The Departments of Education and of Sport and Recreation gave a briefing to the Committee on the status of school sport, physical education and the problems. They were working together to revive school sport. Physical Education was being re-introduced where it had not been offered previously and the post structure was being updated to accommodate Physical Education teachers. Space was a problem at some older schools but new schools were built to incorporate sport facilities. In some cases schools would share facilities with other schools and the community. Responsibilities would be shared between the two Departments. Primary school children would no longer compete at national level as a regional structure for children of this age was more appropriate. A proper programme was needed for planning purposes. Members pointed out some richer codes organised their own national events but then expected the children to pay to attend. The disbanding of USSASA to form NACOC had been counter-productive.
The new Board of Boxing South Africa met the Committee. It was noted that one or two members were not present, and in one case there was some internal strife in the Board in regard to payment of expenses. The events surrounding the death of a boxer after a fight were discussed. While the Members sympathised with the family of the deceased boxer, they agreed that Boxing South Africa had taken all reasonable measures to cater for such situations. There were still some issues surrounding a dispute involving the previous Chief Executive Officer. Members were concerned that only a single boxer was attending the Olympic Games. This did not bode well for the future of professional boxing.
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee had declined an invitation to brief the Committee on their decision to boycott Parliament. They required the Chairperson to distance himself from remarks quoted in the media or to resign from his position. Members decided that the letter must be referred to the Parliamentary legal advisors. Members echoed the sentiment that the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee management was dominated by White and Indian people. An opposition Member agreed with the sentiments expressed in the letter. He represented a constituent who claimed that his son had been treated badly by the Committee. Members made remarks about the previous situation and agreed that the legal issues surrounding the letter from SASCOC must be clarified.
Challenges Facing School Sport: Department of Education (DoE) and Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA) Briefings
The Chairperson said that school sport was very important to the ANC. The ruling party had assessed its efforts, as it did every four years, at Polokwane. School sport was an area that had been identified as an area for improvement. Government wanted to deracialise school sport and sport in general. It would not abdicate its role in transformation.
Mr Duncan Hindle, Director-General, Department of Education, confirmed that sport was an important aspect of education. The DoE and the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) were working together. They faced challenges on two fronts and needed the support of the Committee. Up to now teachers had not understood the importance of sport. Physical Education (PE) was now compulsory. Schools were encouraged to run extra-mural programmes, but there were advocacy challenges. These programmes were often dependent on volunteers.
Mr Hindle said that the Public Service agreement provided for two new staff categories. These were Teacher Assistants and Interns. These categories could be used to find PE teachers and sports coaches. The second challenge was more difficult because of human resources. There was a lack of dedicated PE and sports teachers. This would take some time to solve.
He said that there was a new approach to post provision. In the past a school would get a basket of posts and would then determine its own priorities. The new approach was that posts would be provided on a dedicated basis. For example, the DoE would determine how many English or Mathematics teachers were needed and would allocate posts on this basis. The same would apply to PE teaching posts.
On the question of facilities, he said that the Department could work with nothing, but then innovative approaches were needed. The National Electronic Management System would enable the DoE to have a map of all available facilities, and this could allow a determination of where facilities could be shared. There were many plans, but the DoE did not have the resources to develop facilities. SRSA did not have these resources either, as all funding had been channelled into the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG). The municipalities faced various challenges and had other priorities. The desire to establish sports facilities did not seem to be there. He asked if ring-fencing funds for sports facilities could be a solution.
The Chairperson said that Mr Hindle had raised fundamental issues. The Committee had made the observation on its travels throughout the country that many schools had no grounds for sport. This was particularly the case with schools in Bloemfontein, where schools were swamped by housing developments. Those schools that had their own facilities did not give black children access to these facilities. Schools had to share resources.
He said that the former Model C schools were well resourced. However, they denied learners from the informal settlements access to these facilities. One of the resolutions from Polokwane was that social transformation must be implemented. The channelling of funds for sports facilities into the MIG had disabled sports facilities. While SRSA had received its own funding, government had provided 444 facilities each year but now nothing was being built. The ANC had taken the decision that funds that had been incorporated into the MIG must be given back to sport. It would take six months to ensure that this happened.
Mr C Frolick (ANC) reminded the DoE that applications for lottery grants were now open. A recent presentation by the National Lotteries Board had stressed that schools were welcome to apply. This could be used to develop or upgrade facilities. They did not want to see the over-concentration of facilities in any particular province.
