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SPORT AND RECREATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON SPORT AND RECREATION
13 October 2006
NATIONAL SPORT AND RECREATION AMENDMENT BILL [B 17-2006]: HEARINGS
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Comment: Transformation of Sport in South Africa (Presenter: Mr Sidrick Moore)
Resolutions of the First seminar on the Autonomy of the Olympic and Sport Movement
Submissions made by the Executive Board of SASCOC
Memorandum: National Sport and Recreation Bill (Presenter: Mr Koos Basson)
National Colours Commission Regulations, 2006 and the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill, 2006 (Presenter: Mr Mveleli Ncula): Part1 & Part2
National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill B17-2006
Presentation by Athletics South Africa
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) presented a possible preamble for the National Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill, and other proposed changes. Members felt that this could be accepted. Transformation was still lagging in South African sport. Attention needed to be paid to the structure of SASCOC, particularly regarding government funding. Questions were raised about the dispute resolution mechanism and potential conflicts of interest, about service agreements between SASCOC, government and the sports federations, and about academies. It was felt that the structure of SASCOC was inefficient in that minor codes had as significant a voting power as the major codes.
SA Rugby presented on their objections to enforced membership of SASCOC, which they felt was an unconstitutional provision of the Amendment Bill. They also feared that unqualified persons might be able to interfere with their business arrangements. Members expressed their disappointment about the slow process of transformation in the sport, and also stressed the need for unity amongst the different federations.
Athletics South Africa were in agreement in general with SASCOC’s proposals. However, this body had not consulted with its members. It was believed that there needed to be transformation within SASCOC and that Government should be more involved in driving the process. There was potential for conflict of interest and some of the policies were not supported.
Mr Sidrick Moore presented on the challenges faced by school sport. The infrastructure was non-existent in the townships, and these schools suffered major challenges including the lack of facilities. Members agreed on the need for organisation, logistic support and first aid treatment.
Proposed amendments to the National Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill:: Submission by South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC)
Mr Moss Mashishi President, South African Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), made a presentation of amendments to the National Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill (A/B) as proposed by the Executive of SASCOC. The presentation included a document on the autonomy that the Olympic Movement expected the national federations of members to enjoy. Included in the SASCOC presentation was a preamble that the organisation proposed should be inserted into the A/B.
Gen B Holomisa (UDM) said that in the past sport had been used to separate South Africans. The country had only returned to international competition after the lifting of the boycott that had been imposed. It was now understood that there would be no more discrimination. However, after more than a decade of democratic government, some codes were still resisting transformation. All South Africans were entitled to participate on an equal basis. An initiative was required to promote transformation. He recognised that transformation and development needs had to be monitored by the elected government, but there should be no interference with the respective bodies. SASCOC recognised the need for participation by the State. He felt that the preamble presented by SASCOC would ease the tension in the sporting community.
The Chairperson said that the proposed preamble would be circulated. The Committee would not discuss the preamble now, but would deal with it at a later date. Clarity was needed regarding the inputs from SASCOC
Mr B Solo (ANC) said that there was a need to look at the document further. The language was not problematic, but there were some issues.
Mr C Frolick (ANC) said that the Committee would check the preamble part of the A/B. It was good to see that an umbrella grouping could produce such a professional preamble as well as the amendments proposed. During the week he had felt that federations should enter into service agreements with the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) and not with SASCOC. The organisation was structured as a Section 21 company, and was calling for funding. The regulations of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) had to be followed regarding the discharge of government funding.
Mr Mashishi replied that the service agreement would not be problematic He did not think that there was any conflict if there should be agreements between the national federations and SRSA, as they were funded by the Department. On the question of delivery, there should be commitment. Outcomes and deliverables should be undertaken in writing.
SASCOC was raising non-government funding. Operation Excellence was addressing this situation. If money was given to federations, then some accountability was needed. SASCOC was a Section 21 company and did have obligations in terms of the PFMA. This was part of the debate during the MTT process that had led to the establishment of SASCOC. Greater accountability had to be created in terms of the Constitution and existing company law. Substantial levels of accountability mechanisms were in place, and they had to be judged by the same standards as any other company, whether for profit or not. Where SASCOC passed on government funding, this had to be done in terms of existing legislation such as the PFMA. If it was SASCOC’s own funds, then this had to be done in accordance with Section 21 legislation.
