Presentation by SA Rugby on Draft Transformation Charter

Sports, Arts and Culture

07 November 2005
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


7 November 2005

Chairperson: Mr BM Komphela (ANC)

Documents handed out:
SARU Approach to Broad-Based Transformation [please email]

A delegation from the South African Rugby Union presented a draft form of their Transformation Charter, and the background to the document. Members of the Portfolio Committee posed questions on issues arising from the presentation and on transformation within the sport.

The Chairperson welcomed the delegation from South African Rugby Union (SARU). He observed that the Committee was observing an historical process. He expressed the appreciation of the Committee for the way rugby was attempting to shape things up in their domain and set things right. He accepted the apology of the President of SARU, Mr Brian van Rooyen, who was in Argentina. He said that the document was a milestone in the history of rugby. The Committee would make an input based on the presentation on how it saw the ideal situation. He noted that inputs given to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) had been ignored. The strategic input made would affect the policy position of Parliament.

Briefing by the South African Rugby Union
The SARU delegation was led by Mr M Ncula, the Deputy CEO, and included Mr T Titus, a member of the President’s Council, Mr J Prinsloo, the CEO of SARU, and Dr W Basson, a strategist at SARU and experienced sports administrator.

Mr Ncula thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity to make the presentation. The SARU President had promised the Transformation Charter by the end of April 2005, and the first version had been sent to President Mbeki and the Minister of Sport at that time. The task group had planned to visit all fourteen rugby provinces, and had visited all but Border, which was experiencing severe internal problems.

He mentioned that the version of the document presented to the Portfolio Committee was the twentieth draft thereof, and some five hundred man hours had been spent on its preparation. The Border authorities had been consulted, and visits had been made to all other provinces. The report was a reflection of this investigation, and was not a scheme to impress the Committee. What was important was the implementation thereof, and the manner of this was crucial for success. The culmination of the transformation process would see South Africa again being one of the best rugby-playing countries.

There were two fundamental considerations. First, the transformation process had to cascade down to the lowest stake-holders. Second, the management of SARU would be vigilant to perk up lukewarm leadership which could become a barrier to progress. Mr Ncula said he would explain the next steps after Dr Basson’s presentation.

Dr Basson undertook to follow-up on the Committee’s recommendations to SASCOC the following day. He said that SARU had spent a great deal of time with each province. Great support had been received and enthusiasm had been rekindled. Attendance at these visits had been good, with provincial presidents and CEO’s present. A positive response had been received. Sponsors and media had still to be engaged, as they were also important to the success of the transformation process. He compared the complexity of the transformation challenge in sport to that in the business world, and that interaction between the two spheres was needed. Alliances with government were overdue.

He sketched the sports development continuum. There were three levels, namely mass participation, the organised level and the high performance level. The problem was with co-ordination and structure, both in vertical and horizontal integration. There was no national plan. Mass participation aspects of sport were driven by the Department of Sports and Recreation (DSR), Provincial and local government, schools and community organisations. The High Performance aspects were co-ordinated by SASCOC and managed by national and provincial federations, clubs and athletes’ associations.

Dr Basson said that economic transformation rested on international competitivity. Sport could demonstrate the way to achieve this. There would be no success if sport were to go it alone, and also not with transformation. Rugby covered a wide spectrum of participants. He described three different attitudes, namely those with two feet in the past, those with one foot in the past and one in the future, and those with both feet in the future.

Dr Basson then gave an outline of the presentation. He described the overall transformation challenge. This was to change historically racially-based organisations and social patterns in order to ensure the demographic representivity of sports systems. The product of this change would be competitive, non-racist and non-sexist. The priority was to give equitable access to the same resources so there was an opportunity for all to participate and excel. This should happen in all areas and at all levels, both on and off the playing field. He noticed that affairs on the playing field were being run on an increasingly more professional basis, and the gap between the on and off field performances was widening. This would lead to disrespect of players towards administrators.

He said that the document was still in its first version. The second version was due two weeks after the date of the presentation. The contents included an explanation of the need for transformation. Transformation was to be seen as being the same as development, and involved the total structure of the sport. The document also included the actual charter, and a scorecard template.

