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SPORTS AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 May 2000
GREYHOUND RACING; BROADCASTING OF SPORTS EVENTS OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE
Discussion Document on Broadcasting of Sports Events of National Interest (Appendix 1)
Broadcast of Sports of National Interest/Importance (Appendix 2)
Chairperson: Ms N R Bhengu
Members decided that interested parties as well as the Department of Trade and Industry would be invited to comment on greyhound racing.
The ANC working document on broadcasting of sports events of national interest was fine-tuned so that it would reflect the position of the committee when engaging with the Broadcaster, sports bodies and sports administrators and the Portfolio Committee on Communications.
Mr Lucas (IFP) said, deducing from the responses from his random survey, there seems to be mixed feelings about greyhound racing. Based on the results, it is not possible for one to generalise and claim that the dominant view is for or against this type of gambling. He added it would be best that the committee look into ways of legalising this activity, so it may conform to the Gambling Act.
Mr Frolick (UDM) reported that as recent as the past week, in Queens Town (Eastern Cape), there had been advertisements all over, even radio broadcasts, about greyhound racing that was to take place. The police had not acted in anyway to stop the event from happening, and the race did take place.
He said the information he accessed on the internet provides that this type of gambling inflicts severe harm to the dogs, during breeding and racing. Should the committee legalise greyhound racing, mechanisms must be put in place to prevent the possible cruelty to animals that may occur.
Ms Taljaard (DP) said that the exercise to sit and discuss the matter by itself, without the presence of experts, is fruitless, considering that SPCA is campaigning vigorously against dog racing. The Chairperson responded by saying it is necessary that the committee deliberate on the matter since that would be the only way to find out whom they should consult.
Mr Lucas suggested that the matter be opened to the public for input. Further, the committee must look into ways of decriminalising this type of gambling, and not necessarily legalising it - the emphasis should be on safe-guarding the dogs.
Mr Mlangeni (ANC) responded that the issue is not about the legal implications of the activity. Rather, the committee needs to make an informed decision on the matter and should invite all relevant and interested parties to submit their views.
Mr McIntosh (DP) responded by saying it is necessary for dog racing to be legalised. This would invariably lead to a clear understanding of what behaviour is acceptable and what is not, thus leading to regulation of the activity. He suggested that the committee also look into dog hunting as this, in some instances, also constitutes gambling.
Mr Fihla (ANC) advised that since the issue concerns two groups, namely the organisers of greyhound racing and the SPCA, it is important that the committee stay vigilant of undue influence.
The Chairperson then invited members to submit names of stake holders the committee wishes to hear submissions from. Mr Morkel (NNP) suggested the Gambling Board and Trade and Industry. Mr Ferreira (IFP) suggested the Greyhound Association and the SPCA.
Mr Morkel said persons involved in this type of gambling may not come forward because of fear of implicating themselves and that is why he believes the committee must consider decriminalising dog racing. Mr Booi (ANC) and Mr Zondo disagreed with Mr Morkel, they said the committee should not, as yet, make such deductions.
The Chairperson said it would help if the committee also considered other countries' position on the matter. The committee agreed unanimously to consult the Department of Trade and Industry, and invite all concerned parties to make submissions on the subject.
Broadcasting of Sports Events of National Importance
The Chairperson explained that the purpose of the subsequent discussion was to fine-tune the document adopted in the last meeting. Members need to scrutinise the document to detect any possible omissions or any errors.
Mr Ferreira said the document does not distinguish, as was done in the meeting, between primary and secondary broadcasters.
Mr Morkel said the wording "inter alia" is incorrect and should instead be "the mentioned sporting codes are the only ones to be considered for broadcast". The document also does not show that broadcasting has two separate aspects, the economic and the social aspect.
Mr Frolick advanced that his party supports the document fully.
The Chairperson also voiced her observation that there are indeed missing contributions in the document, and she promptly instructed the secretary to revisit the minutes of that meeting. She informed the political parties that had not made any contributions, to do so by consulting the secretary. The document is of paramount importance as it will set guidelines for the Minister.
Mr Kleeland (DP) suggested that experts on broadcasting be invited and tasked with fine-tuning the document. Ms Xingwana (ANC) responded by saying that the committee must formulate its own document that it can defend and not, for example, an ANC document. To this Mr Frolick and Mr Morkel agreed.
The Chairperson reminded members that the document was not final, but only a working document the committee shall be using before consulting IBA, sports federations, and broadcasters. She informed members that the document must be finalised the following week.
The meeting was adjourned.
Discussion Document of the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation on
the Broadcasting of Sports Events of National Interest
The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation met on the 9th of May 2000 to identify Sports Events of National Interest. The purpose of this exercise was to prepare a position of the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation on this matter. The agreed position of the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation on this matter will then be used to engage parties who are interested such as the
· Broadcaster ( M-NET, Etv, SABC and Radio station)
· The Portfolio Committee on Communication
· The Sports Bodies including the sports administrators
The political parties who were represented in the meeting then made their submissions The ANC made a written submission. The DP, NNP and IFP made verbal submissions. It was then agreed that those parties who had made verbal submissions were going to forward the written submission to the chairperson for incorporation of such into the discussion document. The ANC's submission with amendments, was then adopted as a discussion document.
