Sports Trust 2020/21 Annual Report & COVID relief fund distribution; with Deputy Minister

Sports, Arts and Culture

22 March 2022
Chairperson: Ms B Dulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Annual Report

The Portfolio Committee met to receive The Sports Trust Annual Report for 2020/2021 and the distribution of Covid-19 relief funds to athletes and federations. The Sports Trust distributed relief funds for artists, athletes, coaches and fitness practitioners and Presidential Economic Stimulus Packages for job retention.

Members of the Committee asked questions related to the capacity of the Sports Trust to disburse funds, the Netball Championships, where the sports facilities are, why the job retention money was R3 500 and why some people were paid in cash.

The Committee also deliberated on a letter from the Minister requesting the streamlining of correspondence to the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture. Members should send correspondence via the Chairperson to the Director-General and not directly to the Minister.

Meeting report

DSAC Overview of The Sports Trust
Director-General, Mr Vusi Mkhize, gave an overview of The Sports Trust which is an independent organisation jointly established in 1994 and launched in 1995 by the private and public sector focusing on sport development initiatives. The organisations have representation on the Board of Trustees. The Sports Trust primarily works with the Department in an effort to increase access and participation opportunities particularly in disadvantaged communities. The focus areas are:
• Delivery of sports courts particularly to schools. Sports courts are catered for multiple sports such as netball, tennis, basketball, volleyball and five a side football
• Sport equipment and attire
• Special projects identified on an ad hoc basis requiring short turnaround time for delivery.

Netball World Cup Legacy Programme
As a build up to the Netball World Cup 2023 the Department is working with Netball SA to implement the Netball World Cup Legacy Programme. The Sports Trust is therefore rolling out the sports courts (double courts per site) with one specifically for netball and the other for use by multiple sports. The schools are identified by Netball SA

Presidential Employment Stimulus Package (PESP)
A breakdown was given of the PESP related funding managed by the Sports Trust.

Covid-19 Relief For Athletes, Coaches, Technical Personnel and Fitness Practitioners
DSAC managed all the processes for receipt of applications and their processing including adjudication and appeals to independent panels. The Sports Trust processed payments based on the successful applicants communicated by the Department. The total amount disbursed to the Sport Trust for Covid-19 Relief was R9.4m (plus R1m balance pending final reconciliation).

The Sports Trust distribution of funds for Covid-19 relief
Ms Anita Mathews, Executive Director of the Sports Trust, spoke on the distribution of funds to athletes and federations during lockdown.

Covid-19 Relief Programme
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd wave of Covid-19 relief funding was distributed to Athletes, Technical Officials and some Artists as approved by the DSAC adjudication panel. They received once-off payments as a relief to sustain themselves due to the negative impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

Presidential Economic Stimulus Package (PESP) Job Retention
There was a call for applications to administrators and sport officials who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to apply for a subsidy of R3 500 per month for the retention of jobs. The Sports Trust managed R55.2m through various sport stakeholders. Through the programme 4566 jobs were retained in sports federations, clubs and NGOs. DSAC communicated with federations for athletes to apply to the fund and it vetted the athletes. DSAC emailed directives to The Sports Trust with a list of athletes to pay. The Sports Trust executed payments within 48 hours of the directive. It emailed proof of payment to DSAC who communicated with the athletes and federations. There was monthly reporting from 30 November 2020 to 30 August 2021 and the closeout report was provided by 30 September 2021.

Financial Controller, Mr Gerhard Steyn, went over the budget for this expenditure.

The Sports Trust Annual Report 2020/21
The Annual Report covered the following topics:
• Multipurpose Sports Courts
• DSAC Covid-19 Relief Fund Programme
• Presidential Economic Stimulus Package
• Nedbank Sports Trust Development Cycling Programme
• Nedbank Soccer Kits Programme and Sport Court Handover
• Cricket Boland Facility Upgrade Supported by SuperSport
• Fundraising
• Independent Auditor’s Report
• Annual Financial Statements
• Board of Trustees and Partners
Refer to presentation for details

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) welcomed the presentations. There is a contradiction between the DG's presentation and that of The Sports Trust. According to the DG, the allocation was R60 million to The Sports Trust but it stated it was R46 million. The difference is the 8% admin fee. He asked for an explanation on whether it had been included. We need to get an understanding of the breakdown of every payment made. Otherwise, he cautioned it appears as if the disbursement of these funds is questionable. How can athletes receive funds in cash? In some cases, it is unclear whether the person receiving the money is an athlete or an administrator. It shows mismanagement of funds and some did not even have verification. The Sports Trust has stated this. Where have you seen someone take a picture with cash to show that they do not have a bank account? Is that accountability? Is that verifying? It is not clear where the money has gone. Can we say we are doing oversight when we receive photos?

