Sport Hall of Fame and SA Rugby Football Union: briefings

Sports, Arts and Culture

22 February 2005
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Meeting report

SPORTS AND RECREATION, AND ARTS AND CULTURE, PORTFOLIO COMMITTEES
22 February 2005

SPORT HALL OF FAME AND SA RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION: BRIEFINGS

Chairpersons:
Mr S Tsenoli (ANC, Art Committee) and Mr B Komphela (ANC, Sport Committee)

Documents handed out:
South African Sport Hall of Fame Booklet/Powerpoint presentation

SUMMARY
The Sport Hall of Fame explained the details of their project to the Committee. This included information on how it could contribute to South African society and the economy. They requested that government and Parliament endorse the project. A discussion followed regarding the merits and possible problems that the project may face with Members citing an urban bias and the history of apartheid sport as complicating factors.

The South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU) was also scheduled to brief the Committee. However, it failed to appear. The Sports and Recreation Portfolio Committee Chairperson was incensed at a statement SARFU’s President, Mr B Van Rooyen, had made to the Sunday press to the effect that he could not be summoned by the Committee. Members were clearly insulted by Mr Van Rooyen’s statement and made it clear that their intentions were to assist in resolving rugby’s problems. The Committee decided that SARFU would again be invited to address it.

MINUTES

South African Sport Hall of Fame briefing
Mr B Konki (Hall of Fame) outlined the concept behind the proposed establishment of a South African Sport Hall of Fame. It would preserve, honour and present the history of South African sport and its sportspersons. Through this, the project would be involved in contributing to national unity, education and the inspiration of future sportspersons.

Mr Konki then described the other projects that the Hall of Fame would be engaged in. These included a program to identify young sporting talent. The Hall of Fame would also promote new sporting technologies and training methods. A facility was also planned that would conduct research into the sporting past, including that of historically marginalised communities.

Mr Konki stated that the Hall of Fame would be involved in creating employment. It would also boost tourism and attract foreign investment. Financially, it would be self-sufficient and would include five business structures responsible for events, media, merchandise, membership, a captains club and a resort.

Mr Konki outlined how a Hall of Fame Management Company was established in 2003. It consisted of a two tier corporate structure, the SA Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Trust. The first entity would be responsible for the physical running of the projects. The Hall of Fame Trust would be responsible for oversight and accountability. It would also manage the funds of the Hall of Fame.

Mr Konki said the Hall of Fame would be developed as part of large resort complex in the Knysna area. He also, however, stated that the Hall of Fame was part of a national project. Its headquarters, along with some of its associated businesses, would be situated in Johannesburg. Other projects would also be initiated in Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Durban.

Mr Konki then sketched out the time frame for the Hall of Fame project. It would be launched in April/May 2005, with the first inductees announced by November 2005. All individual sportspersons and teams that had shown exceptional ability would be considered, including disabled athletes. In April 2006 the Sports Science exhibition would be opened. Mr G Bailey (Hall of Fame) explained what the exhibition was. It was also noted that the talent identification project would launch in July 2006.

Discussion
Mr S Tsenoli stated that South Africa was attempting to create a non-racial society. Looking at the history of non-racial clubs such as Orlando Pirates could be an inspiration for this. He added that the Hall of Fame should consider becoming involved in such initiatives as Heritage Month.

Mr Tsenoli and Mr C Frolick (ANC) then enquired why the Hall of Fame would be situated in Knysna. Mr Tsenoli believed that perhaps it could be situated in a less developed area, so that it could become a developmental node. He also questioned what adjudication system would be used when considering someone for the Hall of Fame.
Mr Frolick stated that the Hall of Fame needed to be involved in the transformation of sport. He asked whether plans existed for the Eastern Cape. He also enquired about the talent identification programme, specifically how it operated and whether it was involved in uplifting sporting federations.

Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) and Mr K Moonsamy (ANC) enquired how the Hall of Fame would identify rural sportspeople, and former sportspeople who had never represented South Africa due to apartheid policies.

Mr T Lee (DA) said the Hall of Fame should include the total history of sport in South Africa, and that it should unite and not divide the country.

An ANC Member stated that perhaps the Hall of Fame should be involved in fostering an African identity. He also questioned why the lion was selected as the logo, as the British rugby team used the lion as its logo. He felt that the lion could, therefore, symbolise colonialism.

Another ANC Member enquired about the exact size of the Hall of Fame in terms of land. He also wanted to know how the Hall of Fame would differ from an archive.

Mr Konki stated that the Hall of Fame was still in the concept phase: the Johannesburg and Knysna developments represented an initial stage. Other programmes would be rolled out to other areas in due course.

