Performance of Team South Africa at Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games; Committee BRRR; with Deputy Minister

Sports, Arts and Culture

30 November 2021
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

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2021 Budget Review & Recommendations Reports – BRRR

In a virtual meeting, the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC) gave an overview of its engagements with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). This was followed by SASCOC giving feedback on South Africa's performance at the Tokyo Olympics, which included the pre- and post-games processes.

Swimming SA was dismissed from the meeting because it had not delivered its report in sufficient time for the Committee to study it. Members said the Committee had taken a resolution that if reports were not handed in timeously, the delegations would be sent back. One Member suggested that given the sensitivity of the agenda, the Committee should consider allowing Swimming SA to make its presentation, but this proposal did not receive any support.

The Department's overview of its engagements with SASCOC included its support for the preparation and delivery of the team to Tokyo; key matters prior to the games, such as the size of the team and its demographic composition; post-games engagements, centering on the establishment of a joint working group to review performance, as the country's performance had been below par; and financial transfers to SASCOC.

SASCOC gave a presentation which covered selection policies; national federations' meetings; code managers’ meetings; delegation registration meetings; and the Olympics and Paralympics. It also gave details of the structure and demographics of TEAM SA’s Olympic and Paralympic Team. It covered logistics; vaccination; flights; breakaways; activity plans; safeguarding; the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) Anti-Doping Education and Learning (ADEL) course; team outfits; travel to Tokyo; departure from the games village; ground transport; the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics; and the Olympic and Paralympic results.

A joint team comprising SASCOC and the Department had been put into place to complete a full close out report. This report would include a full independent scientific analysis of the team's performance, lessons learnt, and planning for Paris 2024. The target date for the completed report was the end of December.

Members asked what the relationship between SASCOC and the Department was. They agreed that the colours of the country’s sports teams should be represented in the opening ceremony events. They asked what the reason for the poor performance at the Olympics was, compared to other African countries. Was transformation part of SASCOC’s agenda in terms of the development and selection of teams for any competition, as only four sporting codes had black representation? What were the federations doing to make sports more inclusive. Was there any plan to look at this, and how the plan was different to previous Olympics? What were the challenges in respect of transformation?

Members asked if SASCOC screened national coaches for sexual crimes. Did it have a sex offender register for coaches, and would it provide clearance certificates for each one? How far was the safeguarding policy and protocols with the federations? How did SASCOC assist victims of sexual abuse in sports? Would the Department launch its own investigations into sexual abuse allegations? Members questioned the large team that had been sent to the games, and why funds were channelled via the Sports Trust and not paid to SASCOC directly? Who were the members of the Sports Trust? What were the recommendations of the Zulman report? When would there be a full time chief executive officer (CEO), and was there funding for this post? They asked about a R600 000 payment to a board member.

Other issues raised included when the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Department of Basic Education would be signed and implemented; the budget provided by government and the private sector needed to be interrogated, as well as the Department’s own mass participation programme; when would  transformation in sport be unpacked, so that everyone had opportunities at the foundation stage? Members said that incentives for athletes were poorly managed, and asked what the plans for 2024 were.

The amended Committee Budgetary Review and Recommendations (BRRR) report was adopted by the Committee.

Meeting report

An apology was received from Mr Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, as he was in Nigeria as part of a presidential delegation.

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) said that the Committee should write to request the presence of the Minister.

Ms Nocawu Mafu, Deputy Minister (DM), said that those who were part of the delegation was decided by the President, and was dependent on the agenda of the visit.

Mr Mhlongo said the Minister was accountable to the Committee.

Ms M Khawula (EFF) supported Mr Mhlongo’s case. He said the Department had problems, and the Minister was answerable to the Committee. The Minister was not suitable for this Committee.

The Chairperson said the Committee had received the presentation of Swimming SA the previous night.

Mr Shaun Adriaanse, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Swimming SA, apologised for the delayed submission, saying they had been tasked to assist Lesotho in holding its youth games, and he had experienced connectivity problems in the Lesotho mountains.

Mr D Joseph (DA) said the Department should advise when last they had contact with Mr Adriaanse, and when he had been informed of the meeting.

The Committee Secretary said it had communicated the meeting details in late September, and had given reminders the previous Tuesday and Friday.

Ms V Malomane (ANC) said the Committee had taken a resolution that if reports were not handed in timeously, the delegations would be sent back. She asked the Department and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) whether they had seen the Swimming SA documents.

Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, Director-General (DG), Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC), said the Department had not engaged on any report from Swimming SA. They had indicated they would rather give a verbal report, despite attempts to engage with them.

Mr Barry Hendricks, President of SASCOC, said SASCOC had forwarded its presentations, but had also noted that Swimming SA wanted to give a verbal presentation so as not to compromise investigations.

