A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
SPORT AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
SPORT AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 October 2006
NATIONAL SPORT AND RECREATION AMENDMENT BILL [B17- 2006]: PUBLIC HEARINGS
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Programme for Public Hearings
Mr Dumile Mateza Presentation to the Portfolio Committee
Department for Sport and Recreation Presentation to Parliament
National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill B17-2006
ANC Youth League Presentation on the “National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill” 10 October 2006
Young Communist League of South Africa Submission to the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation
Disability Sport South Africa submission
Afriforum submitted that there must be a clear distinction between organs of state and of civil society. The powers of intervention granted to the Minister of Sport and Recreation by the Amendment Bill could jeopardise the country’s standing with international bodies. Members disagreed with these sentiments, citing the need to develop previously disadvantaged communities. They felt that international bodies understood the position of the South African government, and intervention into disputes of sporting bodies was not synonymous with interference. Sporting federations were not implementing transformation in a manner acceptable to the majority. The credentials of Afriforum were questioned. Perceived government interference in the selection of teams was raised, and the question of whether government funding necessitated accountability. Legal representatives explained that the wording of the Amendment Bill was constitutional.
The ANC Youth League submitted that many inequalities still had to be redressed. They commented that quotas were counter-productive. They felt that the use of ‘may’ should be amended to ‘must’, thereby forcing the Minister to act in the case of disputes rather than leaving it to his discretion. Lack of facilities and training prevented many black sportsmen from competing at the same level.
The Young Communists League said that opportunities must be given to previously disadvantaged people. The South African Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) was the overall body to achieve success in this matter. Sports development should be concentrated at local level. National federations were not meeting developmental goals. The Minister should not be confined to a non active role. There needed to be uniformity in terms of national colours and symbols. Members questioned the status of SASCOC, as it was viewed as an NGO but the Bill gave it statutory powers. Members of the Department said that these references had been changed at an earlier meeting.
Mr Dumile Mateza said that too much emphasis was being placed on administrators rather than the players. There was no criticism of the poor results being achieved by national teams. A master plan was needed to guide sport in the future. USASSA should be disbanded, and their functions should rather be handled by a sub-committee of SASCOC. Better use should be made of academies, which were practicing exclusivity at present. He also called for uniformity in national colours and symbols. Members felt that there was some form of plan in place. There was discussion regarding the merits of school sport being administered by teachers rather than administrators. Funding must be addressed as a key issue.
The Chairperson reminded all the presenters that they could speak freely, as parliamentary privilege covered all discussion at this meeting. A member of Boxing South Africa in Parliament had recently been threatened with a lawsuit resulting from his comments, but it was clear that the statements had fallen under parliamentary privilege. However, the Chairperson stressed that all comments must be delivered in a dignified way.
Submission by Afriforum
Mr Kallie Kriel, Chief Executive Officer, Afriforum, said that it was a privilege to be at this hearing. He clarified that Afriforum was a civil rights organisation. It believed that the problem of strengthening democracy could not be left to the politicians only. His intention was to stimulate debate on issues arising from the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill. He noted that the most stringent debates seemed to happen in this Committee. The purpose of his organisation was to detect problems, contact the relevant stakeholders and then form committees to deal with the various issues. He believed there were two main challenges in the proposed legislation. .
Afriforum perceived Section 13 (d) (5) as a threat to democracy. A clear distinction was needed between the organs of state and those of civil society, of which the various sports bodies were a component. The powers of intervention which would be made available to the Minister would weaken this separation. He quoted Section 2.3.9 and Section 31 of the Constitution in support of this argument. The breach of the distinction between the two spheres would be harmful to democracy. His advice to the Committee was to heed the differences between the two sectors. Democracy would suffer if the Minister had to intervene. There were enough methods already available to deal with unconstitutional practices.
The second challenge was the threat to international participation. The international community was not in favour of threats to the authority of sporting bodies. International participation was good for all the citizens of the country, and the government should not gamble with the future of international acceptance. In the Olympic Charter, Article 2.10, it was stated that sport must not be misused for political purposes, and in Article 3.2 national bodies were forbidden from practicing discrimination. The Amendment Bill would interfere with the authority of sporting federations, as had happened with Greek Football. FIFA had ruled that the status of the Hellenic Football Federation (HFF) was not in line with independence guidelines, and had been suspended. Ministerial intervention would also contravene these guidelines.
Mr Kriel said that the Committee should take a good look at itself. A lot of the discussion in this Committee was more about the politics around sport than sport itself. He felt that the offending clause should be removed from the Bill, and in fact should be substituted with a clause preventing political interference. He urged the government not to gamble with South Africa’s international reputation. If there was any dispute, the matter should be referred to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FIFA for their comment. He urged the Committee to hear the other side of the story.
General B Holomisa (UDM) said that it was unfortunate that separate development had resulted in huge backlogs and imbalances. Many residents of the townships and rural areas had approached the Committee to ask Treasury to finance the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) better. There was still a tendency to discriminate when it came to team selection. He agreed that there were questions to be addressed regarding the spending of tax revenue. The Minister should be empowered to ensure that the spending was justified.
