SA Boxing Bill & SA Sports Commission Amendment Bill: briefing by Minister on SA Sports Commission Activities

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Meeting report

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EDUCATION AND RECREATION SELECT COMMITTEE
9 May 2001
SOUTH AFRICAN BOXING BILL and SA SPORTS COMMISSION AMENDMENT BILL: BRIEFING BY MINISTER; BRIEFING ON SOUTH AFRICAN SPORTS COMMISSION ACTIVITIES

Chairperson: Mr Kgware (ANC)

Relevant Documents:
South African Boxing Bill [B13B-2001]
South African Sports Commission Amendment Bill [B2B-2001]
South African Sports Commission (SASC) Presentation (e-mail
info@pmg.org.za for document)

SUMMARY
The Minister briefed the Committee on the status of the South African Boxing bill and the South African Sports Commission Amendment Bill. Both bills were unanimously approved.

The South African Sports Commission briefed the Committee on its current activities.

MINUTES
South African Boxing Bill [B13B-2001]
Sports Minister Balfour briefed the committee on the history of the Bill which was supposed to replace the current Boxing Act dating from 1954. The proposed Bill last year dealt with both national and provincial matters pursuant to Constitution Sections 75 and 76, respectively. The current bill deals solely with regulation on the national level, with a companion bill addressing provincial matters currently being drafted by the Sports Ministry. Like this bill, the provincial bill is being drafted with extensive input from stakeholders, and will focus on improved accountability among the governing structures, and the safety and welfare of boxers, including after their ring careers have ended, with specific mention made of Section 28, authorizing the formation of boxers' associations.

Once approved by this Committee this Bill is scheduled for NCOP debate on June 8. The Minister called attention to the bill's creation of a new structure, Boxing South Africa, the members of which (who will serve on a part-time basis) will be recommended by stakeholders and appointed by the Minister, pursuant to Section 9. The Minister noted that the current structures which Boxing SA is to succeed are now in a liquid financial position, after the 1998 Department intervention and assistance by the private sector.

It was also noted that the Bill also permits women to box, with safety regulations specifically addressing such participation currently being drafted, with stakeholder input. These and other regulations will be promulgated pursuant to Section 34.

The Minister asked law advisor Gideon Hoon to explain a pair of late technical amendments:

-As Section 15(6) provides that the Auditor General audit Boxing SA, Section 15(4)(b) must be changed to have financial statements prepared two months (rather than five) after the end of each financial year, in order to comply with applicable procedures.

-As Section 27 provides criminal penalties for contravention of the Act, the burden of proof prescribed in Section 32 must make exception for criminal proceedings, and therefore the phrase "Except in relevant criminal proceedings..." must be added.

Discussion
Ms Mazibuko (ANC) noted that it was important to ensure synergy between this national legislation and the coming provincial legislation.

The Minister agreed, noting that the provinces would have an opportunity for input before the coming bill is presented to Cabinet, the timeframe for which is as yet unclear.

The member also questioned how legal and medical professionals are to be incorporated into Boxing SA's structure, with the Minister referring, in reply, to Section 30 of the bill.

Another member asked whether officials of current structures may be appointed to Boxing SA, with the Minister replying affirmatively, noting that he will have less influence on provincial administration under the coming Section 76 bill.

The Chair led the Committee through a review of the bill, which the Committee unanimously approved, as amended. A "motion of desirability" was also passed unanimously, as was the report of the legislation out to the NCOP for the June 8 debate.

South African Sports Commission Amendment Bill [B2B-2001]
Minister Balfour briefly reviewed the history of this amendment bill, noting that the former bill had recommended creation of the SASC in the interests of efficiency, including cost-wise, of sport administration in this country. He went on to note that the SASC is headed by the Director General of the Sports and Recreation Ministry. The SASC and the Department of Sports and Recreation function in a complementary fashion, with his role as Minister being to oversee these components as a veritable "managing director" of sport.

He continued by stating that this legislation was drafted with input from stakeholders, who agreed that the SASC needed to be streamlined in all respects, including in its composition, as contemplated by Section 2 of this amendment bill. Appointments to the SASC will be made based on candidates' expertise, thereby improving South Africa's international competitiveness. The bill would also help ensure, through the SASC and its constituent federations, representivity and greater accountability.

The Minister called attention to the provisions of Section 4 of the amended legislation concerning SASC membership, noting that a 12 member board, appointed in compliance with prescribed representivity factors, serving on a part-time basis for a 3 year term, is not so unwieldy and costly as the current structure.

Discussion
Ms Mazibuko (ANC) questioned how bias against provincial, rural, and women's interests could be ensured, particularly given the reduction in the number of board members.

The Minister noted that the national federations would elect 6 members, as provided, to "represent sport generally, and not narrow parochial interests", with the 6 Ministerial appointees to be selected in compliance with prescribed representivity factors, which specifically included an individual focusing on women and on rural development. Concerning provincial interests, the Minister added that he thought it premature at this stage for provinces to constitute their own sports commissions, stating that the "mushrooming" of structures was to be avoided, as streamlining at all levels, including the national, with assurance of provincial participation via the structures to be created via the national legislation, is a major goal his Ministry's legislative program.

Mr. Raju (DA) asked why the name of the structure had been changed from "the SA Council of Sport (SACOS)", noted that SACOS had an honourable record and tradition which should be acknowledged. The Minister concurred, stating that SACOS had done a tremendous job of laying a base for sport in a "normal" society, but also noted that the "double standard resolution" principle adopted by SACOS had created a historical problem. As such, while the debt to SACOS must be recognized, it is time to move on to the next chapters of sport development in the country.

The Chair led the Committee through a review of this amendment bill, which the Committee unanimously approved. A "motion of desirability" was also passed unanimously, as was the report of the legislation out to the NCOP for debate on June 8.

The Minister excused himself.

South African Sports Commission (SASC) Briefing
Joe Phala, CEO of the SASC, presented the text of the briefing paper which had been distributed to the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned.

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