Iron Man SA presentation; Department feedback on public hearings

Sports, Arts and Culture

03 June 2008
Chairperson: Mr B Komphela (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Iron Man South Africa, a franchise from an organisation based in the United States, briefed the Committee on its activities. It organised Iron Man events in South Africa although it was presently confined to the Eastern Cape, in Port Elizabeth and East London. The distances were different to the triathlon event that was part of the Olympic Games. It was an expensive sport as participants had to be in possession of bicycles and wet suits to be competitive. The costs of participating in international competitions made it impossible for some athletes to take their place in events for which they had qualified. A challenge in development was in the swimming discipline. There was a lack of training facilities for this, especially in the townships where development work was done. Many of the development athletes had been successful in local events, but it was a battle to finance their international participation. There was a major dispute between Iron Man South Africa and Triathlon South Africa, which controlled the Olympic discipline of the sport. This was despite the fact that the respective international bodies had sorted out their differences. Triathlon South Africa was demanding exorbitant sums of money before it would sanction events hosted by Iron Man South Africa, and also wished to control the events. The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport had declined to conduct dope testing because the events were not sanctioned.

Members asked about the relationship between the two bodies. The Department of Sport and Recreation said that Triathlon South Africa did have a development programme, contrary to the allegations made by Iron Man South Africa, but it was accepted that programmes were often not applied effectively. Members were concerned about the exclusivity of the sport due to costs and the predominance of white athletes. It was emphasised that the Department had to deal with all bodies. The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport should test anywhere their services were required, although it was felt that the problems around the sanctioning of events was a factor in this problem. The Department of Sport and Recreation felt that drug testing could not be done at Iron Man events as they were not sanctioned by the national federation. Members disagreed as this was an international event.

South African School Sport gave a report back to the Committee. It was still trying to engage with the Department. Planning for the winter games was being held back, and they might have to be cancelled. Members felt that the size of the games should be reduced. Codes could organise their own elite events while more localised mass participation events could cater for the majority of competitors. School sport had generally been neglected for the past few years due to a lack of organisation. Members felt that mass events were not always appropriate. Codes should be left to organise their own national championships, while mass events should be held at lower levels where talent could be identified.

The need for a sports indaba was confirmed. Public hearings were to be held on the question of the Springbok emblem. Federations had to ensure that their constitutions were in line with the national Constitution. A proposal was being put to Cabinet to channel the allocation of lottery funding for sport and recreation directly to the Department. It was agreed that standards needed to be in place for academies. The Department was looking to build new offices in Pretoria and would make office space and its resources available to federations. More transformation was needed at the President’s Sports Awards.

The Committee demanded that disciplinary action be taken against an official of the Department who had approved the work permit for the new national football coach. Processes to ensure that no local person was overlooked had been bypassed. Ignorance of the law was no excuse.

The Department reported that it was meeting with the Department of Education on the question of school sport. Several proposals would be made whereby the two Departments could assist each other. Members appreciated the offer by the Department to assist in certain areas, but the running of school sport must be left in the hands of teachers.

Meeting report

Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson noted that Members of Netball South Africa and the Netball Association of the Nelson Mandela Region were not present, but Members were given a written presentation from them.

The Chairperson said that the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) had been invited. There had been interaction with various organisations during the public hearings regarding the budget. A number of issues had been raised. The report would be tabled in the National Assembly (NA), but the Committee wanted to interact with SRSA first.

The Chairperson said that the Committee was concerned about events that were being organised by commercial operators without consultation with the relevant national federations. In the case of the Comrades Marathon there had been a bitter battle with some of the white community. The date of 16 June was a very sensitive one for black people and they took offence at the marathon being held on this day. Athletics South Africa (ASA) was the mother body for the sport, therefore the pronouncement by Mr L Chuene (President ASA) was correct. The final agreement was that the race would be run on either 15 or 17 June.

He said that the Committee was waiting for a letter in which SRSA said it would not recognise either Iron Man SA or the South African Schools Sports organisations. They needed the letter but it had not yet been received.

Iron Man South Africa Briefing
Mr Paul Wolff, Race Director, Iron Man SA, said that the Iron Man competition was older than the Olympic Movement in South Africa. It had originated in the United States of America (USA). The international organisation was the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), and this organisation owned the Iron Man brand. The International Triathlon Union (ITU) was the governing body of the Olympic Games discipline, and TSA was their South African affiliate. Iron Man SA only concentrated on the non-Olympics discipline.

Mr Mandla Modwara, Director, Iron Man SA, said that Iron Man SA organised various events in the Eastern Cape. They were affiliated to WTC. Their vision was that the Iron Man event should be synonymous to Eastern Cape in the same way that the Argus Cycle Tour was synonymous with the Western Cape. It was an endurance sport, consisting of a 3.8 km swim, a 180 km cycle ride and a 42.2 km run. It catered for professional athletes as well as different age groups. Both men and women competed. The winning time was usually approximately eight and a half hours, and there was a cut-off time of seventeen hours. Prize money for an event was US$50 000. There were also events of half the distance. Distances were calculated in miles, as a result of the American heritage.

Mr Modwara said that the sport dated back to 1978. The international tour had now grown to include 22 events, culminating with the World Championships in Hawaii in October. Iron Man was currently only contested in the Eastern Cape, with major events in the Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City metros. In fact, it occurred nowhere else in Africa. Nelson Mandela Bay Metro had a contract to host an event until 2012. The number of competitors had grown from 400 to 1 500, and there were entrants from all over the world representing between twenty and thirty countries.

He said that there were 90 000 athletes in South Africa who could complete at least a half distance event. There was a huge media attendance, with companies like ESPN, Sky, ORF of Austria, Canale + of France, and SuperSport televising the event. The value of media coverage was approximately R15 million. There was a great tourism value as well. Many athletes preferred to train in the Eastern Cape. The time zone considerations were favourable for European athletes. Practice events were arranged in Buffalo City. The impact on the sports tourism industry was huge. In the seven to fourteen day period that most competitors spent in the country, some R33 million was spent.

He said that Iron Man SA had a social responsibility programme. Children were a special concern. A Section 21 company had been registered which had certain dedicated charities. R360 000 had been given to charity this year alone. There was also a form of competition for children from the age of six to fourteen. These events, known as Iron Kids, comprised only swimming and running. Corporate events were also held. There was a full week of events leading up to the main competition.

Mr Modwara said that the social responsibility programme had a strong emphasis on development. The Section 21 company had been started in 2004 with a specific aim of enabling disadvantage and black athletes to compete. It was an expensive sport. A good bicycle cost R30 000 and a wetsuit R3 000. The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro contributed some R400 000 to the event and there was a private sponsorship of R120 000 which helped to cover kit and nutrition.