He asked for an explanation that they created 50 000 jobs but only paid R3 500 per month. What does it mean in detail? The Annual Report is not clear on the R48 million used as 39 artists and 484 athletes do not add up to that amount even when an 8% admin fee is subtracted. The Sports Trust is an NPO but the website does not clearly state in the mission statement that it disburses funds. It is not an objective – you are not an administrator nor an agent in disbursing funds. The Sports Trust is supposed to initiate projects and get sponsors. It shows that they do not have capabilities to manage funds. The website is not updated, it does not have a list of trustees nor the 2020/21 financials. What relationship does Sports Trust have with NGOs and which NGO did they work with for the artists? What relationship do they have with the nine provincial governments? How much do you get from the different provinces? For the Covid-19 funds, what linkage exists between the targets that provinces have set for The Sports Trust and the reported 39 and 485? He is not convinced that the money was prudently and accurately dispensed. It is clearly stated that there was no verification and some received cash. There were clear requirements unless there is a dispensation to say that people may receive cash. He asked for an explanation as per relief fund and job retention of how the R3 500 was decided on for old artists and athletes. The job retention part is not clear.

Ms V Malomane (ANC) asked about the focus area in the Department overview which was the delivery of multi-purpose sports courts to schools. Does The Sports Trust have a relationship with the Department of Basic Education (DBE)? If so, what projects are currently underway in partnership with the DBE? What are the sports infrastructure projects that have been delayed due to the pandemic and what is the progress to date? How many facilities has The Sports Trust built in rural areas over the past five years? How do they ensure that the facilities are well maintained and utilised? It states about Nedbank Soccer Development that it continues to provide soccer kits and equipment to previously disadvantaged schools in South Africa as identified by Nedbank and its branches. Deep rural townships do not even have Nedbank branches; how are these areas catered for so that their schools can also get the soccer kits?

Ms R Adams (ANC) commended The Sports Trust for taking on the emergency responsibilities of distributing the Covid-19 relief funds as well as the PESP. What were the challenges it faced doing this? There were complaints from some provinces about delayed payments of the Covid-19 relief fund. What were the causes for the delays in payments? Each beneficiary received R3 500 as PESP relief for job retention. How was the R3 500 amount decided upon? How did the R3 500 once-off payment retain jobs in the sports sector and for which jobs were the funds? Were there any instances of overpayment to beneficiaries?

Mr D Joseph (DA) commented that it is clear that the vision of President Mandela and his Minister of Sports laid the foundation for putting The Sports Trust where it is now. Trusts are put into place to protect money but in some cases, it is there to hide and control money. He appreciated that this Trust has been kept going. Commenting on the video, it shows many projects happening around the country but when Ms Mathews spoke, she made a lot of reference to projects in the Western Cape. He did not see the balance in the presentation but saw it in the video. Who are the trustees? How often do they meet? What is their role in the Trust besides administration? Do all the provinces have disability sports courts? The Trust should ensure that all organisations that apply for disability courts receive them. He was covered with the financial questions. How does the Trust assess the 20 year lifespan of the court's infrastructure? Is an audit being done on the investment in courts?

Ms V Van Dyk (DA) asked how The Sports Trust prioritises its projects. Abigail April is the Under 18 cross country champion but is unable to register because she does not have the R300 needed to register nor can her parents afford the transport. The Sports Trust does not pay for travel and accommodation. In the case of a talented athlete, would The Sports Trust not consider using discretionary funds? How does The Sports Trust market itself; do they use newsletters? She asked that the Committee receive copies of the advertisement per province. How do people in the provinces know about the Trust and how can they approach the Trust? Does The Sports Trust receive any funding from the National Lottery? If so, she asked for details on that. How much is spent annually on transformation? Does The Sports Trust have a relationship with DBE and, if so, what projects do they have underway together? She asked specifically about transformation as she believes that transformation starts in schools. Can the Committee get a list of the approved projects and if anything was approved for the Northern Cape?

