Basketball SA performance; with Deputy Minister

Sports, Arts and Culture

02 March 2021
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Annual Reports 2019/20

In a virtual meeting, the Committee was briefed by Basketball SA on the performance of the federation in 2019/20 and other pertinent matters. Basketball SA has experienced governance and administrative problems as far back as 2008.  This led to Basketball SA being put under administration in 2012. The dissolution followed a report which pointed to governance failures, financial mismanagement and accounting failures. The inability of Basketball SA to submit audited financial statements has prevented the Department of Sport Arts and Culture (DSAC) from transferring funds to the federation. There have been engagements and various sessions between the Minister, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and Basketball SA to ensure that Basketball SA works on a turnaround strategy through a steering committee. The steering committee will look at all the challenges and how Basketball SA can be assisted. It must submit a transformation report to the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) by the end of March 2021. Basketball SA's electoral conference in May 2021 is key to put in place new leadership, constitution changes and refine its administration.

In the discussion, Members noted that as part of the forensic report, there is an indication of a criminal case being opened; however, there is no indication of findings. Members were concerned the executive committee lacked diversity and there was no indication of women and youth development. The federation is not painting a clear picture, with little information on actual performance. Members asked for clarity on the funding administered by SASCOC and the agreement between Basketball SA and the Department of Basic Education on school sport. The Committee requested Basketball SA submit a revised report with clear details on performance and the way forward.

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed Deputy Minister of Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nocawe Mafu, and noted an apology from the Minister.

Mr Sanele Mthiyane, President: Basketball SA, explained that two executive members of the federation were absent as both are teachers.

Mr C Sibisi (NFP) pointed out that all Federation executive members should be present because there is a lot to be discussed. Basketball SA is underperforming but the executive is undermining the Committee.

Basketball SA briefing
Mr Sanele Mthiyane, President: Basketball SA, presented the challenges experienced by the federation. The presentation touched on leadership challenges, governance challenges and the implementation of a turnaround strategy for governance and administration.

Basketball SA did not submit audited financial statements and that prevented the Department of Sport Arts and Culture (DSAC) from transferring funds to the federation since the 2016/17 financial year.  Without the finances Basketball SA has therefore not been able to operate effectively. Basketball SA attributes the failure to conclude the Audited Financial Statements on lack of cooperation from then SASCOC CEO and the National Lotteries Commission for a grant, non-cooperation from the previous Basketball SA auditors and the Basketball National League (BNL).

The presentation provides an overview on the state of membership in provinces, capacity building, activity highlights and steps to address governance failures, financial mismanagement, and accounting failures. This included the development of a five-year strategy with its key focus on a turnaround plan that addresses governance and administration. It also meant the amendment and alignment of the Basketball SA constitution to conform to International Amateur Basketball Federation (FIBA) requirements, especially on leadership structures, women basketball, membership and league clauses. Basketball SA must elect a new executive to source full time office support workers to manage the day to day work of the Federation.

Despite lockdown, Basketball SA has embraced the opportunity presented by FIBA for various online courses during the lockdown. Basketball SA has already facilitated many online webinars since last year catering for training of coaches, technical officials and administration. These online webinars are continually implemented even this year.

Department of Sports Arts and Culture (DSAC) comments on Basketball SA
Ms Sumayya Khan, DSAC Deputy Director General: Recreation Development and Sport Promotion, said Basketball SA had given an overview of the challenges of governance, administration, and structure challenges and DSAC acknowledges these. The Department also acknowledges the current executive of Basketball SA present in the meeting, who have been in office since 2016 whereas an elective executive committee is supposed to serve for a period of four years.

The other concern of the Department is that Basketball SA is one of the 19 sports federations and must submit their report on transformation as part of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) programme. The report received indicated areas of poor performance. The Minister engaged with Basketball SA as most areas shows underperformance. When the report is finalized, the Minister decides if sanctions must be made to the federation. The EPG recommended that Basketball SA be stripped from its bidding and hosting rights as a sanction, based on the poor performance and governance, administration, and structure challenges.

Basketball SA was further advised to submit their revised barometer scorecard for the remainder of the period up to 2030. It is a requirement for it to provide a plan that would address the high degree of dysfunctionality with the comments and observations in the previous and current EPG reports.

