2023 Netball World Cup preparations; Sport and Recreation MoU between RSA & Lesotho & Palestine

Sports, Arts and Culture

07 June 2022
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

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The Committee was briefed in a virtual meeting by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture on the Netball South Africa (NSA) preparations for the 2023 Netball World Cup (NWC), and on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between South Africa and the governments of Lesotho and Palestine on cooperation in the field of sport and recreation.

The Department gave an overview which covered the state of readiness of the country to present the NWC. In 2017, all three spheres of government had agreed to support NSA in their bid to host the 2023 World Cup and in March 2019, the event had been awarded to South Africa. A steering committee was established to initiate preparations. All three spheres of government were involved, and an inter-ministerial committee of relevant departments was established and commitments were received from the various parties involved.

The NWC organising board described the project plan from 2021 up to July 2023, when the World Cup would take place and its achievements so far. It spoke to the status of various deliverables and to key milestones in 2022, and explained its budget sources and anticipated costs.

Members asked why there were no representatives from civil society or members’ independent from government entities on the organising board, and what the relationship between of the board and the NSA was. What were the roles and duties of the head of marketing and the tournament director? Members wanted to know more about the secondment of officials and the detailed official structure and the location of a multi-purpose centre legacy project in Gauteng. When would the first audited financial statements be made available to the Committee? What was the status of the World Cup legacy projects to date? Would the tickets be affordable to the general public? What plans were there to professionalise netball in South Africa? Who would pay for the fan parks and viewing centres? How would local communities benefit from the tournament in the form of jobs? Members asked the Department what the socio-economic impact of hosting the event would be. How would the organising board enable the World Cup and fan parks to involve local businesses, especially the women and youth and people with disabilities sectors, and what were its targets?  

The Department spoke to the MOUs between government and the governments of Lesotho and Palestine on cooperation in the field of youth and sport. It said the agreements with Lesotho and Palestine had been part of South Africa’s reintegration into world sport since 1994. The agreements were before the Committee before their presentation to Parliament for ratification. 

The Palestine agreement was signed in December 2018 through the embassies and it covered the validity period and termination date. It aimed to promote and strengthen bilateral sports relations and to support the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation through the exchange of sports programmes. The implementation of the agreement was in progress through the handover of sports equipment and the Free Palestine Football Programme in Cape Town and Johannesburg in support of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People from 2020 to 2022. However, the two countries needed to develop and sign a programme of cooperation.

Members asked if the agreements were subject to the approval of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). Members asked to be given the details of the agreements. What were the cost implications of the agreements, and how did South Africa benefit? What was the hindrance to developing a programme of cooperation, and did the Department have the capacity to plan, implement and monitor such cooperation. Members asked what the specific intended outcomes of the MOU with Lesotho were, and when the Department would develop a programme of cooperation for implementation, given that the agreement had been signed in 2020.

Meeting report

SA's readiness to host Netball World Cup
Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, Director-General, Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), presented an overview which covered the state of readiness of the country to present the Netball World Cup.

He said that in 2017, all three spheres of government had agreed to support Netball South Africa (NSA) in their bid to host the 2023 World Cup, and in March 2019, the event had been awarded to South Africa. He spoke about the establishment of a steering committee to initiate preparations. All three spheres of government had been involved, especially the Western Cape and Cape Town, as this was where the events would take place. An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) of relevant departments was established and commitments were received from the various parties involved. He ended off by speaking to some of the multi-purpose sports centres being built in the legacy projects.

Briefing by Netball World Cup organising board
Ms Patience Shikwambana, Chairperson of the World Cup organising committee board, said four of the board members were present, and submitted apologies for the two absent members.

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) said he was concerned about the absence of board members, and asked that his objection be noted.

Ms Shikwambana then referred to the project plan -- the outlook from 2021 up to June 2023, when the World Cup would take place. Achievements against the 2021 project plan included the Minister announcing the board members in April 2021, and the opening of the Netball World Cup 2023 (NWC2023) office in September 2021. Tenders for the manufacture of the wooden sprung floors for the netball courts had gone out, and the recruitment process had begun in that same month.

