Sport betting in relation to funding of SAFA teams: National Lotteries Commission & SAFA briefing
Sports, Arts and Culture
01 November 2019
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
The Committee was briefed by the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) and the South African Football Association (SAFA). Members were pleased that the NLC had received a clean audit for five years in a row. Members heard that the NLC’s funding model had been changed in 2015, which now allowed for the awarding of small grants of up to R500 000 yet, due to difficult economic conditions, the NLC did not receive enough money from the lottery operator as the needs were more than the NLC could manage. The biggest challenge was unregulated online gambling where billions of rand were lost every year as people would gamble online and abroad. If legalised and controlled, online gambling could be an additional source of income for the NLC. Another issue was the unequal distribution of grants among provinces with special emphasis on organisations in rural areas which were not formalised and registered and therefore not eligible for funding.
The Committee was predominantly concerned with the reduced funding for the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). Members expressed concerned about whether the remaining funds were sufficient to cover the expenses for all qualifying athletes to go to the 2020 Olympics in Japan. Members asked for guidance from the NLC how to best address the issue of online gambling in order for the Portfolio Committee to engage with the Minister; and what were the plans to explore other sources of funding to make the NLC sustainable. The Committee was so concerned about the lack of access of people in rural areas to apply for funding that they suggested hiring half-time employees during the holiday season, weekends and during December to facilitate the outreach to all communities in the country.
A further concern for Members was the financial crises that had befallen the SASCOC. They asked what the impact was of the funding cuts on the 2020 Olympics. The NLC was asked to provide further assistance to the SASCOC to ensure South Africa’s preparation and participation in the Olympics. Members noted with dismay that ‘there was a lot of proof of financial mismanagement within the NLC’ and asked ‘Did the new grant categories and financial model have a negative effect on the Olympics preparations’? Members inquired about the investigations regarding the alleged NLC Chief Operations Officer’s undeclared conflict of interest in distributing grants. One of the NLC Commissioners denied the claims vociferously. Members asked that the pro-active funding programme that did not require any applications be further explained. The Committee agreed that outreach programmes to rural areas had to be improved to enable organisations from remote areas to register and apply for funds. The Committee was also willing to assist the NLC in fast-tracking the legislative process for new regulations on online gambling especially because the NLC had urged the Portfolio Committee to be actively engaged when the National Lotteries Act would be amended.
The Committee was briefed by the South African Football Association (SAFA). The Committee heard that limited financial resources were the biggest challenge for South African football. The lack of sufficient funding had already led to conflicts with the SASCOC on how to finance qualifying teams for the All Africa Games. A new potential source of income was betting on football. The Australian model of sport wagering was introduced as a role model to increase the SAFA’s revenue.
With regard to the concerning R6 million expenses regarding the re-election of the SAFA’s present asked: ‘Who appointed them and who approved these excessive salaries’? ‘Considering the SAFA’s limited financial resources, how could that be justified’? It was explained to Members that the whole executive committee was elected at once. The media had spread false and misleading statements since it did not explain what the R6 million covered. The money was used to convene the electoral meeting, meaning 300 people from all over the country had to be brought to Johannesburg. Most of the money was spent for flight tickets, accommodation, meals, accreditation, and etcetera.
The Committee agreed to consider the proposal for betting as a new income source. Yet, many Members raised the issue of the SAFA’s rejection of an Indaba on sports. They needed clarification on the SAFA’s relation with the Minister and political interference within the SAFA in general. The relation between SAFA and SASCOC was also scrutinised. Members requested information on how the conflict about the participation in the All Africa Games was resolved.
Members were unhappy about the low level of women’s representation in the SAFA as they felt that by now more progress should have been visible. There were only one or two female presidents of the SAFA regions. Members asked what the progress was in increasing the salaries and allowances for women soccer players and, for more details on the women football league. Members heard that Banyana Banyana did not get the same amount of funding as Bafana Bafana as they had many sponsors. The SAFA urged the Committee Members to please engage with sport sponsors like banks to address the issue of unequal sponsoring.
The Chairperson declared that she accepted the mandate to engage with the Minister on the issue of the Indaba.
The Chairperson welcomed the delegations of the NLC and SAFA. South Africa was a country of sports and sports united the nation. She noted the good performance of the national football teams Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana, and wished the National Rugby Union Team Springboks good luck for tomorrow’s Rugby World Cup Final.
