Athletics SA 2022/23 plans, Commonwealth Games, Supersport deal, "Return to Play", AGSA review

Sports, Arts and Culture

19 April 2022
Chairperson: Ms B Dulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


In a virtual meeting, Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) provided useful guidelines for the Portfolio Committee's oversight role within the accountability ecosystem.

Committee Members referred to the AGSA extended mandate and asked about the purpose of the certificate of debt if it was only given as a last resort. They asked the Department about its delayed consequence management, internal control deficiencies and internal audit gaps, filling of vacancies, and the cost overruns for the Legacy Projects, especially the Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance.

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) in its overview of Athletics South Africa (ASA) for 2021/22 noted its R5.75 million financial support to Athletics SA. An additional R4.2 million was provided for Ms Caster Semenya’s legal challenge of the Differences of Sex Development (DSD) Regulations as it categorized the case as a direct attack and discrimination against black African female athletes. DSAC also gave a ‘Return to Play’ presentation on the return to sporting activities and return of spectators post-lockdown.

Athletics SA presented its 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan dealing with Leadership and management; Capacity building; Competition organization; High performance; Broadcasting; Anti-doping. It listed the successful events held since lockdown. On preparation for the Commonwealth Games, it spoke about Team preparation squad; Competition; Logistical support; Training camps.

Committee Members called into question how it planned to achieve transformation from the ground up. ASA explained that it is trying to close the race gap in athletics by acquiring corporate funding to give bursaries to young black aspiring stars to enable them to compete. It is also considering monitoring bursary holders from primary school level through to university.

Meeting report

Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) review
The AGSA team led by Deputy Business Unit Leader, Ms Mbali Tsotetsi, provided tips for the Portfolio Committee oversight role within the Accountability Ecosystem:

- Obtain reports on investigations into transgressions and irregularities affecting the entity.
- Follow up annually on previous commitments made by accounting officers.
- Determine if corrective steps are taken to address shortcomings in internal control environment.
- Enquire what training is given to officials to enable them to correctly execute their responsibilities.
- Follow up on actions taken against official(s) responsible for transgressions
- Hold executive authorities accountable for failures in the control environment
- Use reports tabled on progress with material irregularities to oversee and influence progress made by public bodies with investigations and executive authorities (for recovery of debt).
- Use information in audit report on material irregularities for accountability and oversight purposes, insisting on timeous implementation of recommendation.

Accountability Ecosystem
- Accountability ecosystem is the network of stakeholders that have a mandate and/or responsibility, if legislative or moral, to drive, deepen and/or insist on public sector accountability.
- A more active and engaged accountability ecosystem would add a much-needed effort of shifting public sector culture and would alleviate the overreliance on AGSA to assume responsibility for improving audit outcomes and enforcing consequences.
- Given the nature of the AGSA mandate, by the time it audits the financial statements of auditees and reports on adverse findings, multiple failures have already occurred along the accountability value chain. After its audits, other steps are required to complete the accountability cycle.
- The improvement in sound financial management to enhance the lives of citizens do not only reside within the domain and responsibility of the accounting officer or authority and the auditors. They depend on the entire accountability ecosystem to enable a culture of accountability in sustainable and meaningful ways.

AGSA status of records review
- Identify key areas of concern that may derail progress in preparation of financial and performance reports and compliance with relevant legislation and may result in regression in audit outcome.
- Provide its assessment of status of key focus areas that it reviewed.
- Assess progress made in implementing action plans and previous commitments.
- Identify matters that add value in putting measures and action plans in place well in advance.

The AGSA team spoke about its expanded mandate using the Material Irregularity (MI) mechanism to strengthen accountability in the public sector. It detects waste within government and public agencies and thus can improve efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of government operations. Accounting officers (AOs) have a legal obligation to prevent irregularities and act when they occur. When AGSA identifies a material irregularity, it notifies the AO to take appropriate steps in terms of legislation. The AO is given space to take actions required to deal with material irregularities before AGSA uses its additional powers.

Material Irregularity – Actions by Portfolio Committee
- The Portfolio Committee must follow up on the progress in resolving the MI and action taken is ensuring losses do not continue.
- Determine what action or consequence has been taken against those responsible for the MI.

Audit Recommendations – Actions by Portfolio Committee
- Filling of vacancies to ensure stability of leadership.
- Provide oversight on the implementation of action plans to address the audit findings.
- A culture of consequence management should be enforced in the portfolio.

Audit of performance information – Actions by Portfolio Committee
- Before the APP is finalized, ensure that key indicators and targets are linked to the mandate.
- Examination of the usefulness and reliability of performance information and ensure that policies announced by government are delivering.
- Review of critical performance management activities on a quarterly basis and action being taken by management on unachieved targets and impact it has on its service delivery mandate.
- Monitor, investigate, make recommendations for a specific performance measure.

Preventative control guides
AGSA developed preventative control guides to empower AO and oversight structures:
- To create general awareness of roles and legislative obligations.
- To address assurance needs of oversight structures.
- To diagnose weaknesses in preventative mechanisms and obtain assurance from executive authority and AO that weaknesses are being effectively addressed.

The AGSA team acknowledged progress by the Department on the audit recommendations and the material finding raised in the previous year. The outstanding matters and consequence management were noted (see document).

Mr M Zondi (ANC) said he would try his best to be quick due to possible load shedding disruption. With stage 4 load shedding, power outages and the internet connection in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) were very bad. The report by the Auditor-General was welcomed, so was the presence of the Department. He thanked AGSA for the guide on how the Portfolio Committee should conduct oversight and accountability.

Mr Zondi asked the Department how far is the process of appointing forensic investigators to address financial misconduct allegations. AGSA indicated these were not investigated. What delayed the Department from acting timeously? He asked about the overall poor progress in dealing with irregular expenditure. What will the Department do to expedite and finalise irregular expenditure investigations? Have there been consequence management actions?

Mr Zondi asked AGSA what capability will government require to develop measurable outcome indicators for auditing of outcomes to achieve the desired impact? The Department had outstanding material findings from the previous and current financial year under review.

Ms R Adams (ANC) asked the Department what it is doing to strengthen its contract management capability to ensure proper procurement planning for contracts and to what extent has it enforced service level agreements to avoid cost overruns. How has the Department responded to the delays in paying service providers within 30 days and what were the causes for the delays? What progress has been made in human resource planning and the filling of vacancies?

She asked AGSA for its perspective on the current reporting based on the output indicators. What weaknesses had it identified in the DSAC performance information which was not compliant and does it measure impact?

Ms V van Dyk (DA) noted the Auditor-General has the power to take appropriate remedial action. Has the Auditor-General ever implemented any of the powers bestowed upon her? On procurement and contract management, AGSA stated that its previous audit report highlighted internal control deficiencies about delays and inadequate monitoring of the Sara Baartman legacy project. What action steps have they taken to ensure accountability? How does it monitor the finding that "the accounting officer must take effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregular expenditure"? Who is responsible for the investigations of the irregularities that have not been concluded and what are the reasons for this? She asked for an update on the Afrikaanse Taal Museum because AGSA said the issue had to be resolved by end of March 2022.