Mr Hindle said that he was aware of the Polokwane resolution regarding the MIG funds. There was resistance to this proposal but he appreciated the view being taken by the Committee. He said that the schools surrounded by houses were generally the old schools. New schools were built with certain minimum standards, one of which was the inclusion of sports fields. He felt that lottery funding would be more appropriate on a district basis. The concept of shared facilities was accepted internationally.
Mr Thembinkosi Biyela, Chief Director, SRSA, said that SRSA had come to the Committee with some trepidation, although it was an honour to assist the Committee. Certain matters had not been included in the presentation. There was an impression of disunity between the two Departments, but this was now history. There had been a milestone meeting on 4 June, and a collaborative agreement had been reached. A working group had been set up to address areas such as group facilities. It was important that the Departments should work with a common database. They would work with the sports coordinators. They hoped to move school sport forward. This was part of the overall development continuum. There would be individual health benefits from participation in sport while talent identification could unearth the stars of tomorrow.
Mr Biyela said that the June meeting had reaffirmed an agreement reached between the Departments in 2005. It had been attended by both Deputy Ministers and Directors General, , together with Deputy DG’s (DDG’s) and Chief Directors. A coordinating body had been established. A critical area was the clarification of the roles of the respective Departments as there had been misunderstandings before. The DoE was responsible for PE and extra-mural sport up to a level of inter-school leagues. SRSA would be responsible for entry-level sport and for provincial and international competition. The areas were now well clarified but some work was still needed on the details. The DG would speak on the budget, which was limited. The need for support was indicated. The Departments would need resources and the will to go through with the proposed changes.
Ms Alison Burchell, Acting Director, SRSA, was pleased that so many members of the media had arrived for the discussion on school sport. The monetary allocation to the DoE had doubled. R61.2 million had been budgeted for all enrichment programmes, of which PE was only a part. More would be needed, both in terms of finances and other support. Competitive sport would be supported for the age group of 13 to 19. PE would be provided right down to foundation level.
She said that a joint policy should be put in place. The Departments would consult with the respective Portfolio Committees. A framework was needed which would provide guidelines. There had not been enough detail before. She quoted the saying that strong fences make good neighbours. A decision would have to be made about which sports would be included in a school programme. There was so little time available during teaching hours so most sporting activity would have to be on an extra curricular basis. SRSA would have to determine which codes were more amenable to be included in the Mass Participation Programme (MPP). Governance of the MPP was important.
Ms Burchell said that increased coordination was needed between the Departments as well as with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). There was a need to ensure equal development. The provision of PE was a basic step.
She said that a programme of competitive events for 2009/2010 should be finalised by December 2008. An exciting programme was the South African Schools Football World Cup (SASFWC). Some 7 000 schools had already registered for this. She hoped that this initiative would provide a material legacy. The 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) would assist with the training of 10 000 educators. Programme targets had been set the previous year, and she was confident that SRSA would meet or even exceed these targets. School sport and PE programmes would be provided for schools that fell within Quintiles 1, 2 and 3. Guidelines and policies were needed to ensure a consistent application.
Ms Burchell said that there was an allegation that PE had been taken out of the curriculum. This was not the case. However, but it had not always been implemented. Funding at schools was often a problem. A monitoring system was needed. At present, the requirement was for 45 minutes of PE a week for learners between Grade R and 9; and 60 minutes for learners in Grades 10 to 12. Consultation with her counterparts in the United Kingdom revealed that their policy was to increase PE in their school from two to five hours per week. This would help deal with high obesity levels.
She said that SRSA was working with UNICEF, which was providing sports equipment and facilities in crime-ridden areas. The first phase should be implemented by September. SRSA was hopeful of going into partnership with neighbouring African states. Soccer was very popular which resulted in a problem of excessive usage of fields to the detriment of their condition. SRSA was looking at a programme of providing artificial surfaces, which would be community based.
Ms Burchell said that the meeting of 4 June had reconfirmed the mandate of SRSA. One thing that was needed was a predictable calendar. A joint MinMEC meeting was needed at which joint proposals could be discussed.
Ms Burchell said that PE had been part of the Life Orientation curriculum. Some 280 subject advisors had been trained in 2007. The Dreamfields project was providing basic equipment, and had supplied kit to 230 schools. Leagues would also be established.
She said that some schools had no sport. The requirement of 45 minutes PE per week as part of the curriculum could be supplemented by extra curricular periods. One problem was that structures outside of school sport were providing an alternative and were competing for learners’ attention. It was a question of how to balance the role of educators, some of whom were administrators of federations. The Deputy Minister was keen on increasing the amount of extra curricular time allocated to sport.