Briefing on the National Lotteries Commission (NLC)
Professor Alfred Nevhutanda, Chairperson of the NLC Board, gave an overview of the NLC’s work. He presented background information and the administrative structure of the NLC. The Chairperson explained that the NLC did not manage to make any profits as its license had to be renewed every seven to eight years. Newcomers in the lottery sector like Botswana were better equipped with a ten to fifteen year license. The legislative framework of the NLC did not allow it to make money. Over the last twenty years, the NLC distributed R20 billion grants and paid R39 billion prizes to lotto players. Annually, R1.5 to R2 billion were granted to beneficiaries. Applications for grants were open the whole year, except for December. The NLC did not operate according to the ‘hand to mouth’-principle. Instead, the revenue of this year would be distributed next year. The biggest amount of grants was allocated to charity projects (47%), followed by Sport and Recreation (26%), Art, Culture and Heritage (23%) and Miscellaneous (2%) which amounts to R25-30 million). He highlighted that the needs were more than the NLC could give. The NLC did not receive enough money for distribution for good causes. The issue should be readdressed in Parliament to increase the overall volume of grants.
He declared unregulated online gambling to be the biggest challenge. In South Africa, online gambling was prohibited. However, people would participate in online gambling abroad. An estimated amount of R5 billion would be lost per year through online gambling. A comparison with other countries revealed that online gambling could be another source of income for the NLC if legalised and regulated. Hence, the government had to address this issue as soon as possible. Besides, the NLC could not fulfil its mandate properly as provinces controlled the granting of licenses. There was no national control. For instance, in the Western Cape, ‘Lotto Land’ was growing although it was regarded as illegal by the NLC Act. It did not distribute any of its revenues to social projects. The government should legalise these lotteries to be able to regulate them better.
Mr Phillemon Letwaba, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the NLC, presented the NLC’s funding model to explain income revenues and grant distribution. Grants were given to eligible organisations like non-profit organisations (NPOs), public benefit trusts and public schools. Then, Mr Letwaba introduced the three funding categories. The revised legislation of 2015 enabled the distribution of small grants of up to R500 000 to small organisations. As a consequence, more organisations benefited. Through the new open call system, the NLC reached the highest number of NPOs that benefited. However, the NLC’s stagnating revenue did not match the high demands and requests. To set priorities, strategic funding areas were identified annually which were aligned to government priorities like the National Development Plan. These priority areas ensured the assessment of the funding impact. Next, he outlined the grant funding process and gave details on the allocations for sport and recreation per province. The provincial distribution showed that organisations in rural areas in the North-West, Mpumalanga and Free State struggled to receive grants as they were not formalised and registered and thus not eligible for NLC funding. The provinces Gauteng, Limpopo and the Western Cape benefited the most, since organisations there fulfilled the NLC requirements and qualified for funding. In the current financial year, so far, R106 million was allocated to sport and recreation organisations. Slide 11 of the presentation listed beneficiaries of grants in the sport and recreation sector. Finally, Mr Letwaba elaborated on each strategic funding focus area for 2019/2020. He emphasised the NLC’s promotion and support of women’s football.
Mr J Mamabolo (ANC) asked about the consequences of the newly introduced funding categories and legislative changes on the funding for the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). The SASCOC had been the biggest NLC beneficiary. Now, its funding was cut down ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Japan. ‘Was the remaining money sufficient to pay for all the athletes’?
Mr W Faber (DA) wanted know how many funding applications were still outstanding. The backlog in the NLC had been a serious issue in the past. He then inquired whether an investigation was on-going into the COO’s involvement in granting millions of rand to organisations linked to him. ‘Was there an investigation into an undeclared conflict of interest; ‘If not, why not’? These allegations had been in the media for quite a while. He also stated that many projects financed by the NLC remained incomplete. He mentioned a library and a museum in the city of Kuruman in the Northern Cape that was still without books and art after two years. Allegedly, there was a family connection between the company building the library and museum and the COO. He wanted to understand the link as NLC grants were also public funding. Yet, there was no transparency in the pro-active funding programme. After grants were awarded, there was no follow-up scrutiny into the beneficiary projects. There was no monitoring of projects that received funding. ‘Were the organisations even in good standing at the South African Revenue Service’? There were no terms and conditions to NLC funding; it was a free flow of public money. The NLC had to ensure that money went to projects, which were registered and certified. There should be no grants awarded to family or friends. Furthermore, he commented on the cut in funding for the SASCOC. A month ago, the Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture stated that unfortunately there was not sufficient funding for all qualifying athletes to go to the Olympics in Japan in 2020. That was unacceptable. If an athlete qualified, he or she should be allowed to go to represent the country. ‘Was the NLC able to assist the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture and SASCOC financially to send all athletes to Japan’? There was still one year left to get funding. In the previous situation, where the Princess of Monaco had to help out the South African national swimming team to go to the Olympics, should be avoided. The NLC should provide funding for the athletes instead of wasting money. There was a lot of proof of financial mismanagement within the NLC. ‘Was the NLC able to help out’?