Why were 39 Arts and Culture beneficiaries paid by the Sports sector instead of the Arts sector? Lastly, did The Sports Trust distribute funds to travelling national federations and if so, how much did each receive? If not, were struggling national federations supported by the Department? The National Schools Championship was cancelled at short notice on 15 March as Treasury advised that no procurement take place until it clarified the Constitutional Court suspension of procurement regulations. She asked how this would affect future school sporting events and which ones would be affected. The Committee would like to see transformation but there is no financial support.

Mr A Zondi (ANC) asked about rural areas facilities, the delayed infrastructure projects and its relationship with DBE. There has not been direct contact between The Sports Trust and the Committee in the past five years. He asked the Chairperson why that has been the case. Is it because there have been no challenges? The Trust’s budget is not a big one but the processes are done by the Department and the implementation was done by The Sports Trust. He was impressed with both the processes and the funding.

Mr C Sibisi (NFP) said that the Trust has been around since 1994 but many people are not aware of The Sports Trust. Is it visible? There is no sign of The Sports Trust in his rural area. He has seen that they support various sporting codes. The concern with netball is that it will request participation fees from athletes going to provincial and national championships. Can The Sports Trust assist athletes from disadvantaged backgrounds who cannot afford that?

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee see the work the Trust has done in provinces during its oversight visits. Sometimes The Sports Trust operates in a way that the Committee does not know about. How does Nedbank identify the areas? Is it through the communities? Most Committee members come from rural areas and they need to know if they can approach Nedbank. She is happy that the Committee has been capacitated to be the voice of the voiceless and those that may not be aware of the good work that the Trust is doing. She hopes that the Members will work with The Sports Trust in identifying and helping vulnerable communities and schools.

With the 2023 Netball World Cup coming to South Africa, the Committee has the right to look at each community that it thinks needs a netball court. It will depend on how much The Sports Trust has. How does The Sports Trust market itself? The Sports Trust does have impact in some areas and hopefully they complement the DBE and municipalities as these stakeholders also have a role to play.

The Sports Trust response
Mr Jackie Mathebula, The Sports Trust Chairperson, stated that he can assure the Committee that the Trust has had a clean audit from independent auditors. That is why it even has independent funders as they trust that the Trust runs a tight ship. The administration fee for NGOs should not be more than 13% according to the legal framework and BBBEE codes. The reason the administration fee is lower is because there are full time employees in the Trust.

The trustees and funding partners identify the areas where the Trust should implement programmes. The funding partners approach the Trust with the money and what they would like to be implemented with that money. With maintenance, the Trust always goes back to the projects it has implemented to ensure that the infrastructure installed is being used and is being kept in good condition. There are service level agreements signed with beneficiaries to ensure that they maintain the facilities since the Trust is a small organisation, it would be impossible for its officials to check on a weekly basis. The geographical spread of the projects also depends on the funding partners and trustees to indicate where programmes should be implemented. This answer would also apply to the question of the prioritisation of the projects. The Trust is constrained by limited resources and the directions it receives from its funding partners. Marketing is done to corporations, provinces, municipalities and district municipalities because that would encourage more funding and with more funding, more impact can be made.

In the case of Abigail April, the athlete can be advised to apply to the Trust. There is a small discretionary fund taken from the administration fee of the Trust to deal with such cases. Employees of the Trust had to go for two years without receiving salary increases. Some of the money received from investments can be used for cases such as that of Abigail.

On the relationship with DBE, DSAC can expand on this. There is a service level agreement between the departments. DBE is very involved in the installation of most of the sports courts in schools. With transformation, almost all the infrastructure is in disadvantaged areas in the country. The very first courts were in the Northern Cape. It is one of the provinces focused on. He assured the Committee that the Trust is present in all provinces. Committee members can approach First National Bank (FNB) or any other bank in the absence of Nedbank in some rural areas, to sponsor courts with the support of the Trust. The support of Members of Parliament would be greatly appreciated in involving business to expand the programmes. The trustees and board of partners are shown on page 20 of the Annual Report with two independent trustees.