Mr J Masango (DA) observed that it would be difficult for SASCOC to serve in resolving disputes, as its members were affiliated to their own codes. He asked if this would be a disadvantage.
Mr Mashishi responded that the importance of the principle had to be underlined. The SASCOC Board members were not members representing the federations, but were elected by the General Assembly (GA) of SASCOC. They had the confidence of the GA to lead the organisation. The Board members did emanate from the membership of SASCOC, as it was a membership based organisation. Nevertheless, the dispute resolution mechanisms would be created and it would be ensured that these were independent.
Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) asked about academies. Each major city now had one, but he questioned what they were producing. Co-ordination and access to these facilities were problematic. The fees were too high for his people to afford. In section 1.5 of SASCOC’s submission, intervention was discussed. A year previously SA Rugby had held a press conference where they had wanted to disband the organisation but had been forced to backtrack. He asked what their powers would be now. In section 1.6, which addressed potential conflicts of interest, he foresaw a problem if the owners of Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs had an influence. They were not acting in accordance with the national duty expected of their players.
Mr Mashishi answered that the document dealt extensively with SASCOC’s current views on academies, and how access should be provided for black people. This was a critical issue. There was a challenge of resources. Means would have to be found to provide access, and there should be a method for intervention. He emphasised that this was still early days for SASCOC.
Gen Holomisa referred to the MTT process. He asked if Parliament would need to amend the legislation as a result. He felt that there was a negative connotation to the governance of SASCOC. This was due to the non-selection of black players. He felt that government should play a role in this area, although it was a no-go area for politics. There should be a clause regarding selection to prevent the phenomenon of black players only being used as last-minute substitutes. There should be a transparency clause to allay player frustration.
Mr Mashishi said that there two key drivers to the decision not to proceed further at this stage. There were two issues. One was for a consolidated approach to be taken to conflict management, otherwise there might be too many opinions which would lead to confusion. The Minister should be allowed to run with the process, and would be better empowered by the A/B. The second issue was the importance of promoting self-government so that issues could be resolved outside of the courts. The focus would be on the sporting federations exhausting all internal mechanisms to solve issues. Lessons had been learned in the past.
Gen Holomisa said that there should be no delay to the legislation while SASCOC still considered its options.
Mr Mashishi replied that they SASCOC would consider their stance if the members of the Committee thought it important. There should be an initiative between sports bodies and government regarding selections. Actual participation was needed. This was a complex issue. Sport had to arrive at a point where quality could be measured in terms of outputs. He agreed with the members on this issue. Federations should tender five-year plans that would include targets based on demographics. Resources were needed to achieve this, and these would be the measure. There was a need to have oversight while moving towards medium and long term outcomes. SASCOC could then go to Parliament and measure achievements. There was a link to the capacity of resources. Lottery funding was based on audited financial reports. More discussion was needed on this paradigm, as funding should not be piecemeal. Total value would be lost if this was the case.
Mr Frolick referred to section 2.1 on page 3. This proposed that High Performance (HP) sport was the core function of SASCOC. This was too fragmented. The term should be replaced by competitive sport. The Committee had received some submissions from SASCOC members. These bodies had pleaded for power not to be given to the umbrella body. He asked if SASCOC had been given any feedback from its members, as there seemed to be dissatisfaction on the body’s constitution and voting arrangements.
Gen Holomisa added that there were expectations and confusion caused by professional bodies. They needed to know how to handle their dealings with SRSA and SASCOC. His impression was that they did not want to be controlled.
Mr Komphela said that there was nothing that bound the federations to SASCOC.
Mr Mashishi said that the view of SASCOC defined what they would be doing. They had looked at some submissions. There was a notion that the large federations rarely existed outside SASCOC. There was no engagement with them. The current members had adopted the Constitution of SASCOC, and there had been extensive consultation and discussion. The proposals of the SASCOC Executive Committee (Exco) had been amended in the process. There was no suggestion that the members wanted a different dispensation. He asked where a solution might lie. There was an issue of number and financial power, and there was a view that there should be some form of quota system on the SASCOC Board. The current dispensation was not very different from other macro sports bodies. The different member bodies had given SASCOC their full support to raise issues.
Mr M Alexander (SASCOC) used the example of rugby. The SA Rugby Union (SARU) was a member of SASCOC but not Rugby South Africa, which controlled the professional aspect of the sport. SARU represented the country on the International Rugby Board, and any action deemed necessary would be taken against SARU. The professional arm was virtually untouchable.