Ms V van Dyk (DA) was also concerned about the allocations for the Olympics athletes. ‘Was there any consultation between the SASCOC and the NLC on the funding issue’? ‘What was the outcome’? ‘Was there any solution’? ‘Did the new grant categories and financial model have a negative effect on the Olympics preparations’? She also asked for the reasons for the unbalanced provincial distribution. ‘Why was a quarter of the grants only allocated to Limpopo’? According to slide 2 of the presentation, the NLC distributed R2 billion annually, of which 28% was allocated to sports and recreation. 28% amounted to approximately R506 million. However, the audited allocated amount to sports and recreation was only R329 million. ‘Why did the numbers not match’? She wanted clarification on this. She needed a more detailed explanation of pro-active funding. In her understanding, pro-active funding did not require any application. The NLC could decide on its own which project to fund. She requested (in writing) a list of all beneficiaries of pro-active funding for the last three years. ‘Who received money and how much’? ‘What was done with the money’? This should not be difficult for the NLC Board as there should be some kind of monitoring and evaluation mechanism in place. On the investigation by the NLC Board on two specific projects, what was the outcome? ‘Had any disciplinary action taken place with regard to the conflict of interest allegations against the COO Mr Letwaba or any member of the NLC’? ‘Did the Executive Authority take any action to ensure the NLC’s compliance with Section 362 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA)’?
Ms N Nkabane (ANC) thanked the NLC for the presentation. Online gambling had to be addressed as R5 billion was lost every year. She asked for guidance from the NLC how to best address the issue in order for the Portfolio Committee to engage with the Minister. She noted that the NLC’s income did not match the demands and needs. ‘What were the plans to explore other sources of funding to make the NLC sustainable’? ‘Did the NLC have any ideas, documentation or turn around strategies’? ‘On the grant distribution, what were the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for the performance of the beneficiaries’? ‘How did the NLC ensure that the awarded funds were used at the outset in the application’? She criticised the fact that the open call system was only operating from January until November. To enable also organisations in remote areas to apply for funding, she suggested hiring half-time employees during the holiday season, weekends and during December. This would facilitate the outreach to all communities in the country. Ms Nkabane also asked whether the Distributing Agencies (DA) were staffed with internal NLC workers or external workers. ‘What were the financial implications of outsourcing’? The same question applied to the capacitation of the beneficiaries. ‘Was it done by internal or external staff members’? ‘Then, what was the NLC’s audit opinion in the financial year 2018/2019’. ‘Were there any spikes’? ‘What issues were raised’? Lastly, she recommended the intensification of the outreach programmes in relation to education and awareness in remote areas as many organisations in rural areas did not know how to register and apply for funding.
Ms V Malomane (ANC) was mostly covered. She agreed with the Honourable Nkabane to strengthen outreach programmes. Programmes were needed to teach organisations in deep rural areas how to formalise and to apply for NLC grants. On the funding cuts of the SASCOC, she noted that the SASCOC was in a financial crisis. ‘What was the impact of the funding cuts on the 2020 Olympics’? And how did NLC determine the funding of federations in different provinces?
Mr A Seabi (ANC) was confused with the acronym DA for distributing agencies and the political party Democratic Alliance. He joked that the NLC was advertising the DA party. He asked whether there was an initiation of legislation on regulating online gambling. Only if legislation was initiated, the Portfolio Committee could deal with it and assist the NLC. ‘How far was the legislation’? Then, he asked for a specific amount for the 28% of grant allocation to sports and recreation. According to his calculations, 28% of R2 billion amounted to around R560 million, but the presentation mentioned the amount of R329 million. He needed clarity on this issue.
The Chairperson welcomed the presentation. She suggested that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) must fast-track the legislation process on online gambling. This issue had been on the agenda for a while; legislation should have been on its way in Parliament by now. She was concerned about the low grant distribution to the Free State and the North West provinces. ‘What were the standards of sport organisations in these provinces’? The Chair was happy to hear that the NLC identified the promotion of women’s football as a priority area. So far, only the company Sasol was sponsoring women’s football. Banyana Banyana were not as equally financed as Bafana Bafana. And she needed clarification on informal sport organisations in rural areas despite capacity building and awareness programmes by the NLC. ‘What were the problems in rural areas’? ‘What did the Auditor General’s report reveal’?