The charter was a roadmap to direct the transformation initiative by all SARU members. The preamble placed transformation in a global context, and emphasised that transformation was not politically driven. Dr Basson said that an irreversible transformation process had begun when Dr Mandela was released from prison, but after ten years the process seemed to have stalled. He feared that the unaddressed demands for a better life could return South Africa to the chaotic condition in which the country had been. The spirit of the national constitution must be followed. The consequences of past actions must be appreciated. Discriminatory practices stemmed from structures. Vested interests were a problem. The principles of restorative justice was a moral and strategic choice, and the awareness of past injustices was one side of the coin. The most challenging part would be the reconciliation of expectations. Reconciliation was not only an act of confession, but also required structural adjustments. A change of direction at all levels was called for, including thinking, interaction, participation and performance. Business had taken over the lead from sport, which had led the way in the past, as business had adapted to the changing environment as a necessity for survival.

The transformation document revealed that SARU recognised the following principles:
That transformation strategies should be applied and not only politics.
That addressing of social inequalities was imperative.
That the unit of empowerment was the individual. An ethos of creating appropriate environments for individual growth was important.
An attempt to compress the natural process led to an increased risk of failure. This was the last chance for rugby to transform.
An enhancement of performance, productivity, efficiency and competitiveness improved the order of things.
An ability to invest by individuals in resources was essential.
A lack of investment inhibited transformation. No overall picture existed for the Minister to hold up as an example. Measuring systems needed to record success or failure.
The need to ensure participation and facilities. There was no plan. Activities had been delegated to local government level. There was a lack of understanding at provincial level between federations and governmental structures.
Rugby at elite levels appeared to flourish, but there was much room for improvement at lower levels.
As transformation increased, individuals and certain provinces saw themselves as victims of the process.
There was not an overnight process. Clear milestones were needed.

Dr Basson stated that SARU noted the following:
Government’s overall policies were to reflect the demographics of regions.
Merit was the basis for advancement. However, this could not be realised if the playing fields were not level.
Apart from providing inputs, government could not enforce policies. However, continuous underperformance could lead to legislation to remedy the situation.
The Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act was in existence.
Government subscribed to the development state, and was proactive in intervening in order to provide resources.
The basic Transformation Charter was a process driven by DSR, subject to country-wide consultation.

Dr Basson said that SARU was committed to :
Transform rugby.
A willingness to embark on the journey with community participation.
Activities to promote a competitive and vibrant rugby system.

He said that the Charter would strive for voluntary development. It outlined the process of broad-based empowerment. It would assist and guide units of SARU in the process. It would apply to all stake-holders. It was still to be determined when it would take effect, but would last until December 2014. Annual audit reports would be needed, and audits would be conducted independently. Differences in regional demographics would require differences in applications. Provision of transformation would be consistent with governance principles.

Dr Basson then discussed the Rugby transformation objectives. A priority was the introduction of broad-based empowerment. Black representatives were needed at all levels and in numbers. The current quality of the off-the-field component was a matter of concern. It was necessary to redesign the genetive architecture of the game. The four principles were Reframing, Restructuring, Revitalisation and Renewal.

The objectives would be achieved by the following:
Demographic representation both on and off the field should match the profile of the region.
An equitable distribution of resources at all levels must be made.
Equitable access to infrastructure, and opportunities for participation and activities should be ensured.
The capabilities of SARU must be improved and extended in all areas and at all levels on a sustainable basis.
Positive action was an opportunity for qualified employees from designated groups.
The enhancement of performance on and off the field based on universality and merit.
The appreciation of the broader context of social change. Community based initiatives should not be simply a matter of searching out individual promising individuals. These should include spectator-based initiatives. Sponsors would also be concerned about the profile of the spectator base. He expressed concern at the destruction of club structures, and the thrust of development should be focused accordingly.
The implementation of preferential procurement practices.
The development and improvement of a central strategy for SARU. A long-term thinking process should be instigated.
The implementation of a measurement system.

Dr Basson then introduced the concept of the Transformation Performance Scorecard. This was a structured means of measuring the success of transformation. It was a representative framework. It would enable a balanced and timely view of the implementation of the process. All components would be marked with an overall score. There were six Transformation Dimensions, namely:
Demographic representivity.
Employment Equity.
Skills development.
Preferential procurement.
Social community development.

He said that transformation efforts should be aligned with business practices. There was an associated weighting to each dimension.

There was concern that the transformation process was not filtering down to club and school level. There was also a difference between the process in urban and rural areas. Also, each region within a political province had a different demographic profile. He asked where the blockages were. Details on the demographics of the population were available, and the demographics of the sporting population, spread over eighteen different codes, had also been researched.

The scorecards would be compiled by SARU, each of the Super 14 franchises, each of the fourteen provinces both overall and at club level, and also amongst senior and junior divisions. He said that what was important were the trends observed so that changes could be mapped over time.