Mr Wolff said that his background was as a biokineticist. He had been in private practice for twelve years. He had served on the board of the Eastern Province Rugby Union for eight years, and also served on the national board. He had started the first academy in Port Elizabeth. An important proviso of the establishment of the Section 21 company was that there must be a proper development programme. The programme was open to all, and anyone could apply to the company. No equipment was promised, but support could be given in the form of donations, loans and other assistance.

He said that another important aspect was the identification of talented athletes who were taken up into the academy. If they had the potential they could advance into the Iron Man team. The company would also assist with the preparation of the triathletes for the Olympic Games and World Championships. The company also dealt with administrative and logistic matters. They looked after professional athletes and coaches, and were also involved with marketing and public relations.

Mr Wolff said that two development races were held each month. Entry was free. The sport was growing through a Mass Participation Programme (MPP). It was very popular in the previously disadvantaged communities. Equipment cost anywhere between R30 000 and R50 000. This did not include the cost of nutrition and coaching. It was admittedly an exclusive sport because of the expense.

He said that he met a worker at the gymnasium whom he had been able to develop into a prominent competitor. Competitors had to be over 18 years of age. A major problem in developing black athletes was often teaching them to swim. Teachers needed to be assisted. Triathlon was an Olympic sport, but was not recognised as a school sport. Iron Man SA were developing three athletes at present, and were also giving them training as coaches. One of the major needs was for all-year swimming facilities. There were no heated pools in Port Elizabeth or East London. They had targeted athletes from other aquatic sports, in particular life saving.

Mr Wolff said help was provided by the media. He had tried to negotiate discounts on entry for road races. Money was needed for helmets and shoes. TSA would not help the provincial representatives in duathlon events. In previous cases he had paid for entry fees from development funds. Last year the top three finishers had all been development athletes. Sponsorships were used to pay for bicycles, wetsuits and nutrition. There was a development officer in Port Elizabeth and they were looking for one to service the Buffalo City area.

He listed a number of achievements. There were currently 32 athletes in the development programme. Of these 23 had competed in the 70.3 event in East London. Three had qualified for the World Championships to be held in the USA. Of these, only one could be assisted financially. The first two ethnic South African women had completed the race. One had qualified for the World Championships but did not have funding to attend. Six Iron Man athletes had earned Eastern Province (EP) colours in the standard triathlon and three had qualified for the World Championships, but could not go due to a lack of funding. TSA was refusing to make funds available.

Mr Wolff said that he had been President of EP Triathlon. TSA had applied to the lottery for a grant. EP had been the only province to send in a full proposal for an allocation from this grant, but the money had been spent elsewhere.

He said that there was an exceptional improvement in performance. The problem was that money was needed to send athletes to the World Championship. He reiterated that there were five athletes in the academy and a total of 32 in the development programme, while nothing was been done to develop triathletes in the other provinces.

Mr Keith Bowler, Chief Executive Officer, Iron Man SA, said that the WTC had been established in 1978. The body controlled the distances for Iron Man events whereas the ITU used different distances. A dispute between the two bodies was settled in 1998. Before that the ITU would not sanction athletes or organisations affiliated to the WTC. There had been a similar agreement at South African level. However, in 2006 the TSA sanction for an Iron Man event had been withdrawn at the eleventh hour as a result of an ITU directive. In 2007 TSA had refused to sanction the main Iron Man event.

He said that an important result of the withdrawal of TSA’s sanction was that the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) had been instructed not to conduct doping tests. Testing was critical for the recognition of the event, and its status was now in jeopardy. TSA had agreed to sanction the event, but was now demanding a licensing fee of R50 000 and a fee of R200 per athlete. This would be a total of R450 000. He felt this was absurd as it was a 900% increase over the previous year. No officials would be provided by TSA, and they also wanted a direct say in the organisation. Iron Man SA had decided in August 2007 that they could not comply with these conditions.

Mr Bowler said that the Executive of Iron Man SA had then gone to attend the World Championships. While they were out of the country, TSA had written to the sponsors to advise them that the events in East London on 13 January 2008 and Port Elizabeth on 13 April 2008 would not be sanctioned. TSA would also not be responsible for safety as required by the National Sport and Recreation Act of 1998. Iron Man SA had engaged with its legal team and had written to the sponsors. The events had continued.

He said that the Secretary of TSA had sent an email to Iron Man SA. A copy had been sent to the Chairperson of this Committee. Iron Man SA wanted SRSA to intervene in the dispute. In particular they wanted to ensure that SAIDS would conduct dope testing and needed a working relationship with TSA. There had been several meetings in the past, and there was an impression that Iron Man SA was regarded as a cash cow to be milked. They needed guidance from the Committee.

The Chairperson said that the Director-General (DG) of SRSA was present, and introduced the members of the delegation. The Department was obliged to assist to aid development.

Mr E Lucas (IFP) said that it had been an interesting presentation. It was a pity that funds were so short. It was a disadvantage that athletes had to be eighteen years old before they could compete. Sport should start at an early stage of a child’s life, and he or she should know the direction he or she wished to follow by the age of eighteen.

Mr R Reid (ANC) noted that Iron Man SA was the franchise of an international body. He asked what revenue the body derived as a share of the takings from overseas events, and if so, what the money was used for. It was a problem with this kind of sport that there was no provision for black participation. Extreme sports only catered for white people. The Iron Man SA delegation had admitted that it was a costly sport, but it was not good that 99% of competitors were white.

Mr D Dikgacwi (ANC) noted that Iron Man SA was ploughing back funds as part of a social responsibility programme. He asked where the beneficiaries were located. He asked what the cause was of the fighting between Iron Man SA and TSA. He asked how some of the athletes were able to afford the expensive kit required, and if money was being raised. He asked if the sport could grow in the black community because of the expenses involved. He asked what other help could be provided on the dope testing arena if they were not able to get a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) affiliate like SAIDS involved.

Mr Frolick said that the Committee was at a disadvantage. There had been no response from SRSA. He asked how the Secretary of TSA could quote a Chief Director (CD) from SRSA. The Committee was implicated at the same time by this action. This was completely out of order. The Committee had nothing to do with TSA. Even if the matter was discussed, the Chairperson of the Committee should be advised of any correspondence. There was a malicious element to this.

