National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill [B17-2006]; South African Institute For Drug-Free Sport Amendment Bill [B7-2006]: briefing by Deputy Minister

Committee: Sport and Recreation

Date of Meeting: 08 Aug 2006

Summary

No summary available for this committee meeting.


Minutes

 

SPORT AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
8 August 2006
NATIONAL SPORT AND RECREATION AMENDMENT BILL; SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE FOR DRUG-FREE SPORT AMENDMENT BILL: BRIEFING BY DEPUTY MINISTER


Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)

Documents handed out:

National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill [B17-2006]
South African Institute For Drug-Free Sport Amendment Bill [B7-2006]

SUMMARY
The Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation met with the Committee to provide briefings on the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill and the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport Amendment Bill. The latter Bill was intended to align the Institute with recent international developments in terms of anti-doping measures. A United Nations code had been formulated to govern activities to eradicate the insidious practice of sports doping. The Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill intended to provide the Minister with additional powers over federations to facilitate transformation and good governance. The Minister would have the power to intervene in any dispute, issue directives and put forward guidelines on transformation. The Minister would not interfere in the selection process of any team but wanted to encourage transformation and ensure good governance in sports federations.

Members asked various questions including about additional financial implications for the state, the current status of Cycling South Africa, the slow pace of transformation in federations, the need to direct attention at the smaller federations at the provincial level, the methodology to monitor statistics emanating from federations, the nature of service level agreements with stakeholders and the urgent need for a blueprint for transformation of sport in South Africa.

MINUTES
The Chairperson welcomed Mr Gert Oosthuizen (Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation) to the meeting to provide a briefing on two pieces of important legislation. Public hearings would be held in due course. A media briefing would be arranged in the near future. Representatives of the nine host cities for the 2010 Soccer World Cup would meet on 27 August with civil servants that attended the recent event to gather relevant information and useful anecdotes.

Briefing on the SA Institute for Drug-free Sport Amendment Bill

Mr Oosthuizen provided a briefing on the purpose behind the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport Amendment Bill. Doping in sport was a growing international problem and had to be eradicated. Reference was made to the recent debacle at the Tour de France where the winner tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. A United Nations (UN) code designed to diminish doping cases had been ratified by the South African Parliament. The Minister of Foreign Affairs would sign the instrument of ratification soon. The intention of the Bill was to align South Africa with the international anti-doping code.

Discussion

The Chairperson asked whether the Bill contained any additional financial implications for the state.

Dr Shuaib Manjra (South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport Chairperson) stated that the Institute had been established in 1997 and was now recognised as a world leader in its field. The current Bill was intended to enhance the work of the Institute. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had been created in the early 1990s after a debacle at the Tour de France. A uniform anti-doping code had been implemented. The Bill would assist in implementing the requirements of the WADA code. The Department of Sport and Recreation’s budget had been adjusted to support the requirements of the code.

Mr Oosthuizen announced that no additional costs for the state were envisaged. Adjustments to the Department’s budget had already been completed.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on the key elements of the current Act that required amendment.

Dr Manjra responded that the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) had resulted in certain implications for the Institute that the Bill needed to address. A shift in approach to anti-doping initiatives internationally had occurred. Less testing of athletes occurred at competitions and more types of testing were required. The behaviour of athletes prior to events had to be scrutinised and more powers were needed to fight doping. Other roleplayers should be included in efforts to reduce levels of doping such as the police service and the Medical Research Council.

Mr Oosthuizen noted that the Bill intended to give powers to the Minister to appoint individuals to the Institute in consultation with stakeholders. The Bill sought to align the functions of the Institute to the dictates of the PFMA. Sport and Recreation South Africa would be given punitive measures to act against non-compliant federations.

The Chairperson acknowledged the need to align the Institute with the requirements of the PFMA.

Dr Manjra stated that recent developments in the anti-doping field had necessitated amendments to the Act. Doping in sport should be viewed as a criminal offence and more powers were needed to deal with the problem.

The Chairperson asked for detail on a certain drug in cycling that was difficult to detect.

Mr C Frolick (ANC) added that the performance-enhancing drug was difficult to detect. Cycling South Africa had requested that testing be carried out in an efficient manner to avoid anomalies.