She said that priority sports had been defined and funded, while others were still on the programme. The richer codes organised their own events, and learners were expected to pay to attend these events. This was contrary to government’s intention. There was a lack of facilities both in communities and schools and a lack of equipment. Schools should be regarded as clubs, and there should be a continuum from school to clubs. There was a high rate of children finishing school and not continuing to play their sport.
She agreed on the need for a national calendar. Learners with a disability should also be incorporated into events. Funding would be provided, but must be allocated on the basis of economy of scale.
Ms Burchell said that the way forward was to approve the events calendar. Policies had to be finalised. A framework had to be created for school sport. There were various forums. The federations had to take responsibility for school sport. An extra-curricular programme had to be built up, using the SASFWC as a model. Areas of cooperation had to be addressed including coordination and international agreements. It was SRSA’s intention to revitalise and refocus NACOC. SRSA would serve as the secretariat and the chair would rotate between the two Departments. School and cluster coaches were to be appointed, which would be part of a job creation plan. It was an important programme. PE would be implemented in all schools. Once the programme had been implemented a re-assessment would be made. She thought that they would need more time to achieve this goal. New sports trainers were being produced, but there was a need to re-educate the older generation.
Ms Xoliswa Sibeko, Director General, SRSA said that SRSA needed to reduce the participation levels at a national level as this was proving to be too expensive. This was particularly the case with children of primary school age. More parents travelled with these children, which made for logistic problems. Children of this age should rather compete at a provincial level. At one such events there had been 3 900 children arriving at Rustenburg. This had resulted in several crises. The Department would have to see how far it could stretch its available funds. Events should coincide with university holidays so that empty hostels could be used for accommodation. They would also consider setting qualifying standards.
She said that in the budget allocation, Treasury had assigned money specifically for school sports. These were earmarked funds. In the past the Department had been subject to qualified audit reports because money had been used for purposes other than the original allocation. These regulations were being implemented this year. Purchase of new equipment would be in favour of schools that had not previously benefited from funding, such as farm and township schools. This would serve to correct the disparities of the past.
Ms Sibeko agreed that there was a lack of school sport structure despite the creation of NACOC. A national sport indaba was needed, and this structure needed to be discussed there. NACOC was made up of officials, while school sport should remain in the hands of educators. She asked that SRSA be given six months to get the league programme running. They had consulted with the clusters. She said that there was some resistance at Cabinet level.
Ms M Ntuli (ANC) welcomed the presentation. She asked if it was the teachers who were resisting change.
Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) said that it had been a good presentation. He noted that a monitoring mechanism was in place, but asked if it had sufficient capacity to succeed. The question of NACOC had been partially clarified. He asked what the body’s current role was. Some of the NGOs were involved in school sport, and some of the people involved were members of the former United Schools Sports Assocation (USSASA). Schools should be playing against other schools. He asked when the programme would be operational. Parents struggled to afford tournaments at district level. There was limited integration at events like the Coca-Cola rugby week.
Mr Frolick fully agreed with SRSA’s decision on primary school events. Children at high school were at an age where they could look after themselves more. Certain federations were in a position to play a key role, and some did. These were the federations that had decided not to boycott the Committee. Bodies such as rugby and cricket had to be commended for the predictable events that they organised. These were well organised and were of benefit to the youngsters. However, in other codes, teachers were informed at the last moment. There was an emphasis on side issues. Teams selected to represent districts and provinces were not always the best teams. Questions had to be asked on the budgets of these events. Some events were even cancelled at the lost minute. Events should either be organised in the correct way or else there should be a moratorium placed.
Ms V Carelse. Deputy Director General, DoE, said that no specific times were set for PE. Instead, this aspect was included as part of the Life Orientation curriculum. This would now change and PE would be a separate subject. School time should be extended to accommodate extra mural activities. One problem was that learners were vulnerable to crime in certain areas. Separating time for PE and sport would help.
She said that the unpredictability of some events was one of the many problems that resulted from lack of planning. A programme had to be set that would cater for the expectations of schools, clusters, budgeting and proper planning. Good communication was needed. The contents of planning should address the numbers of participants and what goods and services had to be provided. Accommodation could also be provided at the various FET colleges. It was important that teachers be accommodated in the same place as the children for proper supervision.