He noted that there was some development on the Iron Man side. He asked how different this programme was to that of TSA at national and provincial level. He asked if they were two completely separate programmes, and if they fed into each other. It seemed that TSA wanted to impose pre-conditions on the operational and logistic sides of the Iron Man event, and in fact it was almost as if they wanted to take over the event. Some federations operated out of the public eye. He asked what the racial composition of the Olympic triathlon team was. He suspected it was lilywhite.

The Chairperson said that the Committee needed to find out about this last point. The management of federations had to be linked to the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Act (NSRAA).

Mr Frolick said that people who were running federations were also involved in companies providing services. There had been such a case with cycling, where executive members were part of a company providing bicycles as part of a development initiative. He hoped that it was not the same situation with TSA. He asked how TSA had assisted Iron Man SA.TSA had resources, human resources and finances.

Mr Wolff said that there was a junior event under the auspices of ITU and TSA. The distances were shorter. The swim was only 200m, the cycle race 10 km and the run was 1 km. Iron Man was a franchise which had been started in Hawaii by some “mad marines”. It was an exclusive sport. An extensive development programme was needed, especially due to the distance of the swim in the Iron Man event. Funding had been given by municipalities and some companies.

Mr Wolff said that his work had been related to TSA and Iron Man SA. He was in charge of the development of juniors. He had married the programmes. A number of promising juniors had been found in Motherwell and had been trained in swimming in the pool there. These juniors were developed using standard triathlon events with the goal of them competing in Iron Man events once they turned eighteen. He had been forced to resign from his position as President of the EP Triathlon Association due to a conflict of interests.

Mr Wolff said that metro funding had been directed to Iron Man. However, the work with juniors had fallen away. TSA had no development programme, and tended to take over the athletes trained by Iron Man SA, which was a private company. They were prepared to drive development programmes for TSA, but were no longer allowed to do so. Iron Man athletes were not funded if they took part in TSA events. There was no structure for triathlons.

Mr Bowler said that the beneficiaries of the Iron Man programme were charities. The biggest beneficiary was a home for street children. Other beneficiaries were the EP Children’ Home for orphans and a school for autistic children. Other events included the Iron Kids event for children between six and thirteen years of age. Proceeds from entry fees all went into charities.

Mr Dikgacwi noted that the beneficiaries were all in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage.

Mr Bowler confirmed that all were in Port Elizabeth. They wished to start similar initiatives in East London. In response to the Chairperson’s question he said that they did target people of the disadvantaged community.

Mr Modwara thought that the sport would grow. Iron Man SA had engaged with the private sector in order to meet the expenses of black athletes. Athletes also needed to be educated. Private sector funding was being used to concentrate on development. There were thirty black athletes were in the development programme. The sport should not be predominantly white. Swimming was a particularly difficult area because of the requirements for swimming facilities, and the difficulties in accessing pools told a story. Expensive equipment was also a factor that the development programme was trying to overcome. The growth in the number of black athletes should increase. Iron Man SA was looking to build champions, but they could not do it alone. He was confident that money would not be a barrier.

Mr Wolff said that in the Olympic triathlon discipline any bicycle, swimming costume or pair of shoes would do. Competitors at a low level could get by with cheaper equipment. Iron Man participants who earned less than R5 000 per month were not required to pay the R3 700 entry fee. There was no development programme at TSA. While he was still President of the EP Triathlon Association a Special General Meeting had been called. TSA wanted him to resign due to his affiliation with Iron Man. He had wanted to use the development programme he had developed to benefit TSA, but this had not happened. TSA was now trying to start a coaching programme. There were now two separate structures whereas there could have been a single national programme to develop triathletes.

Mr Modwara said that Iron Man SA needed the Committee to assist by talking to SAIDS about conducting dope testing. The Committee could also facilitate a meeting with TSA, which could restore sanity. The focus was on their vision of development. There was currently an impasse with TSA. They could not agree on a definition of “sanctioning”. There was already an agreement between WTC and ITU, but that was not being mirrored nationally.

Mr Bowler said that he was proud of their development projects. Icons were being created in the community. Aspirations were being developed. Some development athletes were now passing on their knowledge by coaching juniors. His definition of sanctioning was that a governing body endorsed an event for a fee, which would work towards the betterment of the sport. What was happening in this case was that TSA wanted full control over the event. The cost to Iron Man SA would be about R500 000, which was more than the franchise fee paid to WTC. As the event had got closer TSA had been prepared to drop the required fee per athlete to R50. He thought this was because TSA knew that legal action was pending. Mr Wolff was the designated race director, and was an authority in this area, but TSA had wanted to appoint their own officials. Separate rules were being followed. TSA wanted control over VIP procedures, branding and access to sponsors.

The Chairperson told SRSA that they had been ambushed by this presentation, but some response was needed. He asked what relationship Iron Man SA had with SRSA. SRSA was the body that governed federations and sports administration. The question of doping tests had been raised in the budget debate. The Chairperson of the SAIDS Board had never been informed of this problem, and maintained that SAIDS had the right to conduct dope testing anywhere. It was an independent body and only interacted with SRSA.

He said that charity should not be the sole responsibility of Iron Man SA. It was right that they were helping with the education of children. There should also be development in the rural areas. Some children had to travel 10km to get to school. If they had bicycles it might help them to develop an interest in the sport. He was not saying that there should not be any contributions on charity, but there should be some emphasis on the funding of other programmes for children. A lot could be done with R300 000. The question had been asked about how much the franchise cost and what income the organisation enjoyed from the international body. He could not understand why the bigger federations wanted to crush the smaller ones. It should be the other way round. The situation was wrong.

Mr Modwara noted the input on the contributions to charity. They only interacted with SRSA at a provincial level, and hat not engaged with the DG of the national department. They had also made contact with the provincial Department of Education, both at Bisho and at local level. They were synchronising their development programme with efforts being made by the South African National Defence Force in the region. Swimming remained the weakest of the three disciplines. TSA was on the steering committee for the international events. There was collaboration with TSA development officers. He hoped that the relationship would grow.

The Chairperson said that South Africa was a unitary state. There was no federalism. There were invisible boundaries, which were a product of Codesa. When Iron Man SA was building towards a national event there was an area of competency for the national department while co-operation was still needed at provincial level.

Mr Frolick said that there had been presentations by Iron Man SA during the term of the previous Parliament between 1999 and 2004. The former DG of SRSA, Prof Denver Hendricks, had informed them then that any matters dealing with international athletes had to be channelled through SRSA nationally. This was especially the case when a CD was using the name of the Committee.

Mr Wolff said that there had been contact with WADA in 2004/05 with a Mr Faghme of SAIDS. Tests had been done with the assistance of the University of Port Elizabeth. An application for testing had been made in 2006. SAIDS had informed them that they could not conduct tests because TSA had not sanctioned the events.

