Dismantling United School Sport Association of SA: discussion

Sports, Arts and Culture

02 August 2005
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Meeting report

Chapter 6

2 August 2005

Mr B Komphela (ANC)

Document handed out:
Joint Presentation from Sports and Recreation SA and the Department of Education

The Chairperson began by dealing with the issue of the strained relationship between the United School Sport Association of South Africa (USSASA) and Lovelife. USSASA provided the Committee with reasons for the breakdown that had resulted in Lovelife cancelling its contract with USSASA. The Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation was aware of the situation and wanted the two parties to sort out their problems.

Sports and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) then presented the Committee with a joint presentation from it and the Department of Education on the new system that would replace USSASA to govern sports in schools. The new system was the result of a dual process, the first being a Ministerial Task Team (MTT) and the second being a Department of Education, and Department of Sports and Recreation effort.

Government’s responsibility was to ensure mass participation through all school sport, while the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) dealt with high performance sports such the sports academy. The programme would be co-ordinated by a joint National Co-ordinating Committee (NACOC). The responsibilities of NACOC included their roles to sanction, co-ordinate, manage and monitor national school programmes.

Members wanted to know if there was enough staff to run sports in all schools, as USSASA had done. They said it was important to have the staff currently helping with the running of sports within schools to maintain their positions. It was important that regular progress reports be provided, given the sheer number of programmes about to be initiated.

The Chairperson said that physical education in schools would become the sole domain of the Department of Education, but sports as a whole were governed by Sports and Recreation South Africa (SRSA). Of concern was the relationship between SRSA and USSASA and the issue of Lovelife. Lovelife had a relationship with USSASA, but it had broken down. The involvement and role of Lovelife in sports was questionable as it was hard to determine its impact on HIV awareness or sport. This matter had to be sorted out.

Mr D Chiloane (USSASA Deputy President: Finance) said that at its last visit to Parliament, USSASA had raised concerns about the way Lovelife was conducting itself. The Committee instructed USSASA and Lovelife to go and sort out the concerns and report back to Parliament on any progress made. Unfortunately, Lovelife sent USSASA a letter almost immediately suspending the relationship. This made fulfilling the Committee’s requests impossible. This suspension would last until it gave substantive reasons for the statements it made to the Committee or it stated that its statement was false. USSASA refused to say that its statement was false but did give Lovelife reasons for its statement. On 31 May 2005, Lovelife had sent a letter unilaterally cancelling their contract that was supposed to run until December 2006.

Mr D Hendricks (SRSA Head) explained that Lovelife was established through an agreement between the South African government and the Kaiser Foundation, with the government putting in 25% of its funds, and the Foundation putting in the remaining 75%. They used sport as a vehicle to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS, which made sports in schools attractive, which then led to the relationship with USSASA. The relationship between SRSA and Lovelife was not an ideal one either, especially as some of their programmes involved youth development which was outside the mandate of SRSA.

Mr G Fredericks (SRSA Chief Director) went onto say that the Deputy Minister was made aware of the problems between USSASA and Lovelife. He wanted them to resolve their issues as this was a governmental programme and so that the children who were meant to benefit from the programmes would not suffer.

The Chairperson said that at the end of the day SRSA was in charge of sports in South Africa, not Lovelife. It could not impose programmes on SRSA.

Sports and Recreation South Africa briefing
Mr Fredericks explained that this system was the result of a dual process, the first being a Ministerial Task Team (MTT) and the second being a Department of Education and Sports and Recreation effort. The MTT met for more than a year and made a number of recommendations. There were only to be two macro-structures at national level: a government department and a non-governmental organisation (NGO). This NGO would be formed from the National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA), the South African Commonwealth Games Association (SACGA), Disability Sports South Africa (DISSA), the South African Sports Commission (SASC), the South African Students Sports Union (SASSU) and USSASA. There was also a need for sports that governments could fund and a need for a sports academy. Cabinet had endorsed the MTT report on 25 June 2003. All the parties (including USSASA) signed the agreement to implement the recommendations.

A steering committee was set up to define roles and responsibilities. Government’s responsibilities were to ensure mass participation through all school sport; community mass participation games; social leagues; indigenous games; student intra-campus sport; recreation; talent identification and further development. High performance sports such as the academy system; education and training; bidding and hosting; national colours; team presentation and preparation for various games were to be governed by SASCOC. A rationalisation process was to be implemented with only two macro-structures at national level: SASCOC and the SRSA and the Department of Education. NOCSA, SACGA, DISSA, SASC, SASSU and USSASA would be closed down by December 2005.

He said that in 1998 the Department of Education and the then Department of Sports and Recreation made an agreement that they would in the interim fund some school sports and commission a report into the funding of school sports. In 2001, the Centre of Education Policy at the University of the Witwatersrand delivered a report with a model for school sport. He noted that SRSA was too dependent on federations to do their work. There was not enough delivery. It was realised that government had to take the lead role in delivering school sport programmes.

The framework for collaboration between the Department of Education and SRSA had been signed by Ministers Pandor and Stofile on 17 March 2005. The objectives of the framework were
- to formalise government’s responsibility for physical education and school sport;
- to foster a sense of pride and patriotism;
- to ensure and increase access to facilities, school sport and physical education;
- to strategically link school sport programmes to national interventions such as substance abuse, HIV, AIDS and crime, and
- to ensure that physical education was widely provided incrementally.