Professor Nevhutanda thanked the Committee for the pertinent questions. The NLC Board would attempt to answer all of them. He declared that the NLC had received a clean audit five years in a row. The Auditor General had audited all projects funded under the pro-active funding programme without any findings. On the media allegations against the COO, the NLC had conducted an investigation. In fact, too much money had been spent on these investigations. The Auditor General gave the NLC a clean audit and the investigations confirmed that. The Chairperson stated that he was a professional musician; he was not an auditor. Auditing was not his profession wherefore he could not comment on that. If someone sang a wrong note, he would notice. But auditing was the responsibility of the Auditor General, who gave the NLC a clean audit. The NLC was among the ten best-run government entities in the country and was nominated for an award. The NLC did not protect itself; it acted according to the PFMA. The Board cooperated with the Minister, launched an investigation and compiled a report. The Minister wrote that nothing was found related to a conflict of interest. Conflict of interest was a broad term that could be interpreted differently. He had to rely on lawyers and advocates to define the term. If a conflict of interest had been detected, the Chairperson and the Commissioner would have acted.
He clarified the meaning of the DA as distributing agencies. These agencies were independent and appointed by the Minister without the Chairperson’s or Commissioner’s concern. But the NLC had to budget for them. The agencies managed the applications and the granting of funds independently. Hence, the big share of funds channelled to Limpopo was not the NLC’s responsibility. Even if the Chairperson wanted to increase allocations in a specific province, the agencies would not listen to him. Pro-active funding was used to breach and address that imbalance between provinces. Only 10% of the annual R1.5 billion was distributed through pro-active funding. He explained that there were two forms of pro-active funding: Firstly, it allowed the NLC to act swiftly through a simplified granting process without applications. The distribution was need-based. Secondly, the Minister, the NLC Board or the Commissioner could conduct research on the ground to identify crisis situations in need for immediate funding. For instance, during the Western Cape drought crisis, the NLC provided R6-8 million. The security crisis in Alexandria had been addressed with R2 million from the NLC. This pro-active funding was in cooperation with the municipalities and the local politicians.
On the Northern Cape projects, the Chairperson visited Dr Credo Mutwa together with the Deputy Minister. The building of the structure for the museum and library was approved to honour Mutwa’s indigenous philosophy. The NLC only funded the structure, not the shelves and books. This was the responsibility of the local municipality and the government of the Northern Cape. They were doing their best to fully equip the museum and library. On SASCOC, the Chairperson suggested an Indaba on financing sport in South Africa. He had been involved with the NLC since its establishment. Initially, the NLC should have sponsored only sports. But now, the NLC was involved in many different social projects. The NLC could not finance sports alone. Sports needed to be financed also by other sources. The Department should provide funds for the SASCOC for the preparation of the Olympics. The NLC had to treat the SASCOC and SAFA the same way as any other NPO. The legislative changes introduced by the DTI on small grants were not working. It was better to give fewer organisations more money, than to give many organisations R1. Like that, nothing would be achieved. This practice should be put to rest this year. Otherwise it would cause problems every year again. The Chairperson was willing to engage with the Minister and the Deputy Minister on this matter. With the active participation of the Portfolio Committee, this regulation could be changed.
Lastly, he addressed the request for a list of all beneficiaries. He explained that many organisations took the NLC to court for publishing financial information. According to the NLC Act, the financial information of beneficiary organisations could not be publicly disclosed. Only the name could be published. The NCL was forced by the Act to protect the financial details of beneficiaries. For example, the name of the winner of the R232 million was not published. He could not be disclosed as that would put his life in danger. The same principle applied to beneficiaries. The NLC could only provide the Committee with the Annual Report. The NLC once considered publishing names of beneficiaries on a public website. But after complaints of organisations, it decided not to go ahead. The NLC was part of the DTI, which also did not disclose the names of beneficiaries of grants.
Ms Thabang Mampane, the Commissioner of the NLC, admitted that it was a mistake of the NLC not to have firstly introduced the exact mandate and task of the entity. This information would be sent to the Portfolio Committee after the meeting. Derived from the mandate of the National Lotteries Act, the NLC was a regulator. It received funds from the lottery operator to be distributed for good causes. The NLC did not receive a huge amount of money. The operator was licensed to run the lottery. According to the licence agreement, the operator gave the NLC 26-27% from the sale of lottery tickets, amounting to R1.5 to R1.6 billion. Due to the economic conditions in the country, lottery revenues decreased as people rather spend money for bread than for a lottery ticket. The NLC did not get any allocation from the public fiscus. The R1.5 – 1.6 billion ran the entire organisation, including administrative expenses, and was distributed to good causes.