The Chairperson said they did not need to ask. He would raise the issue with SAIDS.

Mr Wolff said he had offered to pay for the tests, but SAIDS had stuck to its point that it would not conduct tests, as the event was not sanctioned.

Mr Frolick said the intention of the legislation was that SAIDS should be as independent as possible. They were supposed to conduct tests with or without the permission of the organising body. He asked Iron Man SA to forward the relevant correspondence.

The Chairperson said this should also go to the DG.

Mr Bowler said that the franchise operated as a Proprietary Limited company. Its books were open to all. The prize money at the events was US$50 000 for the full distance and $30 000 for the 70.3 distance events. Professional athletes wanted the reassurance that the competition was clean. There was an operating budget of R9 million, and there was a lot of infrastructure to be put in place. Royalties to WTC were based on a percentage of turnover, and the amount was normally about R300 000. They would try to work with TSA. TSA said that they were the voice of triathlon and Iron Man was not permitted to approach the Department. This was the same with some other organisations.

The Chairperson said that the Department had to talk to everyone. This allegation was not true. SRSA was the custodian of sport in the country, and could not act in a gatekeeper role. TSA was part of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), which was a lilywhite organisation. They were trying to close the gate to Iron Man. This was the American style of politics. SASCOC was an exclusively white, dictatorial institution. Affiliation to SASCOC was not compulsory and freedom of association was a constitutional right. The NSRAA did not mention a specific confederation.

Ms Noma Kotelo, Director: Sport Support Services, SRSA said that Iron Man was only happening in Port Elizabeth although there was some expansion to East London. It would be proper to make a fair comparison. TSA was a national body. The development programme was managed by a person in Bloemfontein. A few years previously there had been chaos in TSA nationwide, but the new leadership had brought stability to the organisation. Triathlon and Iron Man athletes had asked the Deputy Minister for assistance. Iron Man SA had approached SRSA for financial assistance for an event in the Eastern Cape. The Department needed to know if the event was sanctioned by TSA. It was not, and the same answer was provided by the host province.

The Chairperson asked how SRSA understood the process of sanctioning. It sounded like TSA was more interested in a take over than simply endorsing the event.

Ms Kotelo said that sanctioning was an agreement between two organisations. The event was being run by a company, without following the principles or policies of the mother body for that sport. She did not know the details. People with money were exploiting athletes. A structure was needed to ensure that there was compliance with the agreement.

Mr Frolick said that different federations were being funded by SRSA. There should be performance agreements, which could be monitored. A particular area of concern was the development programmes of the different federations. He agreed that triathlon was rooted in the military.

Mr Wolff said that the military sport was biathlon.

Mr Frolick said that many problems resulted from disputes and leadership changes. Federations had development programmes on paper, but the implementation of these was often problematic. Equipment was provided but was locked up in schools and was inaccessible to the local community. He asked who the current leadership was, and whether they were from within the organisation or imported. Similar  problems had arisen with cycling.

Ms Kotelo said that each federation was subsidised. Service level agreements were in place. Areas were listed for delivery. Club development would be conducted through the year. Federations had to submit their development programmes with timeframes. They also had to reveal their plans to develop teams for the next major event such as the All Africa Games and Olympic Games.

Mr Wolff said that as a former President of a provincial triathlon federation he knew that development plans were not being implemented by TSA. No money was given to support athletes. In a meeting with TSA he had been told that money was only spent on supporting elite athletes whereas 90% of the Iron Man athletes came from development programmes. Iron Man had assisted the province with development facilities. All triathletes were being developed through Iron Man SA.

The Chairperson asked about the leadership.

Mr Wolff replied that he had been on the Board of TSA. The Board had co-opted Mr Gideon Sam to serve as President of TSA. He was the only person of colour on the Board.

The Chairperson said the Committee would talk about this matter later.

Ms Hajira Mashego, Director: Scientific Support, SRSA, said that SAIDS required a programme to plan their testing. The problem might be that the event did not appear on the schedule of TSA, which was the WADA affiliate. The Section 21 company did not belong to TSA, and SAIDS therefore had no jurisdiction over them. They might conduct tests if the costs were borne by Iron Man SA.

The Chairperson said that this was not what SAIDS had said on record. Random testing could be conducted anywhere. No mother body or organisation could impede their work.

Mr Frolick said that cyclists were known for using a masking drug to hide the presence of other illegal substances. At an event in Mpumalanga the cycling federation had refused SAIDS access, and the latter had to go to the Police to get support to enforce their presence. Testing at national and international events had to be allowed.

The Chairperson said that it was good that Iron Man SA had been invited. SAIDS was not supposed to refuse any request for testing. If there were problems, then the NSRAA made provision for the Police to ensure that testing was conducted.

Ms Xoliswa Sibeko, Director General, SRSA, said that the Department would assist. SASCOC should assist with these disputes.

The Chairperson said that the NSRAA outline the procedure. If a dispute was noted then it should be referred to SASCOC. The Department would only intervene if nothing was happening on that front.

Ms Sibeko said that the Department was busy with restructuring. The Public Service Bill made provision for Departments to have generic structures. Funding was a difficult issue especially when there were private business and ownership issues involved. She applauded the efforts that had been made so far. An organisation like Iron Man SA could be used as a service provider, especially regarding training. There was a problem with lottery funding. There would be a legacy in North West after the hosting of the Zone 6 games later in the year. Access was needed for newcomers to the sport. SRSA would have to look at the model for funding. Road running and cycling were easier disciplines to develop. A basic start was needed with swimming facilities.

Mr Reid mentioned that the Big Tree Foundation had provided twenty bicycles for development.

The Chairperson said that the Committee was opposed to the support of LoveLife, which was also a franchise. They were now dealing with a franchise at another level. Iron Man SA had to be closer to the Department. There had to be involvement with the Mass Participation Programme (MPP). The Committee did not want to hear that children were being neglected. Iron Man SA had a responsibility at the level of the franchise. The application of the law on drug testing would be taken up with SRSA.

Discussion with South African School Sport (SASS)
The Chairperson said that Mr Ismail Teladia, General Secretary, South African School Sport and his delegation had presented to the Committee on the problems of SASS. Hockey had made an undertaking to select their Olympic Games team on a principle of 50/50 representation, but had changed this to a 70/30 balance in favour of white players so that their children could go to the games. The matter must be addressed, as the South African Hockey Association would not be allowed to renege on the promises they had made. They had presented on the issue and had made their own decision.