She said that in February, there had been a site visit from the World Netball chief executive officer (CEO), and the Head of Finance, Mr Gerhardus Odendaal, and the domestic commercial agent had been appointed. The Tournament Director, Ms Priscilla Masisi, began work on 1 May. Addressing the status of various deliverables and key milestones in 2022, she referred to a trophy tour through the nine provinces that would be completed between May and July 2023, to the provincial fan parks envisioned in each province, and to the domestic and international commitments of the legacy projects programme.

The budget included revenue from the national government (R90m); provincial government (R5m); the City of Cape Town (R6m); and other commercial revenues. Business and tournament expenses would be R87.9m, while legacy costs and workforce costs totalled R52.3m.

She said the African regional qualifier events would take place in August. The World Cup would take place in July 2023, and there would be a series of events leading up to that date.

Discussion
Mr Mhlongo asked what the relationship between of the board and the CEO of NSA was. How often did they meet and who appointed officials -- was it the CEO or the board? What were the roles and duties of the head of marketing and the tournament director? He wanted to know more about the secondment of officials and the detailed official structure. He asked about the location of a multi-purpose centre legacy project in Gauteng. What was the strategy to have fans at the events? How much money had been received from the Department to date? Where would the test event be in Pretoria?

Ms V van Dyk (DA) asked why there were no representatives from civil society, or members’ independent from government entities, on the board. Had an administrative accounting officer been appointed and if not, why not? When would the first audited financial statements be made available to the Committee? What would the profit split be between Netball South Africa and the world netball body? Why was there a provincial tournament happening when there was a fully sponsored tournament currently happening? How much were African netball bodies contributing towards the World Cup? She wanted more of an explanation of the financial figures that had been presented to the Committee. What were the board members' salaries? Had the R54m from SuperSport actually been given to Netball SA? What would happen to the proceeds from ticket sales?

Mr A Zondi (ANC) asked when the R90m allocation from the Department would be made available to the organising committee. How many courts would the tournament use? How many tourists were estimated to take part? Had the World Cup steering committees been formed? What was the status of World Cup legacy projects to date?

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) complained of Mr Mhlongo’s constant interruptions.

Mr Mhlongo responded that he had the right to free speech.

Ms Sibiya asked what the estimated return on investment would be for hosting the World Cup. Would the tickets be affordable to the general public?

Ms V Malomane (ANC) asked how many African teams had qualified for the World Cup. How did the World Cup aim to develop netball in Africa? How many courts would be upgraded, and how many new courts would be built? Had the activities contained in the project plans been completed and if not, what were the challenges? What plans were there to professionalise netball in the country?

Mr D Joseph (DA) asked who would pay for the fan parks and viewing centres. What was the fallback position if not enough sponsors were found? Where in the Western Cape would the proposed netballs courts be built? Was the R90m referred to by the DG included in the R177m figure mentioned? Would trademarked netballs be distributed to the legacy projects, and what would the cost of the balls be? He was concerned about the November test event.

Mr B Mamabolo (ANC) asked how villages and townships would be mobilised.  

The Chairperson asked when the first and last tranches of the R90m were scheduled to happen. What would the local organising committee do? How would locals benefit in the form of jobs from the tournament?

NSA's response
Ms Shikwambana said she was unclear on the first question, but the board’s responsibility was delivery of the World Cup. The event had been awarded to NSA to establish an organising committee, with Ms Priscilla Masisi as the tournament director. There was no CEO -- there was a tournament director. The head of finance had been appointed, and the head of marketing would be finalised soon.

On the issue of secondment, she said the board had agreed that if there was secondment, there would be discussions around salaries.

Ms Blanche de la Guerre, Board member and CEO of Netball South Africa, responded on the duties of the tournament director and the head of marketing, and said the tournament director worked closely with the world technical delegate and the board to ensure compliance with government laws and policies, and world netball regulations. The World Cup was the biggest income generator for the International Netball Federation (INF), which owned the rights to the event. The World Cup bid had included a guaranteed minimum surplus of £1m. 55% would go to the INF, 25% to the host country, and the rest would be shared by the world netball associations. NSA’s intention was to run a professional netball league.

Ms Shikwambana said the board had not met with the NSA executive, but the board contained members of the NSA executive.

On how much money was received from African netball associations, she said South Africa was hosting it, representing Africa, similar to the soccer World Cup.

No board salaries would be paid to members. The board’s responsibility was to ensure that after the event, netball was professionalised in South Africa.

On the issue of courts, she said that four courts would be used at the venue, the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), with six external courts for training.  

