Sport and Recreation SA and Education Department on School Sports Structures: briefings

Sports, Arts and Culture

23 August 2005
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


23 August 2005

Mr B Khompela (ANC - NA) and Mr B Tolo (ANC - NCOP)

Documents handed out:
Sport and Recreation SA briefing

A joint meeting of the Portfolio Committees on Sport and Recreation, and Education, and the Select Committee on Education and Recreation discussed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Departments of Sport and Recreation, and Education, on the process of changing school sports structures.

Sport and Recreation SA (SRSA) outlined the process of sports integration at schools and the dissolution of old sport structures, as well as their Joint Framework on the MoU. The presentation also focussed on the proposed phasing out of the United School Sports Association of SA (USSASA) and the formation of a new structure, the National Co-ordinating Committee (NACOC) to replace USSASA.

Representatives from the Provincial Legislatures were also called on to give feedback on the MoU. The Committee discovered that the provinces knew very little about the MoU and only Gauteng and the Free State had sufficient knowledge. Some provinces were not represented at the meeting and could not provide feedback. The Chairperson stressed the need to have good communication between National and Provincial government for the programme of improving sports in schools to be successful. The Committee asked the Departments of Education and Sport and Recreation SA to return to the Provinces and give more briefings on the MoU to fully equip Provinces in the whole process.


Sport and Recreation SA briefing
Mr G Fredericks (SRSA Chief Director) explained that a Ministerial Task Team (MTT) had been established by the former Minister of Sport and Recreation. This MTT had consulted for more than a year on the poor showing of South African athletes at the Sydney Olympics in 2002. The MTT’s findings were that there were too many macro-structures at national level, which had resulted in a lack of clear vision and massive competition for positions. The MTT had recommended that there should be only two macro-structures at national level: a government department and a non-governmental organisation (NGO). It was decided that a NGO should replace structures like the National Olympic Committee of SA (NOCSA), the SA Commonwealth Games Association (SACGA), Disability Sports SA (DISSA), the SA Student Sports Commission (SASC), the SA Sports Union (SASSU) and USSASA. Of all these structures, USSASA seemed the only organisation reluctant to comply. Government had clearly articulated its position on the matter and USSASA was informed that it had to wind down by December 2005.

The MTT had also recommended that a National Academy should be set up and mass participation in schools needed to be established. The MTT report had been endorsed by Cabinet on 25 June 2005. NOCSA and USSASA were expected to wind down by December 2005. A steering committee had also been established to define government’s role and responsibilities in the process. The committee had identified these as being the need to ensure mass participation in schools through sports, community mass participation games, social leagues, indigenous games, student intra-campus sport, recreation, talent identification and further development.

In the past, the federations had always influenced government’s decisions when it came to school sport and SRSA was too dependent on federations. This was likely to change. The Framework of the MoU had been signed by the Ministers of Sport and Education on 17 March 2005. The Framework accepted that government needed to take its rightful place in the development of sport at schools.

The objectives of the Framework were:
- to formalise government’s responsibilities for physical education and school sport;
- to foster a sense of pride and nationalism;
- 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 prevention and crime, and
- to ensure that physical education was widely provided on an incremental basis.

This programme would be co-ordinated by the National Coordinating Committee (NACOC), which would consist of the Department of Education; four teachers’ unions; two national school governing bodies; nine representatives from provincial departments of education; nine representatives from the provincial departments of sports and representatives from SASCOC. NACOC would sanction, co-ordinate, manage and monitor national school programmes, thus ensuring access and mass participation in school sports programmes. NACOC would report to the Department of Education and SRSA and would manage the whole process.

Mr M Mathews (Activity Director: Department of Education) added that in 2001, the President of South Africa in his speech to Parliament requested an integrated programme for the development of youth in terms of their Constitutional rights. These rights included the integration of women in society and looking after the needs of the disabled and the previously marginalised. It was very difficult to meet these objectives as there was very little infrastructure in schools. The government’s role in this regard had become critical as it had to make public amenities available to schools to enable children to participate. The government would do this until such time that the recapitalisation process was completed.

Mr Mathews said that NACOC would not dispose of the human capital within USSASA when it wound down, but would use it in NACOC. The people who would be tasked with identifying talent in schools would need to be strong and skilled individuals as they would have to be able to think strategically in addressing poor infrastructure problems in schools. NACOC had also decided that demarcation in school sport needed to be in line with that of government. The districts also needed close monitoring as some were currently organising their own sports tournaments parallel to government’s.