Mr Bailey outlined that the talent identification programme would travel throughout the country. It would include the Sports Science Exhibition, from the London Science Museum, which encompassed soccer, cricket and rugby. The exhibit could then be set up near schools, where children’s sporting abilities could be tested via a computer programme included in the exhibit. When talented children were identified, with the parents’ consent, contact would be made with the nearest university, where the child would receive further attention. In cases where the child was extremely talented, a bursary would be offered to them.

Mr Konki conveyed that the Hall of Fame needed a large area. The Knysna property would be approximately 254 hectares, while the Johannesburg property would be 100 hectares. These would be used to create sports fields, where children could interact and play with their sporting heroes.

Mr N Botha (Hall of Fame) noted that the inductees would be selected on their sporting ability. Sporting federations would also nominate sportspeople according to their own criteria. Initially, there would be 120 nominees each year. This would then be reduced to 60. Finally, 42 sportspersons would be inducted annually. Rugby, soccer and cricket would each be allocated four inductees per year. Other sports, such as netball would have two. There would also be five inductees set aside annually for sportspeople that had played prior to 1994. The media, public and selection committee would all play a role in selecting inductees.

Mr M De Jong (Logo Designer for the Hall of Fame) discussed the reasons why the lion logo had been selected. He highlighted that the lion was an African animal, not a British animal. He also commented that corporate symbols take on meaning - they did not have intrinsic meaning. They evolved and as time went by the public added value to them.

Mr De Jong then discussed the colours of the Hall of Fame logo. He highlighted that the reflex blue used was one of the most powerful colours. He remarked that this colour, in combination with gold was not offensive to anybody.

Ms T Ravele (Hall of Fame) remarked that the project would be linked with national federations, because national players would be involved in working with promising youngsters. Mr S Khompela (Hall of Fame) aired a similar sentiment. He noted that it would also improve national pride and patriotism amongst sportspeople. He hoped that government would support the initiative.

Mr P Ndou (Hall of Fame) noted that the programme would lead to improved sporting performances.

Mr L Reid (ANC) recalled that federations nominated the sportspeople to the Hall. He questioned whether this would be effective in federations that have transformation issues, such as the South African Rugby Football Union (SARFU). Specifically, would such federations recognise the contribution that black players made in the past? He, therefore, enquired whether there was any other mechanism whereby people could be nominated.

Mr Moonsamy and Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) noted that there were very few women or disabled people on the Hall of Fame Board of Trustees. Mr Moonsamy and Mr E Lucas (IFP) also stated that it appeared that the Hall was aimed at the urban community and not local people. It needed to be aimed at South Africans in less developed areas and, as such, it needed to be affordable.

Ms M Mbombo (ANC) asked whether there would be a Hall of Fame for musicians.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard stated that she hoped that the Hall had proper procedures to deal with controversy, because there would be controversy if apartheid era sportspeople were honoured. She then enquired about what the Hall wanted from the Committees.

Mr A Mlangeni (ANC) stated that he hoped there would be no form of discrimination when selecting inductees. He also noted that the Hall had not mentioned some sporting codes. He then enquired about the period from which sportspeople would be selected.

Mr E Saloojee (ANC) noted that during apartheid, many historically disadvantaged teams and individuals were exceptional. The Hall would, therefore, need to conduct a lot of research in order to recover the past. He also hoped it would recognise the contributions of all sections of the population.

Mr B Dlamini (IFP) raised a concern that perhaps instead of inspiring people to do their best, the Hall of Fame would appear elitist.

Ms D Van der Walt (DA) questioned whether there would be a time frame for people to forward names. She also asked that the rural areas be included in the nomination process.

A Member commented that being inducted into the Hall of Fame should be a great honour, therefore, the criteria should be strict. He also commented that perhaps allocating a predetermined number of inductees to specific sporting codes was not an optimal solution. Some sports did not perform in certain years while others did. The sports that performed should receive more inductees.

Mr Konki stated that sportspeople from the last 120 years would be considered as inductees. No persons would be excluded or discriminated against. He also highlighted that the selection of inductees would be thorough. The public would also vote for the short-listed nominees. Mr Konki and Mr Bailey noted that a representative panel of authorities would, however, have the final say. This would help avoid possible controversy.

Mr Konki commented that the number of women on the Board would be increased. He also said a Hall of Fame for musicians would be possible, but it would have to be linked to the Sport Hall of Fame.

Mr Konki said that Kynsna was selected because many tourists visited the area, but the programme would also be national. Mr Botha also said Kynsna was a neutral area.

