The Department’s Annual Report 2006/07 stood over for presentation at a later date. The Minister of Sport and Recreation addressed the Committee on some of the challenges facing the Mass Participation Programme. One of the challenges was to ensure that participants remained active in sport. There had been some complaints regarding the transformation policy in rugby. Coordination was needed between national departments and their provincial and local counterparts. While the national departments secured the funding and played a co-ordinating role, much of the work was done at local level. He decried the mercenary attitude of young sportsmen. He explained his interpretation of what should be seen as intervention in sport, and explained some of the circumstances where it might be called for. The role of teachers in school sport was very important. Funds destined for sports facilities were still incorporated into the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, which was administered by local government. However, efforts were being made to return these funds to the control of the Department of Sport and Recreation.
Members asked questions about the level of collaboration between the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department of Education. They wished to know if the Mass Participation Programme was bearing fruit. There was concern over the fate of former stars who fell on hard times later in life. The role of women in sport had to be boosted. Questions were asked about sports facilities that fell into disuse, partially because the members of the community could not afford equipment for those codes. It was stressed that several leading sportsmen came from the rural areas. Farm schools were being neglected and talent might be lost because of this.
Address by Minister on Mass Participation Programme
The Chairperson welcomed the delegation from the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA). He noted that it was rare that both the Minister and Deputy Minister were present, and he welcomed both. He informed Members that although it had initially been planned that the Department would present on its Annual Report for 2006/2007, and strategic plan, this would be held over until May. It had instead been decided to have a briefing by the Minister, and therefore the ball was in the Minister’s court.
Hon Makhenkesi Stofile, Minister of Sport and Recreation, retorted that he had played tennis, and well knew what to do when the ball was in his court. He thanked the Committee for the opportunity of addressing them. He noted that the Departments’ strategic plan was a long term one, and there were changes in the nuances compared to previous years. There was dynamic development.
He said that part of the discussions of 1996 were about transformation in government. As a result the Senate had evolved into the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). It was the second house of Parliament, and complemented the National Assembly. He was aware of the objectives of the NCOP. He would attend the meetings of the Select Committee whenever possible, and emphasised that the NCOP was an important part of Parliament.
The Minister said that the delegation from the Department must come back to table the Annual Report. This was the evidence of how resources were used. He explained that there was a continuum. Strategic plan information had a particular objective. SRSA had faced realities since 2004. The Department had always emphasised the importance of having as many South Africans as possible participating in sport. This would promote good health and good citizenship. The United Nations had ruled that access to sport was a basic human right.
He did not want to go into the past history. However, it was clear that unless all were on board, the nation would not achieve the benefits it desired. The Mass Participation Programme (MPP) had been launched at Upington in 2004. It was a humble beginning. In 2008 it would be an understatement to say that the MPP was an overwhelming and daunting undertaking. Resources did not meet demand.
Min Stofile said that the next challenge was to move beyond the mobilisation stage. Many people were exposed to sport by the MPP, but there was no opportunity to move on to organised sport on a regular basis. For that reason, the club development unit had been launched inside SRSA. This would bring a move towards higher competition. The goal was not just change, but change towards a transformed society. This was a constitutional instruction.
He said that building clubs would be a bridge between the MPP and higher levels of competition and elite participation. Many participants were children, but he cited the case of the late Mr Phillip Rabinowitz, who had still been running competitively at the age of 104. In the following month retired wrestlers would be taking part in a tournament in
The Minister had read a major document which had been sent to the International Rugby Board by Afriforum and its allies. The letter accused the South African Rugby Union (SARU) of running an illegitimate transformation programme. They said the quota system was being imposed. These accusations were ridiculous. SARU had explained in 2004 why it did not agree with quotas, and yet it was still being accused of using quotas in 2008. Afriforum accused SARU of monopolising one sector, which was not true.
He wanted to see change with transformation. An upward strategy was needed. It was a case of dedication, selflessness and national pride. This was the intention of the transformation policy. He quoted the case of Oscar Pistorius. This athlete had been denied the right to compete with able-bodied athletes by the International Athletics Association. The contention was that the clips he wore as artificial feet gave him an extra advantage. This might be so, but it had to be proven scientifically. Perhaps some kind of reduction mechanism could be used to compensate for this perceived unfair advantage.