Ms Sibeko said that figures emanating from the provinces had been challenged. SRSA was planning to set up satellite offices in each province. Verification would continue to be a challenge otherwise. SRSA had also discussed the level of volunteers who would be responsible for clusters and who could also be used as assistant teachers. She asked if PE was happening yet in the schools. Another source of volunteers could be the military veterans. A stipend would be paid to these people. The budget for this programme had been secured, and there was already activity in five provinces. This would increase to eight.
Mr Biyela acknowledged that certain federations and NGO’s were running predictable programmes. The downside was that children had to pay to attend these events. The Department could learn from the planning skills displayed by these organisations. If any structure was to play a significant role, a suitable policy would be needed. Structures would be informed by policy. The two Departments needed to work as a group and so give direction to programmes. This would be the path to a proper structure.
Ms Sibeko commented on the representation within teams. At recent events, KwaZulu-Natal had come with a team that consisted primarily of Indian and African children. The Western Cape team was 90% Coloured, 10% African but no White children. Something was not right with this distribution. The Free State had not even been represented. There was a communications breakdown caused by the change of dates. Some provinces refused to take instructions from SRSA. There were accommodation problems caused by the huge numbers at events. A new formula should be applied which would provide a clear distribution between the serious and not-so-serious participants. She hoped these would be the last of SRSA’s problems. She hoped to see a better organised event in September.
Mr Frolick was surprised to hear that children were accommodated in hotels. He did not understand how this could happen. During the Craven rugby week teams, teachers and accompanying officials were accommodated in hostels. It was very important that the Department took the initiative to coordinate events. He had been informed that there were problems with some of the hub coordinators, who had no interest in sport. People appointed in these positions had to have sports knowledge and should also be involved in the community. The recruitment policy had to be tightened.
Ms Carelse said that the Departments must be self-critical. If there was poor organisation at national level this would cascade down to local level. There would be phenomenal participation across the racial groups if sport was well organised.
The Chairperson said that government was always creating animals that turned against it, such as NACOC and USSASA. They had got rid of USSASA under difficult circumstances. They had feared at the time that this would create a vacuum. From 2003 until 2008 there had been a collapse of school sport around the country. USSASA had shown the capacity to organise sport, but now three years had been wasted. At the time SRSA had raised concerns. USSASA had been driven by officials from the Department. A DDG and other high officials served on NACOC. The situation was far worse that it had been with USSASA. It was an unbecoming situation and was killing sport. The battle was stifling school sport.
He said that counter-revolutionaries were saying that there was no organisation and were using this as an excuse to prevent racial integration. The Committee had never liked NACOC, and realised that they had created a nightmare. No details were included in the statement made by Ms Burchell. The outcomes of the Memorandum of Understanding were different to the intention. Collaboration was needed.
The Chairperson said that there had to be some weight for learners with disabilities. One example was the increased transport cost for transporting wheelchair users. They had to be part of sport. NGO programmes were being driven by those ex USSASA members who had the expertise. The SASFWC was an exciting project. Much excitement had been generated and this meant that the programme would have to be managed well. Platforms such as this must be used to develop a school sports culture.
He called on the parties involved not to waste another year. Some federations had written that they were about to receive money. If money was given to these federations then the provisions of the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Act had to be considered. Federations had to have business plans and performance agreements in place. They also had to account for their budget of the previous year.
Boxing South Africa: Discussions
The Chairperson welcomed Dr Peter Ngatane, the newly elected Chairman of the Board of Boxing South Africa (BSA). The entire new Board had been invited. He wished to verify if certain statements made on the internet were true or not. BSA had been created by an Act of Parliament, and was thus a public entity. The Minister could meet with the Board at a separate meeting. He noticed that not all the Board members were present, and felt that this was a very subtle snub to the Committee.
Dr Ngatane said that most of the Board members were present. He apologised for the absence of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who was ill. He introduced the members, namely Adv Moloyi, Mr Jonas, Mr Vasilay and Mr Zikala. The remaining member, Mr Sodo, was unable to attend due to certain arrangements.
The Chairperson asked what these arrangements were.
Dr Ngatane replied that Mr Sodo had requested the use of a rental car to travel from Umtata to East London. The Board had instructed him to use his own car and claim back travel expenses. He had insisted on a rental car, and had then declined to attend the meeting.
Mr T Louw (ANC) said that BSA was part of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC). He asked if BSA was part of SASCOC’s decision to boycott the Committee, and where they stood.
Dr Ngatane explained that BSA had never been a member of SASCOC. The amateur wing, the South African National Amateur Boxing Organisation (SANABO) might be a member. BSA had never attended a SASCOC meeting nor received any minutes. SASCOC represented the amateur codes mainly.