Mr Mathebula emphasised that the Committee should also be a voice for this. He personally undertakes to drive to corporations in their different constituencies to try and ensure that there is sports infrastructure. We are investing in the future of the country, children and youth.

Ms Mathews clarified that the Trust was reporting on the actual funds that were paid out to the beneficiaries. The selection process was through the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC); a call was sent out to all the federations and all NGOs listed in the Department’s database. From the responses, together with the Department, the successful beneficiaries were selected. Countless days were spent on the phone encouraging federations to respond to the call and then proceed with what was received. On the cash payouts, the golf caddies were seen as the most vulnerable as they mostly get cash income from the golf players and do not have a bank account. The Sports Trust felt there was a need to retain these jobs. All avenues were explored and this was the way decided upon. Through the clubs, the right people would be paid and for accountability, the caddies would sign a form saying that they received the funds and show the identity card next to their face in a photo that would be checked against the identity numbers. In some cases, where the beneficiaries had passed on or could no longer be reached, the funds were returned back into The Sports Trust so that more people could be assisted by the programme.

The Annual Report did not report in detail on the PESP because the programme had not been concluded at that stage. It will be in the next Annual Report. The mandate of the Trust is very broad and the Trust can assist in the disbursement of funds as a DSAC implementation partner to attend to sports needs in the country. Through the Department, the Trust has relationships with provinces and has had positive relationships with Gauteng and the Northern Cape Sports Departments. Other provinces are still being engaged, but it remains up to the provincial departments to decide if they do want to utilise the services of The Sports Trust to assist in bringing about change and transformation in the communities and schools of the province. Fortunately, during Covid-19 The Sports Trust through the Department received special permission to complete the projects within the proposed timelines. There might have been one or two delays in accessing materials but the deadlines managed to be met.

Her team would list the exact number of facilities in rural areas and send that information to the Committee. For National Lotteries Commission (NLC) funding, The Sports Trust applied on behalf of the Department for funds for school games and sports awards; therefore it has been unable to apply for its own programmes. In the last financial year, the NLC was approached by SASCOC and the NLC beneficiaries of the Special Olympics for funding. Again, In this case, the Sports Trust received the money from NLC on behalf of another structure but not directly for itself. She reiterated that the Trust is positioned as an implementation partner. Therefore if the Committee gave the money to the Trust, it would identify a rural area and the Sports Trust identify the beneficiary that is best suited for the facilities to be placed. The leadership at a school would be looked at to ensure that indeed a vibrant sports community would be created and that the resources would be shared with the whole community and the five or so surrounding schools. The school is just the host. There is a service level agreement for the maintenance of the courts and the school provides evidence of this through photos. The Trust does fix the facilities in cases of vandalism, if informed.

Ms Sumayya Khan, DSAC DDG: Recreation Development and Sport Promotion, explained that the Department put out the call itself about the Covid-19 Relief Fund and it had set criteria for it and it asked The Sports Trust to come on board to pay the beneficiaries. This was unprecedented activity for the Department because sporting activities were not happening and staff and athletes were losing income. DSAC looked at its own systems and found that paying beneficiaries would take a long time. The safest and quickest route would be through The Sports Trust. The turnaround time was quick. There was an adjudicating committee that approved the applications and the list was submitted to The Sports Trust. There was also a team checking the bank balances of the applicants who were successful. Letters were sent out to those that were not successful giving an opportunity to dispute or appeal the decision. There was an appeals committee and many of the appeals were successful. That was done by the Department and The Sports Trust to ensure quality. The only challenge was in some instances where funds were paid twice and The Sports Trust took responsibility for the system error and some funds were returned.

For the PESP from the Presidency, it again was made clear that government systems would delay payments so they must use agents. The Sports Trust was used again for disbursement of funds for job retention. For job creation, SASCOC was used. Even the President had indicated that there should be a management fee paid to agencies managing and disbursing the funds. It was capped at 10%. The Sports Trust preferred that most of the money go to beneficiaries, so its fee was 8%.

There are about 117 facilities such as multi-purpose sports courts throughout the country but the list will be sent to the Committee. It must be noted that there are challenges with schools sports and infrastructure. According to DBE, a basic soccer field and a netball court are its norms and standards. The multi-purpose sports codes give an opportunity for five different sports to be played on one surface. Ms Mathews has indicated how these are maintained and managed. The communities get access to the courts after hours. The schools have indicated that indeed the courts have a long lifespan of 30 years.

