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SPORT AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
17 AUGUST 2005
FRANCE STUDY TOUR REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS: DISCUSSION
Documents handed out:
Draft Committee Report of studytour to France [available shortly at Committee Reports
The Committee discussed observations and recommendations emanating from their study tour to France. Members were particularly concerned that negotiated agreements between provinces and corporations had not been implemented, and about the small role of the South African government in preparing for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
The Committee recommended a legislative framework that would clearly define the roles and accountability of sports federations, and to make nationbuilding the driving force behind sports events. The youth, schoolchildren and disadvantaged groups should be mobilised in the process. Members felt the contribution of Lottery funds to sports development should be more substantial.
The Chairperson said that the visit had investigated the role of Parliament and the French public around preparations for the Soccer World Cup. They had visited France, Korea and Japan. The Committee had been informed by the South African Embassy in France of some provincial and municipal agreements and raised concerns that hosting the 2010 World Cup might result in a deficit to be paid by the government. Interest should be declared and divided among all stakeholders as a rule by the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA).
Broad bilateral agreement had been reached between South African delegations. The Committee had been given a list of provinces, municipalities and corporations that had relationships and agreements with France. Concerns were raised about the lack of feedback on agreements and developments. For instance, Mpumalanga province had had an agreement with France in 2003 to send students on exchange programmes. This had never materialised. The South African Football Association (SAFA) had also made proposals to the French Federation to send players to the French Academy to be trained for the national team for the 2010 World Cup. This was also never implemented. The Embassy had suggested a closer look at some of these agreements and possible intervention by the Committee. The Committee would remind provinces and corporations, and find out the details of such agreements from the French.
Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) agreed that it was important to find out details of such agreements as it would be easier to know who to contact in a particular province or municipality.
Mr R Reid (ANC) wanted clarity on the kind of corporate agreements, and whether it had to do with sports or trade.
Mr C Frolick (ANC) responded that agreements encompassed a wide range of issues including sports development, so the idea was for the Committee to play a facilitative role in ensuring that the negotiated agreements achieved the desired results.
Mr Reid wanted clarity as to whether some of these agreements had been concluded between a province in South African and a province in France.
The Chairperson responded in the affirmative, and added that the Committee would send a written notice to the South Africa Embassy in France that it intended to pursue some of these agreements and should be given more details to be able to refer it to the relevant province or municipality.
All federations in France were funded by the Ministry of Sports. The role of local government was huge since matches had been played in municipalities. All sports facilities belonged to local municipalities just like in South Africa. The 1994 legislation had enabled the French to address the issues of education and sports. Physical education became the responsibility of education and a sport was given to the Sports Ministry. Sports policy was divided into three levels (state, local entity and sports movements). The Chairperson felt that the French local authorities functioned in a similar manner to municipalities in South Africa.
One potential source of losses for organising world championships was television broadcasting, especially for unpopular sports. Television rights for the broadcast of football were R600 million for a period of four years. In South Africa, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) was responsible for competitive prices for the broadcast of soccer. In France, one person from the sports department served in all federations and decisions had the authority of government. Government used legislation to amend any anomaly in sports development.
Mr M Dikgacwi commented that legislation was important to make the sports federations in South Africa function properly and to make them accountable.
Mr C Frolick added that a legislative framework to guide federations and all stakeholders in sports in South Africa was non-existent. Laws and funding proposals were fundamental in addressing roles and responsibilities. Sport was a provincial competence and this had created problems because provinces with many resources were able to develop, while those that were constrained lagged behind. Therefore sports had to be a national competence. A substantial percentage of money available in French sport was derived from the Lottery and it was necessary to increase Lottery funds to sports in South Africa. It was also necessary to redefine the responsibility for disbursement; NGO, national or provincial government.
It was also essential for provinces and municipalities to identify short and long-term goals for sports codes as was the case in France where a clear strategy was in place for priority codes that received funding, unlike in South Africa where it was spread very wide. It was important to interrogate how resources given to sport codes contributed to the overall objectives of government’s nationbuilding and social cohesion. Mr Frolick was of the opinion there was no linkage.