It was important that the leadership of Basketball SA show their commitment to change and present their efforts in a turnaround strategy. There were various engagements between the Minister, SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and Basketball SA. The Minister directed that SASCOC, the Department and Basketball SA work on a turnaround strategy and putting through a steering committee. The steering committee will look at all the challenges and how Basketball SA can be assisted. The electoral conference in May 2021 is key to put in place new leadership, constitutional changes and refine the administration of Basketball SA. The steering committee will be involved in a great deal of work; in setting up the terms of reference and to look at a plan of action up to the elective conference. The Department cannot transfer funds to Basketball SA because no governance systems are in place and records were not properly administered. However, other mechanisms were used to ensure that Basketball SA does not collapse and assistance was provided. Resources were made available in the interim to assist in the recovery of Basketball SA. The terms of reference indicate that the steering committee made up of Basketball SA, SASCOC, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and DSAC will report regularly to the Minister.

Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) said that he is disturbed at this parliamentary meeting as the President of Basketball SA paints the wrong picture by saying everything is fine. He asked why the executive committee is not a diverse team. There was no mention of the involvement of women in basketball. It was reported that the women basketball team is ranked number 125 out 158 – how did this happen as women basketball was only formed during COVID-19, according to the information provided? Once more Basketball SA is not painting a clear picture, with many irregularities reported on. It is exhausting to hear about developments when nothing is clearly happening. There are plans and turnaround strategies with no performance. How can the Department give money to an organisation which has not had an Annual General Meeting for almost five years? Nothing presented is concrete and correct; the Committee are being misled, unless there is clear information and facts. The people involved in the mismanagement of Basketball SA, should be named and held accountable. The current president of Basketball SA indicates that he has been involved with basketball for 30 years, this means he is part of this mess.

Basketball SA is in a mess and the way the federation is managed is questionable. He asked for details on financial management and the people involved in the mismanagement. He wanted to know why the abbreviation of Basketball SA as is the same as Boxing South Africa (BSA).

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) sought clarity on the funding which was administered by SASCOC and on the agreement between Basketball SA and the Department of Basic Education for its introduction as a school sport.  The presentation indicates there was a challenge to get the funds with no details of what exactly happened. What were the allocation amounts and for which period? There are contradictions between stipends and salaries – who is getting paid and how much? The criminal case against the administrator is mentioned, but what are the timelines and implementation of the recommendations in the forensic report? There is no diversity on the executive team and there is only one woman present in the meeting, can we get a full update on that.

Mr C Sibisi (NFP) questioned the report which fail to mention women, youth development and schools. According to the report, the executive took office in 2016 to make things better and ensure transformation. Whereas an elective executive committee is supposed to serve for a period four years. The executive team of Basketball SA was seconded by The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) to implement and ensure changes, nothing improved and there is no performance in the term of office. The Committee acknowledge the investigations being conducted, but what can Basketball SA be proud of apart from the forensic investigation, since the report does not indicate the findings. Should Basketball be dropped in South Africa since it is not performing, how should the Committee assist?

Mr D Joseph (DA) (Alt) noted Basketball SA became dysfunctional and he wanted to know if the federation is still under administration. Mr Mthiyane mentioned board members getting paid. From where did the funds come and can the financial report and the annual report on the events that were conducted be submitted?  He pointed out that there is no information on the development of women and youth and requested the DCAS Director General speak to the progress of the steering committee and electoral conference readiness.

Ms V Van Dyk (DA) asked if action was taken against the former executive and did Basketball SA refund the R6.9 million grant from the National Lottery. How much was refunded and how were the funds disbursed? Basketball SA announced a partnership programme with the NBA in 2015, which would be piloted at schools in three provinces. She requested an update on the programme and if the commitments made were kept. She asked if Basketball SA has any sponsors and when the next AGM will be held. Slide seven states that coach, competition and technical commissions were only set up in 2020 – why if Basketball SA was in a bad state for the last five years?

Mr B Mamabolo (ANC) wanted clarity why the report gives no indication about youth development.

Ms R Adams (ANC) asked about the turnaround plans and if Basketball SA receives funding from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and International Basketball Federation (FIBA). What is the update on women development and the allocation of resources and professional teams?

Mr M Seabi (ANC) said the presentation portrays a house on fire and asked for the budget amount Basketball SA receives from the Department of Sport Arts and Culture. He asked how much Basketball SA receives from the National Lottery and what the implications are for the federation. The presentation gives the wrong picture. What is DSAC and the Ministry doing to ensure things will get to normal? He asked if the turnaround strategy is still being developed and if there is commitment. Will the constitution amendments be done before the AGM and how does Basketball SA function without the necessary human resources?