Dr Basson then presented various population and rugby demographic statistics. He observed that it would be senseless to continue with the traditional provincial boundaries, especially so where different codes had determined different boundaries. The least transformed areas were shown to be the areas of the biggest growth, for example in the Eastern Cape. The statistics for rugby showed that the balance of players was now approximately 50% white and 50% other races. The powerbase remained in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape areas, with strong support also on the West and East Rand.

The figures showed a huge increase in the numbers of African adult players, far more than in any other population group. Many of the players were involved in industrial and social leagues and other informal structures. The trick was to get them involved in the formal arena. The lowest growth was in the Vaal Triangle region, which was a symbol of the poverty in that area.

In all but five regions, a decline in the number of players at schools had been recorded. An exception was in the Eastern Cape, where a big increase had been recorded. The trend overall was for a slower increase in the number of participants in rugby when compared to other sports. In particular, codes such as basketball, volleyball and tennis had made major strides.

The demographics for rugby players were close to the national profile statistics. A number of questions had been raised regarding the low participation by black players in the northern provinces at both senior and school levels.

While the numbers of white players had remained static over the last few years, there had been a slow growth in the number of black players, in this case including the coloured, Asian and African population groups. The participation increase amongst these three groups was still too slow, and especially so in the north of the country.

A different approach was to classify Rugby participants by their involvement. The numbers for serious participants were 15% of the total, 43% as casual participants and some 42% at club level. Statistics had also been compiled regarding the spectator base. These numbers included both spectators at the grounds and television viewers. These numbers revealed that the African base was greater than that for whites. The total spectator base was some ten million, of which 64% was black. There had been a slow increase over the past few years. There still remained a challenge to make Rugby more accessible to the spectator base. While soccer was still by far the most popular spectator sport, cricket was still stronger than rugby. A survey amongst men and women showed that there were no rugby players listed in either list of the ten most popular sportspersons.

Mr Ncula then sketched the way forward. He noted that there was an interim committee in place in Border and the situation there was chaotic. The next move would be to address the board of SARU, who would drive the implementation of the process. The provincial CEO’s would be tasked to drive the process. The strategy would be in place by 2006, and would be confirmed by the President’s Council and the Board of SARU. Messages would have to be cascaded down to gather data. The data for 2005 would be used in the completion of the scorecards. An analysis was needed to identify the transformation blockages so that appropriate interventions could be considered and reports generated.

He said that regional demographics should be translated onto the field. An opportunity existed for rugby’s total re-invention. All aspects of the game needed to be addressed. The next target group would be the sponsors, who should consider how their social responsibility budgets could be used. The media would also be approached to consider their attitude to transformation.

He thanked the Committee for their assistance. Their involvement opened the doors to sport MEC’s and local government structures. Mr Ncula would take responsibility for the process. Transformation had become a standing item on the agenda for the President’s Council. He said that the presentation would be made available in the following week or two in its revised version.

Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) thanked Dr Basson for his presentation. He asked what would happen to provinces or clubs that did not comply with transformation measures. Transformation had still not really happened. He asked if the serious issue involving Quinton Davids and Geo Cronje had died, as SARU did not seem interested. If the Charter had to be in place first before the process was started, it could last another fifteen years.

Mr C Frolick (ANC) said that the demographics showed that the Eastern Cape should have been awarded the fifth Super 14 franchise. Rugby administration was in turmoil, but the new concrete document was on the table for guidance. Transformation elements had been applied in cricket with popular approval, and he did not see why rugby should differ. He noted that resources tended to disappear when previous officials left office, and sponsorships seemed to end with them leaving office as well. Transformation had to be driven vigorously. Elected officials needed to be included in the process. He agreed that sporting provinces must conform with political boundaries. Rugby had prepared a bold document, and he congratulated them for this. He saw it as a tool for holding unions accountable, but it needed to be implemented. Finally, he observed that the northern provinces were poaching players of colour to bolster the representivity level in their teams.

Mr D Dodovu (ANC) said that the Committee’s raising of issues was not malicious finger-pointing, but was because rugby was an important element of society. Constructive engagement was needed. He observed from the demographic profiles offered that 52% of participants were black, but queried what the figures were at top levels. He noticed that there was a mismatch between policy and implementation. He asked what had happened in the last ten years, and what would happen in the next ten. Finally, he asked what links there were with the constitution, both at SARU and provincial level.