He said that the international community had used sport as a weapon in the past to enforce changes in South Africa. Government should be careful that a similar situation should not arise again. He was still waiting for a report on how far the redress process was. If the state was to finance previously disadvantaged individuals (pdi’s), then it would be a good idea if the Minister was empowered to monitor this spending. He asked who would be funding transformation and equal access. He urged the government to move slowly, as this was an emotive issue.
Mr C Frolick (ANC) said that this issue had arisen during the previous day’s hearings. The two matters raised by Mr Kriel were completely unrelated. A responsible governing party would not risk a negative reputation for South Africa. It was very aware of the opinions in the international arena. Although government intervention was frowned upon, guarantees had been concluded with government in finalising the agreement on hosting the 2010 World Cup. International bodies understood the history of sport in some countries, and accepted the responsibilities of government. There had already been some discussion on this issue.
Mr Frolick said that the ANC would continue to pursue national objectives. There was a challenge with some major federations on the issue of transformation. Sport played a crucial role in social cohesion, and transformation was a way to improve the image of the various codes. At the same time, there had been breaches of good corporate governance in some of the federations. He asked what the alternatives were for government. Intervention was not necessarily the same as interference in the affairs of the federations.
The different codes had a responsibility to implement the negotiated settlement. Mr Kriel was suggesting that the Constitution, finalised in 1996, should be re-opened for discussion. This could not be done. The Bill was necessary as the figures proved that the majority of federations were unwilling to pursue transformation objectives.
Mr R Reed (ANC) said that since unification it had been left to the federations to implement transformation. However, there were still lily-white teams, with black players making token appearances as last minute substitutes. The Minister must ensure that transformation took place. There was a responsibility by government to let all South Africans participate in sport at the highest level. The Constitution was the supreme law and all legislation had to be in line with the Constitution to ensure equity. He could not understand how Mr Kriel was suggesting that the Bill be given to the IOC and FIFA for checking. The government would make laws in compliance with its own Constitution.
Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) asked who Afriforum were, and what persons of colour it represented. Sport and politics could not be divorced. The previous government had made the mess which was now being sorted out. FIFA had met with President Mbeki, and this issue had not been brought up at that meeting. He said that all organisations were aware of the problems caused by people like Mr Kriel.
Mr B Dhlamini (IFP) agreed that government should not gamble with the future of South African sport. Government had been gambling for the last twelve years by leaving transformation to civil society, and this process had failed. Therefore intervention was now necessary. In a number of other countries, even in the first world, there was state control. In France, for example, all codes had to sign agreements with government. He felt that this should apply in South Africa as well. Certain people were still prevented from participating in sport, being denied opportunities on the basis of freedom of association provisions.
Mr Kriel responded that government funding did not give the state the right to intervene in the affairs of sporting federations. He cited the example of a project which his organisation had arranged for children in homes. Sponsorship had been obtained and the sponsors had required feedback, but were not permitted to intervene. If they were unhappy with what transpired they would not repeat their sponsorship for future events. He felt that a problem was that the concept of transformation was rated higher than the Constitution. Transformation was not mentioned in the Constitution. The ANC placed political concepts above the Constitution, which was adapted to suit the political agenda. Members of the party should read the Constitution more often. Article 1 said that that South Africa was one sovereign democratic state, based on non-racialism and non-sexism. However, members of the ANC were racially obsessed.
Efforts were being made to eradicate inequalities and he supported these efforts. He mentioned a protest by some students recently who had painted themselves black to highlight the ANC’s racial obsession. Inequalities should first be eradicated and then government should look at socio-economic problems. Federations must give feedback on this process. Programmes must be developed in impoverished areas rather than citing black athletes from privileged backgrounds as examples of the successes of transformation.
The Auditor General (AG) had exposed financial mismanagement in several government departments. He asked if a dictator was needed to solve these problems. It was a democratic process to sort out financial mismanagement, but the position of the Bill supported dictatorship. If the international community said this was in line with best practice, then political intervention would be allowed in specified cases. He needed to know what the international principles were.
Mr W Spies (FF+) remarked that Gen Holomisa had a lot to say about separate development. This was true and all agreed on the matter. However, he recalled that Gen Holomisa himself had, during a radio interview in the past, commented that without separate development he might still have been a Corporal instead of a General.
Mr Spies was very concerned about the polarisation of the Committee. It could not seek consensus, and it was up to an outsider like himself to try to give an opposite view. The Committee had to listen to the views of presenters, and not to ridicule presenters or the groups they represented. He was concerned that inputs not in line with ANC strategies were being ridiculed. If government was to be responsible, then it must put itself in the shoes of all people. He asked how sweeping statements were affecting youngsters on a racial basis. The FF+ had been challenged to provide names of persons being excluded on racial grounds, and had drawn up a list of 1 500 people. This list included cricketer Kevin Pietersen and others. He asked if Mr Kriel had any experience of a degree of discrimination.