Mr Frolick said that the absenteeism should be dealt with as an in-house matter. He asked the Board to deal with them decisively.
The Chairperson remarked that when interacting with the Board, one member could not spend so much on himself. Funds appropriated for BSA were not for the personal use of its members. They were there to develop the sport and cover some administrative costs. He himself used his own car to travel to and from the airport and claimed his expenses. The new Board had not yet interacted with the Minister and the DG. They would deal with the situation properly. Wrong things were being done. It had been a struggle for BSA to get out of the Auditor General’s “incubator”. He did not want to see them revert to that negative situation. The Committee had a responsibility to correct these issues. They took the matter very seriously. The Board member was free to resign if he could not see his way to accepting the instructions of his Board. The Committee wanted to get the feel of the new Board. The level of the CEO had been created in the Act. His remuneration had been discussed. He asked how the Committee could assist with the recovery of BSA. He asked what had led to the public outcry.
Dr Ngatane said that the situation of the CEO had been discussed with the Department. A proposal and budget had to be forwarded to SRSA. The current level of funding was hampering operations and projects. All the Board members served as chairpersons of BSA committees. There were monetary implications in this situation.
The Chairperson asked about the boxer who had died recently. The Committee had expressed its condolences to his family. He asked what was happening about this. There were enabling mechanisms in the Act to finance the funeral costs.
Dr Ngatane said this was not pleasant. He had prepared a report and gave the Chairperson a copy. He said it was a sensitive issue and so he did not wish to make the report public. On 26 June the BSA board had intended to hold a meeting in East London. On the Friday evening there was a big tournament in the city. There was a lot of tension as there was a title fight between two local boxers. The tournament had started well. When Mr Msopi entered the ring he was knocked down in the first round and had taken a mandatory count of eight. In the third round he was knocked down again but had stood up as the bell rang. He had come out for the fourth round but took some punishment. He fell down as the referee stepped in to intervene, and had been counted out.
He said that the two ringside doctors and the paramedic on duty had entered the ring and tried to treat Mr Msopi. Dr Ngatane entered the ring himself although he was not one of the duty doctors, but as a representative of the Board. Unnecessary people had been cleared from the ring. The medical team’s efforts to resuscitate the boxer had not been successful enough and the decision was taken to take him to hospital. In terms of the regulations, the promoter had placed the nearest hospital on standby beforehand. One doctor had accompanied Mr Msopi on the journey to the Frere Hospital. His father had also been in the ambulance.
Dr Ngatane said that there was a delay at the hospital. A CAT-scan was needed but the machine was inoperative and he had to be transferred to another hospital about thirty kilometres away. A subdural haemorrhage had been detected. An operation was conducted that night and was successful. Mr Msopi was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). Board members had visited him the next day, but he was unconscious. On the Sunday Dr Ngatane had been informed that he was still in a critical condition in the ICU. He had died later that day.
The Chairman of the Board said that there would be questions as to whether the referee should have stopped the fight earlier. This was always a subjective decision. It was a national title fight and had been long awaited. Only the referee was legally mandated to stop the fight although the boxer’s corner could have ended the fight or the boxer himself. The referee could consult with the ringside doctor, and usually accepts the doctor’s advice as to whether the fight could continue. The referee had international title fight experience. The Board would review the recording of the fight and would determine if the procedures had been executed correctly.
Dr Ngatane said that there was the concept of the golden hour where the most important treatment should be given within an hour of the injury. The problem on the night was the delay at the Frere Hospital. He might have been saved if they had been able to perform the CAT-scan immediately. This delay had taken the treatment beyond the one hour treatment requirement. The Board had met with his family and had attended the funeral. The boxer had intended to build a house for his parents and BSA would now do this.
Mr Frolick said that he had been in East London recently and had met the family. This was the nature of the sport, and it would have been difficult to pre-empt these events. The BSA had to be commended on their actions. They had made a huge contribution to the funeral. The best medical care should have been available.
Dr Ngatane said that an insurance policy was in place for all licensed boxers. The insurance had been paid out to his family as well as the purse due to him. A sponsorship had been raised which had paid all the funeral costs. The Eastern Cape Department of Sport had also made a contribution.
The Chairperson said that the BSA had shown caring leadership. He recounted a delay at another tournament because the parking area was so congested that an ambulance would have had difficulty in moving. It had been a good decision. There were some carry-over issues for the new Board. It was a pity that the delegation had not included Luyiso. It was a concern that only one boxer was going to the Olympic Games. Many great boxers had started their careers at the Games. The Eastern Cape had produced so many good boxers in the past.