Mr Prinsloo replied that the agent for driving the process was his Deputy CEO, Mr Ncula. He had never doubted the sincerity of the process. He said that 90% of the questions posed at this meeting had already been discussed in the serious rugby fraternity. SARU needed to dig for gold, or else it would suffer the consequences. The declining number of white rugby players at schools confirmed the need for transformation. He conceded that the low representivity numbers were not good enough, and this constituted a major problem. He noted that serious decisions had been made in the last few months. It would not be possible for the sport to deal with all the problems on its own, but close co-operation was needed with national government. Their influence would be extended onto the provinces.

He said that transformation had taken place in junior teams on merit. There were some very sincere persons in the organisation. He acknowledged the growth in areas such as the Eastern Cape and the administrative problems in the region. An undertaking had been made to grow and transform, and to make money available to provide opportunities for kids. Some persons involved were serious about transformation while others were only treading water.

Mr Ncula spoke about the implementation of transformation. A strategic view was important. Transformation strategies would be used on adopting an overall SARU plan. The President’s Council’s decision would be that certain dimensions of the scorecard would be worked into the SARU constitution, so provinces would be bound to compliance. The President’s Council would decide on the penalties for non-compliance as well as incentives. During 2002 SARU had published its Vision 2003 document, which had highlighted transformation issues. The difference between this view and reality was that there was no body to take responsibility for the process and it had never appeared on the agenda. Transformation would now have to feature on the agendas of all policy-making meetings, both at SARU and provincial levels.

He used the example of quotas to show that compliance with transformation measures in the post had been selective. The Charter would compel all stake-holders to abide by its provisions. As regards the Davids/Cronje affair, he regretted to say that the truth about the incident had only emerged in the autobiography published recently by former captain Corné Krige. At first, Krige had said that the incident had never happened. SARU had held an investigation, but none of the players had made any comments. The same situation had occurred with the revelations surrounding the Kamp Staaldraad issue. In the future, transformation would also be embedded into managerial performance contracts.

Dr Basson said that records had not been kept up to date regarding demographic representivity. The unions would now have to keep statistics in this regard all the way down to under-13 level. Thus a baseline would be provided.

Mr Ncula discussed the profiles at top level. He noted that thirteen of the fourteen provincial coaches were white. Their livelihoods depended on the success of their teams. They neither knew nor trusted the abilities of black players. It was a major challenge to convince coaches that black players could also take teams to victory. This had been shown in the Springbok team and more particularly in the success of the under-21 and under-19 teams. He could not say why provincial coaches did not accept this fact. It was time for the leadership of SARU to come to the fore. The next generation of players must be given opportunities to perform. On the subject of boundaries, it was difficult to co-ordinate these with provincial and local government structures. This was a strategic decision for the President’s Council.

Mr TJ Louw (ANC) asked how the Transformation Charter would address racism.

Mr Dikgacwi asked why the Deputy President was not present at this meeting seeing that the President was abroad. He asked why there was no data available on under-21 and under-19 team demographics, and observed that players who performed with distinction at these levels tended to disappear on reaching senior status.

Mr Frolick said the problem at school level was very serious. There was a huge support base for schools’ rugby. He noted that any plans for juniors must be discussed with the new school sports structures.

The Chairperson alluded to a Memorandum of Understanding between DSR and the Department of Education. Government had taken responsibility for the transport of schoolchildren for sports events, and this would improve the area of access. He asked how this support could impact on school rugby.

Mr Prinsloo said that the loss of under-19 and under-21 players could be attributed to them going to different areas. They were afforded the same opportunities but tended to miss out. Records of representivity were kept and would be made available to the Portfolio Committee. Less lip service should be paid and issues should be taken seriously. He explained that the President’s Council was the highest decision-making body where all fourteen provinces were represented. Its decisions were binding. He saw the need for a group of strategic thinkers. He noted that in the growth of black rugby, the game was lagging behind other sports by some ten years.

Mr Titus said that he was also the Chairperson of the United School Sports Association (USASSA). There had been a reluctance on their part to work with SASCOC, and this was to the detriment of school sports. Rugby was one of a few federations which subsidised youth tournaments fully. He said that the role of the teacher had changed but he hoped teachers would be coming back into the administration of sport. Rugby needed to go to the community, and ex-players would be encouraged to become coaches.

Dr Basson spoke of the umbrella bodies for sport. There was a co-ordination vacuum between the spheres of high performance and mass participation. The Committee could fill a co-ordinating role with its access to different levels of government and sporting bodies. He noted that if rugby bodies went into the schools directly it could cause confusion. He reminded the meeting that the Department of Health was also a stake-holder as it should be concerned with the physical well-being of the youth. The profile of teachers was changing, with more women filling posts than men. There was a need for volunteers to become involved in coaching.