Mr Frolick did not want to reopen the discussion. The Springboks belonged to the professional company. The professional aspect was new to the sport and coincided with the advent of democracy. The impact of professionalism still had to be studied, especially the impact on the amateur organisation. He had been told that the big federations were re-aligning their budgets. Most of sponsorship funding was channelled towards the professional game. They had been told that they were heading for disaster but did not care. They felt that government must look after the youth.
Mr Mashishi said that SASCOC was not on the opposite side of this issue. As a controlling body of sport SASCOC had to engage and review governance mechanisms. Open and honest discussion was needed. A charter was needed, which would provide for proper consultation and debate was needed to define the frame of reference.
The Chairperson said that sport was struggling as sportsmen were failing. The A/B was the last resort. Government needed to deliver hope to the people. The people had spoken in favour of transformation. This legislation was long overdue. He wished to hear from the federations on this matter. He had received a submission from Disability Sport South Africa (DIISSA) which said that this body had not been consulted, as stated in the A/B.
Mr Mashishi said the document had been received at a late stage.
The Chairperson said that SRSA had stated that DISSA had been consulted.
Gen Holomisa noted that this would imply that the draft A/B would have to be amended.
Mr Mashishi said that the A/B had been mentioned during meetings.
Mr Komphela emphasised that it was clear in DISSA’s submission that there had been no consultation.
Adv B Lufando (Office of the Chief State Law Advisor) said that there were two issues. In the principal Act, the defunct Sports Commission (SC) was responsible for dispute resolution. This had created confusion, as there were administrative actions by SASCOC, which had to follow the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act. Reviews and appeals were possible, and the parties could go to court. She did not want to see the Minister involved, as he was an interested party. Dispute resolution would be the responsibility of SASCOC. Internal resolution should take place, and matters should only be referred to SASCOC as a last resort. The Minister should not be involved in disputes, and this should only be a function of SASCOC. The only occasion on which the Minister’s intervention would be needed was in the case of disputes or mismanagement that would bring sport into disrepute.
Adv G Boshoff (Legal Advisor, SRSA) explained the consultative process that had been followed. E-mails had been sent to all federations, and they had been given thirty days to respond. It was accepted that no response would indicate that they concurred with the A/B’s provisions. There had been no response from SASCOC. SRSA had then sent them another email, which gave them a further thirty days to respond. The key areas involved SASCOC taking the place of the SC in the legislation. SRSA was under the impression that SASCOC had been happy with the provisions of the A/B, but it seemed that SASCOC had only applied their minds later, which led to the submissions now on the table.
The Chairperson was uncomfortable with the lack of consultation. He appreciated the input of SASCOC, which was an honest view. Very few persons disputed the A/B. Requirements by FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) were referred to in paragraph 4. The provisions by SASCOC would make all comfortable. This was absolute terrain, but could undermine the Constitution. This would be dealt with in the A/B. Exclusions made by FIFA and the IOC on issues such as race would not be allowed, as the rule of law applied in South Africa. The Constitution could not be undermined, and required movement from the past to the future.
He asked what the role of the Minister should be, querying that surely the Minister should not be confined to merely paying out money and playing a less significant role. The Minister was nominated by the President through the Constitution, and should not be serving merely a ceremonial role. His position, as well as the provincial Members of the Executive Committee, were set out in the Constitution.
The Chairperson said that many member federations had adopted Transformation Charters, one of which was rugby. However, there were only two black Africans on the Board. He disagreed with the structure of SASCOC. There was collusion amongst the smaller parties. Change could not only be effected constitutionally. Sport was a unifier, and SASCOC had a role to play in this.
The Chairperson said that the Young Communists League and the ANC Youth League submissions had both stated that it was time for the Minister to discontinue the use of the Springbok symbol. This was the intention of earlier negotiations, and this symbol had now had its time. It had been agreed at the unity talks that the further use of the Springbok symbol had been for a limited time only.
He said that government would continue to fund federations. The demand for resources had to be satisfied. It was a priority of many federations to receive government funding, but this led to accountability. This could therefore not be seen as interference, but others said that government must not get involved in this issue. He asked what government’s role was in funding federations, and if money should be given simply because it was demanded. The provisions of the PFMA had to be satisfied, and the Director-General of the relevant Department was held to account.