Min Stofile said that another case had been the Luke Watson affair. He had been voted the best player in the 2007 Super 14 by his peers, but had been excluded from the South African team. There was no logic in this subjective view. SRSA was accused of imposing its cultural preferences.
He said that there was a playing ground in the centre of Parys. The Coloured and African communities wanted their own grounds. A meeting could be held to discuss this if it was agreeable to the Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG). Local government had to take the needs of the community into account. DPLG was still building houses in segregated areas. Urban planning should rather work towards integration of communities.
The Minister said that it was not the National Department of Education (DoE) which built schools, but this was done at provincial level. That was where joint plans should be formulated. Provinces needed a nudge to include sports facilities.
He had observed another challenge. Since the advent of professional sport in 1992, children no longer wanted to play for the love of the game but for what they could get out of it. He often watched the late night sports programmes on the SABC 3 channel. It was unfortunate that these were only broadcast at such late hours. He had seen how many children were taking up basketball, but their incentive was the money. When he had been a boxer in his youth, the only prize at stake was an orange. He played for the pride of his club and school, and to earn provincial colours. He also played to impress the girls. There was no other financial motivation. He had been at an Easter tournament in a village where various codes had been presented. The prizes at stake were equipment and money. Things were becoming expensive, but it was important to rekindle the aspect of pride. Core spiritual values needed to be revived. Affirmative action had created the problem with Afriforum.
Min Stofile said that nowhere in
He said that government was responsible when things were not going right. A recent example was the spat between the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cricket South Africa (CSA) over a selection issue. Government could not just sit back and watch what was happening. There was a difference between intervention and interference. Interference occurred when the interfering party had no stake in the organisation. He likened intervention to pouring water onto fighting bull dogs to end the fight. He would continue to intervene where necessary as long as he was in office. Some of those who complained about government intervention were the first to call for help in difficult times. It was easy to make political speeches, but it was up to government to implement policy.
The Minister said that he wanted to know what was happening in the different federations. Government would act as a bulldozer to remove obstacles, not just stand back and shout order with a loud hailer. However, Government would not interfere with the administration of federations or the selection of teams. His brother was in the race for the SARU presidency. As Minister he held no view on the issue, but he had warned him in 2003 to stay out of rugby administration. However, his brother was now 49, and no longer listened to advice from his elder brother. The ANC never had a say in the way organisations were led. This was contemplated nowhere in the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Act. The political allegiance of members of federations was not important.
The Sports Commission had been criticised for being tardy in providing infrastructure. There was a need for development. The Building for Sport and Recreation Programme (BSRP) had made temporary progress before its function was replaced by the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), which was managed by DPLG. All seemed to agree now that this decision had resulted in reversed capacity. He had instructed the Director General (DG) of SRSA to talk to her counterpart at the Department of Finance to generate a Cabinet memorandum. This would speed up delivery, as the intention was to return the funds for sports facilities under the MIG to SRSA. This would help by providing greater access to facilities.
He said that rugby players like Victor Matfield and Brian Habana were very strong. This was a result of training and a good diet. These training facilities should be available to all, which was why the Department had started a project to provide mobile gymnasiums. They were hoping to step up this programme. They were also strengthening the technical support for young South African sportsmen. Programmes were being co-ordinated at tertiary institutes on how best to utilise sports students. It was a very exciting concept, and the excitement was even spreading to academic staff. Academics were generally not an easy tribe to excite. Once executed, this programme would change the face of sport.
The Minister said that there was outstanding progress with the development plan in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Federations took talented boys from the rural areas and placed them in development nodes. There they were exposed to decent facilities, good food and inspirational skills. The Sharks rugby team in 2005 had been all white, but this had changed.
He commented on the demographics of clubs in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). They should not reflect the population percentages for that region, but the composition of the nation. Government had never said that there should be a 20/80 split of players on a white and black basis. These statistics did not make sense. The goal was social integration.