The Chairperson said that the problem with SASS was around the formation of a new body. They were entitled to do this. They had approached the Minster and had been given the go-ahead. They had battled for weeks to get copies of letters that had been sent by the Department, in which they were told they were not recognised. He asked which Department this was, as it could not be SRSA. He felt it must have been from the Department of Education (DoE).

He said that in another case a junior official at SRSA had given authority for a work permit for the new national soccer coach, Mr Santana. There were huge political consequences to this. Only the Minister and the Committee could deal with political issues, not some junior liaison official.

Mr Teladia said that the letter had been sent. His colleague, Ms Martha Stroom, would forward it.

The Chairperson said that a copy must also be sent to the DG of SRSA.

Mr Teladia said there had been contact with SRSA.  He would forward relevant e-mails. Since the formation of the body on 17 February, up to the recent meeting with the Committee, they had not been granted an audience. A meeting had been arranged for the previous week but it had not happened. One of the problems was that there still had been no meeting of the local organising committee for the winter games, and he did not know if it would still be possible to stage this event. Teams were being prepared by the provinces.

Ms Sibeko apologised for not having met with SASS. The focus of SRSA recently had been on issues of Parliament, the budget and preparations for the Zone 6 games. A meeting would be arranged. They were planning to meet with the two departments the next day. A number of issues would be on the agenda, including the questions raised by Mr Teladia. She would brief the Committee on the results of this meeting.

She said that the winter games were on the table. One of the difficulties was that over three thousand children were involved. She felt that in codes like athletics the number of participants should be reduced. Hundreds of children might be there just to run in one short sprint race. Part of the planning was that certain codes should arrange their events at certain times. There should not be major changes.

Mr Frolick said that codes like rugby and cricket had their own weeks. Bodies within school sports were still aligned with national federations that organised major events like the Craven Week in rugby. The issues should not be confused. There should be weeks of quality, as in the previous example, and there could be events based on the MPP. These could be planned more quickly.

He said that the process of identifying players for the winter games was chaotic. Money was being spent on holding trials but he did not know if the best team would be chosen. In some cases this involved a waste of resources paid for by the taxpayer. There must be more co-ordination with the DoE. The number of participants in national events should be reduced to ensure quality, and greater participation could be achieved at an MPP level.

The Chairperson said that the matter rested with the DG’s office, and she should be given time to deal with it. The meeting would take place. The ANC would hold a study group the next day with the Minister and his Deputy, and they would deal with the issue there. They would never agree that an event be cancelled just five days before it was due to begin.

He said that there were now regrets about the disbanding of USASSA. School sport was now in limbo. This was the third year where there had been no organised school sport. SASS was dealing with the issue, and could be realigned if needed. They did not need to ask for permission. They had spoken with the Minister. Patience was needed. SRSA was a small Department, and school sport was not the only issue that it had to deal with.

Mr Teladia said that 90% of the members of SASS were from USASSA. The different codes organised inter-school leagues up to national level. There were codes that could fund themselves, such as rugby, but others were dependent on external funding. They would assist SRSA, and would make the Department look good if it did good things for school sport.

Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) Interaction
The Chairperson said there had been a range of discussions during the budget hearings. The Committee had recommended to presenters that they should interact with SRSA on issues raised. Some of these were political and others administrative. The matters needed to be finalised in the current session of Parliament.

He said that the agreement to hold quarterly meetings with SRSA had not been honoured. He felt that the Department should stick to the plan to compile quarterly reports. There was a range of questions and it would be easier to answer these on a more regular basis rather than wait for the presentation of the Annual Report.

The Chairperson said that a quick discussion was needed on the issues raised by Iron Man SA so that the Committee and the Department could reach the same understanding. He asked what the problem was with affiliation. It seemed that there was a question of one big federation holding the key and oppressing a smaller one.

Ms Mashego said that random testing applied to a designated pool of athletes. Events had to be sanctioned by the national federation. When Premier Soccer League (PSL) players were tested this had to be sanctioned by the South African Football Association (SAFA), which was an affiliate of the international body FIFA. SAFA could sanction PSL matters, and this went up the chain. If the Iron Man event was not sanctioned, then there could be no testing. Iron Man SA was part of a body that was not aligned to WADA.

The Chairperson said that this point had been raised.

Mr Frolick said that Iron Man SA was a separate, unattached body. However, it was part of the WTC, which subscribed to WADA. This was a mother body, which was accredited and was accountable to WADA. He could not see any reason why SAIDS could not conduct testing. No permission was needed. International athletes would be present at the meeting irrespective of the spat between TSA and Iron Man SA.

Mk Dikgacwi said that SAIDS could not go into schools.

Ms Mashego said that federations had to be aligned to an international body. WADA affiliates had the mandate to conduct tests. If Iron Man SA was not affiliated their events could not be sanctioned by TSA. They could only be recognised if there was international participation.

Mr Frolick said that the events hosted by Iron Man SA were part of the international calendar.

The Chairperson said that the event in Port Elizabeth was one of seven or eight events worldwide. This was not a local event but an international one.

Ms Mashego said that SAIDS could not test at schools. They would love to do this, but they had difficulties in entering schools.

Mr Frolick had read an article written by Prof Tim Noakes, who had visited some Easter festivals. He had asked boys at random about their use of steroids. About 20% of them admitted using such substances. There was no buy-in from the South African Rugby Union (SARU). They said that the schools organised these events and SARU had no say in them. Tests conducted on children under the age of eighteen could not be used unless there was parental permission.

The Chairperson said something must be done to curb this situation. A remedy was needed.

The DG said that a way would have to be found. They could not work through the DoE.

Ms M Ntuli (ANC) asked if written authority could be obtained to test scholars.

Ms Sibeko said there was a danger of federations being undermined. If a structure was affiliated internationally, she wondered if this meant that it could exist even if it was not affiliated to the national federation. It was a question of interpreting the law. If Iron Man SA was willing to be part of TSA then it needed to get back into the system.
Mr Frolick said that there was a history of TSA not being interested. Now that Iron Man SA had been built up locally the mother body was getting interested. The TSA development programmes were dismal, and he had checked the figures to confirm this. There were a lot of problems within TSA, and not all had been solved. Mr Sam had been president of five different organisations in the past. He felt that TSA was on a gold-digging exercise. The issue must be addressed. Iron Man SA was willing to meet TSA half-way. TSA was funded by SRSA and the lottery, but money earmarked for development had gone elsewhere. He referred to the drama with hockey. The executive members said that a percentage of funding was allocated to development, but the rest of the money was being diverted. SRSA must check that federations were being compliant.