Federations were opposed to intervention, particularly the SA Football Association (SAFA) and rugby.
He said that SASCOC was not dealing with school sport, but the development of this aspect was critical for the children and the country. He had been invited to an age-group tournament recently in Bloemfontein. He was amazed at the amount of cheating he saw. Although some teams stuck to the Under 17 ruling, other followed a winning mentality by fielding over-age players. This was not in the spirit of sport, was contrary to all rules, and was demoralising to the honest teams involved. Sport should be about participation and excitement rather than competition. Not all players could be top performers.
Mr Mashishi said that the importance of corporate relationships should be recognised. There was a question of balance in some of the submissions. He welcomed the chance to interact with the Committee. The question of how good relationships were to be achieved was addressed in the submission. He said that the composition of SASCOC was a deep challenge that bedeviled all relationships. He asked how this procedure could be expedited, and the Committee’s view would be welcomed. Discussion should not focus only on the symptoms. Ideas had been set out in SASCOC’s Vision 2014 document.
He said that the question of accountability was one of simple obligations. Co-operation was needed in the disposal of funding. There was an agreement between the National Olympic Council of SA (NOCSA) and the Lottery Board that ensured good financial practice by the federations. If the sports bodies flouted the rules, all would have to co-operate to address the problem. Co-ordination was needed. There was a plan to inform funding allocations. The biggest problem was in mobilising resources.
Mr Mashishi said that National African Federated Chambers of Commerce (NAFCOC) were involved in managing school sports. After the last Board meeting, a resolution had been taken to create a commission to deal with school sport. Capacity was needed, but had been pulled back initially. A level of engagement was needed.
He said that the Springbok issue had not been discussed. His own reaction was that the emblem was no longer the old Springbok but was now a composite emblem. One had to be careful in dealing with national symbols in the new democracy. The same was true for issues relating to the flag and anthem, although some people still did not accept these symbols. The emblems were a product of the democratic process. Bodies must not be dishonest by going back on commitments.
The Chairperson said matters had been given to the Committee to manage. Transformation would come from that level. People were undermining the government. There was no unity, which was seen in rugby spectators being selective and only singing the Afrikaans verse of the anthem. This was a source of concern. SASCOC was responsible, and sport should be a catalyst for unity.
He then welcomed the SA Rugby delegation, but asked them to provide solutions for any problems raised.
Submissions by S A Rugby Union
Mr Frolick noted that a fourteen-page memorandum had been submitted, containing many arguments. Due to time constraints he asked that the delegation zoom into key areas. These would be discussed during the Committee’s deliberations on the A/B.
Mr Mveleli Ncula, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, South African Rugby Union (SARU), said that Mr Koos Basson had been mandated to make the presentation.
Mr Koos Basson , Vice President, SARU, said that a detailed memorandum had been submitted. He would not discuss the merits of the Act in detail. He felt that it was impossible that the A/B could be passed in terms of the Constitution. This was the crux of the amendments. All federations had to be members of SASCOC. If not, the rest of the provisions would fall away.
Members should be seen as shareholders. SASCOC was a Section 21 company, and was a public company as there were more than seven shareholders. Section 18 of the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights, guaranteed freedom of association. SASCOC was a private body and was subject to private law and not public law. The A/B proposed that federations should be compelled to become members of SASCOC, which took away their right of freedom of association. This was not legally possible. Section 7 of the Bill of Rights was the cornerstone of democracy. The state had to protect democracy, and could not force membership. The rest of the provisions based on this therefore fell away.
Mr Basson had no problems with the question of public funds. However, the state could not empower a private body to dispense state funds. He acknowledged that the previous government had interfered in sport. Sport was now an important industry. Rugby had turned professional in 1995. It was now a huge business at provincial and national level. Rugby SA was a commercial company with outside shareholders, but was regarded as being part of the national federations. The A/B suggested they must be part of SASCOC, even if this was against their own will. He had no problem with this arrangement.
SARU had adhered to sports policies, such as racial ones. However, it was unhappy with the business parts of the legislation. He would accept the interventions of the Minister, but had a problem with how this might be done. Administrative law was informed by the Administration of Justice Act, with reference to Section 33.1 of the Constitution. The procedure should be fair, and he accepted the Minister’s role in principle, although he was unhappy with the wording of the A/B. However, there was no definition of a directive. He quoted a dictionary definition. The Minister could not make edicts, even if he was following the Act. An appeal and review process was needed.