On the media allegations against the COO, the Commissioner highlighted the value of the restoration of human dignity in the Constitution. The COO, Mr Letwaba, was a registered accountant. He had worked in other government entities before, like the Special Investigating Unit. She condemned the consistent allegations against one single individual. She would not comment on the investigations; the matter was in court. The NLC Board investigated the issue. A huge amount of money was spent on these outsourced investigations. It was not an internal NLC staff member who conducted the investigation, but an independent external investigator. The investigators spoke to beneficiaries and examined the granting process of funds. The NLC’s only task was to monitor and evaluate. The NLC ensured that lotto players were protected and that winners received their prizes. It oversaw the work of the lottery operator. On education and awareness in rural areas, the NLC decentralised its work. However, it was still aware that some deep rural areas had not yet been reached. There was an idea of using mobile offices in trucks that could go to remote areas to educate people. Through these outreach programmes, projects for pro-active funding were identified. For instance, books for the above mentioned library in Northern Cape would be financed through pro-active funding. The books would be sent and distributed on Monday. The Auditor General audited all single projects, including the aforementioned ones in the Northern Cape. The Commissioner also explained that information on beneficiaries could not be published. Organisations took the NLC to court for revealing too many details. The NLC was under attack. The Chief Legal Officer of the NLC – who was supposed to be here today – had to stay at home as people broke into his house and harassed the family demanding the lottery money.
Mr Letwaba announced that the NLC had dealt with its backlog from 2016/2017. The NLC was running smoothly. The call for applications was reopened. Each financial year started with new focus areas and new applicants. He also clarified that the mentioned annual R2 billion was an average number over the last twenty years. But last year, due to the declining revenue, the NLC distributed only R1.6 billion. This explained the allocation of R329 million for sports and recreation. In the last five years, the NLC had cleaned its finances up and received a clean audit. On informal sport clubs in rural areas, he clarified that informal meant not registered as NPOs. The clubs were formed and funded by Mister X in a small village. According to the Act, these clubs without formal structures were not eligible for NLC funding. Thus, the NLC had programmes to educate and capacitate people in registering formal organisations. On the SASCOC, the NLC provided R8 million this financial year to SASCOC for the 2020 Olympics preparations and participation. There were still on-going discussions on the Olympics participation.
On the legislation for online gambling, Chairperson Nevhutanda added that the NCL had conducted research in Europe on the regulation of online gambling. The findings were sent to the Department of Trade and Industry and the National Gambling Bill was at the moment in Parliament. He urged the Portfolio Committee to be actively engaged when the National Lotteries Act would be amended. Inter-Committee meetings should raise this issue.
The Chairperson suspected not to take any follow-up questions as the Committee Members had agreed to close today’s meeting at 11:30 a.m. Any outstanding questions to the NLC should be handed in in written form. The remaining time should be allocated for SAFA’s presentation. The agenda item was closed.
Mr Faber raised a point of order. There were still some follow-up questions that needed to be asked. The agenda item could not be prematurely closed only to ensure the meeting’s closing at 11:30 a.m. on a Friday.
The Chairperson did not recognise Mr Faber. She said he was out of order as she was still on the floor. She had only proposed the item’s closure. She would have still asked the Committee Members for their approval. She said that she felt disrespected and harassed. Two male Committee Members were constantly attacking her and interrupting her on the floor. This harassment had to stop. She felt undermined as a woman.
Mr Faber apologised for upsetting the Chairperson. He stated that the Chairperson had clearly announced that no follow-up questions would be taken anymore. It was a statement, not a proposal or question. He proposed that if any Committee Member still had follow-up questions, they should be allowed to ask them. Asking questions and scrutinising government departments was their job as Members of Parliament. Some people did not like it, but difficult questions also had to be asked.
Mr Mamabolo raised a point of order. He declared that the Committee had agreed on Tuesday that today’s meeting would end at 11:30 a.m. The agreement was to spend one hour with the NLC and one hour with the SAFA. There was no point in discussing this again. He urged Members to continue with the agenda. The Committee should move on; it was Friday.
Ms Nkabane approved the Chairperson’s proposal. If Members had any follow-up questions, they could write to the Secretary who would forward the questions to the NLC. The responses would be received through the Chairperson.