DM Mafu said there were clear indications from the Department and SASCOC that they had not interacted with Swimming SA on the report. Committee Members had to decide what to do. It was important that Swimming SA give Members time to read the report before its presentation.

Mr Joseph said that the Committee should apply its rule on the submission of reports, and needed to interrogate why the report was not handed in. Given the nature of the sensitivity of the agenda, the Committee should consider allow Swimming SA to make its presentation.

Mr Mhlongo did not support his colleague, arguing that if a report was submitted late, the presentation should not be heard, for consistency’s sake.

Mr M Zondi (ANC) said there was a standing resolution not to entertain presentations if the reports were not submitted timeously. The reason given was because of its sensitivity, but that decision was for the Committee to make, and this reason should have been noted in the previous meeting. He said verbal reports were not entertained.

Ms Malomane supported the views of Mr Mhlongo and Mr Zondi. How could the Committee engage in the report when SASCOC and the Department did not know is contents?

The Chairperson agreed, and said the same had been done with several other entities. Swimming SA would be advised to follow protocols.

DSAC on its engagements with SASCOC

DG Mkhize gave an overview on the Department's engagements with SASCOC. He gave a recap on SASCOC’s mandate:

the pre-Tokyo Olympic games processes;
the support given by the Department for the preparation and delivery of the team to Tokyo;
key matters prior to the games, such as the size of the team and the demographic composition;
post- games engagements centering on the establishment of a joint working group to review performance, as performance was below par; and
transfers to SASCOC.

SASCOC

Ms Patience Shikwambana, Chef de Mission for the Olympic Games, gave a presentation which covered selection policies; national federations' meetings; code managers’ meetings; delegation registration meetings (DRM); and the Olympics and Paralympics. The presentation also covered the structure and demographics of TEAM SA’s Olympic and Paralympic Team. It covered logistics; vaccinations; flights; breakaways; activity plans; safeguarding; the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) Anti-Doping Education and Learning (ADEL) course; team outfits; travel to Tokyo; departure from the games village; ground transport; the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, and the Olympic and Paralympic results.

The Olympic Team had achieved a total of three medals -- two silver medals and one gold medal, with a world record in swimming. Two sports had medalled -- swimming and surfing (all women). The Paralympic Team had achieved a total of seven medals -- two bronze, one silver and four gold, with one world record. Two sports had medalled – Para Athletics and Para Cycling. A joint team comprising SASCOC and the Department has been put into place to complete a full close out report. This report would include a full independent scientific analysis of the team's performance, lessons learnt, and planning for Paris 2024. The target date for the report was the end of December 2021.

See presentation attached for further details

Discussion

Mr Zondi asked what role the Department played in SASCOC’s existence. He asked whether it had not been odd that the team was not wearing the colours of the country at the opening and closing ceremonies. How did South Africa compare with its African counterparts in terms of performance at the games? Was transformation part of its agenda in terms of the development and selection of teams for any competition, and if yes, at what stage was their long- term plan?

Ms Malomane asked what the reason for the poor performance at the Olympics was, compared to other African countries. A large team was sent after the Department relaxed the criteria and that if one had money, one could pay for one’s own ticket. She asked about the plight of people who did not have the money. Would this be a challenge for the previously disadvantaged, given that some athletes were allowed to fund their own travel? She was concerned why the uniform was not that of the colours that represent South African sports. What was the relationship between SASCOC and the Department? Had SASCOC submitted their audited financial statements and other documents? Was their financial year-end the same as the Department’s?

Mr Mhlongo felt that the team uniform was better than in 2016. What was the reason for the large team? Why were funds channelled via the Sports Trust, and not paid to SASCOC directly? Would the Sports Trust use funds in the future as well? Referring to the Zulman Report, he asked whether board members were earning an allowance based on the Zulman recommendations. What was the current status, and how much was paid? When would there be a full time CEO, and was there funding for this post? He asked about a member of the board, who was also a businessman and journalist. While he was a staff member and a businessman, R600 000 had been paid to him. When would SASCOC clean the Qondisa Ngwenya affair out of the court settlement mess? The funds from which he had been paid must be investigated. He needed a full report on this matter.

Ms V Van Dyk (DA) wanted confirmation that a second doctor with Namibian accreditation had stayed with the SA team. Who had paid for his expenses, and did he fly business class? She was disappointed that Swimming SA was not presenting on safeguarding. She asked if SASCOC had screened national coaches for sexual crimes. Did it have a sex offender register for coaches, and would it provide clearance certificates for each one? How far was the safeguarding policy and protocol with the federations? Why had SASCOC’s safeguarding committee held only one meeting this year? How did SASCOC assist victims of sexual abuse in sports? Would the Department launch its own investigations into sexual abuse allegations?