Mr Kriel appreciated Mr Spies’s comments, but said that his group did not necessarily have strong connections with any party. On Thursday 5 October a group of students had presented a memorandum to the President’s office in reaction to his “I am an African” speech, in which he celebrated the acceptance of the Constitution, and stressed that the concept of African-ness was not based on skin colour. He mentioned the example of a netball player who had been excluded from representative teams from primary school due to targets. Children who had been born in 1994 were being excluded on basis of race, which was a criterion for selection.
The Chairperson said that the legislation had been dealt with in other forums as well.
Ms T Tobias (ANC) said that caution was needed, and people should understand how legislation was crafted. There was a political connotation. General Holomisa had expressed a view that the federations were undemocratic. Arms of the state had to run an agenda. This was perhaps not captured in the Constitution, but bodies had to act in synch with it. There was no specific racially based approach, but transformation was a major issue. There were long term implications, therefore a purely constituency-based approached should not be followed.
Mr J Masango (DA) said that there was a purpose to holding public hearings, and the Committee should entertain this purpose. People should be given a chance to talk. An impression was being given that nothing in the Bill would be changed. Transformation was one of the methods to develop sport, and he asked how this could be done without involving the Minister.
Gen Holomisa said that this was an emotional issue. He agreed that presenters should be given the time to address the Committee, but the attitude of speakers should be tempered. It was not true that the question of non-African players being left out of teams had never been raised in the country, Parliament or in SRSA circles. He cited the discussion in the Committee regarding the omission of Luke Watson and Schalk Brits from the Springbok rugby team. Whites were leaving at the federation level. Care was needed in determining the nature of the system. The mistakes of the past should not be repeated. He agreed that there had been some benefits under separate development. Sport was still lagging behind on the national agenda, and a debate on this issue was needed.
Mr Frolick disagreed that the meetings of the Committee were polarised. Serious consensus had been achieved at previous meetings. Robust debate was not excluded by democracy. At the time that Kevin Pietersen decided to leave South Africa he was still a young boy who, at the time, showed promise but no extraordinary talent. He had taken a gamble on his future which had succeeded, but Mr Frolick felt that he would not fit into the ethos of the current South African team. He felt that the painted faces perhaps revealed racial obsession on the part of the protesting students...
He said that there were still white players in the South African teams. Mr Kriel had said quite a few things, but he still wanted to know his view on transformation. The Bill was not concerned with team selection, especially not down to primary school level. He asked about the organisation of Afriforum, and what Mr Kriel’s links were to Solidarity.
Mr E Saloojee (ANC) said that the reality in South African sport, with the exception of the national soccer team, was that the majority of national players were white. This applied in cricket, rugby and many other codes. Historically disadvantaged people now wanted to experience the dividends of democracy. It was difficult to understand why some whites now felt left out. Blacks must complain about the lack of transformation, and legislation was needed to level the playing fields.
Mr Dikgacwi stated that Afriforum represented a tiny minority. The majority were still excluded from all processes. This was an issue with this Committee. At the Coca-Cola week for primary schools rugby teams, at high school level and even at Under 21 level all races were represented. Black players then tended to disappear before they could reach national level. Development should enable all players to have a fair share of the cake. Players were competing for large salaries, and it was the will of the voters that they should succeed.
The Chairperson said that there were a number of question on many assertions. Public hearings should not be one-way traffic. Debate should not be left to the Committee stage. A winner-takes-all approach was not appropriate. He asked how sport could be used to make South Africa a better country. Sport was a battle of ideas, but blacks were still excluded. He would share the views of SRSA, but the Committee would decide on the final wording of the Bill. Balance was still needed.
Mr Kriel replied that he was not too sensitive. A political issue had been made of the exclusion of Luke Watson, but recent matches had shown that he was not necessarily the best player in his position at present. Kevin Pietersen had been told that his career prospects in South Africa were limited because of the quota system. Regarding the netball player, the Minister had issued specific instructions regarding the selection of that team at primary school level. Transformation should support the eradication of inequalities. If it was solely a question of race, then the only black players selected would still be those from an elite school background. The facilities available at poorer schools should be evaluated. He reminded the meeting that 80% of basketball players in the United States were African-Americans, which was not an accurate reflection of the demographics of the USA.
Adv B Lufundo (Office of the Chief State Law Advisor) said that the members of the Executive were referred to in Section 2 of the Constitution. Section 5 stated that the President and Cabinet Ministers had a duty to develop and implement national responsibilities. Therefore the Minister had an obligation to manage the affairs in his portfolio. The intention of the Bill was to bring about transformation. Federations should attempt to resolve disputes internally. If unable to do this, they would refer the dispute to the South African Sports Federation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). The new Section 5.5 in the Bill would give the Minister the power to intervene in disputes of cases of alleged mismanagement only. He would not be empowered to intervene in operational issues of the running of federations.