Mr Basson said he would not go through the memorandum in detail. He repeated that it would be constitutionally impossible to enforce membership of SASCOC, and if federations were not members, then SASCOC could not perform its duties.
Mr Frolick said that sound legal arguments had been raised. They needed to be debated at a later stage, as a court-like approach would have to be followed. Weaknesses had been pinpointed and recommendations presented. Given the state of rugby, he queried why the sport was not part of the umbrella body, and why rugby was different to the other codes.
Mr Basson replied that rugby had joined SASCOC even though this was not sanctioned by the board at the time. The move was condoned later. The sevens team would not have been able to attend the Commonwealth Games as only codes affiliated to SASCOC could participate. He had years of experience in dealing with macro bodies in the Western Cape. Initially SASCOC had 82 members, with between one and three votes each. Rugby and cricket had the same number of votes as a tiny sport like shooting. Although he respected these bodies, they could not decided on the business aspects of the national federations. They could not discuss business operations like the big codes. Representatives of the major federations were not on the SASCOC Board.
Mr Frolick now had a better understanding of the reluctant relationship between SARU and SASCOC. He asked if Mr Basson was aware that the current President of SARU served on a SASCOC sub-committee.
Mr Basson did not say that this was wrong, only that there had been no authority. Some of the provisions in the A/B were draconian. There was a threat that SARU’s financial affairs could be taken over by SASCOC.
Mr Frolick asked about SARU’s relationship with government, especially in terms with the achievement of national objectives, the Bill of Rights, equity, redress of inequalities and non-racialism.
Mr Basson replied that SARU only dealt with the Minister and his Deputy. They had a good relationship. SARU placed a high premium on this relationship and the attainment of objectives on the national agenda in terms of transformation, racism and so on. The game had not been brought into disrepute. However, like any other business, SARU could not allow government to interfere if this was not in line with the national agenda.
Mr Ncula added that the SARU President, Mr Oregon Hoskins, had identified two critical issues. One of these was maintaining sound relations with government and SARU’s sponsors. They could not operate in a vacuum or contrary to the Constitution. The Minister would only interfere on constitutional issues.
Mr Dikgacwi explained why the government was resorting to this measure. The wheelbarrow was not moving but had to be pushed. The people had said so. Every organisation attending the public hearings was concerned about sport in general. Rugby was the worst scenario, and Mr Basson knew this. Seven black players would be selected of which two would play, while the others only sang the anthem. This was unacceptable. The patience of the South African people was exhausted. If rugby had a conscience and had been given a chance to do this on their own, then this would be acceptable, but nothing had happed. They could not change the President, as the administration remained in office. He asked if it was fair to the majority to be excluded from the process. The money was only for the professionals. African players were only selected on the wings and never at centre position. They could not perform to their potential as they were always being played out of position.
Ms W Makgate (ANC) said that collectiveness was important. SARU had indicated that they did not feel it important to belong to a collective body. She reminded the meeting of the maxim “United we stand, divided we fall.” It would be good if somebody was monitoring the activities of SARU, and this would not be interference. There was still an opportunity for a lot of transformation. It was high time for accountability and monitoring. Someone was needed who could identify SARU’s weaknesses and strengthen its good qualities.
Mr E Saloojee (ANC) said that he had only joined the Committee recently. He did not play the game, but enjoyed watching. The policy of transformation gave him the opportunity to watch games, which he found exciting. This was apart from the tokenism of the essentially historical players. However, he recounted a nasty incident in Pretoria where abuse was directed towards a few black spectators. They were made to feel unwelcome. Black players were only allowed a minimal role. From all information, there were no programmes to achieve real transformation. The creation of facilities at high levels needed to be intensified. The same situation also applied in cricket.
He said that few players succeeded, and then on merit. There were a number of token black players. There was no procurement policy in place and government did not seem to be interested. In a non-racial democracy transformation surely had to have a place. Sport must reflect the demographics of the country. Black rugby players had performed well in the apartheid days. The outside world was aware of the talent being suppressed. Now government had to look at transformation in a stark way. There was no genuine will to follow transformation policies, hence the need for legislation. There was nothing to suggest that sports bodies were moving spontaneously towards transformation.
Mr Basson said that SARU were not opposed to the law on principle, but thought that SASCOC was not the right conduit. The Minister and SRSA were the right people to do the job. Government should execute policies.