School sport was crucial. It was the starting point for all future heroes; the place where they were introduced to sport. The majority of current stars had learned to play at school, even those who had come from the rural areas. SRSA and the Department of Education (DoE) had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2005, but it had been the subject of much argument. There might be a “ceasefire” today, but the message did not seem to get through to the troops on the ground. His own view was that there was total discord between teachers at schools and the civil servants who ran the Department. The civil servants thought they should drive the process. In his own experience, he felt that school sport was better managed when it was run by the schools themselves. The Department must play a co-ordinating role, and act as in intermediary between schools and provinces. The DoE could not micromanage the situation. At his school there had been two rugby Springboks. He remembered a particular teacher who had coached many different codes.
The Minister said that SRSA should bring in veteran players and retired coaches to assist. There were many schools such as Afrikaans Boys High in
He said that he had gone on site with his colleagues. He did not think that educational specialists understood the nitty-gritty of sports administration. He could safely say that he knew a lot about sport. This helped to convince his colleagues that there should not be a free for all situation. Sport could not continue to be an orphan. Teachers and the community had to play a role. There should be a link between school and clubs. As a young man he had played club rugby while still at school. Star players tended to disappear after completing their schooling.
The Chairperson said it was necessary for the Minister to speak in this way. He asked where SRSA wanted to go. The Minister had touched on many exciting points. He asked if members of the delegation had any comment on the budget and development programmes.
Mr T Setona (ANC,
Mr Setona said that municipalities were not doing anything to provide facilities for communities. He asked what collaboration was happening between provinces and local authorities. He asked who was responsible for upgrading schools, as nobody seemed to know the answer to this question.
Mr Setona referred to the polarised history of the country. Some codes seemed to carry a stigma.
Mr Setona’s third point was a need to have a sense of the MPP. He asked if there was any mechanism to monitor participation. He could not talk of participation outside the context of nation building.
Mr Setona noted that sport was now a commercial industry. The most successful athletes were from the rural areas. Players seemed to congregate on
Ms F Mazibuko (ANC,
Ms Mazibuko appreciated the beauty in women’s sports. However, she pointed out that netball was not the only sport. At the Commonwealth Games it was only an exhibition sport. Provinces took charge of the MPP. She asked to what extent SRSA was intervening. It was a hit and run approach, and there was no monitoring of progress.
Ms Mazibuko made a quip about the Minister’s late night watching of TV. She pointed out that there was a lot of sport happening in the townships. People only wanted to watch white sports, such as European football.
She pointed out that the United School Sports Association of South Africa (USSASA) had been scrapped. The challenge was that schools had limited budgets, and their first priority was pure education. Teachers were interested, but were hampered by time constraints. There was not emphasis on physical education. Money had to be put aside for facilities. Things could still be made to happen, as there was a school for the disabled in
Min Stofile said that these were all critical questions. He was pleased to hear that the late Steve Tshwete’s words had been proved wrong, and some medals could be earned without access to facilities. He would get the details of the school, as this was a special attention area. Government wanted to assist with potential. The agreement on physical education (PE) had been concluded in 2005. The MoU clearly stated that PE was the responsibility of the DoE. PE and physical training were different issues. PE had been discontinued in black schools a long time ago. There was a need for PE teachers to get this going. An educational challenge was the number of teachers assigned to each school. Government was wrestling with this problem. There were a number of graduates, but they were not being absorbed into the system.
He said that teachers said they had no time for sport, but they were now doing a lot less than in the past. He felt there was no such thing as "no time". Teachers were contradicting themselves. He always admired children doing something, and noted that in many places the teachers were doing things; he had seen this in Mdantsane,
The Minister said there was a lot of money in the budget. Management might be a problem in using these funds optimally. A global figure was budgeted for, but the money was then allocated to various programmes. More money was put into school sport than any other department.
He noted that he had watched channel 360 which was Soweto Television.
He said the Department now wished to shift beyond mobilisation to the next level. One of the successful programmes was the development of beach soccer, although the South African team had lost its match the previous day at the World Cup qualifying tournament. The Homeless World Cup team had unearthed some players who had gone on to become PSL stars. This was, however, just a sprinkling on the beach.
Min Stofile said that a conference had been hosted on women’s sport two years previously. There had been a fight with former sportswomen, who wanted to turn the conference into an academic debate. SRSA wanted to see the launch of a women’s PSL. They had been asked about amateur players. It was unbelievable how much interest there was.