Mr Ncula said that audits had been done into the availability of black players, and this information was available. Each province had developed its own development and transformation strategies. Information was available from 1999 and 2002, and this data would be analysed together with statistics provided previously.

Mr A Mlangeni (ANC) noted that Mr Titus had said that there was no co-operation with USASSA. He asked what information was needed.

Mr Titus replied that things were fine in USASSA Rugby. The national executive was the stumbling block. All sports groups except USASSA were committed to being absorbed into SASCOC.

Mr Ncula said that racism was not peculiar to Rugby.

The Chairperson replied that the institution of Rugby had a history of racism. This was the perception of the majority in the country.

Dr Basson stated that the essence of the document was the re-invention of rugby. The change needed would be to revise the way the game worked and thought in order to eliminate racism. The core of transformation was not just the change in demographic representation, but also in the decision makers. This group included coaches and referees. The Transformation Charter would uproot cultures associated with racism so that charters would not be needed in future. The scorecards would monitor the progress in this regard.

Mr E Saloojee (ANC) asked about the role of the media, especially television. The majority opinion was that rugby was a sport played by a minority, and was essentially a game for white people. The majority of the population did not have access to satellite television, and SABC no longer covered matches. He apologised that his delayed arrival might have seen him miss the answer to this question.

Dr Basson said that there had been a process to detribalise the academic and business spheres. In terms of business principles, South African sport should be bankrupt. The scorecards would address this problem. He wondered how sport would change its image in the market of the future. He noted that every stake-holder should be a partner to the Transformation Charter, including all businesses which used rugby in their business transactions. Rugby needed to get back onto SABC television. It was a disgrace that television coverage had been withheld from the masses.

The Chairperson announced that a meeting with the Portfolio Committee for Communications would be held soon. He wanted to know who had signed the television rights contract. The issued needed to be discussed between Rugby and the SABC. No debrief was available on this issue yet.

He said that there had been several incorrect happenings regarding the merger of USASSA. A resource base had been developed, and 20 years of experience might be discarded. This issue had been sorted out over the previous weekend. USASSA was not opposed to the merger process, but disagreed with the spirit of the changeover.

The presidents of all fourteen regions needed to meet with the Portfolio Committee. He did not know why it was so hard to conform to the political boundaries of the provinces. He speculated that self-interest was an issue, and several persons would lose their positions.

He noted that Rugby had had a terrible relationship with the Portfolio Committee in the past. Rugby had occasionally been called to order by the Minister, but he was not the same as Parliament. He said that the buck stopped at the Portfolio Committee as the representative of Parliament. The issue of provincial boundaries was non-negotiable, and it was just a matter of time before they were implemented. This would be applicable to all nine provinces.

He agreed that the talent of the under-19 World Cup squad was disappearing. The Committee had visited the team at their training camp, and had been pleased to notice that the squad was predominantly black. The Committee had known that they would win the tournament, and this had been proved right. The change process had to be nurtured. A solid base had been built and would feed up to the next higher level.

The Chairperson questioned the role of Government. It could assist if needed. He said the document laid before the Portfolio Committee was quiet on the role of government. Cricket South Africa was building facilities and assisting Government while the South African Football Association had made no contribution to facilities. He wished to know where Rugby stood in this.

He said there was no link to the skills development Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA). Rugby was paying for this.

He asked if SARU would go back to the provinces with the revised document, and with whom they would meet.

The Chairperson discussed the questions of merit as opposed to the concept of level playing fields. Potential had to be identified, and then those players brought to suitable facilities. That would guarantee the provision of equal opportunities. Finally, he noted that the announcement of the venue for Rugby World Cup 2011 would be made on 17 November.

Dr Basson replied that all of SARU was focusing on transformation. Partnership arrangements with government were essential. More was necessary in sport due to fragmentation. Transformation was a central aspect of government policy. Few resources were equitably distributed. The shortage of rugby facilities had to be addressed. Rugby could not build these by itself. A national plan was being drawn up to guide local government. Sports bodies would tend to build facilities in the wrong place, and co-operation was needed. As regards skills development, provincial structures had been urged to access the CETA process.

Mr Prinsloo said that he could not criticise the Committee for being a non-participant. Real interest in prospering the game would be in South Africa’s interest. The Committee’s involvement in junior rugby level demonstrated the its genuine interest. Criticism leveled at SARU had been taken to heart.

The Chairperson said that more regular meetings were needed to review the process. He suggested that these happen twice a year.

The meeting was adjourned.


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