Mr J Thlagale (UCDP) commented that he suspected that school sports facilities were being neglected on the grounds that they were built by the old homelands. He asked how the new structure would ensure normality in the face of neglect and vandalism. Mr Fredericks responded that mass participation in sport would make the youth value their sports facilities. This new value system would take input from local municipalities who would also be required to make their localities understand the negative impact of vandalism and neglect.

Mr P Maloka (Chairperson: Free State Legislature) was worried about the composition of NACOC as he saw that there were mostly teachers’ bodies and no politicians, ex-players, provincial structures and members of local communities. He asked about the new role that would be played by these important people in school sport.

Mr Hendricks responded that input from politicians and provincial legislatures would always be welcomed as they were critical as custodians of government’s policies. On the role of members of the community, he said that in schools without properly trained sports instructors, ex-players would be used to train youngsters.

Ms J Ndimande (Chairperson: Limpopo Provincial Legislature) needed clarity on the role played by USSASA in school sport. She further explained that the Legislative branch did not understand USSASA as it operated in Model C schools; yet it was being funded by government while excluding black kids from participating in sport by charging exorbitant amounts for trips to tournaments. Mr Fredericks responded that USSASA had emerged in the early 90’s to integrate sport in South Africa. USSASA was initially run by teachers, but now was gradually being taken over by ex-teachers and government officials from the old regime.

Mr C Frolick (ANC) commented that Model C schools were unwilling to share resources with poorer schools. He asked to what extent these Model C schools were receiving funding from government. If they were funded by government, what mechanisms have been devised to force them to share the resources? Mr Mathews responded that at present school governing bodies had too much power and were therefore very influential in school sports. Some governing bodies were using this to exclude black students from participating as they could not afford to pay to go to tournaments. This however would change with the new structure. He conceded that Model C schools were receiving funding from government. He also added that children would in future not have to pay to play sport at schools.

Ms F Mazibuko (ANC) wanted to know about the budget allocation for the "mammoth" task facing NACOC; was their budget big enough? She also asked if any teachers from USSASA had been taken across to NACOC and expressed reservations about the commitment of these teachers once in NACOC. Mr Fredericks responded that the personnel complement for NACOC had increased and the budget for this year stood at R15 million and would be R150 million in 2006. On the issue of teachers being antagonistic, Mr Fredericks assured Members that the teachers from USSASA were motivated to make the new structure work.

The Chairperson asked whether there would be prioritisation of sports codes when sporting codes were decided upon in line with the demographics of the country. He also commented that NACOC needed to be accountable to the two Ministers and should be replaced, just like USSASA, whenever it stopped delivering. Mr Fredericks responded that NACOC would be fully accountable to government and in terms of codification of sports codes, he said there needed to be directives from National government. These would guide NACOC.

Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) commented that NACOC needed to look into the subtle racism that was taking place at schools where black kids’ sports teams were replaced with white teams whenever tournaments were about to be played. The Chairperson asked about the structure of NACOC and the representation of provincial structures as there needed to be a connection between National and Municipal structures. Mr Fredericks responded that there would be representatives from the National Departments of Education and Sport (each would have nine). He however accepted the suggestion to include provincial representatives and promised to look into it.

The Chairperson called on the provinces to give feedback on their understanding of the MoU and whether they had signed the agreement. The Free State reported that it had signed the MoU and had had several meetings since June 2005 with a view to implementing the MoU. The province had submitted its first draft document to the working committee on 12 July 2005. Gauteng also reported that its Departments still needed to be asked for progress reports on the matter. However, Gauteng had found the briefing very useful as they now had a clearer picture of what was required of them.

Limpopo reported that it was still waiting for a briefing on the MoU. They had signed their MoU on 17 March 2005; however further briefings were still needed. The Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga reported that their provinces knew very little about the MoU, so very little had been done in their provinces. They requested an urgent briefing by the two Departments on the imperatives of the MoU. The Western Cape reported that it was in the process of having the MoU signed as it was still being drawn up. Kwazulu-Natal, the Northern Cape and the North West were absent and therefore could not give feedback to the Committee.

The Chairperson commented that National and Provincial government were not moving at the same pace. National government needed to slow down its pace to allow provinces to catch up for the process to run smoothly. He requested that the Departments of Education and Sports and Recreation South Africa should assist in bringing provinces up to speed on matters. He also pleaded with the two departments to provide clarity to the provinces whenever it was needed.

The meeting was adjourned.


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