Concerns had been highlighted by the media about Robben Island. Will there be investigation and consequence management with action taken against those implicated? She asked DSAC for clarity about the National Art Council. It was not mentioned in the report but the CFO and CEO have been suspended since 26 February 2021, more than a year ago. There had been an investigation and a forensic report was given to the Minister in September 2021 and released to the public in November 2021. Who is responsible for implementing those recommendations? Can the Department share the status of this report, if these people are still suspended with pay, and when this will be resolved?

Mr D Joseph (DA) said the Auditor-General had to ensure the Department had the internal audit unit and internal controls in place as well as the external audit. Does this exist in all departments? Does AGSA identify where these are not in place? If there is a vacancy or units are not established, is this a challenge? Or are they in place, but not functioning according to administrative rules?

The Auditor-General commented that the external audit comes in at the end of a system and most of these audit failures have already taken place.

Mr Joseph asked when is the earliest the Auditor-General can intervene? What can the Committee do to change how early the Auditor-General can intervene? Although early intervention should already be made by the department itself, how does the Auditor-General identify when it must intervene early when department officials are not complying with the rules?

Mr Joseph said that DSAC needs to give an explanation on the lack of compliance findings by the Auditor-General, specifically on COVID relief financials, ICT contracts and other procurement contracts, irregular expenditure growing from R3.7 to R9.2 million.

Mr Joseph noted the question raised by Committee members on the Robben Island investigation. In his view, the matter was closed but he thanked AGSA for the explanation. As stated by the Auditor-General, the matter was closed except for consequence management on the procurement of the boats.

Questions were already raised about the 30-day payment delays and the human resource plan not being implemented and vacancies not filled, and the Department could respond to that. On the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) and the heritage assets register being incomplete, why did it not conform to this annual task of completing the asset register? He did not understand why there was a sudden break in accountability.

AGSA stated that the certificate of debt should be issued as a last resort. What then is its purpose if the department has failed to follow the rules? If one looked at the history of some departments, it appeared that it had been ignored and people did as they pleased, particularly in local government. The state of local government is quite concerning. He thanked the Auditor-General for the valuable input on the Portfolio Committee's responsibilities to ensure good governance.

The Chairperson said the Auditor-General had noted vacancy filling was still an outstanding problem. She agreed with the questions raised by Committee members. With the annual performance plan, the Department had to indicate to the Committee its status so it could follow what it is doing.

DSAC response
The Director-General, Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, addressed the contract management of the Sarah Baartman Centre of Remembrance, the Legacy Projects, the Independent Development Trust (IDT) and consequence management. Most of these challenges were old matters dating back to 2012/13. Government departments should try and resolve issues amongst themselves. However, the problem it had been having with IDT led to it ending that relationship. The Department faced challenges having Public Works and IDT managing the Legacy Projects. There needs to be a separation on that as the Department provides money and Public Works was the implementer ensuring that a project was completed in time. Unfortunately, this dependency had let the country down because the allocated funds had not been able to ensure project completion. There had been contract challenges with contractors leading to the abandonment of sites. Last year when the Department engaged with the Auditor-General, the understanding was eventually reached that DSAC will not be held accountable for irregular expenditure due to Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) failures, but that needs to be monitored.

 The Auditor-General was clear about this role that DSAC ensure that it monitored the project site closely. The poor contract management was based on the failure of Public Works to implement consequence management on the contractors and the process of ceding contracts from one to the other. The Department’s intervention was to ask National Treasury if Public Works was acting procedurally. DSAC was caught in the middle.

The Auditor-General made the finding against DSAC but the responsibility of implementation was with the Department of Public Works, which then argued with National Treasury and the Chief Procurement Officer that it believed it was within its right in construction law to cede these contracts as and when necessary. The Chief Procurement Officer disagreed. DSAC had tried to intervene several times in meetings with both parties and failed to resolve the matter. DSAC made it clear that it cannot have the irregular expenditure finding fall on its head, which meant it had to act. The action involved escalating it to two ministers, who assisted in putting forth a resolution after DSAC proposed that the projects were either handed over to it or were co-managed between DSAC and Public Works for the Sarah Baartman Legacy Project. The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure agreed that this should be the route to follow because contractors had abandoned the site again. If there is sharing of responsibility between DSAC and DPWI, it will make it easier for DSAC to monitor. This was now being finalized with directives from the minister, who agreed that it should be the route to follow to try and push the Sarah Baartman project to the end. Investigation of past expenditure and the ceding of contracts will be championed by DPWI.

DSAC had drafted that Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and had given it to the two ministers, who asked for about five days to respond. The challenge was what would DSAC inherit if it continues to pay as that increases the irregular expenditure, which must be avoided. It needs to engage with National Treasury and the Chief Procurement Officer to clarify this so that DSAC does not inherit past wrongs of Public Works. Once the co-management agreement was signed, DSAC could then implement the Sarah Baartman project. It did not want to inherit the irregular findings of the Sarah Baartman project. The timelines had been drafted and the cost implications for its completion. He asked what would Public Works do to recover funds from the contractors who had not performed.

DSAC will provide further details on consequence management and IDT had responded to confirm the finalisation of the matter instead of the two government entities taking each other to court. A stop had to be put to this which was why DSAC appointed an official to finalise the other incomplete Legacy Projects. DSAC can return to provide a detailed presentation on the Legacy Projects and contract management.

Mr Mkhize said the function of the internal audit in DSAC was challenged as the leader was a very sick person who could not perform due to being in and out of hospital and that impacted DSAC. It received a review audit from an individual who was appointed but who was stabbed just before the audit last year and resigned within 24 hours creating further instability. Then there was an official who was being taken through a disciplinary process and decided to resign. Someone new was appointed who previously was in an acting position. Just before she could assume the post, she was off sick for some time and the doctors said that she could not be burdened with additional work. Only now could DSAC have esteemed leadership in the internal audit post as it had recently appointed a new audit executive to create stability in this environment. His colleague would talk about why DSAC had prioritised consequence management over the recent years. It appointed a company to assist it in the meantime while it dealt with the appointment of the panel of investigators. DSAC had also appointed a new CFO as of March 2022, who it hopes would assist in achieving its audit commitments.

Ms Topsy Musi, DSAC Chief of Staff, spoke about the investigation of cases. The best way to explain this was because they had not appointed a panel of investigators, and work had not been done. At the beginning of the year 21 internal audit investigations needed to be done. As of March 2022, there were only four not yet allocated because although it did not yet have a panel of investigators, it used companies from its database that conduct forensic audit work. National Treasury's March suspension of procurement meant a delay in the allocation of the last four cases. She hoped the figures indicated that though DSAC has not appointed a panel, it had tried its best.

With the prioritisation of the new cases, it had two commitments: to confirm that where there was no challenge in dealing with new cases from the 2020/21 audit as it had all the information required to handle these cases. Secondly, it was swift in handling them. HR letters had been issued to people who had transgressed. There had been delays with the older cases from previous years, especially cases that had been handed over to SIU and to SARS. There were also cases that could not be concluded despite investigation because the official had left DSAC. It has had to navigate attention from other departments about those officials. The final group were cases that had been investigated but investigation could not be concluded to the point of charging an official as these were old legacy cases and the required information was unavailable or witnesses were no longer at DSAC.