He said that Netball South Africa had made excellent progress. The team had finished in the top five places at the World Cup and within the top three at the Commonwealth Games. He had attended a graduation ceremony and had been surprised to see the current netball captain receiving a doctorate in sports management. Skills were being built, but the sport was not visible as broadcasters were not interested. Netball SA was currently negotiating with the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Its headquarters were in
The Minister agreed that Spar was the only company to take women’s sport seriously. They made major contributions to netball, hockey and other codes. They were doing a good job, but other sponsors must be lobbied.
He said that it was sad that legends of the game would find themselves jobless and without hope. He remembered the great
Min Stofile was undecided if there was a hit and run approach with the MPP. The country was divided into hubs, and certain activities took place within these hubs. There was supposed to be ongoing activity. He had advised SRSA to synchronise its efforts with the local municipalities. He had seen this happening in the
The Minister agreed that stigmas had to be broken. The Deputy Minister’s personal assistant had legs which were heavily bruised from taking part in traditional stick fighting. At the indigenous games in Paarl, a black woman had won the jukskei competition. One of the stereotype theories was there should be a quota for white players for the 2010 World Cup. He dismissed this idea. What white clubs should do was to open up their facilities to the disadvantaged. If maintenance was a problem it could be discussed with SRSA. Transformation would result from such initiatives.
The Minister said that responsibility for facilities lay currently with the MIG. A lack of knowledge was a problem with the administration of the MIG. The
On the subject of collaboration with the DoE, Min Stofile said that some sport fields were not fit for use, and learners had to play on grazing fields. Joint planning was needed. It was extremely difficult to call the Ministers together to discuss the issue. They had agreed on settlement plans, but this work was done at a provincial level.
Hon Gert Oosthuizen, Deputy Minister for Sport and Recreation, said that the Minister was the biggest supporter of gender equity. The efforts were not being marketed. There were several international tours. The Women’s Cricket World Cup had been hosted in
He said that in many cases the provinces treated sport like a stepchild. It was a soft target when money was needed for facilities such as libraries and clinics. The Division of Revenue Act brought some relief to poor budgets. He was not satisfied with the way PE was treated. It was part of the Life Orientation curriculum, and there was a mark allowance for the subject. He saw a need for PE to stand alone. He trusted that the Department had the Committee’s support on this.
Deputy Min Oosthuizen said that the school sport situation had been inherited. The role that federations and teachers should play had to be defined. The scope must be broadened. At present, government catered for sport at under-15 and under-17 levels. It should go all the way down to Grade R, but there was no funding. Innovative plans were needed. There was a challenge of equipment and poverty. Government paid for national tournaments. Opportunities were being created in this way, but this did take up a major part of SRSA’s budget.
He said that the challenges of school sport would be ever present until the lack of facilities was addressed. He felt that each school should have certain facilities. There were academic requirements like libraries, laboratories and so forth, but a school should always either have its own sport facilities or access to a facility shared with other schools or the community. There was a need to address the situation according to a national plan.
The Deputy Minister commented on the racial stigma attached to some sports. He was speaking recently on a Stellenbosch radio station. There was a perception that Paul Roos Gymnasium was doing nothing for soccer. In fact, this was the only elite school that fielded as many as five soccer teams, even though there was still a disparity with the support given to other codes at the school.
Mr M Thetjeng (DA,
He said that the situation was the same at netball courts in the province. The facilities must be used and people must be encouraged to do this. He knew that codes like cricket, rugby and cycling were expensive. The stars of tomorrow had to follow the correct diet from an early age. There might be a need for academies specialising in specific codes. The federations were failing as their focus was on making money. Children’s abilities could rather be developed. Officials did not know what they were doing, and teachers were standing by with folded arms.
Mr M Sulliman (ANC,
Ms H Lamoela (DA,
She said that things had never materialised with the DoE, and that resources were not going to rural schools. She felt that a plan was needed. She hoped that this was contained in the strategic plan. She asked if there was any timeframe for the achievement of SRSA’s goals. If there was no monitoring, there would be no success.
The Chairperson asked if funding would be de-linked from the MIG.
