Minister on Greenpoint Stadium and Status of SA Sport: briefing

Sports, Arts and Culture

29 March 2006
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


29 March 2006

Acting Chairperson: Mr B M Komphela

Documents handed out:

Sport and Recreation South Africa Strategic Plan Presentation (8 March 2006)

The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Rev M Stofile, briefed the Committee on the background to the soccer stadium to be built in Greenpoint, Cape Town, and the complications experienced with the city’s mayor. Various financial and bugetting issues were highlighted, especially with regard to the prioritisation of money from the National Lottery. The status of various sports were touched on.

Sport and Recreation of South Africa repeated their strategic plan presentation of 8 March 2006, but, due to time constraints, the Committee postponed its discussion on the presentation to a future meeting.

Mr M B Komphela welcomed the Minister for Sport and Recreation of South Africa (SRSA), and Committee members to the meeting. He kindly asked the Minister to remain within the political sphere and not to deviate to financial statistics. The chairperson requested input on the gains and shortcomings of the previous budget from the Minister, in other words, how far they had travelled. He called for the intended means of solving the deficiencies in the Department, politically, administratively or otherwise.

The chairperson wished to discuss the issue around Cape Town Mayor Hellen Zille’s stopping of the development of the stadium in Cape Town. He asked whether the R9 million programme had been appropriated. He wanted the Minister to give a detailed account of the latest developments. In his opinion, the recent incident, regarding the construction of the stadium, had been due to a lack of information. Soon, the local committee would be asked how far they were with their provincial programme and with distribution of information.

The chairperson believed that the programme was very slow, static and problematic. He enquired into progress made by SAFA (South African Football Association) and BSA (Boxing South Africa). Concerning BSA, they were experiencing problems as the requisition of the appointment had been with the Minister for the previous two years. Mr Komphela expressed his discomfort with the fact that the proposal had been with the Minister of Finance as well as Sport and Recreation for over two years, he wanted to know what was being done. Lastly he questioned whether BBBEE (Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment) was being implemented in the programs for 2006, along with the location of citizens that were benefiting from the initiative.

Briefing by the Minister of Sport and Recreation
The Minister stated that he would go into the broad issues of the budget. Firstly he approached the Helen Zille issue. According to Rev Stofile, Zille’s refusal to let the construction of the stadium in Cape Town take place was a disappointment for the whole of South Africa. The stadium would be socio-economically beneficial to the community. Rev Stofile felt that Ms Zille must be more careful with her decision-making. If she continued to reject the opportunity, the committee (2010 organising committee) would gladly take the project elsewhere, such as Port Elizabeth. Kimberly would create logistical problems, but if they could establish adequate accommodation and transport it might be an option to build a bigger stadium there than they were currently planning.

In 1998, when South Africa had been preparing for 2006, the venues had already been negotiated. There were three venues proposed for Cape Town: Newlands, Athlone, and Greenpoint Track. Athlone had been disqualified by FIFA because of its logistics: it faced the wrong direction and it did not have enough space for expansion, for the kind of stadium that Cape Town deserved to host a semi-final, in other words, the capacity to seat 60 000 people. The Newlands organisational team wished to keep that stadium predominantly for rugby, and did not want football to be played there. The Newlands’ team viewed it as a ‘sacred cow’ for rugby. This then left Greenpoint Track.

After members of FIFA had flown over Cape Town with a helicopter, it had been made clear that Greenpoint was the only area big enough for a stadium in terms of international standards. According to FIFA, a stadium in Cape Town was also crucial for the marketing of the 2010 World Cup. The committee wanted to leave behind a facility, which could be used for 50 years for other things aside from football. Cape Town does not currently have international class facilities. The Minister added that he had sent all that information to Ms Zille after she had requested it, and he did not understand how she could say that she did not know. He explained that the government had signed a guarantee to FIFA to provide the facilities that were required. The issue now up for negotiation was on how much the city was able to contribute. If it could not, the committee would have to find the money at a national level, to remain loyal to the document signed with FIFA. Rev Stofile felt it was ‘absolute nonsense’ that Zille claimed that there was not enough funds, because it was in their development plans.