Work is being conducted on the filling of vacancies. When the 2021/22 financial year began, DSAC was finalising appointment of 47 positions advertised in the latter part of the previous financial year. In 2021/22, 52 additional positions were advertised. The advertisements attracted a huge number of applicants which created a backlog to process these for shortlisting and interviews. DSAC was now looking at another batch of adverts in this new financial year. It was doing that with a bit of caution, slower than previously because it was going through an organisational review process. DSAC experts were telling it to slow down and allow the organisational review process to occur. Six of the 52 positions and another five or six of the 47 positions had to be re-advertised and the interview panels did not find a suitable candidate.

The Director-General said there was a question on the HR Plan.

Ms Musi replied that it was unfortunate that DSAC would have to have a repeat audit finding on the HR plan. There was a competency gap in DSAC to be able to develop this HR plan which required guidance and benchmarking with other departments to assist it through the process. From what had to be submitted by June 2022, it already had the baseline documents ready for the HR plan by February and it was now awaiting input which would help in finalising the submission for June.

The Director-General said that the HR Chief Director post had been filled as well as the CFO post which meant the critical posts needed to deal with audit compliance were now filled. He noted that in filling senior management posts, some of these posts were filled through the promotion of internal people which then meant other posts became vacant. However, the breakdown of posts advertised indicated that DSAC had been hard at work to fill these posts.

On the delay in SIU cases, DSAC had asked the Minister to write to his counterpart but it had no power to enforce SIU to move faster or to do an investigation. It had done almost everything it could to deal with consequence management. Even when officials left for another department, DSAC did follow up with those departments. Those departments started the process but often decided to take a different route in dealing with the matter. It was out of its mandate to follow up on that. Its hands were tied with the SIU which could not be forced. The departments it had written to follow up on replied that they were conducting their investigations and following process. This was where DSAC was on some of these cases.

Dr Cynthia Khumalo, DDG: Arts and Culture Promotion, replied on the disbursement of the relief fund. DSAC had the intention as per the commitment made to the Auditor-General to finalise the relief fund payments by 15 December 2022. However, much as it had processed all the payments and sent them for payment after verification, there were still challenges that it could not ignore given the impact of the Covid 19 lockdown. During November, it had engagements with the sector where very strong representations were made by the sector. The sector offered to assist DSAC in getting hold of approved beneficiaries where payments were made but the bank account was inactive or the details were incorrect. Some applicants DSAC was unable to contact to verify outstanding information. There were also unexplained returns which made up for quite a large number. On 23 December 2021, a public call was made asking people to forward their information so that their payments could be processed. That was the reason it went beyond 15 December 2021. It was very conscious of the impact of Covid 19 on the sector. It needed to ensure that money reached the pockets of as many within the industry as possible. When it reopened in January, it started processing the payments of those who responded. At the end of March 2022, as communicated to the Auditor-General, DSAC concluded this process and it was finalising its closeout report for submission to the accounting officer to close that chapter.

AGSA response
Ms Tsotetsi and her team noted the question on "measurable outcomes" and AGSA's perspective on outcome indicators which the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) was working towards. When AGSA conducted audits, it was guided by the current reporting framework. It had not moved towards outcome indicators, but it welcomed that to ensure there was transparency among departments on meeting government priorities. This was to ensure movement in guaranteeing the NDP targets were reached. That was its perspective on that.

For the DSAC portfolio, AGSA had not identified many concerns about the measurability of targets or indicators. There could have been some reported last year for certain entities in the portfolio. For DSAC itself, there were no audit findings reported last year on measurability and reliability of performance information.

In the prior year, AGSA did not implement the material irregularity process for any entities in this portfolio including DSAC. This would be done in the current year. It would brief the Committee when it presented the audit outcomes if there were any material irregularities identified. Depending on the responses from DSAC or its entities, it would then assess if the remedial action was being addressed and report accordingly in the audit report.

There was a question on the Afrikaanse Taal Museum's progress in completing an asset register which was an audit finding last year. AGSA is only starting now with the 2021/22 audit after the 31 March year end. It would assess the asset register and report back to the Committee when it presented the 2021/22 audit outcomes.

The Robben Island investigation referred to in the report was the 2019/2020 irregular expenditure. From the Auditor-General’s side, the matter was closed, with qualifications. The matter was resolved because the irregular expenditure was disclosed. What was outstanding from DSAC that it will follow up on during its audit is if there was an investigation to determine who was responsible for the irregular expenditure and if consequence management was implemented.

There was a question on the earliest intervention by AGSA to prevent audit failures. The earliest intervention should be done via the internal audit unit because they are present throughout the year to assess internal controls and determine if they are effective. If not, then they must advise the accounting officer to strengthen the controls. The earliest intervention by AGSA was doing a status of records review that it was currently presenting to the Committee. It is following up on matters reported in the previous audit to advise the accounting officer and ask if there are still gaps. The role of an internal audit unit and the audit committee was emphasised as it was critical in entire accountability ecosystem to ensure that the internal control environment was improved to improve financial management. It would be important that the Committee also converse with the internal audit and audit committee. This was to ensure they are playing their role in the accountability ecosystem.

On the purpose of the certificate of debt, the MI process is twofold. AGSA identifies irregularities; however, it goes a step further to ascertain if this irregularity results in a material financial loss. If yes, then it meets the definition of material irregularity. By communicating this to the accounting officer, it gives the AO a chance to rectify this, either by recovering the financial loss or preventing further loss. If the AO fails to do consequence management, that is when extra steps are taken in line with the expanded mandate, which may include referring the matter to other public bodies. This includes recommendations in the audit report. Only then, if the accounting officer fails to implement remedial action, does it then move to the certificate of debt. A certificate of debt means that the money lost is now recovered from the accounting officer. That is their reason for the certificate of debt – to ensure that monies lost to the state are recovered.

It is a normal process that each entity or department must compile an asset register throughout the year. There are preventative controls such as reconciliation to ensure that the asset register is complete and accurate for the annual financial statements. There are two entities in the portfolio that have struggled over the years to have completed asset registers for heritage assets. They have provided various reasons why they were not able to do so. Nevertheless, the asset register is compiled throughout the year and reviewed.

Follow-up questions
Mr T Mhlongo (DA) said he had follow-up questions based on the response received. It was appalling to see a repeat of how DSAC had responded to them on the filling of vacancies. Now this is again affected because there is an organisational review. When is that going to happen? When is it going to be completed? The unemployment rate in South Africa is extremely high. It is shocking that DSAC shifts the blame to interviewing, shortlisting, and re-advertising. The Committee had received the same explanation with no outcome. When will those vacancies be filled? Can we have an actual date? It must not play dice with the Committee.

Mr Mhlongo asked why DSAC does not have contact details of the beneficiaries. The Committee was undermined in the explanations it received because contacting a beneficiary is a phone call away. It does not take an extended period to obtain the contact details of a beneficiary.

He proposed that the Committee visit the Sarah Baartman Centre. In the beginning, DSAC gave the impression that it was going so well with the centre and the project was running smoothly. An oversight visit was requested so the Committee can see for itself. It is shocking to hear that now the blame is with Public Works. When is the ETA for the Sarah Baartman Centre? So many millions have been lost in that project but there is no accountability.

Mr Mhlongo asked what is the cause for non-payment within 30 days. Why does DSAC not pay businesses? He asked for an explanation on the irregular expenditure that increased to R9.2 million. It is shocking to see 19.3% increase in irregular expenditure because of non-compliance with the Division of Revenue Act. What caused this? He asked why the MI process only began this year for the DSAC portfolio as the Public Audit Amendment Act came into operation in April 2019. He welcomed the AGSA presentation but wanted to find out what it did about repeat audit findings and non-compliance. If DSAC did not implement its recommendations, what would the outcome be? What is its consequence management?