The Chairperson echoed the importance of compliance. Mother bodies like PSL, SARU and Cricket South Africa operated as Pty Ltd companies, and this was also the case with Iron Man SA. They should be handled in the same way. Rugby had fourteen franchises. Most of the wealth lay in the big five. SAIDS conducted testing there, and so there was no reason to exclude Iron Man SA. They must be treated the same way. The PSL was a highly privatised and individualised organisation that was not accountable.

Ms Sibeko said that the same strategy should be applied to Shooting South Africa.

The Chairperson said that he had never drawn comfort from what was a difficult situation, but this was one which had to be dealt with. He did not think that shooting should be a school sport. The final decision rested with SRSA.

Mr Frolick said that the fundamental issue was the existence of two associations. One of these was still exclusive. The other had to be recognised. That issue was not being given due attention. The Committee was owed some feedback. There was a problem in the use of lottery funding. Transformation was a problem in the mother body. A broader view should be taken. The Chairperson was concerned about sports that promoted violence.

Mr Frolick said that government could not be seen to be support an organisation that was not transformed. The DG had a duty to check whether federations were doing the right thing. There was a cruel background to sport in the country, and although shooting was by nature a white sport, some of the askaris had come from the shooting ranges. There were many considerations.

Mr Dikgacwi mentioned a group of children between the ages of twelve and sixteen who were being taught to shoot.

Mr Frolick said this group was untransformed.

The Chairperson said that SRSA must decide if it was correct for children to take part in shooting competitions. There were both police and security implications. This was an exercise for the Department. The mother body belonged to SASCOC.

He said that there was a problem with an arbitrary ruling made by the PSL which affected an eighteen team tournament sponsored by Vodacom.

The Chairperson said that school sport had been discussed with the Deputy Minster in the absence of SASS. SASS said that the infrastructure was in place. They had been given the green light to form the body. The matter had to be discussed. The Committee had still not received a copy of the controversial letter that denied SASS recognition. The Committee had to report on this matter to the study group. He asked what the difficulties were in working with SASS. From the end of the USASSA organisation, virtually nothing had been done for school sport. At least somebody was now involved, even it was not teachers. Four years previously the Basson report had recommended the dissolution of USASSA. This had been shown to be incorrect and misleading. Members of SRSA had engineered the demise of USASSA.

Mr Thembinkosi Biyela Chief Director, Mass Participation, SRSA asked if there was anything wrong with the principles of Iron Man SA. The same situation applied with SASS. The Department was working on it, but a vacuum had been created. There should be no problem working with the schools. Appropriate policies and frameworks were in place. There had to be quality behind the mass games for them to be credible.

The Chairperson said that there was a problem with the Miller sponsorship. The initiative was led by Mr Shoes Mazibuko. The Committee had asked the Minister to review the issue. Consideration must be given to burying the problem.

He asked if the Department had the capacity to deal with funds that were currently allocated to the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG).

The Chairperson said that there had been debate in the NA over the Springbok emblem. The Minister had to accept that there must be public hearings on the issue. These would be arranged by the Speaker and the Chairperson of the Committee Chairpersons. The process would start in the NA and would then be taken on to the road. The Minister must agree as to when the process would start.

He said that all presenters during the budget hearings had agreed on the need for a sports and recreation indaba. The Minister had no problem with this, and it was therefore accepted that it must take place. There was a need to prepare for this event. It would not just be a talk show. One aspect was that all federations would have to align their constitutions to the national Constitution and the provisions of the NSRAA. The DG needed to take the federations through the NSRAA, as they were pleading ignorance. An example had been earlier in the meeting, when the Iron Men SA delegation had raised the original Act rather than the amended one.

The Chairperson asked if the Department had the infrastructure to handle the return of MIG funding. There was an assumption that this was still in place. The Committee was desperate to get this funding back, but needed to know if SRSA was ready for this.

He also said he needed information on the ongoing issue between Athletics South Africa (ASA) and SASCOC.

The Chairperson noted that the Minister had told the Committee that he agreed that the process of obtaining a work permit for the new national football coach, Mr Santana, could proceed. It had been done without his knowledge. A junior person at SRSA had issued the clearance. He asked how legal authority could be delegated to a junior member of the Department. Power was devolved to the DG, but she still had the responsibility even if delegating certain functions. She had a responsibility to vet the actions of her subordinates. SAFA needed to have convincing proof that there was nobody in the country who could do the job. Empirical evidence was needed that the country did not have the resources. A work permit dispensation existed with the Department of Home Affairs if this was the case.

The Chairperson also said that the scenario with the lottery was shocking. Mr Sam was the President of TSA, but also chaired the distribution authority for sport and recreation. The Chairperson of the National Lottery Board had been at pains to explain the problem. Mr Sam could recuse himself during discussions affecting his code, but was still influential. Mr Foster admitted there were problems. Of the distribution authority board members, 90% were SASCOC officials and all were involved with various codes. There was a serious issue of conflict of interest. If these persons had to recuse themselves when issues affecting SASCOC were discussed there would be no quorum. A suggested amendment was being forwarded to Cabinet. 28% of the good causes fund was set aside for sports and recreation. The proposal was that this money should rather be given directly to SRSA instead of working through a distribution authority. The Department could then prioritise the distribution of these funds.

He said that the issue of academies had been raised during Mr Mangena’s presentation. SRSA must set a standard for these academies. He wanted to know what the level of benchmarking was. He used the example of the Joint Matriculation Board standard.

The Chairperson said that federations had complained that they were unable to plan properly. He asked if SRSA had any difficulty in managing the funding to them on a medium term basis. Federations were unable to plan ahead as there was no guarantee that medium term programmes would be funded in the future. The lottery had a logistic problem with the suggestion made, but liked the idea. They had given R1.9 billion to sport since their inception. Another problem was the need for a juristic person to apply for funding, as this excluded private individuals.

Mr Frolick said applications were received from former players who were busy with their own programmes. They did not qualify for lottery grants because they were not juristic persons.

Ms Kotelo replied that there were service level agreements with national federations. SRSA needed business plans from the federations. These could be in their own formats. The Department would be able to detect the strengths and weaknesses of the federations from these documents. They would start implementing this system in the current financial year (FY). They would have to be gazetted. There was a need for review on the basis of recognition criteria.

Ms Sibeko spoke on the question of federations and funding. A decision had been taken that there must be clear outcomes. Organisations would not be funded if there was no service level agreement in place. There was a need to prioritise and the Minister wanted to play a hand in the process. Some would be disappointed if their funding was to be discontinued, and an exit strategy was needed for these federations. They had seriously considered aligning funds to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. Audited financial statements were needed.