Rev Stofile continued by focusing on the budget. The programs had first to be prepared in order to be presented to the Budget Committee. The Minister felt that the committee was very modest in its request for funds; coming back from Melbourne, he felt that the committee was being silly to ask for so little and yet aspire to so much.

Taken in relative perspective to decades of oppression, 12 years was a short time to correct present problems. The committee’s objectives had not changed; they were still trying to establish a dispensation in South Africa where more communities could have access to the same quality of facilities, amenities, equipment, and opportunities. This could only happen through effort, and therefore the committee must demand more money from the government and sponsors. The national lottery was established as an alternative funding mechanism, to augment fiscals for sport and recreation. Rev Stofile did not know what had gone wrong, because the committee had lost track of its own plans. The lottery currently saw sport and recreation as only one of the many areas needing funds. That was not the priority wanted by the committee for the lottery; they wanted a lottery that would release the fiscals of sports related facilities. The Minister recommended that the committee negotiate with the lottery together with the Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry.

Transformation and improvement of facilities could only be achieved through proper administration and good governance. This was in line with the committee objectives and the African Renaissance emphasised by the President. If the administration of federations was not improved it would be impossible to provide the kind of leadership that South Africa was expecting. It was important to instil democratic practises in these federations.

Basketball was blacklisted in South Africa, and was under fire from the Common Wealth Games. It had failing to comply with the regulations of the international federation. Since 2005, they had been trying to rebuild basketball in South Africa to build participation and create leadership, which was in great demand.

Karate was the Department’s "delinquent child". The African Federation for Karate was experiencing continental problems; there was a feud between South Africa and Benin who were fighting for leadership in karate.

There are transformational problem with cycling. In truth, transformation was a general problem in South Africa. The Minister stated that the biggest challenge there was related to how to go about transforming an organization that clearly requires transformation in terms of its organizational structure. Transformation must start from the bottom. If delegates go to the contractor in Germany infused with the spirit of change, then change was possible. If they go just to entrench the status quo, which was currently being done, nothing would be achieved.

There remained a challenge in relation to football; they must work in agreement to ensure success in 2010. There must be an entity separate from PSL (Premier Soccer League) and SAFA to identify, recruit and develop talent for international competitions to prepare South African football players for the World Cup. It might cost R150 million, and therefore the sponsors had to be approached with a respectable structure. Sponsors were only ready to fund if the committee programs prove to be professional.

South Africa was one the top five in the nations of the world, regarding sport: second in rugby, fifth in cricket, forth in women’s hockey. With these team sports South Africa should remain in the top five. Basketball (number 12), swimming and cycling needed attention, with black empowerment also needing to take place in these areas. The youth needed new role models to look up to. The committee must synchronise itself with the talent of South Africa.

The term of the previous Boxing Board of Boxing South Africa had expired in June 2005, and the new board had started in July 2005. The Board still has to obtain approval to appoint a CEO. Before the previous Board had dissolved, the CEO post had been advertised and candidates had been short-listed. Thereafter an appointment had been made, but that person had resigned. The Board had had to re-advertise, but had decided against it and instead had hired a consultant, who later became a Manager. This was against the law as Boxing Act stipulated that there had to be a CEO. However, the Board had felt that they should not reappoint a CEO as their term was coming to an end and it would be better for the new board to select their own CEO. The Minister said that he has not received any shortlists of candidates. He expressed hope of a future appointment, which would benefit the administration of boxing.

Equity in personnel was enforced by the Labour Relations Act, Section 197, and many personnel had to be relocated to make that transformation possible. All personnel were evaluated and, in line with the Public Service Act, the new positions had to be re-advertised. Candidates who complied with the equity, transformation and integration of the civil service would fill the new positions. There were major problems, such as categorising degrees received at technikons as inferior to those received at universities. That was felt to be a contradiction of the qualification board of the Department of Education. A second problem was the question of age; the youth need to enter into the civil service. Age was a negative in terms of transformation policies and targets that need to be achieved in the integration of the civil service.