Mr Mhlongo asked the Director-General for the outcome of the NAC investigation where people had faced allegations. When will the investigation report be presented?

Mr B Mamabolo (ANC) said he was covered and had nothing to add

Mr Joseph noted that he had paid a visit to the Sarah Baartman Centre last week, as part of oversight work. It is an important project for South African cultural and political history and heritage. According to information, R140 million was already spent on the project. The photos that were taken will be sent to DSAC. It is a shared responsibility which leads to the question: have the two DGs spoken about the options for this project? It appears that it will become a co-responsibility. He supported an oversight visit with Public Works because the project has been there since 2013 and it would be an embarrassment if this continues for another five or six years.

DSAC must prepare a presentation because what is concerning is the additional money needed to complete the project. It is a beautiful architectural design concept; the infrastructure that has been completed is good. However, he was concerned about the remaining work that needs to be done coupled with it having taken so long with contractors who seem to have run away with the money, which has not been recovered. He asked DSAC to take the Committee into confidence. To complete the project is important for the country and for the Eastern Cape, and Saartjie Baartman’s history. There remained concern that if it is a co-responsibility, DSAC cannot be held accountable for those financials and the mess that went into the project prior to its involvement. There was a preconceived notion that the entire project was handed over to DSAC. How will the Committee move forward on this project? The oversight visit will really help.

The Chairperson said the oversight visit proposal would be discussed. As it stood, the Committee was supposed to go to Northern Cape, which had not been visited by the Committee for many years. Mr Mhlongo’s request for a presentation would be dealt with by DSAC.

She pleaded that the Auditor-General and DSAC interact with each other before coming to the Committee. Does the Auditor-General begin with DSAC for the status of records review? She raised this because these answers from DSAC on the AGSA status of records review were meant to be reflected in the AGSA presentation so there is no repetition. She gave the example of the Committee questions about the SIU cases and the vacancies, the questions were being asked through the report of the Auditor-General and to her surprise, the DSAC responses were there today. If the timeframes did not allow DSAC to respond to the Auditor-General before it came to the Committee, then what was going on? Why is it that the AGSA review has these questions, which DSAC is now responding to in this meeting?

DSAC response
Mr Mkhize responded to the Chairperson’s last question saying the Auditor-General had openly indicated that this report was as per the end of December 2021 status of records review. DSAC was now responding in a reactive manner rather than making a presentation after the Auditor-General had tabled its report. He appealed that DSAC return and make a full presentation that was fully detailed so the Committee received responses to these questions. Since the Auditor-General had been working with DSAC, it was able to respond to most of its questions, but it would only be fair if DSAC was given a chance to make a full report on the status of records review. This would be done considering the questions raised in the meeting.

When it came to the specific questions about the filling of vacancies, the DDG did indicate the number of positions filled. DSAC had a breakdown of how many positions were advertised and how many positions still needed to be filled. Perhaps the DDG could take the Committee through the breakdown of the positions filled. He hoped that the Committee will appreciate that posts are being filled. DSAC had highlighted those key positions that had been filled that were critical for the compliance and control environment as raised by the Auditor-General. Areas such as HR and finance have been filled, some in the last quarter of 2021/22 or now in the first quarter. The CFO, the audit executive, and the HR chief director who were externally recruited have now all assumed duty. The DDG can elaborate on the posts that have been filled at the end of March, which will answer the question of when the posts will be filled.

It is not an excuse to talk about the organisational review. This is viewed with an understanding that the organisational review assessment will show how the structure must respond to the strategy that needs to be implemented. It might indicate that in different branches, some staff levels are oversubscribed while others are undersubscribed. It is necessary to begin with the process of matching and mixing before re-advertising those posts; otherwise the structure is overwhelmed with a superfluous staff complement. That is the context in which the organisational review was explained. Not as a reason not to fill posts but as a cautionary measure not to bloat the structure and create people who are viewed as redundant. If this happens the organisation will not know what to do with these people. A situation such as this cannot be afforded.

The AGSA recommendation for a forensic investigation has been done by the NAC. DSAC reported before to the Committee that the NAC project managers who were careless in doing their work and managed that process incorrectly had left the NAC. These people cannot be pursued. The one who remained, the disciplinary process could not be completed as it was discovered that she was not appointed as a project manager at the time. For those NAC council members who had flouted the NAC Act, there were two remaining. When they were called upon to respond as part of the disciplinary process, the two decided to resign and left the organisation. The other council members identified through the forensic investigation had already left the NAC.

The NAC CEO and CFO cases were underway. DSAC will receive a report on the outcomes of those disciplinary cases once they are concluded. It will report on the conclusions to the Committee so it can call the NAC to appear and account for how they have implemented the disciplinary action. DSAC continues to follow up on the status of implementation. The board, CFO and CEO were undergoing a disciplinary process. DSAC now awaits the conclusion of those two processes then it will report on the outcomes to the Portfolio Committee, but as it stands those disciplinary processes are ongoing.

On meeting the 30-day payment requirement, the DDG or CFO were meeting with those concerned. On DORA, this increase was correct. What transpired was DSAC should not have paid those provinces before National Treasury gave a reviewed schedule. The need for the reviewed schedule was because those provinces should have submitted reports before DSAC transferred money. If a province fails to comply, as consequence management, the funds are withheld until there is compliance. Money had to be withheld from these provinces to penalise and force compliance. Once this was done it needed to be reported to National Treasury as the money transfer dates would differ from the initial schedule. It was clear that DSAC should have waited and the Auditor-General was correct in saying Treasury should have given approval first before transferring the money. The argument at the time was the budget reprioritisation challenge. A new schedule was to be delivered and some of those budgets were already reflected when the Auditor-General conducted its audit, close to the delivery of the new schedule.

The Chairperson said what had occurred was a good experience for the Auditor-General and DSAC. They met in December and now it was April. From December to April, something had been happening. Some of the questions raised in the review report were not supposed to be asked. The reality was that this gap was too long. She asked AGSA to respond to this gap which had led to rhetorical questions being raised by the Committee. They were compelled to ask these questions because the report was in front of it. How could they deal with the three-month gap when coming to the Committee as DSAC had been dealing with the concerns raised?

AGSA response
Ms Tsotetsi replied that AGSA had noted the feedback it had received in the Committee meeting and it will update the report as far as possible. It did update where it received information such as removing the CFO vacancy from the review report because it had subsequently been filled. Some of the aspects that remained from the review were those that it felt were still valid and there were still risks that needed to be addressed by DSAC. Where it could update with new information in its report it would do so. She emphasised this report represented risks and gaps in the internal controls that should be closed by the Department before it finalises its financial statements. They were not yet findings at this stage. However, if these gaps were not closed when the final audit is conducted, which had already started, it would return as audit findings.

On the material irregularity process only starting now in this portfolio, the Auditor-General was implementing its expanded mandate in a phased approach to ensure there was adequate capacity. When it started it had criteria used to identify the auditees, looking at their contributions to government priorities, and their irregular expenditure amounts. There were certain auditees that met these criteria and that is how it phased in the expanded mandate since 2019. This year it was still phasing in and will not include all the auditees, but the numbers had been significantly increased to ensure a broader coverage of its auditees.