The Chairperson said that some federations could not afford expensive audit fees. He said that the National Lotteries Board had a list of auditors who could be used by their applicants, and suggested that SRSA should consider a similar arrangement.

Ms Kotelo said that federations were given R30 000 for administration. Further funding was given for development and international participation. In all three cases the funding was a drop in the ocean. The rest of the funding was the responsibility of the individual federations. There was still provision made for administration within the programmes. She said that they would look at sourcing communal auditors.

The DG said that audited statements were essential for funding. The Department needed to assist if possible. They would assist the federations in other ways as well. They had been looking at property and had found some vacant land at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria. The Department would build new offices there. There would be office space for the federations who could also make use of departmental resources. They were moving ahead with this plan and the Public Works Department had set aside resources.

She said that there was a lack of standardisation at academies. It had been agreed that provincial departments were to coordinate academies. Curricula and standards had to be agreed fully. There were already some accredited courses being presented.

Ms Sibeko said there was no control over lottery funding at present. The Department was unable to track the impact that the funding was making. A juristic person was a body that could sue or be sued. Good governance was essential. She would look into the difficulties faced by individuals applying to the lottery. The Sports Trust (ST) would be a good vehicle for funding if the money came directly to SRSA. The 28% share for sports and recreation amounted to some R460 million annually. She agreed that the large number of SASCOC officials on the distribution agency was a problem and represented a conflict of interest. The process of streamlining lottery grants should be kick-started.

Mr Frolick said that the Committee had not been briefed on the ST for some time. It had been started with noble intentions. He asked how far the Department had progressed with the nomination and planning process for the President’s Sports Awards.

Ms Sibeko said that the ST still existed. The Department put in some R50 000 for projects. There was a clouding of issues. Sponsors were also contributing to projects, but it was only the ST that was honoured. They also deserved credit and some sponsors were no longer contributing. An internal audit was needed to confirm that funds were being used properly. More should be put into the ST, but the human element was always there.

She said that the Awards would be presented at the end of the year with the assistance of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The Free State had been given the honour of hosting the event for the next three years. She needed to meet with the CEO of the SABC and SASCOC. The current troubles over the suspension of the CEO had put matters into limbo. It had been planned to have a live broadcast, but the implication was that dinner would only be served after midnight. The format might be changed. At the last award ceremony she had experienced a brutal wake-up call when she reflected on the lack of transformation. Although it was not desirable to add too many awards to the list, she felt the need for some awards to recognise development initiatives and the contribution of women.

The Chairperson said that it was unfair to compare boxing promoters like Branco and others with the newly established female promoters. This was only happening on a minimal scale.

Ms Sibeko said that there was a need to showcase our people. Her impression was that it had appeared to be an SABC awards ceremony. SRSA had caucused with SASCOC on this issue.

Mr Frolick had watched the ceremony on television. The standard of production had been pathetic. He was not surprised that the SABC had lost the soccer broadcast rights. He agreed that it had looked more like the SABC sports awards with the Department tacked on as an afterthought. This had to change. Further refinement was needed in the nomination process. He recalled when the banquet had been presented at Tuynhuys. These awards had been the legacy of the past administration. Struggle heroes had not been recognised.

The DG noted the advice. Moving on to the alignment of the constitutions of federations, she said that workshops were needed. Some federations did not have good governance, and had life presidents who did not reflect transformation. SRSA had taken advice from the legal unit, who had said that SRSA must guard against interference.

The Chairperson said that the Department’s legal section was not qualified to give advice.

Mr Frolick confirmed that in the case of the NSRAA the Bill had been drafted by the SRSA legal advisors. They then told Parliament that it could not work. When challenged by the SARU delegation Adv Boshoff had agreed that the Bill was unconstitutional. He would like to see one of the federations taken to court over a constitutional issue. Not even the constitution of a political party could override the national Constitution.

The Chairperson said that the NSRAA had originally made provision for SASCOC being responsible for the building of facilities. This could not be so. The Committee had consulted with the Minister, and there was agreement that this function could not be outsourced by government.

Mr Frolick said that in the SASCOC presentation they had requested that transfer payments should go through them. They would account for this on behalf of the federations. This proposal was not supported.

Ms Sibeko agreed that there had been flaws. There was a need to work on some areas. Workshops were needed and she agreed on the need for an indaba. However, timing was a problem. The Olympic Games were in August, the Paralympics in September and the Zone 6 games in October. There was a conference on sport for development and peace to be held in August. The agenda would include items that would form part of the indaba. She asked if this could be combined with the indaba or whether it should be a separate event. The indaba had to be meaningful.

On the subject of the MIG funding, she said that SRSA had written a Cabinet memorandum, and it was being discussed at a cluster level.

The Chairperson rejected utterly some of the matters raised at the Cluster. The resolution at Polokwane was that only the funds intended for sport and recreation should be returned to the control of SRSA, not the entire MIG fund.

The DG said that some flexibility was needed. She had no view on the decisions of the Cluster. SRSA would not yield to the Department of Provincial and Local Government. Discussion was needed at ministerial level. The Department was pursuing various forums and would have a document ready for the Cabinet Lekgotla later in the year. She had met with the Presidents of ASA and SASCOC, and matters were looking good.

The Chairperson was glad that something was on the table. The charges laid by the SASCOC President against the ASA President emanated from a radio discussion. The comments had all been made at a discussion in Parliament, and there was an expectation that the matter had been abandoned. The issue had to be resolved quickly. He asked who would defend Mr Chuene, the ASA President. The rules of Parliament were being undermined. The Committee was ready to take action, as they had in the past, to combat that.

Ms Sibeko said it would be helpful if she had the minutes of that discussion. SRSA had a constitutional right to take the matter on. She would talk about this issue again.

The Chairperson said that Mr Chuene had talked on the radio, and had made reference to statements in Parliament. There was no way that he could be crucified on that basis.

The DG said she would follow up on the matter. In terms of readiness to receive MIG funds, she said that a national sports plan had been signed by the Minister. The first draft would be ready by the end of June. It would address the national planning and building capacity. Somebody would have to drive the programme. On the issue of the work permit for the coach, the Minister had not delegated the authority. The situation in the Department allowed that it could happen. The official had thought that he was just doing his job. She was surprised that the issue was raised, as it had been corrected.

The Chairperson said that the official knew the regulations. The national coach was one of the most contentious issues. The Act had been passed. This action was between two white men.

Ms Sibeko said that controls were needed in line with the NSRAA. All elements must be structured in accordance with the Act.