Adv G Boshoff (Legal Advisor SRSA) said that the dispute or alleged mismanagement had to be of such a nature that it was likely to bring a sport or recreational activity into disrepute. Conditions were attached. There was a balancing act, and the likelihood of disrepute had to be shown. It was an optional provision, and the Minister might well review a case and decide that intervention was not needed.
Section 9 of the Constitution dealt with equality of citizens. All should enjoy equal benefits. However, in order to promote the attainment of equality, the Constitution allowed for the use of unfair discrimination to redress previous imbalances.
Mr Komphela said that this showed how carefully a Bill had to be phrased to fall within the Constitution. The Bill could be opened up to other tests, and he thought it was absolutely right for the Bill to be tested. No piece of legislation could undermine the Constitution. The Bill was not prescriptive in regard to the Minister’s intervention.
Gen Holomisa asked if Mr Kriel still held his views in the light of this explanation. He stressed that the wording of the Bill regarding the intervention rights of the Minister had used the word “may”.
Mr Kriel replied that he stood by what he said. There should not be the opportunity to take selective views of the Constitution, and the document must be read as a whole. There must be separation between civil society and organs of state. He agreed that the word ‘may’ made the Minister’s powers discretionary, but believed that the provision would be used and questioned the subjectivity which would be involved in defining a dispute.
The Chairperson said that Mr Kriel’s comments were noted. There was still a question of redress. Anybody who undermined the Constitution was effectively guilty of treason. The Constitution was an instrument to move the country from the past to the future, and to change the character of the country so that all could take pride in the nation. The majority of the population must have ownership. The Committee had a reputation for not leaving matters to chance, and presenters were questioned to ensure clarity.
The Chairperson commented on research published in the Sunday Times that showed that there were two to three times the numbers of white South African football players in Europe than their black counterparts. It seemed to be an obsession that whites had no opportunities, but there were currently 34 white players active in Europe as opposed to eight black players. Of the 34 whites, 28 had decided not to play for South Africa. This showed that blacks were not the only ones to have opportunities. However, many were putting the country first.
Mr Komphela said that for five years the Auditor General (AG) had not issued a disclaimer on SRSA. The current annual report was on his desk and was clean. Funds had been well used. Funds should be used to increase the value. Money given to finance the LoveLife games was done so in accordance with the Public Funds Management Act (PFMA). The major federations were not accepting government funding, as they could duck accountability in this way. He asked how investment could lead to a better life.
Submission by ANC Youth League
Mr Fikile Mbalula (President, ANC Youth League (ANCYL)) said that institutional challenges had necessitated the process of amending the Act. Transformation objectives had to be met on a non-sexist, non-racist and mass-participative basis. It was common cause that society reflected the racial inequalities. The principle of representivity was important. ANCYL would lobby bodies to effect programmes. The language of the Bill showed a balance of independence with cohesion to national goals. While FIFA had taken action in cases of government interference, national bodies were invoking autonomy in order to block transformation.
ANCYL had made concessions, but after ten years of democracy quotas were still needed to promote transformation. They were proving to be counter-productive in that no more black players were being selected than the number specified in the quota. Unilateral action was being taken by coaches and management, who were proving themselves to be utterly arrogant. They did not feel themselves bound by the law. Jake White had recently blamed quotas for recent losses. Teams were still lily white, and this showed racism to the core.
Mr Mbalula said that ANCYL was unhappy with the use of the word ‘may’ in the section of the Bill which empowered Ministerial intervention. In most instances this should be changed to ‘must’. It was inevitable that the Minister would have to intervene in the federations in order to implement change. The Minister had an unequivocal responsibility to effect the change paradigm, and there was an inevitable agenda to be followed. The autonomy of sports bodies must not be a limit to transformation. Policies were subject to international obligations and there was a need to allay fears of draconian laws. Sports bodies had to be encouraged to arrive at their own development programs in consultation with their own constituencies.
Mr Frolick said that Sections 4 and 5 of the Bill referred to the relationship between the Minister and SASCOC. This body incorporated all codes as equal partners, even those codes which had only a handful of participants. In the current format, the Minister played a subservient role in consultations with SASCOC in some aspects. He asked if this kind of an agreement was correct. The Minister was part of government, and he questioned if it was correct that he should he have to consult with all the small codes in doing his work.
Mr Masango said that sometimes people looked too high. He asked what the level of development should be. Sport played a nurturing role. He mentioned the example of Makhaya Ntini, who could no longer be regarded as a quota player but fully justified his place in the national team on merit.
Mr Zizi Kodwa (ANCYL) listed some principles which anchored the submission. The change in the status quo would define the future. The second pillar was that codes should be accessible to all, while some were still linked to specific groups. The third pillar was the important role played by sport in integration and the building of a non-racial society. The concepts in the Constitution should not be exaggerated. Even a democracy needed a strong leader, who should enjoy particular powers and be responsible for certain functions. There were still many inequalities stemming from the past. South Africa now enjoyed a democratic government, represented by the various Ministers. There was a battle of ideas at present, which was not about discrimination but about inclusivity. There needed to be a bias towards pdi’s.