The last question on the repeat non-compliance asking what the consequences were that it implements as the AGSA. With its mandate it does not necessarily implement consequences, in line with the PFMA, it is up to the accounting authority or the accounting officer, to implement consequences, especially on the repeat non-compliance. With the material irregularity process, the AGSA assists the accounting in doing that, it ensures that they do that and enforces accountability with the expanded mandate. If they fail to do what they have to do within the PFMA, it then has recourse in steps that are taken which can ultimately lead to a certificate of debt being issued to the accounting officer. That was the result of continued non-compliance and not dealing with irregularities in the past that led to the expanded mandate.

Mr Mhlongo said he did not want to waste time and asked for his questions to be responded to in writing as there was another concern at hand. Government needs to explore the matter of employees leaving departments under a cloud. It is a gap that is not being attended to. If one leaves and there are investigations against one, then this must be followed up. Something must be done if the law does not permit this. There must be a regulation of this.

The Chairperson thanked everyone for the engagement. It was helpful to them as the Portfolio Committee. As the Director-General said, the Department could return and report, but there was not a slot in the Committee programme. The only thing DSAC could do is email the written information to the Committee such as the CEO and CFO matter. This was so when the Committee was debating the budget, that relevant information took care of what was outstanding. This would assist the Committee.

DSAC overview of Athletics South Africa
Ms Sumayya Khan, DSAC Deputy Director-General: Recreation and Sports Development said in 2021/22 DSAC gave R5.75 million financial support to Athletics SA to fund these programmes:
- Federation's capacity development.
- Administration support.
- School Sport capacity development.
- National Coaches Support programmes.
- Technical Officials Training.
- Administration training
- Senor and underage National Championships
An additional R4.2 million was transferred in 2021/22 towards Ms Caster Semenya’s legal challenge of the Differences of Sex Development (DSD) Regulations.

DSD Case update
DSAC believes the DSD Regulations are a direct attack and discrimination against Black and Primarily African Female Athletes with differences of sexual development. Appeals against this have been rejected by IAAF and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The case will now be heard by the European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, France.

DSAC welcomed with reservations the recommendations made by the International Olympic Committee on the unfair treatment of transgender athletes and their suggested rules that each sporting code should consider adopting to remove unfair treatment of athletes without imposing those recommendations on any federation.

Athletics SA – Eminent Persons Group (EPG) Matters
National male senior and underage teams: Youth group
- Youth group component of the male pipeline is relatively untransformed reflecting: white 53%; Black African 27%; Coloured and Indian 20%.
- National female senior, junior and underage groups of athletes are significantly less transformed. Black African females are, unlike their male counterparts, underrepresented in national participating structures.
- Coach and referee structures: Coach structure remains substantially untransformed and predominantly White.
- Medical and Scientific Practitioner support structure is significantly underdeveloped comprising only two support categories – medical practitioners: Black African 100%; physiotherapists: Black African 83%; Coloured/Indian 17%; White 0%.
- Schools and club structures: participating athletes number 10 000 in primary and 4 000 in senior schools.

DSAC briefing on Return to Play
- Return to sporting activities.
- Return to play “it’s in your hands” Vaxx Social Mobilisation Campaign.
- Return of spectators.

Amendments to Regulations in March 2022
Gatherings: Venue capacity of 50%: Allowed for those fully vaccinated and in possession of a vaccination certificate and those unvaccinated but with a valid certificate of a Covid 19 PCR test obtained at least 72 hours before a gathering.

Venue capacity of 1000 indoors and 2000 outdoors: Covid 19 PCR test obtained at least 72 hours before a gathering for those not fully vaccinated and not in possession of a vaccination certificate and those unvaccinated.
Transitional Measures
State of Disaster ended on 5 April 2022 with some measures from 22 March 2022 still in force.
- Gatherings: Venue capacity of 50%: Allowed for those fully vaccinated and in possession of a vaccination certificate and those unvaccinated but with a valid certificate of a Covid 19 PCR test obtained at least 72 hours before a gathering. If the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing at a distance of at least one meter from each other, then not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures.
- DSAC will continue to review legislation and strengthen it to consider inclusion of measures for any such situations that may occur in the future.
- DSAC will engage in finalisation of new measures arising from Department of Health initiatives.

Athletics South Africa (ASA) 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan
ASA President, Mr James Moloi, and board members were present.

The presentation noted that from its inception in 1992, ASA focused on four main objectives:
- To unify all athletics in South Africa,
- To develop the sport of athletics in South Africa, particularly at grassroots level,
- To facilitate the participation of previously disadvantaged communities in athletics,
- To prepare athletes for participation in international events

Leadership and Management
- Effective leadership is the core recipe for success in sport. The lack of resources, skills and effective leadership needs to be addressed to achieve ASA’s objectives in the next five years.
- Provincial and local structures have to be transformed to provide strategic leadership.
- Capacity building in ASA will focus on empowering leadership and management of provincial structures through regular training to increase effectiveness.
- Provincial and local structures will be empowered to direct, supervise, encourage, inspire, and co-ordinate, and in doing so, facilitate action and guide change.

Capacity Building
Technical Official Training: Without qualified and competent officials, the integrity of competitions and competition results will be compromised. To improve, ASA will recruit new officials and provide theoretical and practical training to enable them to officiate at national level competitions.

Competition Organisation
- Using athletics competitions to provide a simple and logical athlete development pathway, with transparent criteria for progression to the next level
- Encouraging recruitment, retention and performance improvement through competitions,
- Turning competitions into contemporary events which have flexible, innovative, and shorter formats with easy entry methods and improved communication reflecting the lives of young people
- Increasing entertainment content of competitions to attract more spectators
- Setting mandatory participation standards for all licensed athletes
- Support school sports competitions.

High Performance
The programme aims to support, encourage, develop and optimise the talent of each athlete towards achieving the goals of ASA in winning medals at international competitions. The programme includes the hosting of a series of national competitions and training camps for all athletics disciplines, as well as youth and junior development training camps.

ASA is serious about anti-doping matters and will implement aggressive communication and education plan. A whistleblower hotline is available through SAIDS to encourage athletes, coaches, agents and the public to report individuals suspected of using banned substances/drugs.

Following several engagements with SABC and Supersport, ASA's broadcasting consultant eventually recommended Supersport as the official broadcaster of ASA events. Nevertheless, ASA continues to try engaging with SABC on broadcast agreements. The agreement will include live content and highlights packages covering road running, track and field and cross-country events.

Mr Mhlongo welcomed the presentation and congratulated the new ASA Board who must note that the Committee would conduct its effective oversight. Not all the board members were new as two faces looked familiar. He had just seen Mr Moloi’s announcement in the newspaper stating that he was a World Athletics council member. ASA claimed to have a Facebook account. Do they have a Twitter account as he wanted to congratulate Mr Moloi's appointment to the World Implementation Working Group by World Athletics?

How far is the preparation for the Caster Semenya’s case in France? What are the ASA legal advisors saying on the matter?

Mr Mhlongo asked how many athletes were supported by the relief fund? Are there athletes who have benefitted from the relief fund and does ASA know how many there are?

What mechanisms does DSAC have for monitoring sports gatherings since the country had reopened? Does the Department of Health and Department of Sports attend all of these events? He attended an athletics event in the Vaal and there was no monitoring in sight for Covid 19. There appeared to be a contradiction in the regulations between 2000 attendants and 50% capacity and he asked for an explanation. How does the monitoring process take place?

