South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee: briefing

Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


14 June 2006

Chairperson: Mr B J Tolo (ANC, Mpumalanga)

Documents handed out:
SASCOC Annual Report 2006
SASCOC Briefing to the select committee on education and recreation

The President of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee briefed the Committee on the organisation’s background, structure, mandate, objectives and challenges, and operational requirements for restructuring. It placed special emphasis on the Vision 2014 project for development and transformation in ‘high performance sports. The subsequent discussion covered, among others, issues of provincial inclusion especially at the rural level; concerns over accountability of federations; funding and transformation; skills development and demographic representation in sport. Overall it was felt that sports should gain a greater priority in the national budget and public focus.
Presentation by the President of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC)

The Chairperson welcomed the delegation from SASCOC and invited Mr Moss Mashishi, the president of SASCOC to begin the presentation.

Mr Mashishi thanked the Select Committee for the opportunity to address them and introduced his colleagues, Ms Hajera Kajee the first vice president, and Mr Mark Alexander the second vice president. His presentation began with a brief reflection on the background of SASCOC, which considered its function as responsible for the macro-sport structure of “high performance” sports differentiated from mass based sports for recreation purposes. It further highlighted SASCOC’s genesis as an umbrella organisation composed of previous micro-structures (see documents) in order to eliminate duplication of roles and present a coherent body for national high performance sports. Mr Mashishi’s presentation also looked at SASCOC structure; emphasised its mandate; considered objectives and challenges; looked at its successes and future projects and finally considered operational requirements for restructuring. A special component of his presentation entailed a brief look at Vision 2014, the guiding document for transformation and development in sports at a national level. The presentation on Vision 2014 considered mid to long term goals, funding, the National Academy system, school sport, and the issue of corporate governance and sound administration. Generally Mr Mashishi called for more funding and an end to the marginalisation of sport congruent to the President’s request for sport in South Africa to be taken more seriously. There was also a general emphasis on SASCOC as a unified and uniform body addressing the challenges facing high performance sports in South Africa. (See documents for relevant detail).


Ms J Masilo (ANC, North West) was concerned about the lack of focus on rural schools and asked whether these schools and rural areas were considered for the Commonwealth Games. The concern was also raised about equal consideration of athletes across provinces. Provincial implementation of the Love Life Games was also questioned.

Ms H Lamoela (DA, Western Cape) reiterated the concern over rural areas specifically related to facilities for schools in these rural areas. Essentially she questioned whether SASCOC will be addressing these challenges with regard to school infrastructure.

Ms N Madlala-Magubane (ANC, Gauteng) requested that documents should be provided before meetings for proper review. She then asked whether the United Sports Association of South Africa (USASA) still existed or were they still in the process of disbanding.

Mr Mashishi, considering the issue of support for rural schools by SASCOC, argued that the provisional framework for Vision 2014 emphasised the role of provincial academies. He maintained that through the network of academies SASCOC could reach all the constituencies of the country. However, he pointed out that SASCOC did not have the resource capacity to build the infrastructure needed by these schools but there is an awareness that SASCOC neede to liase with the relevant provinces to work out what needs to be done in this respect. Mr Mashishi argued that the role of SASCOC was to put in place programmemes and raising resources and funding to provide high level coaches, but there was still a need to work closely with provinces and councils to provide facilities for schools who require them.

In terms of the composition of the Commonwealth delegation, Mr Mashishi highlighted that close work is being done with the various sports federations in selecting the best athletes to represent South Africa. He also alluded to the Talent Identification programmeme where academies and schools play an important role. He maintained SASCOC was also looking at a programme to fully fund the athletes identified who lacked the resources for adequate athletic development.  With regard to USASA, Mr Mashishi said that they had severed relations with USASA as it was no longer recognised by the government as the primary structure for school sport. Mr Mashishi also pointed out that USASA elected to extend their mandate by two years, but SASCOC has subsequently “closed the chapter” with USASA.

Ms F Mazibuko (ANC, Gauteng) asked what remuneration is provided for the president and the vice presidents. Secondly on transformation she argued that the emphasis on transformation is quite repetitive but it was still very important. She asked to what extent SASCOC was ensuring that other nationalities are also represented in the various sports. Ms Mazibuko also found that the funding models for sports were not equally distributed across gender. She asked to what extent SASCOC was engaging federations to reduce these disparities. She was also concerned with the fact that netball was only considered a demonstration sport at the Commonwealth Games. Ms Mazibuko asked what input SASCOC had in the format of the Commonwealth Games. Fourthly Ms Mazibuko asked how many sporting codes were considered under SASCOC mandate. Fifthly Ms Mazibuko asked why it was necessary to import foreign coaches. Finally Ms Mazibuko asked if SASCOC were involved with federations on a provincial level as well as national level.