Ms Malomane agreed. Any outstanding questions could be written down and submitted. Responses would be received afterwards.
The Chairperson repeated that the Committee had agreed to end the meeting on Friday at 11:30 a.m. Due to the limited time; follow-up questions had to be written down
and submitted. She closed the agenda item and moved to the SAFA presentation. She welcomed the delegation of the SAFA.
Briefing on the South African Football Association (SAFA)
Dr Danny Jordaan, President of the SAFA, announced that the presentation consisted of two parts: firstly, an overview of the SAFA’s performance and progress, and secondly, a proposal for sport betting as a new income source. He presented the governance structure of the SAFA, the administrative structure and governance instruments. He gave details on SAFA’s membership with its current 3 200 000 members. Limited financial resources were the biggest challenge. The South African Broadcasting Corporation pledged to pay R110 million, but only managed to pay R10 million, resulting in a revenue loss of R100 million. In total, SAFA received R200 million annually from all income sources. That was the biggest challenge of South African football. The SAFA’s objective was to grow the membership to reach 10% of the population to attain world class level. Then, he listed all the existing leagues, tournaments and school competitions. The SAFA was structured according to provinces and regions. Each province was split up into different regions that corresponded to municipal boundaries. KwaZulu-Natal had the highest number of regions (eleven). He went through each region and gave details on the leadership, membership and leagues/competitions.
Afterwards, the President introduced the SAFA Vision 2022. It was an eight year plan; it started in 2014. It was structured from one to the next world cup. Phase 1 was from 2014 - 2018 and Phase 2 was from 2019 – 2022. SAFA had just entered Phase 2. He explained the various components of the Vision 2022 in a nutshell including gender equality, commercial viability and financial stability. Then, he reviewed the qualifications and achievements in Phase 1, in both men and women football. Women empowerment in SAFA leadership had been achieved. Women had been placed in executive positions. SAFA identified the need for more qualified coaches as one coach was responsible for 200 players. He invited the Committee Members to visit the SAFA National Technical Centre to see the technical improvements. For Phase 2, SAFA identified several targets and qualifications for important international tournaments in men and women football. To provide a bigger picture, the President compared SAFA to the rest of the world in terms of hosting and winning international tournaments. South Africa was the only African country to host the world cup.
Over the last 88 years, only eight countries ever won the world cup. Putting SAFA’s performance into global perspective (FIFA ranking and AFCON winners), South African football was not as bad as often declared, especially when compared to other African countries. South African women football was ranked number 3 in Africa and number 49 globally. South African men football was ranked number 13 in Africa and number 70 globally. South Africa was one of the best football performers on the African continent. Finally, he showed how many South African women played in foreign football clubs. The benefits and impact of this international placement was enormous. SAFA also invested in the education of the Banyana Banyana players to become professional beyond football. Most of them had university degrees and played all over the world. The President was confident that SAFA was producing a team that could compete with the best in the world, especially when considering the young Bafana Bafana team and the well performing U23 team.
Mr Gay Mokoena, Vice President of SAFA, recognised the difficult economic conditions in the country as indicated by the Minister of Finance two days ago. This also affected SAFA. The needs were always much higher than the available funding. Hence, he would like to introduce today a new source of funding that SAFA could tap into. He welcomed the NLC Chair’s idea of an Indaba to discuss funding for sports. Sport was a key ingredient of this country, but nothing could be changed with only R6.5 per player. He explained that SAFA was the governing body of football in South Africa and was responsible for any regulations. It was recognised by FIFA as the country’s football representative. Therefore, SAFA was the only organisation that could initiate rules for betting on football in South Africa. Betting was a potential source for new income. He presented the newly developed wagering strategy to provide a fair return for wagering on SAFA events. So far, the wagering operators kept the profits from betting to themselves without distributing shares to football clubs. That needed to change. The money received through betting could be used as an investment in training, equipment and infrastructure. Also online gambling had to be regulated and legally controlled. Pro-active action was required. The Australian model was presented as a best practice and a role model. The Vice President encouraged Committee Members to visit Australia to better understand the betting regulations. The Australian wagering operators were approved and overseen by a controlling body like SAFA. An Integrity Commission ensured sports integrity. He ended the presentation by announcing that SAFA was bidding for hosting the FIFA Women World Cup in 2023. This would stimulate South Africa’s economy and tourism, and would increase social cohesion. Sports events like the Rugby World Cup Final tomorrow inspired and united the nation.