Dr Ngatane said that the BSA was a professional body. They were not involved at all in amateur boxing, which was the concern of SANABO. The two bodies were trying to find each other, but it was up to SANABO to answer this question. What was of concern was that the lack of good amateur boxers might lead to a lack of good professional boxers. International amateur boxing was controlled by the AIBA. This body had ruled that once a boxer had become a professional he could longer go to the Olympic Games. SASCOC should sort this out as professionals in some other codes were allowed to compete. He added that there was some confusion over who had been invited to the Committee meeting. The CEO was an ex officio member of the Board but had not known if he was invited.
The Chairperson asked if SANABO was a member of SASCOC.
Dr Ngatane replied that it was
Dr Ngatane then turned to the situation with former CEO Mr Krish Naidoo. The case was nearing finality. Mr Naidoo wanted a handout. The Board would interrogate his motivation. He hoped that an amicable solution would be found.
The Chairperson said that the Committee would know about any internal memorandum. The situation concerning Mr Naidoo must be laid to rest quickly.
Dr Ngatane said the matter had been raised at the Board meeting.
The Chairperson said there was no dispute about whether this person was a Board member of not.
Dr Ngatane said the Board was appointed by the Minister. The member must answer himself to the authority responsible. The CEO was appointed by the Minister, not the Board.
The Chairperson said this was wrong. If anything was said about a Member of the Committee it would be checked internally. He could not say anything about the chairmanship of the Board as it was neither his business nor responsibility.
Dr Ngatane said the issue had been dealt with at the first Board meeting. There were complaints about Mr Tika on his responses in the meeting. The matter had been deliberated in East London.
Ms Sibeko said that SRSA should have checked the references of the Board members. The decision of the Minister should not be challenged in the media. Unproved allegations were questioning the Minister’s decision. SRSA had looked at all the facts. Unnecessary tension was being created and the argument was being used to discredit the officials.
The Chairperson asked Dr Ngatane not to respond to this. It was up to SRSA, and they could not run away from their responsibilities.
Dr Ngatana agreed that the issue was bringing tension and disharmony into BSA. It was making working relationships difficult. The Board members were now continually looking over their shoulders.
The Chairperson said that the proper channel was via the DG of SRSA. She would brief both the Minister and the Committee.
Dr Ngatane said he had dealt with all the issues which had been raised.
The Chairperson said that the AG’s report had already been published. There was a disclaimer. The Krish Naidoo matter had been on the table for three years.
Dr Ngatane said that the Board was dealing with the matter. It would be resolved before BSA met with the Committee again.
The Chairperson was waiting for the AG report. He invited other members of the Board to address the Committee.
Adv Moloyi said that the meeting had been an eye-opener.
Mr Vasilay said it was a privilege and an honour to be present. It was heartening to enjoy the support of the Committee as this was the only sport thath was the product of an Act of Parliament.
Mr Jonas said that a few issues had been discussed. BSA was not a member of SASCOC. Ten years previously it had been a member of the then National Sports Council (NSC). Boxing had to get involved with SASCOC. The Board members had flown with the Chairperson of SASCOC and had engaged with him on the flight. It was one body, and he did not expect much change. There was a need for BSA to be part of the organisation. The Act should be amended if needed. The Board had not yet met with the Minister. He asked why the Minister’s marching orders were so important. The centre should hold. BSA did not want five-star office facilities. Their offices did not compare well to their international counterparts. BSA maintained a staff of just eleven people. He looked forward to hearing the Committee saying that BSA was not getting the funds to fulfil its mandate. Boxing was alive and well, and was on television at least twice a week. They had refused to accept all of the many international bodies. There was still a gap between boxers and promoters.
The Chairperson said that there was inconsistency on the payments of the CEO. The ANC would support BSA. The Act would be repealed if necessary. The Money Bill was to be passed. The allocation would be determined by the Members of the Committee. He accepted the concept of a sports indaba. One agenda item had to be the assessment of the success of unity.
SASCOC’s decision to boycott Committee Meetings
The Chairperson said that SASCOC had been invited to explain its decision to boycott Committee meetings. SASCOC had responded with a letter and had refused to accept this invitation. He asked the Committee Whip to read the letter.