In today/s meeting the committee is expected to fine tune this document and adopt it as the position document of the portfolio committee on Sport and Recreation.
Broadcasting of the Sports Events of National Interest/Importance
The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation had the initial discussions on this issue on the 08.02.2000. This is an issue to us because poor people who cannot afford subscribing to pay broadcasting channels are discriminated from viewing and/or listening to live broadcasting of Sports Events of National Interest. It is increasingly becoming a trend for sports bodies to sell broadcasting rights of important sports events to pay channels and this is making it more and more difficult for ordinary people to watch such events.
During the initial discussions of the issue by the Portfolio committee on sport and Recreation we agreed that we are not going to support any particular broadcaster on this issue. Our role on this matter is to influence the opening of opportunities for the entire nation to view sports events which are of interest to them regardless of they geographical location and financial affordability.
The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation adopted a process which includes the following:
1. agree that this was an issue which the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation has to deal with and come up with a recommendation to the Minister of Sport and Recreation.
2. allow the Minister to engage on this issue the three broadcasters (M-Net, S.A.B. C.
and etv) and the Minister for Telecommunications.
3. identify by the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation of sports events of national interest.
4. hold targeted consultations with stakeholders and interested parties including the portfolio committee on communications, the regulatory bodies i.e. I.B.A., the sports bodies and broadcasters.
5. Make the recommendation to the Minister of Sport and Recreation.
Purpose of this meeting
The purpose of today's meeting is to identify the sports events which we think are of national interest. In our last meeting on this issue I asked political parties represented in this committee to identify such sports events and then present their cases in this committee so that the committee can then come up with a list which will be used to engage the broadcaster on this issue.
The position of the ANC study group.
The ANC's position on this issue is influenced by the non-discriminatory constitution of South Africa, the affordability levels of television viewers and radio listeners, the support which for a number of years, poor masses of South Africa have given to sports in different ways. The ANC's position on this issue is also taking into account the role of the media especially radio and television, in the process of transformation.
The ANC is therefore proposing that:
Sports Event of National Interest be broadcast by all broadcaster namely SABC. MNET and etv
· Pay channels such as M-NET should broadcast these events during times that are not paid for. This means that those broadcaster who are currently broadcasting the sports events of national interest on pay channels will have to broadcast such events at times when viewers are not required to have decoders and subscribe to the broadcaster.
· Radio Stations should also broadcast the Sports Events of National Interest.
Sports Events of National Interest as identified by the ANC
The ANC identified the following sports events:
World Cups and International Tournaments
All pool games, Quarter finals, Semi finals and finals of
· Rugby World Cup and all Rugby Tests played by South Africa irrespective of where they are played.
· Cricket World Cup and all Cricket Tests and One Day Internationals played by South Africa.
· Soccer World Cup and all International Games involving National Soccer teams
· Women Soccer
· Net ball
· Basket ball
· Summer Olympic Games
· Commonwealth Games
· All Africa Games at least opening and closing events of the games.
· Africa Cup of Nations
· Athletics including Comrades Marathon
· Rothmans July Handicap
J& B Metropolitan Handicap
National Team Events
· The National Soccer Teams including Women and under 23
· The National Hockey Team
· The National Rugby Team
· The National Cricket Team
· S.A. Open Golf Champions
· Tennis events played international and in South Africa in the Davis Cup for men and the Federation Cup for women.
Domestic Events - Development Programme
This category is seen by the ANC relating more to the Development Programme where South Africa will identify talents and building a pool of players at which selections for our National Teams will be targeted. The domestic events therefore includes:
· the Bobsave Cup
· the Rothmans Cup
· the Currie Cup Rugby
· the Standard Bank Cricket
· the Two Oceans Marathon
The ANC is expecting a Win - Win solution on this issue where the three broadcasters will collaborate and agree on that each broadcaster should have a fair share of events to broadcast . The ANC is also expecting that Radio stations to which most of the rural people have access will be accommodated in the deliberations of broadcaster.
The DP position
The DP categorized the sports events into
· Sports played in South Africa
· Sports played outside South Africa
· International sports events not involving South Africa International sports events involving South Africa
The DP also argued that sport is about money which is why broadcasting rights are sold.
The NNP position
Agreed with ANC position but raised concern of running the risk of regulating the broadcasting rights.
IFP agreed with ANC position
Observation made by the committee
Need to counter balance the money making and public interest
SABC failing to prioritize
Inconsistency of federations on development and selling of broadcasting rights
The consequences are that people do not go to stadiums
The Minister talked about his consultations with the broadcasters and the fact that all broadcasters are prepared to collaborate.
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