The SAFA President elaborated on the limited financial resources. Two South African teams had qualified for the All Africa Games in Morocco 2019. Yet, SASCOC decided that the teams could not go due to insufficient funds. Only 100 athletes could be paid for. This showed the need for further income. SAFA had just proposed one potential new income source. He urged the Committee to send a delegation to the FIFA headquarters and to countries like Australia to explore this opportunity. In comparison to other countries playing in the African Cup of Nations, South Africa was the only country that did not receive any funding from the government. SAFA understood the different government priorities and competing interests. Thus, it wanted to lower the pressure on the fiscus and rather explore its own ideas for income. Football betting offered a new option for increased revenue, but sport integrity had to be ensured.
Mr Mamabolo assured the SAFA that the Committee would consider the new income proposal. He read out a question from a member of the premier soccer league: ‘Who appointed the members of the SAFA Referees Committees and the Review Committees’? The question stemmed from Tuesday’s match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. There was a photo circulating online in which a goal from Kaizer Chiefs was reviewed by its own Chairman Kaizer Motaung. ‘Was that not a conflict of interest’? He inquired about the coaching cooperation policies among Bafana Bafana, U23 and U17. He mentioned that previously the coaches of the U23 and U17 were co-coaching matches of the other teams to assist each other. What happened to this policy? On youth development he asked what had happened to the U12 league, the Coca Cola Youth tournament or school competitions. Such young teams had prevented children from drugs, alcohol and crime. These initiatives should be brought back. Finally, he asked when the video assistant referee would be introduced in South Africa. He urged the SAFA to change the coach of Bafana Bafana. Former Bafana Bafana players should coach the national team.
Mr Seabi welcomed the informative presentation. He was not happy with the low level of women’s representation in the SAFA as by now more progress should have been visible. There were only one or two female presidents of the SAFA regions. What was the progress in increasing the salaries and allowances for women soccer players? He asked for more details on the women football league. He also noted that youth development needed to be improved. ‘Why were good players from the U23 team just vanishing’? Then, he asked for clarity on political involvement into the SAFA affairs. The SAFA’s President had just stated that the SAFA wanted to cooperate more with the government. However, there was a SAFA statement circulating, which said that the SAFA was not going to be convened by politicians to an Indaba. The Minister was mandated to convene an Indaba on Football, but the SAFA rejected any political interference.
Ms van Dyk noticed that the Committee had received the presentation only last night. According to the media, R6 million was spent for the re-election of the SAFA’s President Jordan. The five members of the electoral commission were paid R45 000 per day. ‘Who appointed them and who approved these excessive salaries’? ‘Considering the SAFA’s limited financial resources, how could that be justified’? Next, she asked whether the SAFA had already engaged with the sports betting bodies with regard to funding. If yes, what was the outcome? If not, why not? She asked for an explanation for the SAFA’s rejection of the Indaba. She asked further if the dispute between the SASCOC and the SAFA on the participation of the two football teams to the All Africa Games was resolved; and did the Minister intervene. If he had intervened, it would open the door for political interference in the future. There were also different qualifications criteria for the Olympics: international criteria and SASCOC’s criteria. SASCOC did not adhere to the international criteria and hence did not pay for athletes even though they qualified.
Ms Malomane stated that her questions on the Indaba were mostly covered.
The Chair highlighted the problem that qualified athletes and players were not covered by the SASCOC. For instance, the rugby girls were not allowed to participate although they won and were qualified. She suggested that the SASCOC be invited to the Committee to direct these questions straight to the SASCOC.
Mr Joordan explained that the Kaizer Chiefs’ goal went to the review panel. The panel decided that it was a legitimate goal. The panel consisted of former referees. All controversial issues were referred to the panel after a match to be reviewed. As a result, many referees had been suspended as they had clearly made an error. The allegation that Kaizer Motaung was there in the review panel and watching could not be true. These pictures must have been faked.
On coaches, all coaches of the U17, U23 and Bafana Bafana worked together. This cooperative policy would be continued as it yielded positive results. On youth development, compliance checks were in place in every region to monitor youth leagues. The report containing all the information on youth teams was available and would be sent to the Committee. He then addressed the issue of the spent R6 million for his re-election. He declared that the SAFA did not have presidential elections. Instead, the whole executive committee was elected at once. The media spread a false and misleading statement, since it did not explain what the R6 million covered. The money was used to convene the electoral meeting, meaning 300 people from all over the country had to be brought to Johannesburg. Most of the money was spent for flight tickets, accommodation, meals, accreditation, etc. SAFA had also an electoral code, which prescribed that the electoral officer had to be a legally trained senior advocate or retired judge. Retired judges had overseen the last election and their salary rates were high.