Mr Frolick read the letter from SASCOC. They said that they were declining the offer to attend the meeting. They referred to an earlier open letter, which commented on statements made by Mr Komphela that had been published in the Mail and Guardian newspaper on 11 July. They found the remarks utterly repugnant, and an affront to SASCOC. They had cooperated with the Committee in the past without being compelled to do so, but believed that the current environment was not conducive for meaningful dialogue. They did not dispute the Constitutional powers of the Committee. Their members also had Constitutional rights, and had mandated the management of SASCOC to take the issue to the SA Human Rights Commission. They would reconsider this. They would provide written responses to any questions posed by the Committee but would not attend as long as Mr Komphela was in the Chair, unless he distanced himself from the remarks attributed to him. They extended their regrets to the Members of the Committee over the situation.
The Chairperson said that this was SASCOC’s response to the Committee’s request for interaction. This was not an underground letter. The Committee needed to take an appropriate decision.
Mr Louw said it was very regrettable that SASCOC had snubbed the Committee. Very serious Constitutional matters had been raised, and he proposed that the SASCOC letter be referred to the Parliamentary legal department for guidance.
Ms Ntuli agreed. There were legal aspects to the issue, and it would be wise to seek legal advice.
Mr Dikgacwi said that the stance of SASCOC was a clear undermining of Parliament and the Committee. This was becoming a trend. The South African Football Association was always claiming that it was not available for meetings with the Committee. He would not take this lying down.
Mr W Spies (FF+) was a Member of Parliament but not of this Committee. He realised that he could not influence the decisions of the Committee, but was a bit removed from the debate. It was of critical importance, and the duty of any Portfolio Committee, that the powers and duties of Parliament be respected. Parliament had an oversight role to see how the law was working and to control budget spending.
He said that he had been approached by an elderly man who he did not wish to name. This man’s son had been treated in an undignified manner by the Committee, and Mr Spies had been asked to take up the issue. The son had been reprimanded for doing something that was not wrong. He asked what power the Committee had to discipline people. The Chairperson had said the same thing, and his remarks had been reported in the media.
Mr Spies said that SASCOC wanted the Chairperson to retract his comments or to distance himself from them. Mr Komphela could do this if the media was incorrect. He called on the Chairperson to take this request seriously. The comments attributed to the Chairperson were that SASCOC was composed of Whites and Indians. If this was true, then the Chairperson must address the Committee. It would then be proper for the Chairperson to make these judgements.
Mr Spies said that if Mr Komphela had made the statement, there was a question as to whether he was acting within his powers. He agreed that Parliament did have the power to summons people to appear, but this power had to be exercised with dignity. There were many difficult escape routes to this dilemma. A meeting could be called with SASCOC with the proviso that the Chairperson recuse himself. Alternately, he could distance himself from the media reports. It was important to restore the dignity of Parliament. If there were wrongs on either side, these had to be justified.
Mr R Reid (ANC) said that it was a pity that Mr Spies did not attend the meetings of the Committee more often. As an MP he was free to attend. The quotation attributed to the Chairperson was no secret. The management of SASCOC was indeed primarily Whites and Indians. There had been a paradigm shift, and SASCOC was now the “monkey of the right wing”. The Chairperson did not have to apologise. What he had said was factual. He agreed that the letter should be referred to the legal department.
Ms Ntuli asked when Mr Spies had developed an interest in sport. He was never at this Committee’s meetings. He was attending this one with a specific interest. She asked if he was driven by the elderly man to whom he had referred, or by the media interest. Members should have the facts and not present one-sided arguments. They could then comment on any issues being dealt with by a Committee. The letter had been received from SASCOC, and they now awaited legal advice.
Ms W Magkate (ANC) said that this was an unfortunate situation. Some people were set against government. It was clear why she was in Parliament and why she was a member of the ANC. Government would continue to struggle for transformation. The term “persons of colour” was misleading. If Blacks were not represented then one must say so. If Mr Spies was aware of the structure of SASCOC he would realise that the Chairperson had no reason to apologise. The management was indeed comprised of lots of Whites and Indians. She told Mr Spies to do his work. She asked how many Blacks were in the SASCOC management.
Mr Dikgacwi said that Mr Spies had come specifically to address this issue. Mr Spies was restless. He was a spokesman for Afriforum. The ANC was 96 years old but Afriforum was only three days old. He could not tell the Chairperson that he must go. He asked why he would not name the person that had approached him. He asked if it was Mr Mentz. The Committee would deal with him.
Mr Spies said that he only wanted to deal with the people.
Mr Dikgacwi told Mr Spies that he must come to this Committee with his “boeremaniere” (farmer manners).
The Chairperson said that the members of the Committee would never bully anyone. He called for decorum.