Mr Joseph said the results pointed to the foundational phase of sports, so when would the MoU with the Department of Basic Education be signed and implemented? The budget provided by government and the private sector was an issue that needed to be interrogated, as well as the Department’s own mass participation programme. He said sports entities' governance structures at the national level were struggling to lead provinces and local sports bodies, so he was not surprised that the country was struggling to make a mark at the international level. When would transformation in sport be unpacked, so that everyone had opportunities at the foundation stage?

Ms R Adams (ANC) referred to the relay strategy of the men’s 4 x 100m team. She asked why SASCOC’s report had not made mention of the incident. Regarding the lack of sponsors, how long before the games had SASCOC sought sponsors?

The Chairperson said only four sporting codes had black representation. What were the federations doing to make sports more inclusive? Was there any plan to look at this, and how was the plan different to previous Olympics?

SASCOC's response

On what role the Department played in SASCOC’s existence, Mr Hendricks said the relationship was set out in the Sports and Recreation Act. Government was viewed as the facilitator, and the federations as the implementers of programmes.

On the team not wearing the colours of the country, he said that athletes had gone in their tracksuits at Rio, which did not go down well, so a sponsor was identified who had provided the kit. It was not uncommon for countries to display their cultural heritage at the opening and closing ceremonies. The athletes’ commission was involved in the design process, which was later presented to them. The colours and symbols associated with South Africa could be looked at in future.

The performance comparison with other African countries was something that was being looked into. He said some countries like Kenya specialised in athletics, while South Africa was more diverse.

Regarding the transformation agenda, the development and selection of teams and their long- term plan, he said SASCOC worked with the DSAC and the Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) when determining the contracts that were signed by the national federations every year. A lot of federations had not yet reached the 50% target. The challenges to reaching the targets needed to be looked at. SASCOC’s goal was to work with the government, which took over the responsibility for transformation six years ago. SASCOC itself did not have implementation targets -- these were between the Department and the federations.

There was a working group taking a serious look at the reason for the poor performance at the Olympics. The funding for the Rio games had been R100m, but the funding was under R10m for Tokyo. This was something that needed to change, because it was the build-up to the games in the years before the games that was important. The impact of Covid-19 had to be emphasised for its effect on the lack of training and lack of competition qualification.

The large team that was sent was part of the introspection. The team was a young team, and their exposure was part of preparatory steps for future games.

Regarding the plight of people who did not have the money to travel, he said no athlete was prevented from travelling to the games.

The relationship between SASCOC and the Department was growing, and they were working to improve the services to sport.

On the submission of compliance documents, he said the financial statements were presented on 20 November. The Auditor-General's (AG's) opinion was that SASCOC was sound and solid. The annual report would be complete in a week or two.

The Department’s financial year was the same as SASCOC's, but SASCOC wanted to bring it forward so that they could complete their statements earlier.

He said the Sports Trust funding was a question for the Department.

The Zulman report said that the President of SASCOC needed to be a full-time person because of the work commitments, and that board allowances should be reviewed. That process was currently happening, and a report would be sent to the Committee.

On the appointment of a full time CEO, he said the board had a meeting that afternoon, and a short list would be submitted to the meeting.

SASCOC could produce the full report on the R600 000 payment matter, showing that the board had worked with openness and transparency in reaching a settlement.

He said the chefs de mission would answer the question about the doctor with Namibian citizenship,.

It was untrue that the safeguarding committee held only one meeting this year -- they had met on more than one occasion.

For pre-games preparations, SASCOC was looking to introduce Operation Excellence again. It was looking at creating a sports foundation, and bringing in sponsors to cover other expenses, like the Canadian and American models. It was also looking at broadcasting rights.

Referring to the foundation phase of sports, he said it was not true that SASCOC looked only at high performance. There was a development path from foundation to the elite phases, and the federations were the implementers of this development.

On the governance structures of sport, he said federations submit their financial statements and annual reports. They were dealing with federations that were in dispute, but none of the mainstream sporting codes had shown governance issues.

Regarding the lack of sponsors, this was incorrect -- SASCOC had never said they had no sponsors, but they did not fund the bonuses.

There were concerns over black African athletes coming through, but this needed to be looked at in deeper detail to find the root cause.

On how the plan was different to previous Olympics, he said the athletes were more comfortable and prouder of the clothes they were wearing. The United Kingdom (UK) had given £240 million over three years to its federations, so this meant South Africa would have to work harder to compete against them.

SASCOC had received R6m in funding from the Lottery, and did not know the real reasons for its drastic reduction in funding. More importantly, the policy change by the Department of Trade and Industry that SASCOC should be viewed as a national federation and therefore could get only R5m a year, was a travesty of justice. They needed to engage with the DTI on a longer-term approach towards supporting sports.

Ms Kim Pople, SASCOC Board member responsible for Safeguarding, said all the coaches for the games had been screened for a criminal record, sexual offences and the child protection register. She said the federations employed coaches, not SASCOC.                       