Mr Ncula said he had no problem with government intervention, as was made clear on page 12 of his memorandum. SASCOC had a role to promote and develop high performance sport, and a major task was to prepare Team SA for major events such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. The only contact that SARU had with SASCOC was therefore the sevens rugby team which participated at the Commonwealth Games. SARU prepared this team without SASCOC’s assistance, and rugby was not part of any of the international multi-discipline events.
Dr Moraki (Club Affairs, SARU) said that the submissions made during the week showed that transformation was in slow motion. He agreed that fast-tracking was needed, especially in rugby. He wanted to answer some questions by describing programmes that were in place. Where the community had been excluded in the past, inroads were now being made. A baseline was needed. In areas where the game was being enjoyed by a certain sector integration should be promoted. There were bottlenecks. Development should be started at a certain level, as players could not progress. He admitted there were challenges.
He said that there had been a breakthrough on Wednesday. An indaba was being sought with government to include government as a strategic partner. There was a question of facilities and opportunity. He needed to share information with the Committee. He spoke about the heritage tournaments, Easter Festivals, Sunday leagues and so on. There were several old clubs such as Union, which was founded in 1887, and the Springrose club in Port Elizabeth, which would be 100 years old in 2007. The same effort would be put into celebrating this centenary as the celebrations of the centenary of Springbok rugby during 2006. This would be an African celebration, and those clubs that could not afford to celebrate their centenaries would be involved. Things were not falling apart. On an operational level alliances and partnerships were being strengthened.
The Chairperson wished rugby to move ahead with the process. He summarised SARU’s standpoint as having no problem with interaction with the Minister, and welcomed this. There was concern, however, with the Minister outsourcing government powers to a Section 21 company. Constitutional issues had been raised, and he asked the legal advisors to study these.
Mr Basson said that in the previous version of the Act, Clause 5 had mandated membership to the SC. The A/B had first been drafted three years previously. In a previous draft, federations had been compelled to register as members of the SC. There had subsequently been an outcry, and the matter had been referred to the State Law Advisors, who had given SRSA a 28-page opinion on the matter, and there had been various court rulings. The gist of the matter was that it would be unconstitutional to compel the federations to register. The A/B had then been withdrawn. The current situation dovetailed with the previous, except that in the definition of SASCOC the composite components were listed, one of them being the national federations. This was visible. However, this was an infringement of the right of association, and therefore he regarded the A/B as unconstitutional. He had deliberated with Adv Lufando, and rugby’s point was found to be accurate. A counter-solution had been proposed in which the definition of SASCOC would be redrafted so as not to refer to the federations. This led to a parallel problem related to the constitution of SASCOC, which would have to be rethought to address the problem.
The Chairperson referred to the document on the autonomy of the Olympic Sports Movement. There was no reference to interference, but there was reference to intervention. The two words had different meanings. Interference was an action in bad faith. There had to be respect for the autonomy of structures. However, the Olympic Movement had to recognise that the federations existed through government. It would be ridiculous if the existence of government was ignored.
The role of the Minister was to act as a regulatory body. Sportsmen did not have the polished language of lawyers. South Africa was a constitutional country, and nothing was above the Constitution.
All federations, even rugby, admitted that since 1992 there had been no transformation. He said that the members were worried about the higher level of rugby. The Under 19 team had won the World Cup, and the composition of the team reflected what a South African team should look like. He wondered if they would break through at the highest level, as the tendency was for these players to go so far but no further.
The situation within SASCOC was that a little group of people could act as a voting bloc against the major federations such as rugby, soccer cricket and athletics. In this way the majority of the population was defeated. Interaction was needed with SASCOC on this issue. One presenter had claimed that rugby was not being transformed and had provided evidence. There were only two blacks on the President’s Council, and the rest were white. Unity talks had led to nothing.
He said that people thought that this A/B would be a transformation Bill. Issues such as access and equity were to be addressed, but some people read it selectively. Federations were given all opportunities to close off opportunities in a disguised manner. There was one message of hope in that rugby was committed to transformation. However, he asked why this was only happening twelve years later. The bill would become law. If this did not happen, he asked what the consequences would be.