Dr Manjra stated that cycling received the highest number of positive results internationally. He asked why Cycling SA did not register more positive tests and declared that further effort was needed to apprehend offenders. Athletes had devised sophisticated methods to avoid detection. The drug in question remained in the body for short periods of time. Cyclists tended to micro-dose closer to events to avoid detection. The Institute had received the necessary testing equipment two years ago due to a grant from the Department. Recent successes at the Tour de France were due to wider investigatory techniques. Increased powers to search and seize samples were needed to achieve results. Cycling SA should submit a report to the Institute indicating their concerns regarding testing methodologies.

The Chairperson agreed that appropriate mechanisms should be devised to improve testing within the cycling fraternity.

Briefing on the Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill

Mr Oosthuizen stated that the Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill was intended to amend the National Sport and Recreation Act of 1998. The South African Sport and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) was recognised as the only non-governmental macro-organisation for sport in South Africa. The Minister had to have additional powers over federations to intervene in disputes, issue directives where necessary and issue guidelines for transformation. The executive authority (the Minister) would not participate in the selection process of national teams. Numerous examples of maladministration had arisen in federations across all sectors. Sport should reflect the demographics of the nation. The Bill intended to promote good governance in sporting federations.

Discussion

Mr L Reid (ANC) noted that the Minister would not interfere in the selection process but he raised concern that reliance on the unilateral actions of federations would delay the process and hinder genuine transformation.

Mr Frolick asserted that a blueprint for transformation in sport was urgently required. The resolutions attained at a recent ANC conference were included in the proposed amendments. He asked whether the Bill would create Departmental powers over provinces to address weaknesses in smaller federations.

Mr Oosthuizen asserted that the executive authority could not intervene in the selection of teams nor participate in the management of federations. Clause 14 stipulated that the Minister could issue guidelines or policies on transformation. All federations would submit annual reports to the Minister on transformation issues and good governance. Further detail was needed on the membership numbers of federations to gauge whether state funding should continue. Grassroots transformation within federations was of paramount importance. Each federation should formulate its own specific development programme. Transformation Charters would act as catalysts to drive change. The Bill should not be perceived as an instrument to control federations or impose a certain agenda upon them. The Department sought to correct poor governance issues in certain federations by granting the Minister power to intervene where necessary. Previously, the Minister could only intervene in a federation if invited.

Mr S Louw (ANC) reminded Members that the Bill was intended to deal with all sporting codes in an equal manner. More extensive guidelines were needed by the Minister to facilitate meaningful transformation.

Mr Frolick asserted that the government had to redirect the focus of federations away from boardroom politics towards transformation issues. He asked how the Department would monitor the quality of statistics received from federations to ensure honesty. The government should second officials to federations to assist with governance issues.

Mr Oosthuizen reiterated that accurate statistics from federations were vital to ascertain progress in transformation and facilitate continued grant allocation. The Department would consider the deployment of officials to federations. Additional staff would have to be acquired in consultation with the Department of Public Service and Administration. The Department had recently undergone a restructuring process and the total staff complement was currently 197.

The Chairperson concurred that the executive authority could not intervene in team selection but the lack of transformation in certain national teams remained a concern. Transformation should be encouraged in a way that did not infringe on freedom of expression and other rights. He asked how the government would fund SASCOC and for clarity on the role of service level agreements. Certain federations insisted on organising their own funding and therefore objected when the state attempted to intervene in their affairs and impose a particular agenda.

Mr Oosthuizen stated that the Department would put transformation guidelines in place applicable to all federations. He reminded Members that SASCOC was a non-governmental organisation and therefore did not receive any state funding. SASCOC relied on private sector financial support. The Department would establish service level agreements with SASCOC such as for the preparation of the team for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Any state financial assistance provided to the large federations would be accompanied by certain conditions and responsibilities. Payments would be made on adherence to the stipulated conditions.

Mr Frolick proposed that the Committee should interact with the Department in the near future on the role of SASCOC. Federations demanded state intervention when it suited them but discouraged interference on issues of transformation. The intervention of the Minister would be to assist federations rather than adversely affect them.

Mr Oosthuizen noted that politicians tended to be blamed when teams lost but seldom received complements for winning streaks. The Committee could approach him at any stage during the deliberation process to clarify certain issues.

The Chairperson acknowledged that workable channels of communication with the Department were in place. The Committee intended to first deliberate on the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport Amendment Bill.

The meeting was adjourned.