Mr Mhlongo asked how much ASA is getting from the Lotto? Is there a relationship with Lotto? The suggestion was made to invite the national Lotto to come and present not only for ASA. It had been noted that the ASA Acting CEO is on leave; what is the status of the Acting CEO? He congratulated Gerda Steyn who broke a record at the Two Oceans Marathon on Sunday.

Ms van Dyk asked if ASA has development at school level? And if not, why not? What is the relationship between ASA and SA School Athletics today as there appeared to be some friction between the two? The school structure for athletics remained problematic. Can ASA explain how USASSA will work under it? It is understood that schools can register as clubs which means different provinces charge different fees and the school or the child must pay for their number. Rich schools do not have a challenge with affiliating, but poor rural schools will be left out. Can ASA explain how this will be addressed and what the rules will be on this?

Ms van Dyk said she has personally received complaints from schools that there is no support for them to travel and to participate at a district level. ASA states in its APP that it aims to support all athletes in achieving success through its development pathway. There were athletes who qualified to compete in the 2021 ASA cross-country championships at Amanzimtoti in KZN who could not afford transportation and accommodation. This was all over social media. What will ASA do to ensure talented athletes who qualify for national championships are not disadvantaged by their finances? When a province is underperforming such as the Northern Cape, which was not able to attend the National School Sport Championships, how does ASA come in to address that? Does it investigate to ensure there is support for all athletes from all districts? Northern Cape specifically has not participated in several events. It is important to find out what the problem is.

It also came to light that not all provinces apply the prescribed entry standards for ASA championships. ASA explicitly states in Circular 6 of 2022 that the entry level standard had been adjusted to provide for more general development opportunities. There are provinces that rather adhere to the previous entry standard and ignore this such as the Free State, Gauteng, Boland, and Western Province. What does ASA do to address this?

World Athletics wants teams from all countries to participate in the World Athletics Relays. ASA expects the provinces to hold their own relay championships with all the specified distances to ensure athletes or teams qualify to represent South Africa. Are relays included as an item at regional events and provincial championships? Are there provinces that do not buy into the initiative and vision to incorporate relays into South African athletics? South Africa is growing in relays. What is the reason for Boland not sending a team to the April 2022 national championships?

Can the Department and ASA provide clarity on the involvement of ASA senior officials in the SIU investigation into the National Lottery Commission? This investigation involves R19.2 million corruption for sport facilities. There were serious allegations against the ASA CEO. How long after this was exposed in the media, was action taken and what action was taken? Was the federation not previously aware of this? Historical records have all the funding allocated to ASA by the National Lottery Commission for infrastructure projects, so it can be established if funds were used for their intended purpose. Why did ASA not submit its 2020 Annual Report and its 2021 Annual Performance Plan to Parliament upon request?

There was no safeguarding policy on the ASA website, why is that? What is the platform created for reporting abuse? Does ASA have a reporting system in place? If so, is awareness created about this?

The Chairperson appreciated that Committee members have read the presentations as forwarded. She asked Committee members to be reasonable and ask five questions instead of 10 and then the remaining ones can be asked in the follow up. She did not want members to have questions that have not been responded to. It was not to say that members should not ask questions but if one Committee member has more than five questions in one go, it does not go well with the answering of them.

Mr Zondi said he had many questions but said he would try to be brief. Why did ASA have to appoint a broadcasting consultant? Why did ASA not negotiate directly with the two prominent broadcasting providers instead of using consultants? How can ASA take advantage of developments to achieve coverage of athletes on a large scale to promote sports?

What are appropriate interventions to close the inequality gap in the transformation of athlete demographics representing the nation? What is ASA implementing to transform the landscape? What are the factors resulting in low-level anti-doping tests? And how does this impact athletics? On the DSAC Return to Play, what number of people were vaccinated at the vaccine station during sports events?

Ms Adams said school athletics is critical to the development of athletes and to ensure transformation. What role are ASA and the Department of Basic Education playing to support learners with potential to be competitive?

On technical official training, how many officials will be trained in 2022/23 and what are the targets? How does ASA provide continuous support for learners and younger athletes who have competed in championships and competitions?

Mr Joseph congratulated the Two Oceans Marathon and its sponsors for a very successful marathon in Cape Town. With the U20 athletes events in Columbia and Birmingham, how will the U20 teams be divided in line with ASA objectives to include representation of the disadvantaged and previously disadvantaged? There were 500 000 unregistered athletes compared to 304 000 who are registered. What efforts are in place to register the unregistered? And what impact do unregistered athletes have on ASA? ASA has achieved unification in South Africa with all the structures under one body, which is good. Is the transformation goal realistic to be in the top 10 in the next four years? How will ASA implement the steps to achieve this goal?

 Mr Joseph questioned the breakdown of the R30 million in the financial report as administration is taking R12 million. If all the amounts for competitions are combined it comes to R25.5 million. There is an imbalance there. He agreed with the question about a broadcasting consultant. With the R10 million going to Supersport, how will the poor benefit from this contract with Supersport? It is only people who have extra money who can afford to watch Supersport that can witness these broadcasts. For what time period is the contract?

The Chairperson repeated several questions. On the critical role of school athletics for athlete development and transformation, what are ASA and the Department of Basic Education doing to support learners who have the potential to be competitive? Why did ASA have to appoint a broadcasting consultant whilst there are only two prominent broadcasting providers? Why did ASA not negotiate directly? What are the factors resulting in low-level anti-doping tests and how does this impact athletes? On the Commonwealth Games, noting the selection criteria for the Category B squad, it reflects a skewed distribution of 13 white athletes out of 21. Category B is for upcoming athletes, why is that team not largely represented by previously disadvantaged athletes?

All logistic support funding to athletics and the funding support for Caster Semenya is appreciated. Many human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were part of this fight for Caster. The Committee supports whoever can get funding in support of Caster’s cases.

ASA response
ASA President, Mr James Moloi, responded to the Caster Semenya case. ASA has met with the lawyers who are preparing the documents. This April it should receive the letter from World Athletics because the case might be in May. It is still waiting for World Athletics to come back. The lawyers are ready for the case and they will tell ASA by the end of April on how far they are with the confirmation of court dates. Once confirmed, ASA will inform the Committee and Department.

ASA normally applies to Lotto per event. For example, if there is an event in the United Kingdom (UK) ASA applies for a certain amount such as R2 million, and Lotto will provide R1-1.5 million and it will accept whatever Lotto provides so it can send the teams. Now it applies to Lotto per event.

The CEO’s case started in 2017, immediately after the information was discovered. ASA only received the information about the CEO this year. It had asked the CEO for an explanation. He replied that the case started in 2017 when the previous leadership assisted people from outside to fill out the Lottery application forms, telling them it will help build the stadium. When the stadium was not built, accountability fell on the CEO who assisted people to fill out the forms to build the stadium. The case is with the lawyers and the CEO was given a month and a half leave so he can sort out his problems because it has nothing to do with ASA – it was something that happened outside of ASA. It received a letter two weeks ago asking if he can be allowed to return because the matter was to be finalised and sooner or later ASA will receive a letter from the lawyers.