The Chairperson said that rugby’s Transformation Charter was welcome, but it would only be implemented during the next five years. Change was needed immediately. Federations were not being honest to the cause of change. This was unsporting, as sportsmen only looked to their own benefit. He would make some announcements when the A/B was tabled in the National Assembly. There were a few technical issues. Interaction between rugby and the Minister was good. Rugby must take heed of accusations of reneging on promises.
Mr Ncula said that he had expected to be shouted down, but the meeting had gone well. He offered a personal view on the situation. When he looked at the state of sport today, he could understand why government was so concerned. Under the previous regime, the SA Council on Sport (SACOS) had offered the slogan of “No normal sport in an abnormal society”. When unity had been imminent, the National Sports Council (NSC) had been formed. The leadership of this body was respected, and the roles of all concerned were understood. Openness was appreciated. The idea of the SC was to move forward, hoping that the pillars of the NSC were still empowered.
Sport was not what it should be. It had lost its soul and the gains that had been made. This was the result of certain individuals and characters. Rugby had been part of the NSC and the SC, as the sport could not operate in a vacuum. Rugby wanted to move forward, but was treated as a punching bag by other federations. The sport had become a laughing stock because of the debate on the Springbok.
Mr Ncula said this was why the Transformation Charter had been adopted on 26 May 2006. The crux of the matter was what rugby would do with this charter. He had just written a report emphasising the importance of moving forward. SARU had to look at transformation in its totality. By focusing on the number of black players in the SA team critics were missing the point. Demographic representation had to be ensured both on and off the field. A base was needed from which players and officials could be selected. Skills development, preferential procurement and community involvement would be key aspects in this process.
The Chairperson said that arrangements were to be made to discuss the Transformation Charter. A date would be provided. The Committee was also worried about, and required discussion between SARU and the Committee on the number of injuries in rugby. In the period from 2003 to 2006, ten players had died on the field. This situation could not be tolerated. There was a culture of money and winning at the cost of lives, and this was wrong. Sport was a form of entertainment. Apart from the deaths, the number of quadriplegic injuries was shocking. Some 109 serious injuries had been reported in this period, and he was extremely worried about the safety of children. One did not have to be tough and to kill to be a winner. The extent of support to those with long term injuries needed to be investigated.
Submission by Athletics South AFrica
Mr Leonard Chuene President, Athletics South Africa (ASA), stated that the country’s Constitution superceded the constitutions of the various sports codes. The federations could not hide behind international bodies. Transformation had to be as it said, and there could not be a compromise. Powers should be given to the Minister. SASCOC was a good concept, and needed support. However, in its current form and character it could not be transformed. SASCOC must transform itself before sport could be transformed. If SASCOC had another view of this, then it had not taken the opportunity to transform. Some believed that if they were not part of Exco then they were being denied opportunities. SASCOC had responsibilities. ASA differed in principle with SASCOC in the manner in which SASCOC was running its activities. Government intervention was needed. Power should be given to SASCOC, but he asked who would be accountable, or if the body would only be accountable to itself. ASA supported the A/B.
Ms Linda Ferns, General Manager, ASA, supported SASCOC’s submission. DISSA had not been consulted on the issue, nor had ASA. The submission should have been titled as being from the members of Exco rather than from SASCOC. The submission had been done in isolation. ASA believed in collective decision making. Rugby was not equal in size with sheep shearing, another SASCOC member body. She asked how they could have the same voting powers as rugby, cricket or athletics. Two groups of schoolchildren had been in the visitors’ gallery during the meeting, and transformation was the foundation for their future success. Transformation had been on the table for many years, but was not included on the agenda for SASCOC’s Annual General Meeting. The Exco of SASCOC rarely met, and their minutes were not circulated. Sport would be going nowhere until the meaning of transformation was understood.
Mr Chuene expanded on the issue of a conflict of interests. There was a lot of potential for this to happen given SASCOC’s current composition. Full time employees of some federations, which did not subscribe to transformation, were on the SASCOC Board. He asked that the focus should rather fall on the issues at hand. There was manipulation by smaller codes, the majority of which were untransformed. These codes were running the business of SASCOC. He felt that SASCOC was not the right organisation to lead sport to the promised land.
Mr Dikgacwi concluded that the SASCOC Board had drawn up their submission without consulting their member federations. As an affiliate of SASCOC, he asked what ASA had done to correct this situation.