The Minister expressed the pressure he experienced from communities due to a lack of facilities and services. Participation programs were the backbone of the transformation process and must therefore be a main priority. With the increase of participation there must be an increase in the availability and access of sports facilities, equipment, and services. The privatisation of public facilities was limiting the access to sport for the community. Most communities could not afford those facilities.

When the government introduced the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), it was agreed upon that 10% of it would be set aside for sport facilities. Since the advent of the MIG, the building of the sport programme had come to a standstill. There was a serious reversal of number of facilities that they were presently able to build. There were several reasons, the first of which was ignorance. Few municipal councils and managers knew of the MIG and even fewer knew how to access it. The Minister wished to create an initiative to relieve municipalities of their lack of knowledge.

The Chairperson interrupted by identifying with the ignorance of the municipalities; he knew neither how this grant was set to be introduced nor the politics behind it. It is a total loss to the country if it would not be properly implemented. The second issue was the problem relating to water and electricity. The MIG is not ready to dispense money for electricity or water supply. The provision of funds appeared to be a problematic. The MIG consisted of R15 billion. The chairperson wanted to know how the Minister determined the R15 million.

The Minister admitted to the Department being confused by the statistics given by the MIG, but assumed that they meant that the municipalities would have access to 10% of the total R15 billion. However, during the previous meeting with them, the Department of Provincial and Local Government had claimed that they could not advance the promised funds from the MIG, because Treasury would not allow it. The Minister had gone to Melbourne immediately afterwards and had been unable to follow up on it. The MIG was experiencing a nightmare concerning infrastructure provisioning. This contributed to the misconception of sports infrastructure. The facilities that were made available were not adequate. Sport was not a priority for the MIG providers.

Equity should not only be reflected by personnel, but also by access to selection. There was a serious and growing problem of corruption. The Minister asked the Committee not to be ‘aspirational’, but realistic. Furthermore, top ten events needed to be identified. The committee could not tackle all events at the same time, and only 10 should receive attention at a time. The Department should privatise services to improve professionalism. Yet the provinces must be focused, and each province needed to send their top 10 priorities.

The Minister admitted that not all targets have been met. One could not guarantee medals; this was a process and therefore demanded more flexible timeframes. Children had to be exposed to sports from grade 1 and from the age of 13 they would start to branch into more specialised areas. He argued that South Africa would have well integrated sport persons.

The chairperson thanked the Minister. He referred to the last time the Minister had met with the Committee, when one particular problem had been raised with understanding the divisions of labour between different job descriptions. He wanted an update on the situation. There had been some concern about the sports budget for a long time. The chairperson interpreted the Minister as saying that the budget was insufficient to fulfil their objectives. He asked what the Committee could do to persuade Treasury to increase the Department’s allocation. He wished to know what the Minister was doing to ensure that the lottery helped the Department. In relation to the budget, it seemed that 10% was going to sport. He was wondering where the Department was spending the other 90%. Regarding the attempted renovation of the stadium with R2 million, the stadium still needed five million to be sufficiently renovated.

Mr E Lucas (IFP) stated that the MIG was actually a capital project, and he therefore requested information on the allocation of the rest of the money for this maintenance of the project. The municipalities had notified him that sport was not their priority, but in the chairperson’s view these stadiums had to be maintained, though he did not know how.

The chairperson encouraged the Committee members to offer the Minister possible solutions.

Mr E Saloojee (ANC) noted that the Minister had mentioned cycling. The two biggest events in the cycling calendar were the Cape Argus and the Johannesburg cycling tournament. The majority of the cyclists in Cape Argus tournament were predominantly White, because the bicycles used ranged in price from R10 000 to R80 000 rand and were therefore out of the reach of most black cyclists as they were much too expensive. That event was sponsored by Pick ‘n Pay that benefited hugely in terms of advertising. He thought that discussions should take place with Pick ‘n Pay, who should plough money back into black rural communities. Cycling remained a very elite white sport.

Golf was the fastest growing sport in the country. The wealthier emerging black people were currently joining the available golf courses. But they remained the minority of participants. The cost of membership at clubs was R8000 to R10 000 per year. It cost R120 to R150 to play a game of golf. The committee member considered these prices to be too expensive. The cheaper golf courses had closed, but these had been places where the ordinary person could play golf. Something had to be done.