There were not many challenges with the Covid Relief Fund except that there were issues raised by the Auditor-General which have been resolved. At the time the relief funding was put out, there were other sources of funding available such as the Solidarity Fund and the Unemployment Insurance Fund. There was a risk of double dipping by the recipients as they would have applied to more than one source. Much of the funding the Department gave was before the other funding. The amount of R3 500 was uniform funding given to the Department per beneficiary.

With the golf caddies, Golf RSA approached the Department with an application asking for all their beneficiaries to get money. They took the decision to pay R2700 so more caddies would benefit.

Mr Simphiwe Mncube, DSAC Chief Director: Federation Support, indicated that in the first phase of the relief fund, demographic information was not asked for. In the subsequent phases, this information was included so it had a breakdown of the sporting codes, province and now race as well. That was the correction made in the second phase. DSAC tried to work out race in the first phase but that information was not accurate.

Director-General Mkize replied about the capabilities of The Sports Trust to disburse funds, saying the Department found The Sports Trust had the institutional mechanisms to disburse and account for the funds. It had rigorous financial systems to assist DSAC in distributing the funds. On the cash given to golf caddies, the information provided was verifiable through the identity cards and the well established Golf RSA. It would have been irresponsible of the Department to deny the caddies such relief when they are verifiable as being part of a golf club. The Committee can verify these individuals that have received the funds. There was verification on multiple levels including from the federations and records available. The Sports Trust will provide all this information to the Committee for it to be able to do the necessary oversight.

On the Committee's appeal to reach the most disadvantaged, the Director-General replied that The Sports Trust needs to find a way within the budget to prioritise rural and township areas in the roll-out schedule. Even when engaging the private sector, it is a question of acceleration of this. On the classification of applicants as bona fide athletes, the adjudication went through each application to ensure that the people applying were within the sporting fraternity and had a specific role that they play and this was done for every applicant.

Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Ms Nocawe Mafu, appreciated the discussion and hoped that some of the misconceptions on the role of The Sports Trust are clarified. The Sports Trust is not an entity of the Department but it is an implementation partner for it. When it came to the relief fund, everything was done based on the agreement with the Department and the federations. Any questions Committee Members may have about discrepancies must be directed to the Department as it was the main implementer, even the questions coming out from the Final Report. The Sports Trust has just been doing what it had been asked to do by the Department.

All the facilities will be submitted to the Committee members so they have a sense of where these facilities are. Remember that The Sports Trust does not take over the work that must be done by municipalities. It comes in to close gaps. When critiquing The Sports Trust, remember not to shoot the messenger. Most of the projects are not them, it is the Department – which must take overall responsibility. The Sports Trust has done a good job. Although more can be done, the Trust does not identify where facilities must be built. It is good that the Committee members want to Nedbank and other funding partners if you are going to the rural areas.

Ms Khan clarified that artists were also paid through The Sports Trust. This was because the Department of Sports and the Department of Arts and Culture had just merged. However, the Trust was later advised that artists would not be paid through The Sports Trust but that Arts entities would be used. That is why there is a small number of artists paid through The Sports Trust.

Follow up questions
Mr Mhlongo was concerned that Dr Cynthia Khumalo, DDG: Arts and Culture Promotion, has been absent from meetings. Is she on leave? He pointed out that even pensioners do not receive cash; how can we account for this method of receiving cash in a photo? What is the view of the Auditor-General when it comes to cash payments? What was the reason to do so? How many artists received funding from The Sports Trust and what are their names? How much was it? When there is funding there must be accountability. When there is a gap, eyebrows must be raised when verification is lacking but money is still paid. What is the status of the report on double dipping? Did the Department get any money returned in cases of double dipping?

Mr Mhlongo said that it is high time that the Department is used when funding like this arises. The Department permanent staff must be used for administration work. The 8% administration fee is too much. The closeout report was due in September 2021 and now it is March 2022 but there is still no report. When are we going to get the final report on all Covid-19 funding? He questioned the monitoring and evaluation capability of The Sports Trust. How many employees does The Sports Trust have? What are the monitoring mechanisms for projects? Who are the independent board members? The Sports Trust must acknowledge that its website is not updated; it is a gap that must be fixed. He asked if it has a relationship with creative arts organisations.