Ms Makgate believed that the members of SASCOC had attended the conference and were part of the family. The ASA presentation did not indicate a problem with SASCOC’s structure, while the only problem seemed to be the need for the internal transformation of the organisation. This was an in-house matter. She asked when and how the Minister should intervene.
Mr Chuene replied that ASA was a disciplined member of SASCOC and had helped with its formation. The terrain was hostile. There were a number of people who did not attend the forums, including rugby and football, and there were no partners to deal with issues. There were problems, but ASA’s contributions were recorded in the minutes.
The Chairperson inferred that the central issue was ASA’s relations with SASCOC. An internal evolution was needed. No one could be forced to join SASCOC, but the Committee wanted to see all involved. In its present form the winner of 60% of the vote was dominated by four organisations, which had each earned 10%. This was wrong. It would be wrong if incorrect procedures were used in a democratic body. All the talk of the week had revolved around SASCOC.
Mr Cheuene said that ASA should not be seen as part of SASCOC. This organisation must still be put right. If federations were part of SASCOC, the fight could be internal.
The Chairman said the issues being talked about included the Minister’s right to intervene. He was comfortable with the way ASA was leading the process, and was doing well by going down to grassroots. All federations should note what was happening with ASA. SRSA should take pride in its own development program and funding scheme.
Submission by Mr Sidrick Moore
Mr Sidrick Moore, a member of the public, said that the gist of his presentation was that school sport was a priority. He was a teacher, and school sport did not exist. Many people were ignoring this issue. A lot of the violence would not be happening if sport was available. No one was taking responsibility. There were no leagues. Only friendlies were played. Players would be invited to trials and from these provincial teams would be selected. He suggested that Wednesdays should be sports days.
He had noticed haphazard structures being erected between Johannesburg and Klerksdorp in preparation for 2010. No one was taking responsibility. Children could not play if they had no field. None of the black schools had their own stadiums while the previously advantaged schools had excellent facilities. He asked who was to blame for this disparity. Someone needed to be pointed out to take responsibilities.
Once schools had facilities, then they could look at providing kit. Then the question would be whether the children had eaten that day or not. Children also had to be shown how to use equipment. First aid was also a problem. Injuries could be severe in various sports, and there were no first aiders. He said that he had only seen such people when white people had made the arrangements. There were never first aid kits in the townships. First aiders should be trained, and games should not be played if there was no first aider present.
Mr Moore said that community stadiums should be used. The challenge lay in managing these facilities. The appointed people were hardly there or were not doing their job if they were present. These stadiums could be a base for first aiders.
He said that disadvantaged schools still suffered from a lack of transport. It was expensive to hire vehicles. Someone had to finance this and officials needed to be identified with access to facilities.
The Chairperson said that the need for first aid was basic. Safety had to come first. He asked how the government could assist with the provision of transport. If it assisted one school, then all schools in the same situation must be aided. He asked how first aid could be obtained, and who should be responsible for providing first aid, maintaining kits and giving courses.
Mr Moore replied that transport was extremely expensive for all schools. Where schools were located nearby they could use communal transport by sharing a combi or a small bus. First aid kits should be supplied to schools. The compact sling bag type kits would be adequate, and should be in the hands of the principal. The principal should then nominate a teacher to attend courses, which should be compulsory for teachers in charge of sport.
The Chairperson asked what level of transport would be needed for Wednesday sport. The policy was that government would only assist if events were being held outside a radius of five kilometres from the school. Schools were already being supported for such events, with the only problem being the provision of transport for schools for those with disabilities. SRSA had to explain why this was the case, as they were entitled to the same privileges. This was happening at national and provincial levels. No transport would be needed for Wednesday sport, but first aid had to be in place. Theta would deal with the issues of capacity building, and Mr Moore should interact with them.
Mr Moore said that the problem of transport did not exist at the private schools. The problem lay with children having to pay for transport when going to venues outside of the five kilometre radius. In many cases children were using what lunch money they had to pay for transport. Poverty was a problem. An Under 6 league had been started, but children had no shoes to play in. They were too scared to damage their school shoes. SRSA should look after this. He had another concern. This was particularly evident in the North West province, which was also present nationally. Certain federations was not playing ball. Personal animosity existed between children.
Mr Komphela said this was an example of racism at the core. Some children had an attitude of superiority. The symptoms were clear in certain areas, and racism had raised its ugly head at school level.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would meet again on 17 October. The submission from DISSA would be interacted with on that occasion.
The meeting was adjourned.
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