She said steering committees had not yet been established.

Dr Lyndon Bouah, board member, responded on the issue of legacy projects, and said 51 courts had either been upgraded or constructed in the Western Cape, including toilets and change rooms. Nine courts were being constructed, and the rest were upgrades. R5m had been budgeted for the fan parks and viewing centres in the Western Cape.

Ms De la Guerre said the R54m from SuperSport was not for the NSA, but to assist in the training of the national team.

Ms Annelie Lucas, Director: Coaching, NSA, responded on the issue of legacy projects, and said NSA was seeking to assist Botswana and Ghana with international legacy projects, and 15 coaches from these countries would be trained.   

Ms Masisi described the strategy for the fan parks, and said netball and school leagues would be targeted to create hype, and they would be running road shows which would cover the townships and urban and rural areas.

On the issue of job creation, she said that there would be a volunteer programme.

She said 13 wooden netball courts were being purchased. Nine were for the World Cup, two would be for legacy projects in African countries, and one would remain with NSA. The CTICC would have two playing venues, and two warm up venues.     

Mr Odendaal said the financial statements for the year ending March 2022 had been completed. A big portion of the R170m was commercial funding. The first two tranches of the R90m in public funding had been received.

Ms Sumayya Khan, board member and Deputy Director-General (DDG): Recreation and Sports Development, DSAC, said NSA was a federation, and the World Cup board was a company wholly owned by NSA and accountable to NSA, and therefore there were two NSA members on the company’s board.

On why the board was made up of government officials only, she said that NSA had been Federation of the Year in 2013, and had been assisted to improve further through the development of the sport into a professional league. NSA had then approached government for assistance in hosting the World Cup, hence the R90m commitment from the national sphere, as well as commitments from the other spheres of government. She said it had to be supported, as it was one of the big five sports codes and focused on women, and it would be the first time it was hosted in South Africa. It would also leave behind legacy netball courts. Government support had helped the World Cup to get off the ground, which was confined to one province. The venue itself was small, so the economic benefits were not the same as the rugby or soccer world cups. NSA had shown that it could host major events, where SuperSport had committed to an all-women broadcast team.

Mr Mkhize said the first two tranches of the R90m had been disbursed, and the total was part of the R177m. Apart from ticket sales, there was also sponsorship and broadcasting rights as income to ensure that the event was not run at a loss.

He said there were Covid-19 plans in place in case there was a pandemic at that time.

Cape Town and the Western Cape had committed to fan parks and viewing areas, and the Minister was engaging with Members of Executive Councils (MECs) to support the watching of the games in the other provinces.

He said the breakdown of the budget was available and could be provided.

The Committee was advised that the legacy netball court was situated in Randfontein, and the address was provided.

On the legacy projects and whether there would be equipment and attire support, Ms Khan said that whenever multisport centres were built, the Department always handed over equipment and attire for the various codes. Procurement followed government processes for equipment and attire.

Ms Masisi referred to the affordability of tickets, and said there were three categories of tickets. There would be session tickets priced from expensive, to medium and cheap. The exact pricing had not yet been finalised.

The cost of the netballs was fully sponsored by Gilbert, through the INF.  

Further discussion
Ms Van Dyk asked if SASCOC was involved in any way, as there might be conflict of interest.

Mr Mhlongo questioned how the amount of R12m in ticket sales could have been arrived at if the ticket prices were not confirmed yet. Where was the primary school in Gauteng that would get a netball court? He asked how they had arrived at a figure of R36.1m, which was earmarked for legacy projects.

Mr Joseph cautioned against a "big brother" approach, and suggested that African leaders should also be invited to the event just prior to the World Cup.

Mr Zondi asked how the Department was monitoring the commitments made at the inter-ministerial committee, and what the progress had been made on the resolutions.

Ms Malomane asked the Department what the socio-economic impact of hosting the World Cup would be, and how the inter-ministerial committee was ensuring that the impact went beyond the legacy projects. How would the board enable the World Cup and fan park to incorporate local businesses, especially the women and youth and people with disabilities sectors, and what were its targets?  

Department's response
On Ms Van Dyk’s question regarding SASCOC's involvement, Mr Mkhize said there were various measures, such as recusal, should conflict of interest issues arise. 

Mr Mhlongo’s question on the netball court address had been answered.