The Chairperson stated that the Department will present its Report on the Covid-19 relief fund on 29 March 2022.

The Deputy Minister suggested that the bulk of the follow-up questions should be deferred to 29 March 2022 meeting where the Department must respond to the questions.

The Sports Trust response
Mr Mathebula replied that the challenge of the unbanked in South Africa is a major one. The reason is that they have to pay monthly bank charges but they do not have a fixed income. The money that they usually get is in cash. It is a challenge the country needs to address. The Sports Trust current trustees are also the initial founders of the trust and companies that wish to join the trust would have to pay seed capital. The independent trustees are Mr Mathebula and one other person. It is not a very big board.

Ms Mathews explained that the Trust has a staff complement of 11 people that deliver sports interventions. The Trust is based in Sandton and has no other offices. The website will be updated as a matter of urgency. Due to limited resources, the staff cannot go to all projects but when they are in a particular province, they make the effort to go to key project sites for random site inspection and community engagement. It is more difficult to monitor sports kits because of wear and tear. The Trust does not charge any partners a monitoring fee because of the partnership they would like to engage in. It all depends on the partner, how much they would like to invest in communities. That is my the monitoring needs to be ad hoc. It is done physically, via phone calls and via WhatsApp where photos are exchanged. The Trust does help with cases of vandalism. The 39 artists were paid for Covid relief. The Trust does not have a structured relationship with any artistic entities. However, the Trust is open to suggestions.

Mr Mkhize replied that Dr Khumalo was not at this meeting as DSAC looks at the agenda then delegates who should attend. Dr Khumalo will be at the meeting on 29 March 2022 as her work cuts across. She is not on leave but at work. The Department is satisfied with the accounting done by The Sports Trust. No money has not been accounted for. There are records for the people that received money.

Mr Mhlongo interjected that Ms Van Dyk’s question was not answered.

Mr Mkhize replied that the implication of the cancellation of the National Schools Championship at short notice is that there will be a negative impact on future sports championship events. At this stage, Athletics SA was able to assist but the Treasury circular still stands until the Department gets an exemption from National Treasury to be able to spend beyond R30 000. It will depend on the response from Treasury after considering the Department's motivation. To be on the safe side, provinces were advised not to proceed with procurement to avoid being in contempt of court.

Ms Mafu said she appreciated the debate and the challenges that arose from the Committee. It is important who plays a role in developing sports facilities in communities. She thanked the Committee for allowing The Sports Trust to present.

The Chairperson thanked The Sports Trust for coming to account. She added having a clean audit for 25 years is no child's play. She released the presenters..

Committee Minutes
The Committee considered and adopted the 16 March 2022 minutes.

Comments arising from the minutes
Mr Joseph asked if the Committee would be briefed on the World Cup Sevens again in September. Does the South African Rugby Union (SARU) CEO have access to the legal opinion? One can even claim that the legal opinion is being done on his behalf. He raised a concern that SARU said that they work well with Model C schools. There is a doping problem in Model C schools but the sports in those schools are controlled by the school governing body (SGB). Certain schools get excluded from doping tests because parents need to give consent.

The Chairperson agreed that parents of Model C schools are not allowing random testing. It is up to DSAC and the Committee to ensure the Department of Basic Education must fast track amending the Act. The Committee took a decision that SARU must come back to report on the SARU CEO. It cannot take months to get a legal opinion. All outstanding concerns will be prioritised as the Committee is going into recess soon.

Mr Mhlongo stated that the Committee cannot wait for the next meeting. There are letters that can be sent such as the legal advice. It does not take a meeting.

The Chairperson said that SARU was awaiting its final legal opinion and she will ask SARU to send any information on the legal advice.

Correspondence from Office of the Minister
The Committee had received a letter from the Minister on the streamlining of communications requesting that all correspondence be directed to the Chairperson who would email the DG.

Mr Mhlongo stated that the Minister has a closed door policy. The Minister is running away from accountability. For an MP's oversight work, writing emails to the DG is normal. He has never received a letter from a Minister asking not to be written to. Sometimes there are issues that need clarity that cannot wait for a meeting or it is not on the agenda. It shows that there is something dodgy and there is avoidance of accountability. The Minister needs to explain this letter. The Minister is not even here today.