The Chairperson asked about the state of readiness for the 2010 World Cup. He had heard that
Min Stofile replied that there was a lack of a joint plan. Compliance to norms and standards was lacking. Schools in the
He said that fiscal federalism and the add-on mentality were part of society. Lottery funding had been discussed in 1990/1991. The Lotteries board did not know how to deal with funding. The political will was there, however, and he would depend on his colleagues to devise a joint plan.
The Minister said that the names, symbols and emblems of national teams were under discussion. In 1906 the first South African rugby team had visited
Min Stofile said that some people were asking when Bafana Bafana would grow up. It was a linguistic issue. Some thought it meant “The Boys”. In isiXhosa the name translated to something more like the pride of the nation. There were stereotypes, mainly in Zulu speaking areas. The President had raised the question of the name of the team. Discussions had already started. He had been asked to make a ruling, but preferred not to. A national debate was needed to reach the end result of a product which all could own.
He said that it had taken eighteen months to decide on a flag, and the anthem was still being discussed in 1995. He did not want to make a unilateral decision. He had asked the DG to initiate the process, and he hoped it would be complete by the end of June. A democratic process would be followed.
He said that
The Minister the commented on the readiness of
He said that the City was being consistent but FIFA was making changes. They must say what the reasons were. At the Confederations Cup in 2006, the Brazilian team was practising in
Min Stofile said that cost escalations were in the nature of the industry. Government’s response was to ensure that increases remained in limits. The Minister of Finance had voted an extra R2 billion to cover escalation.
On the subject of the MIG, he said that he hoped this would be sorted out before the end of the current financial year, which would be June 2008. There had been a promise of ring-fencing, but he had no experience of that. There was a concurrent function. His preference was that a percentage of the MIG should be channelled to SRSA for sports facilities.
The Minister spoke about the move to higher competition. He was passionate about rural sport and farm schools. He had raised the issue with Prof Kidder. The farm schools would never get a fair deal, and he pointed out that in the past many farm children had been sent to boarding schools, where they enjoyed better facilities and a broader understanding of life. There had been a proposal made to the DoE regarding bussing children. This had been called a crazy suggestion.
The Minister noted that the skeletons of farm schools dotted the countryside, because of the difficulties in obtaining, and poor attendance by teachers. The situation might be different in other areas with which he was not familiar. Something must be done on the side of sport and recreation. Circuit school facilities should be used to enable children to have access to proper facilities. A cluster philosophy could be followed.
Min Stofile said that there was now a sponsored tournament for primary schools. This was good but erratic. There was a lack of a bridging mechanism. Rural schools needed restructuring. Schools should be built and used in an effective way. Children should get out of the rural mentality. He did not know when this would happen, but hoped it would be within the next five financial years.
He recounted the story of a visit to Badplaas in
The Minister said that in 1991 rugby had started to move towards integration. There had been the thinking that this process would be completed within five years but this had been proved wrong. With money and energy it could be achieved. Sport science could be used to support the programme and the academics agreed.
He said that the location of academies had to be identified. This process should be implemented during the current financial year, and he did not know how far it was at present. It would cost R240 million per year to achieve this, which was half of the total budget. It was part of SRSA’s intervention, and would help to make dreams a reality.
Min Stofile agreed that sport was a concurrent function, but this was a political landmine. Some years previously he had tried to deal with the question of concurrency of function. A paper on development had been castigated roundly. There was a movement from spheres to tiers. They were tinkering with the edifice but not making fundamental changes. He had lost many debates. The situation had to be rectified.
He said that South Africans were brave people. They used terms they did not understand. Regarding specialist facilities, high performance facilities could evolve into academies. Provinces were to be encouraged to have suitable structures. Government would supply equipment for the underused netball and tennis courts mentioned by Mr Thetjeng. Facilities could be constructed, but coaches were a problem. The club development team would be sent to revive club sport. This was the easiest part. Funding was difficult, but with help a bigger budget would be secured.
The Chairperson said that the second part of the meeting, namely the tabling of the Strategic Plan, would have to be postponed.
Mr Sulliman thanked the Minister and his Deputy as well as the SRSA team. More such interactions were needed. This had proved extremely difficult with some of the other Departments. There had been a fruitful discussion, with the Minister having answered many of the questions himself.
The meeting was adjourned.
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