He quoted the example of swimming where most of the national squad consisted of young whites. This sport suffered from a lack of facilities, with very few pools in the townships. This showed that it would be wrong to assume that a level of normality had been reached. The hopes of the people rested in the democratically elected government. The Bill would assist the Minister in catering for the interests of the majority. A mediator was not needed, but interventions would provide the answers. This would advance national goals.
Mr Mbalula added that there could be no doubt about the ability of African athletes. However, the exclusivity practiced within various codes and the lack of training stifled this talent. There was no such thing as uncompetitive genes in African people, as certain researchers had suggested. The problem lay in the lack of resources and infrastructure to develop talent. Even today, the redistribution process had not yet produced equality. He compared the University of Johannesburg’s facilities to Vista University, which he described as a glorified secondary school. Blacks were deliberately excluded. Makhaya Ntini’s future had only been guaranteed because of the quota system. He hated the concept of quotas, but wondered if the various federations thought that blacks could play those sports. Facilities and training were key to developing talent. A development school had been established in the Eastern Cape by the SA Rugby Union only after the departure from office of Mr van Rooyen. Development was the key to transformation, and would unravel talent.
Gen Holomisa said that the Bill resulted from frustrations generated over the last ten to twelve years. There was a feeling that SRSA and this Committee were failing the nation. The ANCYL was supporting the Bill, which would avoid another twelve years of frustration. The budget for facilities had to be decided as soon as possible. The Committee should focus more on what ANCYL was saying. The legal team should be asked which of their suggestions were good. If the Minister could take unilateral decisions he could become a dictator. Perhaps he should rather refer contentious issues to Cabinet. Gen Holomisa was sympathetic to the youth. After a twenty year struggle, Cabinet still did not prioritise sport. The state did not seem to see the need for intervention.
Mr Spies said that ANCYL’s comments were an insult to the Vista University and all its students. A university was more than the buildings. Transformation was not a figures issue, but an issue of development. ANCYL were gauging rugby by the fact that there were three black players in the team.
Mr Mbalula replied that Vista was one of the institutions improving knowledge. Despite the reconfiguration of higher education, there were still some disparities. There was an old consensus about quota figures, especially in rugby, that only three players of colour would be selected on the day. This undermined transformation and the competitive edge. The Youth League interacted with all, and felt that quotas were undermining transformation. A conservative approach was being taken, and African blacks were being wiped out of contention. On the recent rugby tour to Australia most of the black players had not been included in the starting line-up. There was no willingness to integrate. Also, if a black player lost his place in the squad due to injury he seemed to be permanently discarded.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had interacted with 74 of the biggest federations. None had opposed the concept of transformation. Transformation negotiations had taken place during 1998. There had been a public outcry over frustrations due to a lack of change. He accepted the submission and asked SRSA’s legal advisors to express an opinion on the Olympic Charter.
Adv Lufundo said that the purpose of the relevant article on the IOC charter was to combat political abuses.
Mr Komphela said that the HFF had been exempted from the provisions of Greek law after the FIFA ban had been imposed. People quoted selectively on this issue. A report from FIFA indicated that the Greek government had intervened three times since 2001. The laws there would allow state intervention in the administration, football matters and the election of office-bearers. He pleaded that the record should be set straight on the distortions around government’s responsibilities.
Submission by Young Communists’ League
Mr Bhuti Manamela (Secretary, Young Communists League) said that the Young Communists League (YCL) believed that sport represented an opportunity for pdi’s. SASCOC was the overall body to achieve success. Sports development should happen at local level. SASCOC had been in place for a while and was the overriding structure. However, some federations acted as a power unto themselves. SASCOC needed the power to intervene. It was the intention of the Bill to promote the national correlation of sport.
He said that sport should start at the district level. There was a dearth of sports infrastructure in the townships. SASCOC should be accountable for this to the federations and to the Minister. This was not clear in the Bill, and more emphasis was needed.
Mr Manamela said that use of the word ‘may’ regarding the powers of the Minister to intervene should be changed to ‘will’ or ‘must’. This would enable progress on issues of development, education and training. The phrase ‘policy guidelines’ should also be changed to ‘mandatory regulations’.
Sports and recreation should be part of the state’s development role. This sector could not be equated with health and housing sectors. National federations were not meeting national development goals. Rugby was going from one crisis to another. Soccer was troubled by power struggles. Cricket suffered from lack of accessibility. The Minister was prevented from interfering. The legacy of apartheid was still visible. Powers were being given to SASCOC on behalf of the Minister.
He said that collective determination of goals was needed for the different codes. Goals should include quotas and inclusivity. However, quotas should not be used to the detriment of development as they often led to a situation of maximum rather than minimum representation. Administration and changes of leadership could be targets of intervention. The Minister should have a say in these matters even if he did not have the power to replace officials. SASCOC should have similar powers.