The programme would be co-ordinated by NACOC. It would consist of the Department of Education; the four teachers’ unions; the two national school governing bodies; nine representatives from provincial departments of education; nine representatives from the provincial departments of sports and representatives from SASCOC. The responsibilities of NACOC were to sanction, co-ordinate, manage and monitor national school programmes; ensure access and mass participation in school sport programmes; ensure racial integration, gender equity and rural inclusion. NACOC must report to the Department and SRSA, monitor the provision and development of infrastructure, and advise the departments on policy and legislative issues.

Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) wanted to know if there was enough manpower to runs sports in all schools as USSASA had done. Part of the job of the Department of Education was to distribute sports equipment in all provinces, and currently they struggled to get this done. Did the Department have the required capacity?

Mr T Lee (DA) agreed with this. It was important to have educators in the schools helping with the running of sports. No one body could do it alone.

Mr D Hendricks responded that the process as proposed in the MTT deliberations was agreed upon by all stakeholders. The educators needed to organise themselves into the new structures. There needed to be a smooth ‘handover’ process by USSASA. As government has taken over education, this process needed to continue with sports. In most cases the same teachers who were involved with sports would still be involved.

Mr M Matthews (Department of Education Chief Director: Special Programmes) said that there was a level of acceptance from USSASA provincial offices that USSASA was to be wound up by 15 December. The confusion had come from their national level.

Mr Lee said that it was important that regular progress reports were drawn up to guide the Committee given that there were a number of programmes and structures that were to be initiated and established. If there had been better progress reports, the problems with USSASA might not have occurred. Teachers helped out in sports using their own cars and money. They had to be looked after as they spent their own time and money to help sports. There had to be incentives to thank them and keep them motivated.

The Chairperson said that clarity was needed on where teachers and other volunteers who ran sports would be placed in relation to USSASA. Also, he saw government as being in charge of sport as a whole now. It was not in charge of only one sector called ‘mass participation.’ He wanted clarity on this question. He had been informed that Transnet had a relationship with USSASA, but now it seemed as though it was the Department that had the relationship with Transnet. Who had the relationship, and if it was with USSASA how could it hand over the whole programme to the Department without affecting the programme?

Mr Matthews said that there had been a memorandum of agreement between USSASA and Transnet, but Transnet changed the relationship because it was more cost effective to deal directly with the Department without an intermediary.

Mr E Mtshali (ANC) wanted to know from the Chairperson if the Committee had ever discussed the dissolution of USSASA. From the Department of Education and SRSA, he wanted to know if there was an agreement to dissolve USSASA and was it ever discussed to integrate it in the new system?

The Chairperson replied that the Committee had never discussed the dissolution of USSASA. The Committee was being informed of the decision as taken by SRSA, with the Committee giving its input and highlighting areas of concern from the view of Parliament.

Mr D Hendricks said that USSASA had been involved in the process to ensure that it went smoothly. They have not been totally neglected. Also if they had spoken to USSASA individually they would have had to speak to all the other disbanded associations. In fact, SASCOC consisted of a number of different federations, and so their views would be heard there.

Mr D Nkosi (USSASA President) said that USSASA had taken a resolution on 4 June not to disband as they were never involved in discussions about the closure. He hoped that the dissolution of USSASA would be done carefully, and wanted to see a greater emphasis on physical education.

Mr Chiloane said that USSASA had never been called to meetings to discuss how it would be integrated into the new structure. The only meeting they had attended was with the Deputy Minister who had told them to close by 15 December 2005. They had been shocked and surprised by this. USSASA would close if it had to, but only after due process was followed. USSASA employed a number of people, but they were unsure of how they would be treated in the new system. The process had to be sensitive, but up to this point this had not happened.

USSASA welcomed that the government was taking control of sports in schools. USSASA had an agreement with Transnet that operated on an annual basis. USSASA was now planning for the remaining games this year without Transnet support. He said that USSASA needed clarification on how its assets and liabilities were to be handled.

Mr P Hendricks (USSASA General Secretary) said that it was important that the government did not ride roughshod over the people involved in this process. He did not see this process as a ‘handover,’ but wanted to see more deliberation to smooth the process. The voluntary efforts of teachers needed to be organised to ensure that the process worked.

Ms S Shibambo (USSASA NEC Gender Equity) said that this issue needed sensitivity. She noticed that female sports were being marginalised at the forthcoming Summer Games.

Ms L Louw (USSASA Vice-President) said that even though the new system sounded good, a time frame had to be given to the Departments, especially with regard to Lovelife. USSASA wanted to be part of the discussions but SASCOC had never invited them in.

Mr Matthews said that it was difficult to speak about these issues in isolation. In November 2004, the Department of Education held workshops to look at national programmes to be organised by USSASA and the Department, which would culminate in a calendar. The calendar could not operate without the Minister’s approval, and depended on the availability of funds. USSASA knew what the process was to include certain sports. He was worried now that USSASA’s tune had changed.

The Chairperson noted USSASA’s concerns and their confusion about the whole process. He said it was necessary to arrange a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation to resolve some of the issues.

The meeting was adjourned.


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