He said the budget breakdown would be sent to the Committee

On Ms Malomane and Mr Zondi’s questions, he said that at the DGs’ meetings, progress was reported in writing, which was then used as a dashboard to monitor progress.

On the question around the socio-economic impact, he said that other departments and the CTICC had also provided inputs, on air pollution and trade, for example. Through tourism alone, there would be a huge return on investment in the Western Cape. 

The Department had emphasised the involvement of local business particularly to the board when they dealt with procurement and for services to be delivered. The Department would be keeping a sharp eye on the issue of the local economy being used.  

On the issue of ticketing, Ms Shikwambana said the ticket sales projections were based on the previous World Cup.     

South Africa-Palestine-Lesotho cooperation in the field of youth and sport
Mr Mkhize said agreements with Lesotho and Palestine were part of South Africa’s reintegration into world sport since 1994. The agreements were before the Committee before its presentation to Parliament for ratification.  

Ms Khan had looked initially the agreement with Lesotho, which was signed on 30 December 2020, and it covered the validity period and termination date and the impact of the agreement.

On the agreement with Palestine, she said the agreement was signed in December 2018 through the embassies, and it covered the validity period and termination date. The agreement aimed to promote and strengthen bilateral sports relations and to support the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation through the exchange of sports programmes. The implementation of the agreement was in progress through the handover of sports equipment and the Free Palestine Football Programme in Cape Town and Johannesburg in support of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people from 2020 to 2022. However, the two countries needed to develop and sign a Programme of Cooperation.
Discussion
Mr Joseph asked if the agreements were subject to the approval of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). He said one of the slides had a strong political position regarding Palestine and Israel. Would that statement affect South Africa’s relationship with other countries?

Ms Van Dyk asked for the details of the agreements to be given to the Members, and why this had not been done in the first place. What were the cost implications of the agreements, and how did South Africa benefit? She agreed to the strong political stance in the document, and said sport was not supposed to be apolitical. Government could not speak on behalf of everyone. It was alarming that government brought politics into sport.

Mr Mhlongo asked if there would be similar memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Israel and Ukraine.

Mr Zondi asked what the hindrance to developing a programme of cooperation was, and if the Department had the capacity to plan, implement and monitor such cooperation.

Ms Malomane asked what the specific intended outcomes of the MOU with Lesotho were, and when the Department would develop a programme of cooperation for implementation, given that the agreement was signed in 2020.

The Chairperson asked if the agreements were “domesticated.” What was the Committee’s role regarding the MOUs?

Department's response
On what the benefits of the agreement were, Ms Khan said there had been an exchange of skills with Lesotho in 2013 to host the COSAFA Cup. For South Africa, Lesotho was a high-altitude country for high performance athletes.

On the question on DIRCO approval, Mr Meshack Mbowane, Acting Chief Director: International Relations, said that when agreements were done with any country, DIRCO and the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, was engaged to comply with local and international laws. There had also been engagements between the two parties on the content of the text of the agreement.

Mr Mkhize agreed that the documents should have been sent to the Committee.
  
On the statement in the Palestine agreement, he said that South Africans were fully aware of the Palestinian-Israel situation, and that the government fully supported the Palestinians and the acquisition of their own freedom, so this was not the Department stating its own political statement -- it was the government's stated position of solidarity with Palestine. 

On the financial implications, he said that all the agreements clarified the roles and responsibilities. In the Lesotho agreement, each government was responsible for its own funding.

Mr Mbowane said there were no hindrances to developing programmes of cooperation. He said there was an implementation plan for every agreement. The challenge was that some countries had to be followed up regarding the implementation plan, as everything had to be agreed to.

Mr Mkhize said South Africa signed agreements with countries such as Ukraine and Israel, as there was no instruction to exclude any country if there were mutual agreement and interests. 

On the issue of implementation of the agreements, he said other countries could not be forced to cooperate after they had signed agreements, but South Africa had to work together with other countries to initiate programmes to give effect to the agreements.

He said multi-lateral agreements were the ones that required “domestication.”

Committee matters
The minutes of the Committee's meeting of 31 May 2022 were adopted.

Ms Sibiya reiterated her earlier comment that Mr Mhlongo’s repeated interjections during presentations caused delays to the meeting proceedings, and this was not right.

The meeting was adjourned.

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