Mr Konki stated that the Hall of Fame was visiting the Committees to gain government and parliamentary endorsement for the project.

Mr B Komphela (ANC) said that the Committees were supportive of the Hall of Fame initiative. It would seek to continuously interact with the Hall and offer help where it could. The Committees would also be willing to approach the relevant Ministers if the Hall of Fame needed resources, although he was pleased that the Hall was making a contribution to the country without seeking government funding. He also stated that if a person was award the Presidential Sports Award, they should automatically become a Hall of Fame inductee.

Mr B Komphela noted that the Hall of Fame could be involved in developing similar projects in Africa. It could also include information on sports stars from poorer African countries. Once these countries had enough resources to establish their own Hall of Fame, the South African Hall would be in a position to supply them with relevant information.

Mr B Komphela highlighted the need for the Hall of Fame to be accessible to the majority of people. He also noted that the Hall of Fame perhaps needed to reconsider the criteria it used when considering disadvantaged nominees from the apartheid era. It would not be fair to judge them according to the same criteria as people who had ample resources.

Mr Tsenoli remarked that the Hall of Fame was a social building project, but it should not sanitise history. He also said it must be fair and pay tribute to both teams and individuals. It should also be proudly South African. He suggested that the project might benefit from establishing contacts with Heritage Agencies.

Mr Konki stated that the Hall of Fame would return to brief the Committee on the project’s progress. He also invited Committee members to visit the project.

The discussion around the Hall of Fame was closed.

SARFU Non-attendance

Mr B Komphela then addressed the non-attendance of SARFU. He noted that the SARFU delegation had not arrived and would, therefore, not be briefing the Committee. The briefing was supposed to present information on the problems in rugby. The Committee wished to be part of the solution to these problems.

Mr B Khomphela noted that the Committee had received a letter from SARFU stating that its President, Mr B Van Rooyen would not be attending the Committee meeting. Mr Van Rooyen, however, had reportedly already stated to a Sunday newspaper that he would not be attending the Committee meeting as he was not a child who could be summoned. Mr Khompela stated that he was offended by Mr Van Rooyen’s "unfortunate" statement. He noted, however, that the Committee would be drafting a letter inviting Mr Van Rooyen and SARFU to attend another Committee meeting. He noted that the Committee needed to deal with this issue in a sober and rational manner.

Mr Lee stated that he differed with the Chairperson’s view. He said that the Committee should not appear to be anti-rugby. It should be fair and objective. He noted that the Chairperson had taken offence at Mr Van Rooyen going to the press. However, he said that the Committee did not have the right to say that Mr Van Rooyen could not go to the press. He also noted that there were differences between people in rugby, but that these had been solved. The Committee, however, was not in a position to judge these differences; it could only judge rugby’s policies. He did not want the Committee to get involved in the running of rugby.

Mr Frolick stated that it was unfortunate that the discussion had been reopened, but the Committee had not prevented anyone talking to the media. He noted, however, that the Committee’s invitation to SARFU should have been respected. He argued that the Committee had a constitutional mandate to oversee all sporting federations, including rugby. This included addressing the perceived lack of transformation. He also expressed the view that the DA did not need to act as a spokesperson for rugby.

Mr T Louw (ANC) noted that Mr Lee had objected to a statement, which had been taken out of context. The Committee as a whole was offended by Mr Van Rooyen’s behaviour. SARFU had stated in the press that they had been unaware of the meeting, when clearly the reality was different. As such, rugby as a whole was out of order, not just Mr Van Rooyen.

Mr Louw also commented that the Committee was a multiparty institution. Rugby could be considered a national asset, and when the Committee called any sporting code to appear it was doing so with good reason. Mr Louw, Mr Dlamini and Mr Reid all felt that SARFU should have, therefore, appeared. The matter was not about individuals, but intended to benefit rugby.

Mr Dlamini also explained that SARFU had been invited to the Committee meeting in order to establish whether its perceived problems were factual. There was a concern that SARFU was bidding for the World Cup at a time when it was in disarray. He said that another invitation should be extended to SARFU as the World Cup bid was important to the country.

Mr Saloojee requested that the Sunday newspaper article be distributed to all the Committee members. Once this had taken place, the Committee members would realise the seriousness of the situation. They would also be in a better position to discuss the issue, perhaps at the next meeting.

Mr B Khompela noted that the Committee would write another letter inviting SARFU to a meeting. Irrespective of differences, however, the Committee would continue supporting rugby. This was despite SARFU’s unfortunate actions. However, Mr Khompela noted that he was offended on behalf of the Committee by Mr Van Rooyen’s actions.

The meeting was adjourned.

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