The Chairperson commented that the state’s involvement in the bidding process for the World Cup was to create private and public entities to run it. The agenda of the state was to provide better infrastructure and its involvement was to guide the objectives. Government was never part of the conceptualisation of the bidding process.
Mr M Dikgacwi felt that if federations were not made accountable, the process could not move forward. Legislation would have enhanced government’s involvement in the initial stages. The Chairperson agreed. Even with legislation in place, it could not stop federations from bidding for world tournaments.
Mr C Frolick added that it was necessary to determine how some of the World Cup tournaments contributed to the objectives of the government. If they did not, federations should not be allowed to bid.
Mr R Reid commented that they learned from the experience of France. Government had to play a vital role. He was of the opinion a transformation charter could have addressed some of the concerns and challenges.
Mr C Frolick agreed and added that federations bid for tournaments and then argued for government to provide security and infrastructure, only to pocket the benefits without contributing anything to achieving government objectives.
The Chairperson added that the charter would have been a guideline but was counteracted by the Department. However, for the time being, the Committee was going to concentrate on presenting a clear legislative framework.
Mr M Dikgawci responded that the Committee needed to follow up to ensure successful implementation.
Mr C Salooje (ANC) said the government had to be in control of funding of sports, and the Committee should pressurise and engage party leaders and argue in Parliament that national government should have the ultimate responsibility and also be the driving force behind world events. It should liase for each code of sport, which should be under its supervision. Soccer governing bodies jealously guarded their territory while making huge demands on government for funding.
Mr C Frolick said the Committee would interact with the World Cup Director to find out the extent of his involvement with local football federations and also highlight concerns to him. SAFA did not have the capacity and had relied heavily on government for support. Therefore, the Committee would put a stop to the misconception that they were the authority and driving force behind the 2010 World Cup. He agreed it was important to consult with political principals. However, the rules of Parliament allowed for private legislation, and the Committee could contract a specialist to draft a bill and present it to the Department.
Mr E Mtshali (ANC) said the Committee should rather engage the Minister and not the Director of the World Cup, in order not to be seen as not knowing their role.
Mr C Frolick said that the Sports and Transport Departments had done the initial preparation for 2010 and Cabinet had then made certain recommendations. The Committee needed to engage the process further. The Minister would enlighten the Committee on the core functions of the Director. He felt the Committee had to be proactive and ask for discussion in the public domain.
Mr C Saloojee added that national events should be dealt with at government level and not at individual level.
The Chairperson said they were to liase with the Department’s secretary and get the Minister to brief the Committee. Mr Frolick added that it was a matter for urgent attention.
The Chairperson added that it was also important to inculcate France’s plan of youth and schools involvement in the world cup. Communities should benefit from the events. Although FIFA had increased its relevant requirements since 1998, the South African Football Association should look at its own requirements and interests. It should remain resolute and guard its mandate.
Ms D Morobi (ANC) said the issue of tight security had to be seriously looked at.
The Chairperson responded that tight security and a good working relationship with government was important and should be encouraged. Preparation for the World Cup should be communicated to all including disadvantaged communities.
Mr M Dikgawci added that it was necessary to engage with the Transport Department to find out about their preparations. The Chairperson agreed on a cluster meeting to find out if other Committees had similar challenges. They would look at the readiness of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to provide free, big screen broadcasts. They had earlier been informed by the SABC that FIFA required digital high performance broadcasts.
Mr C Frolick said it was important to note that the 1998 French national soccer team had progressed to the final stages of the tournament. Participation by other African nations and their progress would also maximise the events for local people. He commended the French Embassy for arranging meetings during the study tour. The Chairperson added that they would thank them in writing.
Ms D Morobi asked if "sports without boundaries" was something from which South Africa could benefit. The Chairperson responded that it arose in France because of war and hostility at the time. However in South Africa, the concept could be adopted for mobilisation of young people, HIV-infected people, and streetchildren, or in the event that there was a conflict situation.
The Committee felt the 5% of Lottery proceeds that went to sports and recreation was insufficient and should be increased to 20%.
The meeting was adjourned.
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