Mr Jazz Mnyengeza, ASA board member, replied that previously ASA appointed the broadcasters so the board formed an ad hoc broadcasting committee. What was picked up is that they are not experienced in broadcasting. It tried to negotiate with the previous broadcaster for nearly a year, and the negotiations were not moving forward. ASA decided it was best to involve a consultant. It is not only about SABC and Supersport, but there is also YouTube and it is known that AmaZulu is coming to South Africa. There is a lot of competition. What it was doing before as the board was selling everything to a single broadcaster and it was also selling its rights below market rate. The negotiations were open to both broadcasters. Unfortunately there comes a time when it must choose the broadcaster that pays more, but not forgetting the responsibility it has to poor people. If SABC wants to come on board and buy the rights at the set rate, then that would be fine. From 2016, its rights were high at R16 million. In 2020, SABC said it did not have money so the purchase price was lowered to R3.3 million. The negotiations ran longer than six months. ASA then decided to use experts and the deal was made thereafter. As previously stated, ASA is still open, if the SABC wants to broadcast, it can buy the rights at the market rate. There are still negotiations through the consultant with the SABC. The duration of the contract is four years until 2025. On the SABC matter, one of the reasons ASA is not receiving sponsors is because nobody has seen ASA on television. It wanted a situation where events are televised live and not during the night at 11pm when people are asleep. What is happening now, is what it wanted, where the event takes place on Saturday, and it is televised live on Saturday.

Mr Moloi spoke on the R10 million received from Supersport. He tried his best to negotiate with SABC and it kept delaying the process while competitions such as the Commonwealth Games were approaching. The R10 million it received from Supersport is money that will help send the teams to international competitions.

On transformation, before joining the board, there was nobody in charge of development and transformation. Currently, ASA has appointed someone to oversee development and transformation in the office. ASA will do its best to speed up the development process because it acts as a problem. Schools did not have clubs and now it has allowed schools to open clubs, and it is very easy because some of the teachers are good with that. Schools opening clubs will help ASA grow its numbers.

Of the 500 000 unregistered people, most of these people come with their wives or children. Now the money for entries has been reduced so that going forward, they can join athletics. The forms are sent to them to register directly. This helps because people will now register directly. They will register via their clubs, but it will still be a direct registration. People are very interested now as before they were recruited. They are keen to join now as ASA has sent them the website link to join. The ASA website has been improved and the clubs and the individuals make use of it.

Mr Moloi replied that someone have been appointed to oversee technical officials. It never had someone in this role before but now it does. Setting the bar high, it aims to produce about 50 technical officials per annum. This will help ASA grow into other areas.

There was a problem with the 2021 ASA cross-country championships at Amanzimtoti in KZN as there were youngsters that wanted to run but did not have money. ASA did have a problem when its finances were not good, but it managed to obtain funding to subsidise the travel costs of the provinces affected. It is not the children’s fault; the fault lies with the provinces. All the provinces must have development officers and it must make use of its ledgers to assist ASA in developing all these children.

With travel, it will ensure that if it gets a sponsor, it will try and subsidise the costs for those provinces that cannot afford to travel.

South African Schools Athletics (SASA) is now under its wing along with universities (University Sport South Africa - USSA) and their boards have been recruited and are now with ASA. If it experiences accounting problems, it can report directly to it. Before it was outside of ASA and now it is within it, this can be controlled going forward.

There was a problem with management in Northern Cape, it did not have good management. Two months ago, ASA was in Northern Cape where it elected the doctor there. It elected a full house. So now the Northern Cape have a full house where it can report directly. It was told it can go to rural areas to recruit athletes. The teams in place have their own board, they have one there now. There was a problem with this before but not anymore. The board was put together so that ASA could address all the problems in the Northern Cape. It promised to send the development team and a technical official that will help in getting more technical officials, especially in schools.

Mr Jean Verster, ASA board member, replied that the relays are a new initiative and it is aiming to have the National Relay Championships. Before Covid, relays formed part of the normal national championships, the junior championships which is U16, U18, U20, and then senior championships. What was discovered on the ground was that athletes were tired by the time they go to the relay switch which was usually at the end of the meetings and the relays were not very well supported. If one looks at other countries, they are developing their relays. The United States has a lot of meetings. There is a second aspect to the relay meetings which is interesting if one looks at the models overseas. They include multi-events in the relay championships and relay team. The commission felt it good to try its new initiative that the relay is taken out of the normal championships and have a relay championship so that athletes are fresh. At world relays, there are individual championships from World Athletics. It is not only the standard 4x1 or 4x4 that is seen at the Olympics. The Olympics now have a mixed relay and have developed even more relays. The ASA National Relay Championships will be the first of its kind and will take place in Sasolburg at the end of this month. The programme is based on world relay championships, there is one again next year, it includes items like a 4x2, 4x8, 2x2x4, which are different types of relays. Included for the U16s and U18s is a medley relay which is different distances. So, it is trying to make it exciting.

The reason it included the multi-events with that championship is, as with the relay at normal championships, the multi-events at normal junior and senior championships seem to almost disappear. In most cases, those athletes are very good in individual championships as well and could not compete in individual events because they were competing in multi-events. It is following a trend that has happened overseas. The multi-events will not take place with the relays which will allow athletes to still compete at normal national championships in specialist individual events. This way athletes can still participate in individual events and be in the limelight. With the broadcasting deal, the National Relay Championships is also being broadcast. Athletes will have a stage to perform on and hopefully, this develops the multi-events in the process.

On doping control, Mr Verster said that athletics is the most tested sport in South Africa accounting for 22% of all testing conducted. It is not the federation which conducts the testing; the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) does the testing, and reports to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Firstly, it is very expensive. SAIDS has its own budget. It spends a lot of money on travel and accommodation, as seen in Potchefstroom last week at the national junior championships. SAIDS had a team of about 10 people there for the duration of the three-day championships. It did several testing on athletes. It also does out-of-competition testing where it goes to people’s homes and tests them out of competition. The testing protocol, the budget, who and when it tests is up to SAIDS and not the federations.

So far this year out of all the testing done in athletics, there have been three positive cases. The names are unknown, it is still confidential because their B samples must still be tested which in some cases does not align with the A sample, meaning those athletes are not marked as positive. There have been 116 tests in athletics this year of which there have been three positive A sample tests so far. From a federation perspective, its main job is to have a very good relationship with SAIDS. It has both in-season testing, and out-of-competition testing, but it also has targeted testing when there is any indication that somebody might be doping, it tests those people. It has a very good relationship with SAIDS which is connected to WADA, so the federation does have a direct line to WADA. It has had direct communication with WADA about what is being done in South Africa. From a doping control perspective, athletics is probably the best tested and most tested sport in South Africa, and it has a very good programme. A part of doping control is to ensure athletes, coaches and officials are educated about what they can and cannot do. Everything has changed to an online system, so it has been very good.

On the side it has for the preparation squad for the Commonwealth Games, athletics is a sport of absolutes. It has qualification standards that it receives from World Athletics for both junior and senior championships. This includes the African championships, the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) which gives standards for the African championships. The Commonwealth Games is the only one without qualifying standards. The rule of thumb with this is countries should be ranked amongst the top five in Commonwealth countries.