Mr Manamela continued that there should be an end to monopolisation of sports. The Minister’s status should be certain and active, especially in terms of development. The role of government should be raised with the federations, and resources should be allocated. Poor performance was often the result of poor administration. This should not be seen as justifying unreasonable demands.
Players should be represented at federation and SASCOC level by player unions. Athletes’ committees should be formed as the role of players was important. SASCOC had some responsibility in regulating player/employer relations. There were already various unions in some of the codes, such as rugby and cricket, which had inputs into policies and guidelines. Gender representation was also important. If representation was avoided, then this would be detrimental to development. Fly-by-night operators, who were sometimes found amongst the smaller codes, had to be avoided.
There was a massive need for coaches, especially in the rural areas. The training methods used by many existing coaches were often suspect. Good preparation was needed for competition. Each school should have a trained technical person in each of the major codes. This would eventually eliminate the need for quotas. There was no quick fix for the training of coaches and other technical personnel. The mushrooming academies were guilty of stealing valuable resources.
Mr Manamela expressed concern over the number of foreign coaches in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). Skills should be developed locally, and available local talent should be considered. Life skills training was also important to assist players once they retired.
He said that national colours and symbols should play a reconciliatory role. Only one symbol was needed, and this should be the protea rather than the springbok. National unity was needed, and this should also be reflected in uniformity of colours.
One must be careful of SASCOC’s performance. Stadium building was not their responsibility, but that of national and local government. SASCOC should operate at the community level, and should manage resources. Community development goals should be set. Co-ordination was needed between national federations and their provincial counterparts. A clear performance assessment was needed.
Gen Holomisa said that officials from SRSA should brief the Committee on the role of SASCOC. There was continuous reference to them as a statutory body where in fact they were a non-governmental organisation (NGO). The SASCOC position should be revisited vis-à-vis the powers of the Minister, and the usage of the word ‘may’.
Mr B Solo (ANC) said that federations were defeating what training was trying to achieve. They were sabotaging development goals. He felt that the Minister should only intervene in disputes. The confusion between the status of an NGO and a statutory body was making the Committee members look as if they did not know what they were doing. Attention had to be paid to disadvantaged communities, and the one-man-show type of federation was to be avoided.
The Chairperson said that there was an impression that the statutory powers of the Minister were being outsourced to an NGO.
Ms W Makgate (ANC) concurred with this viewpoint. She also agreed that the Minister should not be regarded as a lame duck. He must be given clear powers. She wanted clarification on what powers were to be given to SASCOC.
The Chairperson said that he had been listening to various radio stations around the country. Of those responding to surveys, 99% agreed that the Minister should have powers of intervention. The 1% who disagreed were white people. He was happy that sport was running well. A journalist from the Citizen newspaper had addressed the Committee the previous day, and said he had no problem in seeing a soccer stadium full of black spectators and a rugby stadium full of white spectators. This was a matter of choice, but reinforced the concept of a two-nations approach. It implied that transformation was a matter of choice.
Mr Greg Fredericks (Chief Director, SRSA) said that his Department had held a discussion earlier that day on the implication of certain statements. A critical issue was the powers to be given to the Minister. There was a fundamental flaw in that the now defunct Sports Commission had been a statutory body, while SASCOC was an NGO. The references to SASCOC in a statutory role would be removed from the Bill, and those powers would devolve to the Minister and SRSA. SASCOC was now an NGO, tasked primarily with overseeing the High Performance Programme. SASCOC would only be attending the public hearings on Friday. The YCL had focused on the powers of SASCOC, but had a mistaken perception. SASCOC would be accountable to the Minister. There was an impression that another statutory body was being created. This would be corrected when the Committee reviewed the Bill on a clause-by-clause basis.
Mr Manamela said that he had understood the rationale to be that SASCOC was replacing the Sports Commission. In the light of the clarification by Mr Fredericks he would be happy to retract his comments on the SASCOC issue.
Mr Masango said that any interventions should come from SASCOC and not from the Minister.
Mr Manamela replied that the rationale was that SASCOC was envisioned to play a particular role. It would assist the Minister in performing his tasks.
Mr Fredericks said that if SASCOC was to act in this manner then there would be no contradiction. The National Sports Council had been formed by sectors of civil society and the national federations. It had played a co-ordinating role for all sports. There was nothing wrong with self-regulation. The Minister would like SASCOC to play this role.
The Chairperson said that the title of the Bill should be amended. The dissolution of the Sports Commission had not been the advent of SASCOC. The title was misleading. The presentation of YCL had been based on the previous version. Mr Fredericks had agreed that there was a problem in the nature and design of SASCOC. He asked if SASCOC represented the majority, as control seemed to be exercised by tiny reactionary groups which were not transformed. For now they would be legitimate in principle, but the situation needed attention.
Gen Holomisa reminded the Committee of the new politics of coalition in which the small parties could play a significant role.