The Chairperson thanked Basketball SA for the presentation. She requested Mr Mthiyane to explain what happened after the last parliamentary meeting in 2015. The presentation is not clear on what exactly happened. The current leadership are all previous chairpersons of provinces and the Committee needs to know what is going on in the provinces.  As leaders the Basketball SA executive need to report on schools and cannot shift the responsibility and say that lies with the Department of Basic Education. According to the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), Basketball SA has not presented its transformation report to the Department. The steering committee is also not fully set up, but there is an indication of an annual general meeting in May 2021. He thanked the Department for assisting Basketball SA, but DSAC cannot act when the federation is failing.

Department response
Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, DSAC Director General, said that Ms Khan will respond to the questions relevant to the Department of Sport Arts and Culture (DSAC) and Mr Sanele Mthiyane, President, Basketball SA will answer questions pertaining to the federation.

Ms Khan, DSAC DDG, replied that the steering committee is key as it will formulate a comprehensive report with action plans. The terms of reference between Basketball SA and SASCOC were completed in January 2021. The Department and FIBA will be part of the steering committee. At this stage the Department must still nominate its representative for the steering committee which has not been set up fully, but work has started. According to the constitution of Basketball SA, nine of the 16 structures are compliant and five of the structures are due for elections by 30 April 2021. School basketball elections are due and the responsibility lies with Basketball SA.

Ms Khan replied that the forensic report was shared with DSAC and SASCOC. Basketball SA indicated that the federation is reviewing the forensic report recommendations. The EPG report has been communicated to Basketball SA and DSAC awaits the response and action plan of the federation. Basketball SA is busy with constitution amendments and the process to align with what SASCOC and FIBA require. The process is finalised and is due for adoption in April 2021 at the next Annual General Meeting. Basketball SA is busy with the national membership audit of clubs, activities and leadership profile leading up to the national elections. The transfer of funds to Basketball SA can take place when audited financial statements are received after elections with a new structure and leadership.

Basketball SA response
Mr Sanele Mthiyane, President: Basketball SA, responded to the question on diversity saying that the federation does not contest that the executive must be inclusive of all race classifications and gender roles. The constitution commission is currently dealing with the diversity of the executive. The new elective executive will address the areas on diversity. Basketball SA is aware that they use the same abbreviation as Boxing SA and pointed out that there is no confusion. All communication is with DSAC and SASCOC and there is commitment from the executive to handing over properly. The current executive requested assistance from DSAC to provide an environment to complete the necessary work. Funding is a key driver to realise the objectives of Basketball SA. The federation presentation mainly dealt with the challenges as DSAC indicated funds could not be transferred to enable Basketball SA to do the necessary work. NEC member, Mr Victor Bergman, can provide clear information on salaries and wages to the Committee.

Basketball SA does not have any formation or structure for women in place. During these challenging times, Basketball SA is committed to handing over and being accountable, which is the reason some elected executive members are still in office. The agreement between Basketball SA and the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) is to provide technical support to all programmes.  Basketball SA has a governance problem and has a lack of funds, but there is continued participation in programmes from schools, youth and clubs.

Basketball SA could not apply for funding from the National Lottery and SASCOC applied on behalf of the federation. There is a standing agreement between Basketball SA and SASCOC on how the money must be used. In 2015 an amount of R10 million was received – Basketball SA will forward the contract to the Committee. From the funds received an amount also went to the Basketball National League (BNL), this is indicated in the forensic report. Thereafter Basketball SA was unable to receive funding from the National Lottery and timelines for the forensic report recommendations will be addressed by the steering committee. Basketball SA has stakeholders in the provinces owned by the BNL. This means when the federation received funds, BNL also received funds. Basketball SA did not receive any funds after 2015, funds went directly to the BNL. These challenges were addressed and referred to the Ministry.

Basketball SA is not proud of underperforming and it is a concern for the executive. Despite these challenges, Basketball SA was able to qualify, compete and bring in medals. This raised interest amongst the NBA and want to federation want to see the sport at its best. The turnaround plan will address these challenges in performance. The Minister has indicated that Basketball SA needs human resources support and assistance from SASCOC and there is commitment. Support staff receive stipends. Executive members are not remunerated for the work they do and are only paid for travelling and subsistence claims. Mr Victor Bergman will forward the financial reports after the meeting.

The rankings in basketball are subject to participation. FIBA use the participation of the youth as a gauge to do the necessary ranking. “I might not be correct, but this is the understanding that I have”, said Mr Mthiyane. If all the necessary structures can be put in place, the rankings can be in a favourable position.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has always been involved with Basketball SA, and the NBA has partnered with FIBA on the Basketball Africa League programme. The partnership still exists in some of the provinces, where junior NBA programmes are running. Basketball SA mentioned to NBA that the schools must benefit through the programme and it must be conducted structurally through the provinces with the relevant stakeholders. NBA engages with Basketball SA and is still committed to the coaching programmes that are running. Basketball SA does not receive funding from the NBA or FIBA.