With transformation and black and white athletes, unfortunately it must be developed at school level. The interesting thing was that more black athletes and black stars had been coming out from rural areas. Development was being done. But it takes time. These athletes must qualify when there is a set standard from World Athletics, CAA, or the top five from the Commonwealth. That is what is given and is an absolute standard in every event. It can only select those who qualify. From the federation and the board’s side, an interesting change was made with the previous dispensation. It had the world standard as set by World Athletics, and then there was a second standard. The second was tougher than the first. The board questioned why there were two standards. If World Athletics had a standard, then what was the point of South Africa having tougher standards meaning fewer people would qualify to attend competitions. It wanted to ensure its athletes are given the chance to compete. In several cases, many athletes such as Wade van Niekerk, Caster Semester did not win gold medals at their first championships. These athletes had to go through a few championships before they matured and had the proper experience to become world champions. Only then did they perform and bring medals back. Other aspiring athletes should be given the same opportunities. If they qualify according to World Athletics or CAA, they should go. The ASA board made a huge decision that it would select its teams according to World Athletics standards.

There is a financial obligation as money is required which was why the Supersport deal was helping with getting the different teams to championships. ASA wants to take every single qualified competition-ready athlete. This was why medical screenings were needed before training camps and championships. This is to ensure athletes are not carrying any injuries or have Covid. It is expensive to send teams, a budget was done for the African championships, world junior and world senior championships. The budget included the rebate received from World Athletics as one of the top athletics countries in the world. It received very good help from World Athletics. With the rebate included, R8.9 million was needed to take teams to the different championships. It is expensive, but its job is to ensure athletes attend championships.

Mr Jakes Jacobs, ASA board member, said there was an application for the funding of 104 athletes, DSAC directly paid 74 of those athletes. In 2020, it received R3 million in Lotto funding. It received zero funding in 2021, and for 2022, applications had just opened in April.

No ASA projects had been done on facilities; all of its funding reports had been submitted to the National Lotteries Commission. It is funded by Lotto applications. It applies for funding to attend a championship; it attends and pays its athletes in full for their participation. It provides them with clothing, flights, and the cost of participating in the championship. It did not have any projects with Lotto outside of championships or dedicated projects such as it did with women, coaching, technical officials, and athlete development. It does not do facilities. It would send the financial statements from 2019/2020/2021 when they were completed.

An ASA representative stated that the relationship between ASA and school athletics was sound. It was helpful in making events happen. With school athletics, it depended on two departments because of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they both signed sharing the responsibility of schools. Primary schools were not being looked after in the MOU because they only looked at the high schools. Primary schools formed part of the structure and the Education Department can help. Primary level was where development started.

With the participation of athletes, there was no fee for athletes to participate in schools athletics. ASA also did not have the licence for participants, and it also covered all the schools including farm schools, without any fee required from athletes in these areas.

The transportation of teams from whichever level, district, province, and national was the responsibility of the DSAC. From school to district level, it was the responsibility of Education. If it could have more activities for athletes at the lowest levels from primary to high school, it could close the gap. The gap could not be closed as quickly as desired with few events happening. It was giving support at school level, even in the structures, it has in teacher development. There was an allocation of training technical officials and coaches. ASA was always at the championships so if a record was broken it would be signed off by ASA. Without its signature, that record would not be recognised. It was always there to monitor that things went according to plan.

With officials at the lower levels, the Education Department was helping in schools in organising training for educators. This way they could look at all the athletes at that level. More effort was being made in rural and farm schools because they did have educators who participated and most of the class were exposed to all sorts of training. Up to that level, athletics was being enjoyed through ASA. School events had never been televised but through the new ASA board, schools had enjoyed the television exposure. There needed to be a budget for primary schools to develop better. This was so the race gap could be closed. There was progress in some schools through parent donations. In most schools, there were no school fees. If it could help these schools, it would help in closing the gap in development.

Mr Moloi said it was busy negotiating with corporate companies to help with bursaries which were needed for the rural areas. There were rural athletes doing well in these areas. If the funding could be given to those children, they could be monitored from primary school through to university. If athletes were not given bursaries, it led to them quitting athletics which became a challenge for ASA. The companies had agreed that if it found a child to sponsor, the child would be monitored from primary school through to university.

Most European countries had been taking South African athletes and had been taking advantage of the situation. Athletics SA was trying to close that gap by organising with corporate companies. They had made promises that by next year, latest, they would assist in trying to close that gap.

DSAC response
Ms Khan replied that the reference to 2000 people and 50% capacity was dealing with two different regulations. In October 2021 the regulations allowed for 2000 people and in March 2022 regulations allowed for 50%. That was the difference and it was not a confusion; it was just that the figures came from two different regulations.

On the monitoring of sport events, as indicated by the Director-General, it had provided operational guidelines. DSAC had put out a call for all federations that wished to have spectators submit their own operational plans on a portal. It made a call with a closing date. When all the applications from the federations were received, it had an adjudication team analysed them and the events were approved. Those were pilot events and DSAC had teams to monitor that. For athletics, it did not get any request for spectators or operational plans. This was why nobody was sent to athletics because they did not submit documents to DSAC.

Covid relief funding through the Department had three phases of which athletics only applied through the first phase. There were 86 athletes, coaches, and technical officials who benefitted based on the set criteria and they each received R20 000. There were no applications in the second and third phases from athletics. With the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme for job retention, athletics did benefit with 47 jobs retained. This amounted to R658 000 which was about R3 500pm. There was job creation from the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) of 143 jobs at a cost of R2.13 million. She apologised for the error in the presentation on Caster Semenya and would correct it.

A DSAC representative replied that the number of vaccinated people throughout the Vaxx campaign was 1580. The only provinces it had not been to are the Free State and Limpopo. These were numbers that came from targets when attending vaccination campaigns. It targeted about 2000 spectators to come to the stadium. In almost all the places it had been to, it had not reached the intended target of 2000 spectators. It has always been around 1500 and there were only about 10% to 20% who got vaccinated.

Mr Mkhize replied that ASA had explained anti-doping measures at length and the development pipeline challenge. As a Department, it remained steadfast and supported what the SASCOC conference decided when it tightened the qualification criteria. The question was how many athletes should be taken and how many gold medals will be received. Kenya would have a few athletes but return home with more medals than South Africa. Even Ethiopia sent a very small number of athletes. It did not make economic sense to take 300 athletes and return with three medals. Exposure should happen but preparation should be expanded more to ensure athletes have adequate confidence when attending championships. By engaging with SASCOC and federations, it would propose the most hopeful medallists be sent. To do so, they needed to train here and compete in competitions in South Africa.

For transformation, resources were low. There needed to be a deliberate effort to achieve transformation and provide these resources. This was the case with skills training at school level, to ensure the best was produced from school level through to university.

The Chairperson said the meeting had run over the scheduled time as the meeting was interesting and she did not want to suspend it. The comments by the Director-General and ASA were noted.

Committee minutes
The minutes of 29 March 2022 were considered.

Ms Adams asked if DSAC had submitted the documents requested in the resolutions recorded in the minutes. She moved for the adoption of the minutes.

Mr Mhlongo asked if there was a quorum.

The Chairperson said he should speak on the minutes.

Mr Mhlongo replied he was not allowed to be forced to speak on anything.

The Chairperson replied that she was not forcing anybody to do anything.

Mr Mamabolo seconded the adoption of the minutes.

The Chairperson asked the Committee to keep KZN in its prayers. She said the floods in KZN were very emotional, with a boy who lost his parents and school children being washed away in the floods.

Meeting adjourned.


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