The Chairperson said that the requirement was that the employer must give a report to confirm that there was no South African capable of doing the job. He asked if this report had been obliterated. He asked what process had been carried out to identify a South African coach. A further prerequisite of employing a foreign person was that there must be some skills transfer to a South African during the period of employment.

Ms Sibeko said that ignorance was not an excuse. It was important that staff knew the law, and there should be in-house training. Mr Santana had succeeded the previous coach without due process being followed. This was due to sheer human error on the part of an official who had thought that he was just doing his job.

The Chairperson said that ignorance of the law was not an excuse. The Committee thought that punishment was needed. There was a white cartel in operation. Mr Hack of SAFA knew what was going on and what the proper procedure was. He asked what would have happened if the breach of the law had been in respect of finances.

The DG said that the official was sick at present, and was going into hospital for an operation.

The Chairperson said that the Members had said at one stage that the DG should resign. The responsibility lay with the Minister. A political decision had been taken. SRSA could not paper over the cracks. The Committee thought that the official should be dismissed.

Ms Sibeko said that the official could still be charged with misconduct.

The Chairperson asked what could be done to correct such a major blunder. The people could rise against the government if they believed no action was being taken against the Department’s own people.

The DG was trying to listen to some reason. She would do what was needed.

Ms Sibeko said that school sport was on the agenda for the meeting the following day. She understood that physical education fell within the competency of the DoE. However, SRSA was prepared to assist with equipment, the training of teachers and the provision of volunteers. Rural schools would be prioritised. Pilot schemes would be conducted. There would be some job creation. She was thinking of military veterans, many of whom were fit and could do a job as sports co-ordinators.

The Chairperson was excited to hear this. What disturbed him was that some officials wanted the stipends being paid to sports co-ordinators to be stopped. The money would then go to the federations.

The DG said that this was not the position of SRSA. In fact, they wanted to extend the stipend system.

The Chairperson said that even a small stipend made a big impact on poor households. The stipend went beyond merely assisting with transport costs.

Ms Sibeko said that no such decision had been taken. The competency resided with SRSA. They were looking to get inter-school competition up and running. A start would be to re-institute inter-house competitions within schools. They needed agreement with the DoE on equipment and facilities. These should also be made available to the community. She agreed that it was critical that codes should assist. They should be aligned to the Department’s vision. Codes had a role to play in identifying and developing talent. Another area for development was on the academic side. Sports academics were not being retained. There was no institute which had been able to assist with the recent court battle by Oscar Pistorius to be eligible to compete in the Olympic Games. The DoE had its own memorandums of understanding with external bodies. SRSA wished to use international agreements such as the one with Argentina.

The Chairperson said that when the Minister came to the Committee, SRSA would need to report on all international agreements. At the caucus meeting all Portfolio Committees had been alerted to this requirement. Feedback was needed on whether the results were as intended, on the nature of the agreements and the identity of the countries involved. All international agreements must be ratified by Parliament. This applied to agreements between countries but perhaps not as seriously to agreements between departments. There was still a need to report on them.

Ms Sibeko said that SRSA had made a presentation to the DoE on national tournaments for primary school children. There was no need to go to the senior levels. One of the main problems was that children of primary school age needed some form of parental supervision, and this imposed an extra burden on the Department. They needed a timetable of events. She agreed that MPP was more appropriate at the lower levels of competition.

Mr Frolick said that the emphasis needed to be on inter-school, zonal and district competition. It was there that the talent would emerge. Primary school competition was mainly at Under 12 level. There were rugby and cricket weeks for Under 13 teams, but most of the pupils selected for these teams were in their first year at high school. There were extra precautions that had to be taken with such young players. Adult escort was needed, and this had to be enforced. High school pupils were on a different level. Events should not be mass events. Money could be saved by reducing the scope of these events and could rather be spent at the base. USASSA had been a tournament driven organisation, and NACOC was exactly the same.

Mr Biyela said there was strength in the model of the MPP.

Ms Sibeko said that the Department would propose that a workgroup be held with the DoE on the subject of NACOC. The issues could then be ironed out.

The Chairperson said that the programmes should be left in the hands of teachers. SRSA should facilitate on their behalf. He had attended a NACOC meeting in Bloemfontein. There had been highly placed officials and heaps of paper. These were employed in drawing up a school sports programme. SRSA got involved after this. It went down to the level of choosing teams. This was a sad thing and must not be happening.

Mr Frolick was saddened by what he had seen at EP trials. Officials sat in their offices and called their friends to act as team officials. Efforts were uncoordinated. There was an emphasis on the peripheral issues. The quality of participants was low, while more talented children were not invited to the trials. The officials were missing on the day of the event. Teachers had to drive the process of school sports. The MPP was breaking new ground, and could identify players who could move on to the next level. If schools in a particular area were not interested then junior clubs must be formed.

The Chairperson asked about the PSL and Vodacom issue.

The DG said that she hoped someone had the information. She had been dealing with funding issues in the North West.

The Chairperson said that this was a matter in which SRSA should become involved. A tournament had been held for Vodacom League teams. When the League was finished there was a problem with the teams advancing to the play-offs. One club, Rangers, had gone to court and the matter had been referred to arbitration, which went in favour of the club. As a result eighteen teams had been included in the play-offs. A letter was sent to the Committee. It was the tenth anniversary of the Vodacom sponsorship. The play-offs were to be held in July. He had a copy of the handbook of the tournament, and all the rules were spelt out.

He said that a letter was sent on 19 March confirming all the rules for the tournament. This had gone to all the teams. On 9 April this was confirmed again. On 12 April a letter had been sent saying that there would be no play-offs. Eleven teams, led by Rangers, had taken the league to court. Arbitration had ruled in favour of the clubs. Two weeks previously all eighteen teams were included in the tournament. There had been a lot of grief and pain in the process. The Department should investigate the circumstances. The league had acted in contradiction to its own handbook.

Ms Sibeko said she would check on what had happened. She wished to approach the matter from a different angle. There was concern over the illegal use of state funds allocated by the Division of Revenue Act. The province’s Head of Department was warned that this must not happen again. The law allowed for the recovery of irregular grants. The Head of Department could be in trouble over this issue.

The Chairperson said that the Department should look into this matter as it fell under SAFA. The matters discussed were the outcomes of the budget hearings. The Committee had to decide if these matters would be debated or merely included in the information for the ATC. Mr Mashiyi of SASCOC had been almost misleading. He was waiting to give Mr Chuene a hearing. He appreciated the presence of SRSA. The DG was asked to send a schedule for quarterly meetings. The question was if the Department was moving into or out of a difficult situation.
The meeting was adjourned.


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