Two ministers engaged with SASCOC, adding that this would be reputational risk to the country if South Africa did not participate on such short notice. Upon receipt, the President of SASCOC followed his own procedures before implementing that decision. Minister Didiza resolved that two conditions would have to be met: that South Africa would have to try to late register, and should that be considered favourably, they would have to pay US$2000 for each team to register. That was done by the SASCOC leadership engaging with the Olympic committee in Morocco. The matter was eventually resolved and the teams could at least participate. This was an extreme intervention but everything turned out positively in the end.

The Department would provide a full report to the Committee.

Ms Khan added that, based on resources, teams that were selected to travel to the African games were seeking qualification for the Olympic Games. It is cheaper for them to qualify on the continent instead of going to Europe or elsewhere. Some athletes funded themselves because SASCOC did not have resources to provide for everyone that qualified. The Department is getting proof of judgment, so that they can advise SASCOC to use that to make the call.

The Chairperson responded that this was not good news, and then opened the floor to questions from Members.

Discussion

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) apologised for being late. He asked about the underspending with regard to human resources and the vacancies. What exactly is the root cause of this problem? Did you advertise in national newspapers when there were vacancies? He asked further why most of the money was usually used in the last quarter instead of being evenly used in all the quarters.

Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) thanked the Department for the presentation. He asked if the ‘Active Nation’ programme was only aimed at certain communities since he does not hear about them happening in townships. What is the Department doing about Caster Semenya’s dilemma?

Ms V Malomane (ANC) thanked the Department for the report. His first question was about the number of employees trained.  According to the Annual Performance Plan (APP) it was stated that 10 employees were supposed to be trained in the 4th Quarter. What is the explanation for the increase in the goal, since previously the goal was merely 10 and in the latest Quarter the Department had overachieved? Also the training target had decreased as in previous years more people were trained. The precedent in the State of the Nation is that this is the year of jobs – so what are the challenges that the Department was faced with? Finally, on the issue of infrastructure support under goods and services, the budget was for R6.5 billion so why was only R3.2 million spent?

Mr J Mamabolo (ANC) noted his passion for school sports and said that it was something that allowed kids to get off the streets. If children were playing school sports they had no time to commit crimes. So what is the Department doing about this?

Mr A Seabi (ANC) joined the other Members in welcoming the presentation. He asked whether the Department is over performing or under-targeting. Why is there a target on outdoor gyms before the consultations are done with the municipalities? On the issue of service delivery – for example youth camps – what is the impact? Also is there no duplication with what LoveLife is doing? He asked what the impact was of the Rural Development Programme as there was a need to evaluate the impact to decide whether the programme should continue. He asked if the Department conducted a survey on sports tourism and its impact on the South African economy. He asked further with regard to the delays, if the Department had requested the intervention of the South African Local Government Association, or the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

The Chairperson noted that nothing had been said about the Bills in the report. As they are sitting here, they wanted the Department to fast track the Bill. With regard to the first question raised by Mr Mhlongo, the problem of underspending has been present for a long time. Previously the problem of vacancies was one of money, but now it is no longer clear why there are vacancies if there was underspending. With regard to the question of the MOU, several meetings had been called with the SRSA about why this MOU is not functioning. Former Ministers tried to modify the MOU decision, but it is still unclear what else can be done.

Ms Malomane added that a brief report on the National Vision for Sport and Recreation 2020 was needed.

Ms Khan responded that in terms of compensation they were at 89.9%. The Department has been a victim of Cabinet reshuffles in two consecutive years. There are certain senior posts that are the prerogative of approval by the Executive Authority. Due to the change in political leadership progress has been hampered. Hence, that would obviously have an effect on compensation. On recruitment, appointments were made on the 1st June. Within the year the Department has people resigning and being promoted to posts in other departments. The Department’s plans for compensation over 12 months and resignations had an effect on those plans.

Mr Tlhasedi added in response to the issue of outdoor gyms that the Department did not consider using the money for other programmes because the money was specifically allocated for outdoor gyms.