Regarding the health screening of a particular coach, only the chief medical officer would know about that, and doctor patient confidentiality would be at issue.

She said SASCOC facilitated with the federations on assisting victims. It was a pity that SASCOC was not presenting on safeguarding.

Mr Leon Fleiser, Chef de Mission for the Paralympic Games, responded on the Namibian doctor issue. This had involved the Paralympic games, which was a smaller group, so sharing the medical doctor was a widely used tactic because of the limited amount of accreditation, and because of the close working relationship with Namibia. The doctor was a South African doctor assisting Namibia, which had only three athletes at the games.

On the men’s relay, he said one of the athletes had been injured the day before the race, and a new athlete was substituted.  However, he had not done any preparation for the event because of Covid, where they could not travel to train together.

Ms Sumayya Khan, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Recreation and Sports Development, DSAC, responded on the Department’s relationship with SASCOC, and said the roles and responsibilities of each party had to be very clear. Policy and legislative issues were non-negotiable, and belonged to the Department. What could be strengthened was the relationship with the federations. If federations had any issues, then SASCOC was the first level of intervention before the ministry.

She said a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with the Department of Basic Education in 2018, but because of the merger with the Department of Arts and Culture, there had been cross-cutting matters leading to a revision of the MoU, which included a workplan.

On the Sports Trust issue, she said the Department did not transfer money through the Sports Trust to SASCOC. The national lotteries had earmarked funding and incentives for athletes via the Sports Trust.

The Department’s own mass participation programme was guided by the National Sport and Recreation Plan, which had four pillars, one of which was having an active nation. Mass participation had to be linked to the Department’s budget, which was R5.6 billion, but R993.9 million had been allocated for sport programmes. There were promotion programmes promoting healthy lifestyles, and community outreach programmes. There was a transformation charter and scorecard as well as the Eminent Persons Group, which was the oversight body for the transformation charter and scorecard. 

On the governance of sports federations, she said many of the disputes of federations landed up with the Minister. The chess federation had issues leading to no structures to manage chess at schools to allow them to go to international events. There were transformation issues within cycling. The Department had started a process in June to review its funding framework, given the impact of Covid. To date, no funding had been transferred to federations.

Further discussion

Mr Mhlongo said he was not happy with the response of Mr Hendricks on the Qondisa Ngwenya matter. He requested that a detailed report be sent to the Committee.

The DDG had said money was not put into the Sports Trust, but he (Mr Mhlongo) insisted that money did go to the Sports Trust. Who were the members of the Sports Trust? What were the recommendations of the Zulman report? He said that the incentives for athletes were poorly managed, and asked the DM what the plans for 2024 were.

Mr Zondi concurred that they wanted the colours of the country’s sports teams be represented in the opening ceremony events. Regarding the transformation agenda, he asked what the DSAC's understanding was, not necessarily the law. The Department facilitated, but the President had said they should also implement. He said the transformation agenda was for everyone. He did not know why SASCOC had not reached 50%. What were the challenges?

Mr Hendricks said a detailed report would be prepared for the Committee on the payment to a board member and on the Zulman report.

SASCOC noted the recommendations made by the Committee on the opening ceremony clothing.

Mr Hendricks said the transformation agenda was a national agenda which no one could escape. He asked for the Committee’s support for a review of the 2011 National Sports and Recreation Plan, which was critical to take sport and the country forward. The federations were the implementers of the transformation agenda.

DM Mafu said there was a relationship between the Department and SASCOC and with the federations. The EPG monitored transformation to ensure the transformation agenda was met at all levels. The SASCOC report on the games, once completed, must be presented to the Committee and be the basis for planning for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

She said the discussion clearly showed that it was not about the number of athletes, but about their preparedness. SASCOC must look at its relationship with the Lottery. The President had said that the Lottery had previously given R100m for the Rio games, but now only R6m had been given for the Tokyo games. Nobody understood why there had been a change in funding, and why the Lottery was treating SASCOC as a federation. Before Tokyo, the Committee had engaged the Lottery on how funds were accounted for. The acting CFO at the time had said there was nothing like that. This needed clarification. The main concern must be the athletes.

Mr Hendricks said the board of SASCOC was working hard to correct its own governance and programmes challenges.

Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (2020/21) of the Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture on the Performance of the National Department and Its Entities
Ms Fiona Clayton, Committee Researcher, said the report had not included the recommendation that the R956m slashed from the Department’s budget should be recouped from the Minister of Finance. This recommendation was now included.

Mr Zondi said he did not support reports without timelines attached. He moved for the adoption of the amended report.

Ms Adams seconded the motion.

Mr Mhlongo said the DA reserved their rights.

Committee minutes

The Committee minutes of 9, 12, and 19 November 2021 were adopted.

The meeting was adjourned

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