On the football faced legal challenges; SAFA had faced five court cases leading up to the election. Hence, it was better to let legally trained people deal with legal issues. Now, the electoral code was changed to simplify the election. The electoral code would be sent to the Committee. The election had been one of the most complicated ones, even with specific designs and security features for the ballot papers. These were not needed. The next election would not cost R6 million but still close to it as most of the funds were used to convene the meeting. The media reports were false; SAFA even had a meeting with the ‘Tiso Blackstar Group’ to challenge their published articles. Football was highly contested and many false reports were spread.
On the women’s salaries: South African women football was only sponsored by ‘Sasol’ with R20 million. Most of the money went into travelling costs, accommodation and equipment. Banyana Banyana did not get the same amount as Bafana Bafana. Bafana Bafana had many sponsors. The decision for sponsoring was made in the board rooms of companies. Sponsoring was dominating in male teams, not only in football but in all sports like rugby and cricket. He urged the Committee Members to engage with sport sponsors like banks to address the issue of unequal sponsoring. There was a big gap between salaries. The SAFA was committed to address the issue, but firstly, money needed to be raised.
Ms Ria Ledwaba, Vice President of the SAFA, explained that the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture had announced in July in Parliament that there was an intention to convene an Indaba on football. The SAFA President engaged with the Minister to explore what the Indaba would be all about. A meeting with the Minister took place on the 23rd October, in which the SAFA presented its performance, targets and proposal for new income sources like betting. A follow-up meeting was agreed upon to discuss the Indaba further on. The SAFA urged for a meeting as soon as possible, but the Minister responded that the next meeting would only happen after the Indaba. This response was not well received by the SAFA executive committee. The SAFA operated under the strict rules of FIFA. FIFA did not allow any political interference in football, otherwise member organisations were suspended. For instance, Nigeria had been threatened with suspension as it established a commission of inquiry into football. FIFA gave Nigeria 24 hours to withdraw the commission.
The Indaba was an important platform to raise issues like funding and the release of players from their professional league for international duties. The SAFA needed to be involved in planning the Indaba. Article 13 of the FIFA Statute prohibited any third party involvement. The designated representative organisation in the country had to manage football affairs independently. That was a key regulation. The SAFA wanted to avoid a suspension from FIFA when the Indaba was organised by a third party. The SAFA needs to sit with the Minister and cooperate. The Indaba could not be a government Indaba. The SAFA was the custodian of football in South Africa; it was the governing body. She gave an example of political interference: the government decided who would participate in the Indaba. The SAFA was given 64 seats. The Premier Soccer League was also given 64 seats, even though it was a member of the SAFA. The SAFA should be the responsible body to convene the Indaba and to regulate football. A government Indaba was not in compliance with the FIFA Statute. It would undermine the SAFA. The SAFA asked for assistance from the Committee to resolve the issue. SAFA wanted to work together with the Minister. The Indaba had to be done in collaboration. Everything that affected football had to be discussed with the SAFA first. The SAFA President was an expert in football. But his opinion was not considered by the Minister. She was happy that the question was asked so that she could clarify the SAFA’s position. The Indaba was important, but it had to be coordinated together with the SAFA.
The Chairperson asked the SAFA delegation to answer the question on cooperation with SASCOC. All other questions should be answered in written form due to time constraints.
Mr Joordan stated that Africa had 54 countries, but only eight qualified for the All Africa Games in Morocco. South Africa qualified but the SASCOC did not allow the two football teams to participate. During the entire qualification phase, the SASCOC did not pay a single cent. SAFA was ready to pay all the costs for the teams, because if a team was qualified and then withdrew, it would be suspended and blocked for the next three tournaments. To solve the issue, the SAFA involved the Acting Minister. After the consultation with the Acting Minister, the SASCOC agreed to pay but the SAFA had to pay a late submission fine. Mr Joordandid not know any details of the negotiation between the Acting Minister and the SASCOC. The SAFA was not party to these meetings.
The Chairperson thanked the SAFA for the answers. She declared that she accepted the mandate to engage with the Minister on the issue of the Indaba. She would liaise with the Minister and the Deputy Minister. A follow-up meeting would be scheduled to discuss the Indaba further on.
The meeting was adjourned.
Dlulane, Ms BN
Faber, Mr WF
Mamabolo, Mr JB
Nkabane, Dr NP
Seabi, Mr M A
Van Dyk, Ms V
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