Mr Manase Makwela, Director: Strategic Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, SRSA, added that with training the Department counts one employee once. In various quarters the number will be high. The Department may have targeted 60, but if they do not sort out personal matters, then they might not have planned for it. Planning is basically informed by the baseline. But there are certain times when one looks at the baseline like when the target was 60 and one got 100, does one then shoot the target to 100 the following year? Unless one was certain that there could be a consistent target in following years, it could not be done.

With regard to outdoor gyms, Mr Makwela said that the decision making has to be sorted out before the construction can be made. 

On measuring the impact of projects, Mr Makwela responded that it is happening on a small scale, but there are plans to measure it more methodically in the future so that those projects without impact can be dropped. Of course, with a skew, it was rural areas. There was a need to plan in areas where there is no visibility because the whole province had to be served.

Ms Khan added that the Department has now aligned their programmes with LoveLife – they work together. It is a social cohesion programme, so that the young people represent the demographics of the country. Every race group must be represented, and there are participants with disabilities.

With regard to the issues of the impact and the evaluation, Ms Kahn said that their mass participation programme does an evaluation on a yearly basis. They do have some sort of evaluation but they do have capacity constraints. They have done an evaluation of their school sports programme. In order to measure the impact the programme needs to run for a longer time.

In terms of the tourism question, Ms Kahn said that the Department believes that sports tourism plays a major part in contributing to the economy of the country. The Department is a part of the National Tourism Strategy and sports tourism plays a big part in the tourism strategy as well.

Ms Kahn said that the Department signed an MOU with the former Minister last year about school sports, noting that without physical education as a standalone subject they will never have Olympic athletes especially from poorer schools. The Department has realised that they need to invest in school sports. The Provincial Departments of Sports and Recreation take care of sports at provincial level, but there are joint national task teams where they did planning together. Ms Kahn said ‘planning is one thing, how it is rolled out is another’.

With regard to the ‘Big Walk’, Ms Kahn said that it is linked to World Walking Day.

Finally, with regard to Caster Semenya, Ms Khan indicated that government has provided support to the Semenya case consisting of medical and legal experts. What is happening to her is against the United Nations Human Rights Framework. Caster Semenya has lodged an appeal and they are waiting for the final hearings to take place. The Department was still on track looking at the case so that when she goes through to the next round they will be there to support her.

The Chairperson asked about the transformation score cards in different sporting codes. 

Mr Mhlongo proposed that the Department implemented the use of an Excel spreadsheet with a tracking system to track advertisements of vacancies. When he joined the Department there were 24 vacancies – so there is still a gap. With regard to the youth camp, the Committee needs to know exactly what the Department does and what LoveLife does. Another proposal is that the Department tends to focus on the major sports – but there is no transformation on Softball – they have been allocated R10 million by the Department but what is Softball doing with it?

Mr Madlingozi asked how was one to know and understand change within the society. Where there perhaps reports from newspapers about the society within our regions? Is there perhaps a poor and a better society? Is the focus on all communities or is it only based on certain communities? If there were township or rural schools with Olympic champions it would be great.

Mr Seabi noted that it would be worrisome if the Department were to continue with a particular programme for some time without knowledge of whether it is having an impact.

With regard to transformation Ms Khan responded that the Department’s Report is very comprehensive and that therefore it is better left for a later fuller presentation. Further, the Department will provide information on where the vacancies are advertised. Also, the Department will provide a report about the relationship with LoveLife. In the Transformation Charter there is a focus on the 19 codes of sport. All the codes have nuanced report cards.

On swimming pools, Ms Kahn said that the Committee must be mindful that to build it comes at great expense, as does its maintenance. There are initiatives where there are municipal swimming pools placed so that schools have easy access to them. Those are some of the interventions. The provision of swimming pools to all schools is not ideal since some do not have space for netball or football fields. She ended by saying ‘Yes, swimming is a life skill, so it is taken seriously’.

