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SPORT AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
14 November 2003
PROVINCIAL STUDY TOUR REPORT ANALYSIS: DISCUSSION
Chairperson: Ms N Bhengu
Documents handed out:
Analysis of Study Tour of Northwest 18 -19 August 2003
The Northwest Report was discussed and issues such as the inaccessibility for disabled people to sports facilities, racial division in sport and the lack of transformation in school sports were brought to the Committee's attention. Recommendations were made to transform present conditions in sport.
Mr B Dhlamini (IFP) said that although the objectives for the study tours were not completely at least the report revealed areas where work should be done to ensure success in the future.
The Chair stated that the acknowledgment of people with disabilities as part of society was vital and that their needs should also be provided such as the construction of sports facilities that catered for disabled people.
Mr M Moss (ANC) said that any development to create the accessibility of disabled persons to sports grounds had to include the discussion with and cooperation of those disabled as they would best know how they could be assisted.
The Chair said that in the next meeting the reports should further be interrogated and that the Portfolio Committee should be well prepared for the announcement of Budget Report.
Dr Farieda Khan (Information Services Researcher) enquired about continuing racial division in the provision and standard of sports facilities. How could the Committee assist in overcoming that legacy of the past.
The Chair said that there was a huge backlog of inaccessibility of sports facilities in rural and previously disadvantaged areas and asked members whether they had any recommendations as to what could be done to resolve that situation.
Ms D Morobi (ANC) said that those funds that were available should be managed properly so that those most disadvantaged should catered for first.
Mr Moss said that municipalities had not budgeted for sports facilities and that stadiums were vandalised in rural areas where more funding should be allocated for fencing and caretakers.
He said that an insufficient amount of money was spent on sports when it was a medium that could keep youth away from criminal activities.
Mr Dhlamini said that the huge expense of the maintenance of sports grounds led to the privatisation of sports grounds that resulted in the inaccessibility problem.
The Chair said that it was worrying that municipalities were not budgeting for the maintenance of sports facilities when it should be their responsibility. Where was the budget at municipal level and why had their responsibility shifted to the National Sports Board?
The Chair argued that if a facility was constructed there would be a local project steering Committee that should have produced a sustainability plan that ensured the non practice of vandalism and the achievement of expected end results.
The second question posed by Dr Khan related to the unavailability of facilities equipped for disabled persons.
The Chair said that people with special needs were part of society and that it was important to include such facilities.
Ms Morobi stated that she was on a study tour to the Northwest where she had seen at first hand the inaccessibility for disabled persons to sports facilities especially in the rural areas.
Mr Dhlamini said that for the Bid 2010 around ten stadiums and other sports facilities would be built and that the objective for the architects should be to design the stadiums to cater for the accessibility of disabled persons.
The Chair said that when she went to Chatsworth Stadium she saw that the disabled people sat with the sports officials. The public toilets were also not designed to accommodate disabled people. The Chair said that the Portfolio Committee needed to communicate with the Sports and Recreation Department about the recommendation that contracts were only awarded to those engineers and architects who were willing to construct sports centres that provided access to persons with disabilities.
Mr Moss is physically disabled and agreed with the Chair. He said that a lot of people with disabilities sat on the grass just outside the sports field at stadiums which was dangerous because spectators often became violent and threw tins and bottles onto the field.He was a member of DPSA (Disabled People of South Africa) and their motto is that 'nothing for the disabled could be done without the disabled'. The disabled should be involved in decision making of structures that would accommodate them.
The Chair agreed that there should be a person representing people with disability who should sit in on the panel when decisions were made on how to facilitate the disabled. If Mr Moss had not been sitting in on the meeting then the Portfolio Committee would not have known the extent of the suffering of disabled persons.
The next issue that was addressed was the lack of cooperation between the local communities, sports officials and the provincial government that put a strain on the development of provincial sports.
Ms Morobi said that sports facilities were being vandalised before completion because of the lack of consultation and an integrated approach between sports officials and locals. A solution to that problem would be to work together but had no opinion on how that could be done.
A question was asked about rural areas.Should traditional authorities be held responsible for the provision of facilities?
The Chair stated that traditional authorities were important stakeholders because they could identify with the needs of the local community but that they could not be charged with the responsibility of providing adequate facilities, as they had no budget for that.
The negative effects of privatisation on community participation in sports was highlighted. The Chair raised the issue of the privatisation of the Newlands sports ground where the facility had been leased to one federation. Why would a local person lease a facility to only one federation?
Another concern was the lack of progress of the transformation of school sports.
Mr Dhlamini said that an existing concern was the separate sports competitions between former white and black schools. The national objective of South Africa was the integration of all South Africans yet in school sports there was no proper integration.
Ms Morobi added that schools in white areas still had better facilities than in black areas that contributed to the racial division in sports.
The Chair said that both the Ministries of Sport and Education should be approached to brief the Committee on the progress made in that area.
Another question posed was what could Committee members recommend be done to address the problem of the lack of funding at both the local and provincial level.
Mr Moss said that the national lotto supported schools and that there should be a system included in that fund that would prioritise which schools needed to be more supported because of their disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Chair stated that the form that had to be filled in for the lottery fund was a difficult one and the requirements for applications were obstacles that disallowed many disadvantaged and rural schools from applying. She said that district municipalities should have a desk to assist persons in filling in the application form and training should be incorporated to disseminate information to the public regarding school funds and how they could be obtained.
The Chair said that the Sports Commission and Sports and Recreation Department should have a programme to help local clubs.
Mr Dhlamini said that since the lotto funds was public money, lotto funders should be approached and asked to help the public to gain access to school funds especially to school communities from disadvantaged areas.
The researcher asked what recommendations the Portfolio Committee had on the problem of inadequate public transport to sports facilities, the long distances for some communities to get to sports grounds and the inaccessibility of people to sports centres because of poverty.
Mr Dhlamini said that when he was on a study tour to the Northern Cape and Northwest, he experienced what had just been said. The sports facilities were on the other side of the towns. He said that sports facilities should be built in smaller areas as well and not just in prosperous urban areas.
Mr Moss agreed with him and said that decentralisation should be encouraged where there were sports facilities constructed in smaller less popular areas.
A question was posed on the talented youth of the province that had little hope of reaching their potential. Howe did the PortfolioCommittee think they could be helped.
Mr Dhlamini said that sports federations should be forced to respect political boundaries and train the indigenous people of that community to participate in sports and not relocate sports players from other provinces.
The Chair said that there were many townships that were close to former Colleges of Education with sporting grounds. Those grounds were underutilised when they could actually be of use to members of communities living in close proximity whose communities lacked sports facilities.
Members should write to the provinces visited and state that the study tours should include the assessment of former Colleges of Education and how they were utilised.
Meeting was adjourned.
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