Mr Zondi stated that as long as the Minister will come to the Committee from time to time and respond about Department activities, he has no problem with the communication process. There is no problem with the letter. It is within the law that the Minister needs to be contacted in this way.

Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) commented that the way that the Minister put out the letter and introduced it was aggressive. It could have been introduced in a better manner so all are able to work together. He does not mind that the Minister wants to cut off the human part of the dealings with him but at the same time, the Committee could have been told more responsibly and respectfully that we are not friends and rather talk to the Chairperson.

Ms Van Dyk stated that it is important to have an open line with the Minister, Deputy Minister and the Director-General. Sometimes it is not quick in getting written responses on information needed for the oversight role to be played. It is fair to know that the Department can be approached. For example, the National School Athletics event was cancelled at short notice last weekend and this weekend there is an event in Potchefstroom but there is no certainty if it will take place. The Committee did not get the opportunity to ask the question this morning so the Committee should be able to write to the DG to get a response. People ask Members of Parliament these questions - how does it look when we cannot answer questions about what is happening in our Department? That cannot be right. She supported that the Committee should be able to write to the Department and the Minister as part of the oversight role.

Ms Malomane stated that if the letter is in accordance with the Rules then it needs to be followed. If there are challenges, Committee Members can write to the Chairperson to address the matter. In a meeting with the Minister, perhaps he can give more clarity if it is needed. Otherwise, the National Assembly Rules must be followed. She has no problem with the letter.

The Chairperson said that she heard all the views and she agrees that the letter does not need discussion. If there is something very urgent then the Chairperson can be written to and it can then be brought to the Committee. What the Minister has written and what Committee Members are feeling are all noted. The Committee will try to do what the letter asks.

Mr Josephs said that he agrees with the Chairperson as long as the Minister will account when needed.

He added that there was a bus accident on Robben Island two weeks ago and people got hurt. He asked that the Chairperson request a report on that.

The Chairperson said she was not aware but she will ask for information today.

Mr Mhlongo stated that the meeting minutes should note that the Committee objects to the way that the Minister is presenting this letter to the Committee and the letter is not accepted. The Minister is always absent. How can we wait for meetings for him to respond to the Committee via questions, answers and debate? The Committee must write to the Minister to account when there is a matter that requires the political head of the Department.

The Chairperson pointed out that it was only Mr Mhlongo objecting; the other Members said they had noted the letter.

Mr Mhlongo interjected to say that the Democratic Alliance (DA) objects and the Minister must account via an email and he must come and account.

Ms Malomane raised a point of order – Mr Mhlongo must not include everyone in his view. She said that she had noted that letter and had no challenges with the letter.

Mr Mhlongo raised a point of order that Ms Malomane was not a DA member and he had said members of the DA.

The Chairperson said that Mr Mhlongo should not raise a point of order then proceed to take the platform without being recognised.

Mr Mhlongo apologised.

The Chairperson noted Mr Mhlongo's point of order that Ms Malomane is not a DA member. She added that there is an apology from the Minister today; he is attending a Cabinet meeting.

Mr Mhlongo raised a point of exigency.

The Chairperson responded to Mr Mhlongo that she was still speaking and trying to summarise the points of order and he spoke while she was speaking. She added that Mr Mhlongo has the right to speak but so does everyone else in the Committee. Do not do this every day. It is not about you.

Mr Mhlongo interjected with a point of order.

The Chairperson said that she was still talking.

Mr Mhlongo said that he was asking for a personal privilege, personal exigency.

The Chairperson said there was nothing like that and repeated that she was still speaking.

Mr Mhlongo said that it is in the rules for information.

The Chairperson said that the behaviour of Mr Mhlongo in the Committee needs to be looked at. Every day it is about Mr Mhlongo. Mr Mhlongo does not respect anyone in the Committee. The Chairperson stated that she had been tolerating it but there is no respect and the Committee will no longer tolerate what Mr Mhlongo does. The Committee is doing well but Mr Mhlongo disrupts the Committee when his views are not taken up by the whole Committee. Mr Mhlongo disrupts the Committee when everyone is calm and trying to maintain decorum. Mr Mhlongo spoke over her. Do not do this here. It is too much. Everyone here is an Honourable Member and needs to be respected. Mr Mhlongo must behave like any member of the Committee and this must be recorded.

The meeting was adjourned.

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