The Department noted the opportunities to work together with other departments and assist with coordination. Again, the Department noted the impact on delivery of the school sport programme. They had a Joint National Task Team.

Mr Makwela added that with regard to women’s sports and the women’s football league, the Minister wanted them to provide him with a sustainability plan so that this is not just a flash in the pan. The government has provided R5 million to support this noble initiative of government. Sustainability is a commitment that the Minister has made clear. In the newspapers there was misinformation that the amount is R50 million, but it is R5 million per annum.

On the SABC blackout, the Minister has taken this matter as one of national interest. Therefore, he had prioritised meeting all the key stakeholders. That meeting took place first with the SABC, where the SABC presented their reasons from their perspective. Yesterday the chairperson of the PSL came together with the chairperson and CEO of Multichoice, where again the Minister emphasised the urgency for resolving this matter, but also to hear what the cause was. The decision was made by all parties that the Minister calls a meeting for tomorrow, but this time with the SABC represented. The Department remains positive that all parties will come with an intention to resolve the matter. At this stage, no further details can be divulged.

The Chairperson added that there is an Independent Communication Authority South Africa  (ICASA) Bill, but this intervention will assist them as public representatives to answer the public about the SABC blackout. 

Mr Madlingozi added that he is worried that the next time the Committee will meet with representatives of the Department will only be months in future. The issue of water and the black kids is important, since every year young black kids are drowning. It is very important that the Department sees to it that swimming lessons are provided to assist in this area.

Mr Mhlongo added that he was hoping for a second round of questions so that he could ask about SASSA and SASCOC. If SASCOC is the head of sports – why do they treat the PSL as partisan? Politically, it seems the government is afraid of SAFA and PSL. How much was the Department allocated to give to SAFA? Who wrote the letter to SASCOC? Government is failing the game of soccer because they are afraid of SAFA especially since there was no inquest into the stampede years ago. There are selection criteria which tended to undermine Government’s leadership. They are told that the athletes from SAFA went to 5-star hotels compared to ordinary delegates from SASCOC. This seems more like interference than intervention.

The Chairperson disagreed with the imputation that government failed with regard to the stampede, since there was agreement that it was not the PSL or SAFA that was responsible. The Committee discovered that there were gaps in procedure and resolved that something must be done. The Committee had created rules as to how many police should be present given certain attendance numbers. The first culprits they had identified were the management of the stadium as the management of the stadium had not even attended the Committee when called upon to do so. Stakeholders agreed that they should change the way they managed large events.

Mr Mhlongo added a point of expediency that the Committee should look at SASCOC as the example of the stampede was merely an example. Although there was a budget for an inquiry into the stampede, it did not occur so they have failed.

Mr Makwela responded that when this matter was being addressed, there was a vested interest in who is going to be the victim. No one had raised the issue of who is a brother or who is a sister in that matter. There were clear parameters within which the Minister engaged with the matter. It is dangerous for the Department to decide whether to favour SAFA or SASCOC, since the Department’s interests are not met with regard to such decisions. The Minister will provide further details, but the myth must be dispelled that there was favouritism or bias in the matter. It is inaccurate to allege that the matter was driven by any other party than SASCOC. As of now, it is their submission that the process was not taken away from SASCOC as the only authoritative body.

Ms Khan added that the allocation to SAFA is only for school sport.  The Department has not yet transferred the money to SASCOC. SASCOC would need to give a business plan, and that has not taken place yet.

Mr Mhlongo added that the African Games is a priority for the government to host, so there needs to be a budget that is ring-fenced.

Ms Khan added that in terms of the Sport and Recreation Act, the role of SASCOC is clear in terms of team preparation for multi-code games. So SASCOC must take responsibility for that. Government’s responsibility is very clear – government is not hosting the games nor preparing the teams.

Ms Malomane added that the Committee needs the Minister to come and account on this matter.

The Chairperson concluded that various Members have called for the Minister to come.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

 

 

 

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