The Chairperson said that YCL wanted merit selections, but these had to be based on the outcomes of equal opportunity. He asked if merit was being discredited. Only certain privileged individuals could penetrate the ceiling. Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams often opted for foreign coaches, and the Committee had a problem with this. Even the large number of foreign players in the PSL reduced the opportunities for local players. The actions of white administrators such as Raymond Hack and Trevor Phillips were never criticised and no question were asked. However, the credentials of Danny Jordaan were continuously questioned even though no-one else could compare with his record. He asked what was wrong with our own coaches.
Submission by Mr Dumile Mateza
Mr Dumile Mateza said that the international community was not interested in the youth development, but in its own ego. South African sport needed a master plan. There was too much emphasis on administrators rather than players. Government should act ruthlessly. No questions had been raised about the poor performance of national teams such as volleyball and the Senior and Under 23 football the teams, who had all failed to qualify for major events. Strategies regarding growth and development had to be revisited.
He made some observations on the Bill. He pointed out that SASCOC could not be an NGO if it was within the ambit of SRSA and was receiving government funding. School sport could not be treated in the same way as national federations. He felt that United School Sports Association of South Africa (USASSA) should be dissolved and its functions taken over by a sub-committee of SASCOC. This organisation should develop the master plan. Academies were only available to those who could pay, and there was no uniform rule by which they abided. Federations were spending a lot of money on these institutions. The High Performance Academy was there to preserve sport for those that could afford it.
He said that the business of sport involved sponsorship and accountability. Education of trainers and developers was needed. In 1994 there had been a lot of talk of copying the Australian model. During the Commonwealth Games, only 10% of the members of the Australian team were born in that country. The remainder had been attracted from various overseas countries. Foreigners were succeeding in South Africa, and he quoted the number of Zimbabwean marathon runners that were winning local events.
In particular reference to the Bill, Mr Mateza commented on the amended Section 3, which provided that federations should have service level agreements. The new Section 4 stated that the Minister should determine policy. This Section was open to different interpretations. Federations would develop facilities while SASCOC should determine standards. In Section 5, federations should be responsible for safety issues. SASCOC was guilty of not playing a role here. In Section 7, the education function was performed by the Hospitality and Sport SETA. Federations were the best placed to train their own officials, while also soliciting sponsorship and conducting marketing.
Mr Mateza said that with regard to Section 9 each entity should work regarding the master plan. In Section 10 SASCOC should develop a funding policy, or alternatively adopt PFMA principles. In Section 11 a National Colours Board should be established as a sub-committee of SASCOC to determine uniform colours. With regard to Section 13, he felt that SASCOC could not deal with disputes as their members also served on various federations and a conflict of interest could arise. Only an independent body should deal with these matters. The Minister should only intervene when all channels of SASCOC and such an independent body had been exhausted. The wording of Section 13(b) was vague. There should be an unambiguous definition of transformation. At present it seemed the term was a euphemism for black faces in teams. Federations were sleepwalking through racism. The need for transformation must be accepted, and the concept should be seen as an acceptance of the humanity of all people.
Mr Dikgacwi commented that this was a good submission. He believed that school sport would happen whether USASSA was there or not. Teachers should remain involved as they were in daily contact with the children. He had observed a recent visit to Canada where arrangements had been made by administrators, and the organisation had been poor. Teachers would have paid better attention to the logistical arrangements. Removing teachers from the equation would be a step backwards.
Gen Holomisa asked if the programmes of NOCSA and then SASCOC were not in fact following a master plan. Some goals had not been achieved due to the lack of in instrument to measure achievement. Prioritisation of sport was needed.
Mr Solo asked if the Mass Participation Programme (MPP) was available to score and intervene. Standards were needed and targets had to be set. A national sports strategy was needed. There was no benchmark to measure performance.
Mr Mateza replied that at the USASSA conference nothing had been discussed regarding education despite teachers preparing the paperwork. He believed they should rather concentrate on teaching. School sport could not work outside SASCOC’s control. Some discussion was needed on school sport, and this had to be incorporated into the plan. School teams were receiving more and more sponsorship, and there was a resulting overemphasis on winning at all costs. He could not understand why there should be national teams at age groups as low as under 12’s, as players of this age should only be playing for fun. He repeated his call to scrap USASSA and instead form a sub-committee at SASCOC.
Mr Mateza raised another issue. At the last President’s Awards in 2000, President Mbeki had remarked that Australia had spent $6 billion on sport, and that he would ask Trevor Manuel to match this. Such expenditure could only happen in accordance with a master plan. He said that much of the contents of this presentation came from a letter he had written to The Star in reaction to the President lamenting the issue of non-performance. Only the previous week, both national hockey teams had finished last in their respective World Cups.
He asked what high performance meant. The academy system should be streamlined, with one single national academy in place. At present these institutes were only preparing white sportsmen for top competition, and they had a great influence on the selection of national teams. Standardisation was needed.
The Chairperson said that the issue of funding must be pursued rigorously.