The Eminent Persons Group (EPG) reports are due by the end of March 2021. The executive is ensuring that there will be compliance and four of the provinces have already submitted. The Annual General Meeting will take place in May 2021. The commissions have been set up to ensure the necessary work is finalised. The rest of the Basketball SA executive will deal in greater depth in response to the questions.

Mr Sibongile Fondini, Deputy President: Basketball SA, said women’s basketball has not been developed and has not progressed over the years. The expectation was created in 2015 when the then Minister of Sport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, announced that a women’s league will be formed. The federation is the custodian of women and men in basketball but there is no women’s league. Groups and structures are forming outside of Basketball SA; women’s competitions are running through the universities and they are also promoting wheelchair basketball. Each club should consist of women, men and technical officials to ensure compliance, which Basketball SA is still busy implementing. Basketball SA is taking steps to ensure that women in basketball receive attention through the turnaround strategy.

The resignation of the previous executive members who were the leaders of Basketball SA, came as a surprise. The forensic report submitted covers the details of the current and previous challenges within Basketball SA.

Mr Victor Bergman, NEC member, Basketball SA, replied about the stipends and clarified that salaries and wages were paid to support staff of Basketball SA. Currently Basketball SA does not have administration staff. Mr Tsepo Nyewe, then National Administrator of Basketball SA, was on paid suspension when maladministration was detected.

Basketball SA is not involved with the Basketball National League (BNL) since the resignation of the previous executive members: Mr Graham Abrahams, President Basketball SA and Mr Albert Moekoena, Deputy President Basketball SA. It is incorrect to say that Basketball SA had no AGMs for the last five years; it should be noted that the AGM was held each year.

As part of the forensic audit, there is an indication of a criminal case opened against the perpetrators. The current executive was elected into their positions. They are former chairpersons of provinces and some have been with Basketball SA for 30 years.

Basketball SA is not under administration currently. The previous President, Mr Graham Abrahams, and the team got Basketball SA out of administration and funds were managed by SASCOC. The last time funds were transferred directly into the account of Basketball SA was in 2014/15. The grants received were R19 982 000 from the Department, R5 386 000 from SASCOC and R2.6 million from SuperSport.

Basketball SA was not funded after the resignation of the previous president, Mr Graham Abrahams, but that was also the period when Basketball SA was voted National Federation of the Year. Basketball SA did not understand why the federation did not receive funding for 2016/17. After the resignation of Mr Graham Abrahams, Basketball SA did not receive any funds, but the BNL received funds. To date, Basketball SA is busy correcting the administration with the assistance of the Minister. The Minister is very proactive, and Basketball SA submits invoices to DSAC to be processed in terms of affiliation fees.

Basketball SA did do submissions to the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) but was left dry with a lack of funding and the executive had to use personal money. The provinces are committed to submitting EPG reports and ensuring compliance.

Basketball in schools will receive the necessary development and attention after COVID-19, with new agreements with the Department of Basic Education and the new national task team.

Deputy Minister Nocawe Mafu commented that Basketball SA had not been to a parliamentary committee meeting in years. The presentation lacks information on performance. A detailed report on performance and related matters should have been in place leading up to the Annual General Meeting. Basketball SA could not receive funding because the previous financial statements were not submitted, and monies were not accounted for. A roadmap should be developed with a clear performance plan and details. The current presentation shows the previous challenges; therefore the Committee is still asking questions on the previous matters. The report is a problem and does not indicate actual performance and the way forward. Basketball SA must submit a revised report inclusive of timeframes to give the Committee confidence.

Ms Khan, DSAC DDG, replied that all sport federations receive funding. The COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on the school sports programmes and many programmes were cancelled. The funds then went to the different sport federations.

Federations must be compliant and submit the required documentation for funds to be transferred. R1.2 million was budgeted for Basketball SA, however the federation never submitted audited financial statements and did not comply. Efforts were made to ensure that service providers to Basketball SA were paid directly through the different agencies.

The Chairperson informed the Basketball SA President that there is a lot of information outstanding over the past years. The federation must provide a roadmap with timeframes. The correct information and status quo of the steering committee must be provided, and all reports must be submitted by Friday 5 March 2021. Basketball SA must submit all the relevant information to the Committee.

The Committee adopted its 23 February 2021 minutes and the meeting was adjourned.

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