A Committee member commented that, in Kensington, disabled people had a place to play basketball. He wished to go there and to see how the disabled were taught to swim. The team at Kensington had remarkable skills.

Ms D Morobi (ANC) focused on the budget that had been decreased by 6%. She wanted to know whether this decrease would enable the Department to meet its targets. She enquired about the status of women in sport.

Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) raised a concern regarding administration issues. There was lack of data available, including statistics of South African sports players. He referred to the sponsors (of the PSL) who said that they could not give money to them. Mr Dikgacwi felt that the Committee should look for an independent body. He asked the Minister to make it clear to FASA that this was about the country not about Kaiser Chiefs or Orlando Pirates. Regarding cricket, those in the rural areas had not received a fair chance at participation. There were problems with selection

Mr R Bhoola (MF) noted that he was interested to know more about the synchronization of talent. He enquired upon the identification of talent in dense rural areas and the mechanism that was in place to recognise outstanding talent. He pointed out that there was a major problem with infrastructure and facilities. Municipalities were selling facilities. One problem experienced with facilities owned by municipalities was that long leases were given to private clubs, and some leases ran for up to 99 years, which prevented mass participation so that citizens could not benefit from the facilities.

A committee member mentioned that he had asked the Minister of Local Government about the ring-fencing of facilities. He remembered that the committee used to have in the region of 100 sports facilities built a year. This had decreased to four in the previous year, which had raised concern. He was glad that the lottery issue had been raised. Local municipalities did not only sell existing facilities, but also were selling land to private development that would have been potential sports facilities. The 2010 excitement meant that everybody wanted to play. Another concern that remained was the state of current facilities as well as the space needed for future facilities.

Mr J Lowe (ANC) indicated that SAFA was busy looking for a new coach for Bafana-Bafana. He asked whether financial assistance for the appointment of the coach would be made available. If so, he wanted to know what conditions would apply.

The President’s State of the Nation address had mentioned strengthening the working relation between the three spheres of government. A committee member thought that the Department had not taken this on board, in terms of decisions made about local government. He asked what measure is being put in place to improve those working relationships.

The Minister’s response
Rev Stofile thanked the members of the Committee for their input. He stipulated that the absence of a good relationship had caused all sorts of problems. It is important to improve the relationship between the three spheres of government. It was one thing to talk about integrated governance and another to actually stick to it. The Minister stated that they have been in touch with both the Department of Education and the Department of Housing to co-ordinate planning.

Rev Stofile mentioned that his last meeting with SAFA had been two days before. One issue raised there, was regarding the coach. In his view, the national coach should understand the psyche of South African football; the coach should be someone who was prepared to learn. He noted that the Department would not support the employment of coaches who would cost R40 million or R50 million. According to him, that did not align itself with the poverty levels of South Africa. He said that a panel would be set up.

He continued by saying that MIG was a total reversal. He pointed out that there was some confusion of the understanding regarding the mentioned sports facilities. He could not understand this. He believed that there appeared to be a reversal but had been told that it was a progression into broadened categories of sports facilities.

Rev Stofile focused on the database issue. He admitted that there had to be a database, not just for football but for all athletes. This database should be available for all athletes of all socio-economic backgrounds.

The Minister revealed that which he considered to be the real problem: the federations. Most of those in charge of the federations did not understand the full extent of what the Department expected from them.

Continuing on to the issues of leases. The Minister thought that the municipalities themselves would sort out most of the leases.

The Minister said that they had been told that money could not be ring-fenced because Treasury would not allow this. There was a misconception on what sports infrastructure was.

The equity was not just about access to selection, but also participation. It was a serious problem across the field of all federations. The Minister referred to Malaysia, which focused on mass participation and employed the necessary funds to make it possible. He inferred that South Africa should do the same.

The chairperson took over and indicated that there was little time left for the repeated presentation of 8 March. He asked the commission give a brief overview of what they said 8 March. (See Sport and Recreation Portfolio Committee Meeting of 8 March for full presentation)

There was not enough time for the committee to raise questions regarding the presentation. Mr Komphela said there would be time set available at the beginning of the following committee meeting.

Meeting was adjourned.


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