Mr Fredericks said that a sports plan was in existence. There was a guiding document in the form of a White Paper. The MTT report had focused mainly on the high performance aspect. Objectives and priorities had been defined, and there was a plan for sport. Consultative sessions were to happen. There was still no clear pathway defined from grassroots level to top competition. There were intermediate levels such as schools, junior clubs, tertiary institutions, clubs and national level. Funding of academies should be centrally co-ordinated rather than being channeled into a single academy. In fact Australia had started with a single nation academy but had now moved to a decentralised model where all could contribute.
A number of questions had been asked regarding poor performance. The simple truth was that the lack of financial backing was restricting performance. SRSA had a budget of R36 million at one stage. This had increased to R352 million in the current financial year, but even if this was doubled it would still not be enough. Studies had been conducted in two codes. Athletics needed R400 million to establish an efficient national structure. Hockey needed R350 million for similar purposes. Netball had no national league, while the top hockey players could only enjoy a single training camp and an annual inter-provincial tournament in preparation for international events. The gap between club and national level was huge. The funding question was now also affecting sport in England.
Mr Fredericks added that many foreign coaches were employed at the Australian academies. Other countries had also seen the benefit of appointing the best coaches notwithstanding their nationality.
The Minister should look at policies, and these had to be revised from time to time. Safety issues were being addressed. He told Mr Mateza that the THETA structure was not intended to train people, but to accredit courses, maintain standards and establish a national qualification authority. The training expertise itself lay within the federations.
Mr Masango said that sustainability had to be researched. There was an academy in Limpopo which showed little sign of activity. He asked if ministerial intervention would solve the problem.
Gen Holomisa said that there was a link between transformation and skills.
Mr Mateza replied that he agreed with Mr Fredericks. All these aspects could be encapsulated. There should be uniformity in the academies. Many athletes from all over the world trained at Potchefstroom, but there was little sharing of their expertise. He supported the concept of ministerial intervention, but felt this should only happen as a last resort. He saw the franchise system as the privatisation of a national asset. In the case of the Spears, the three constituent provinces (Border, Eastern Province and South Western Districts) were all bankrupt but all the money was in the professional franchise. The administrators of the Super 14 franchises were all white, and there was no transformation, empowerment, or sharing of profits.
Mr Fredericks highlighted another problem. Athletes competing in events such as the Golden League were well paid. However, they did not perform at events such as the Olympic Games where they represented the country. There had been some payments to Olympic medallists.
Mr Mateza said that dispute resolution would be hampered where members of SASCOC had strong relations with the federations. The colours board should ensure that all national teams wore the same shade of green and used the same emblems.
The Chairperson said it would be a dangerous thing to give control over national colours to SASCOC, who might hand out colours in an arbitrary way. The use of the national anthem outside the country had to be sanctioned by the Minister. The Minster and SRSA must set the standards. Bafana Bafana was the only team not to wear the national symbol on their shirts, while the flag was only on their sleeves. This was a SAFA decision.
The Ministerial Task Team (MTT) report should be investigated. It was almost complete, but there would only be interaction with the federations. The points concerning the Committee had not been addressed. The author of the report had been discredited. The Committee would never again make the same mistake.
People were frustrated that nothing was happening. Almost thirteen years of democracy had now passed, but there were no changes in sport unless the Minister intervened to assist the people. The way forward was not charted, and this Bill was in fact a last resort.
Mr Komphela said that no school sport had been happening since USASSA had been disbanded. This was because officials were now being used instead of teachers. Sport was only continuing in the former Model C schools. He asked how a master plan would help. It might not be the solution, but would be an enabling mechanism to reach the goals.
The issue of injuries was critical. Between 2003 and 2006, eight rugby players had died as a result of injuries, while 54 players had suffered crippling injuries. Safety should be placed first and success should not be achieved at the cost of injury.
The Chairperson said that the establishing of a sub-committee on SASCOC to deal with school sport could be a good idea. It would have to deal with school matters, as there was no capacity at present to deal with these issues.
President Mbeki had said it was unfair to compare South Africa to European and Australia standards as the resources were lacking. He asked if investigations should be done compared to African countries’ budgets, or only the United Kingdom or Australia. This would be a challenge to the Committee’s researcher. Empirical evidence was needed.
He asked how the standards of the mushrooming academies were measured. There was no evidence of such measurements at present. Cheating was rife. This was especially so at age group tournaments. The issue of the franchises should be visited. Privatisation of sport led to access difficulties. He queried the service level agreements.
Mr Mateza replied that federations should enter into service level agreements with government, and not with SASCOC.
Mr Komphela said that in Section 4(b), sports facilities were to be determined by the federations. Responsibility would go to local government while SASCOC would set standards.
Mr Mateza replied that the federations saw the need for facilities while local government should provide them. SASCOC could play a role in guiding the process.
Mr Fredericks believed that was not a SASCOC responsibility.
The Chairperson said it was clear that more discussion was needed on the blueprint of a master plan.
The meeting was adjourned.
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