In response to the first question Mr Mashishi maintained that the board of SASCOC was composed of volunteers and were not paid for their services. On the issue of transformation, Mr Mashishi acknowledged the repetitive nature of this concern; however he pointed out that the majority of sport leadership in South Africa have actually bought into transformation. He further maintained that there are particular structural issues that need to be addressed in order to effect transformation. The biggest issue in this respect was the issue of resources. Mr Mashishi emphasised that there is a need to associate transformation with resources as an input-output relationship i.e. the amount of resources invested in transformation will see the relative proportional level of transformation take effect.

He found it difficult to quantify the cost of transformation. For Mr Mashishi this issue tied into the trivialisation of sport that needed to be addressed. He argued that sports leadership’s responsibility was accountability for their relative mandates, budgets and plans. Mr Mashishi reiterated that SASCOC’s mandate was fundamentally the responsibility of high performance sports and not recreation. Addressing Ms Mazibuko’s question on the number of sporting codes, Mr Mashishi said there were 58 federations that were members of SASCOC. With regard to international coaches, Mr Mashishi acknowledged the skills shortage, but argued that it was the intention of the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of SA (ASGISA) to address these shortages. He argued that this needs to be addressed in a sustainable manner, but in the intermediate term the reality was that we were dependent on foreign coaches to maximise the performance of the athletes. Mr Mashishi reiterated that SASCOC had not yet engaged with provincial structures, but he acknowledged the need for co-operative relationships with these structures. At present, he maintained that SASCOC only dealt with national structures relating to high performance sports. Finally on the issue of the Commonwealth programme, he maintained that input from the member nations, especially from the host country, was considered when drawing up the sporting roster.

Mr M Thetjeng (DA, Limpopo Province) asked whether SASCOC and its affiliates are providing programmes that deal with the issues raised by the Select Committee specifically related to skills development and service providers. He argued that it was difficult to find service providers to provide an apt service with regard to skills development and sport in general. Secondly Mr Thetjeng pointed out that there is a disparity between the provision of facilities and resources, using the example of abandoned or decaying infrastructure because of the lack of resources to use them.

The Chairperson asked if SASCOC has any leverage to ensure that the federations acted correctly on their respective mandates. On the issue of the shortage of skills, he asked what plans are in place to address the skills shortage. He also agreed on the lack of resources and stressed that this needs to be addressed. Finally the Chairperson asked what is being done with regard to the important issue of doping in sports.

Mr Mashishi maintained that there were limited numbers of service providers, but argued that there was a relevant procurement policy in place for these service providers to get involved in procuring significant skills and empowerment programmes. With regard to the issue of underutilised facilities, Mr Mashishi argued that at a general level there is a lack of national co-ordination to procure agreements on maintenance and resources for facilities. He reiterated an integrated approach from talent identification to international participation and a continuous process of development. He pointed out that because SASCOC presented a united front it is able to deal with government and their relevant issues as a common body. With regard to leverage, Mr Mashishi argued that SASCOC is an “umbrella co-ordinating structure” and member federations are autonomous and are responsible for their respective programmes. SASCOC only provides a platform for federations to operate; however SASCOC has the right to intervene if important issues such as transformation are not addressed. He further maintained that the government charter for sport would be an important instrument in establishing sport ethics and intervention mechanisms for non-compliance. With regard to skills plans, Mr Mashishi pointed out that plans vary according to the respective federations; however it depends on the ability to implement these plans which relates again to the amount of resources available. Mr Mashishi referred the question of funds granted to SASCOC to Mr Alexander.

Mr Alexander said that the Department of Sport and Recreation last year granted SASCOC R9.7 million and the National Lottery R26.4 million. Their expenses were about R40 million with a revenue of R39 million. With regard to the deficit of R1million, Mr Alexander said the South African Games and the Commonwealth Games were responsible because the funding had not been received in time. 

Mr Mashishi said that there was a big gap between the required budget and the budget granted to SASCOC. The ideal budget was R400 million but only 10% of this was granted. With regard to the issue of doping, Mr Mashishi said that SASCOC was very tough on this matter and vehemently discouraged athletes from using performance-enhancing drugs. He argued that this was partly an issue of awareness. 

Mr Thetjeng commented that the sports budget should be increased and agreed that not enough money was granted to SASCOC for addressing the issues related to high performance sports.

The Chairperson reiterated the concern for the marginalisation of sport.

Ms Mazibuko, with regard to SASCOC mandate, asked to what extent SASCOC could discipline federations. With regard to quotas, she asked if SASCOC was concerned with addressing these quotas at the level of federations. Finally Ms Mazibuko asked what “mind sports” were.

Mr Mashishi responded that the interpretation of statutes made taking legal action against transgressor or non-compliant federations unhelpful. He argued that the basis of SASCOC’s authority have yet to develop. With regards to quotas, Mr Mashishi maintained that targets should be set and maintained; however there was no prior reference for sport evaluation, which makes implementation difficult. He argued for realistic goals of accountability and affordability. Finally he responded that “mind sports” were games such as chess that is not physically but mentally challenging.

The Chairperson thanked the delegation for its presentations and interactions and the meeting was adjourned.      


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