Mr Dikgacwi said that a White chairperson would not behave like this. Transformation would be enforced whether it was welcome or not. White people did not want Black children to represent the country so that their own children could earn millions through sport. The population was 70% Black.
The Chairperson reminded Mr Dikgacwi to address the Chair and not Mr Spies.
Mr Dikgacwi said that people must try to behave. Blacks were also human. If Mr Spies was concerned about sport then why did he only come to this Committee when it stood accused of misbehaviour.
Mr Louw said that he Committee had never reprimanded or punished anyone. They did not have the power. Mr Spies was a lawyer, and knew that hearsay evidence was inadmissible. He was reporting on hearsay. The first legal principle was to get one’s facts right. The remarks attributed to the Chairperson had first been made in the Committee. Nobody had raised the issue subsequently. When something was said about White people there was a hullabaloo. He asked when the question of demographics had ever been a racial issue. If a committee like the Board of BSA was unrepresentative, he asked if that would be questioned. He asked if that would make one a racist. He did not think so. SASCOC leaders knew the correct channels. Any complaint against an MP should be raised with the Speaker of Parliament. He was preaching to the converted.
The Chairperson said that one of the mandates he had given was to BSA to go and look for white boxers. Their absence in recent years had robbed the sport of much of its excitement. The ANC study group had raised this issue. No-one had said that Komphela was a racist for this action. On the issue of colour, transformation was a question of “regstellende aksie” (affirmative action). Something that was wrong for the last 300 years was being corrected. The majority had been downtrodden.
He said that since 1994 the government had worked to correct the distortions made by apartheid. Whites had been in heaven while the Blacks had been in the hell of the squatter camps. Indians and Coloureds had been positioned somewhere in the middle. The revolution was for the benefit of Black Africans. One had to consider the status quo before the advent of the ANC government. The cruelties of apartheid had to be addressed.
The Chairperson said that the ANC said that the country belonged to all its citizens. Its people now lived side by side with White people. Many painful decisions had been made. The government would not now abandon Blacks at the rock bottom of society. Blacks had always been on the receiving end. They must talk now about transformation. The government had a mandate for change and to create a better country for all.
Mr Spies said that he did not act for Afriforum and was not even a member of that organisation. He was a member of the FF+. He was concerned that the existing situation was being worsened. He referred to the remarks made by the Chairperson. The other Members present at this meeting were all ANC members. No other opposition party was represented that day. Many of the members present were echoing the remarks that had caused the controversy. This created an even bigger question on how the majority party was conducting itself. His brief was not on hearsay. He had checked the record of the proceedings of the Committee on that particular day. He would refer the matter to the Speaker.
Mr Louw said that Mr Spies should be addressing the Chair.
The Chairperson said that Mr Spies must be given a chance to speak. He asked Mr Spies where his copy of the Constitution was.
Mr Spies said that he had it in his head.
The Chairperson referred to Section 56. Parliament could summon any person. This could be compulsory. Section 42 (2) referred to the powers of Parliament, especially summonsing people in terms of Section 56. Section 42 (6) specified that a Portfolio Committee could summons any person. The letter written by Mr Mashisi of SASCOC could not be correct when it claimed that there was no legal obligation to attend Parliament. His comrades on the Committee agreed that the letter should be referred to the legal advisors. They could pronounce on what was in the law.
Mr Frolick said that SASCOC had been established as a result of the work of a Ministerial Task Team, which had been established following the country’s poor performance at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000. SASCOC had certain obligations such as preparing the team for the Olympic Games and other major events. SASCOC had failed to solicit the necessary funds from the private sector and so had to call on taxpayers’ money. The ANC was clear in its view of Section 56 of the Constitution and the rules of the National Assembly (NA).
Mr Frolick did not agree with the contents of the letter from SASCOC, and it should be referred for legal advice. Other issues had come to the fore. One of the Board members of SASCOC was a member of the NA. He asked how appropriation questions could be fairly decided under these circumstances. This was not correct. It was also clear that a member of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for 2010 was a Board member, and was part of the decision to boycott Parliament. He wondered what anarchy this would lead to. The Committee would meet the following week and would need direction. It was now a matter of Parliament, not just the Committee or its Chairperson. Disrespect of Parliament was a serious matter.
The Chairperson said that the Committee must close its ranks on this issue. They could not afford to make procedural errors. They had promised the people that there would not be anarchy. The legal question raised by the SASCOC letter would be verified and Members would have an answer the following week.
The meeting was adjourned without any discussion on minutes and reports.
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