Netball SA briefed the Committee on the activities of the organisation. It emphasized activities undertaken to develop netball in South Africa, set out the funding received from the Department of Sport and Recreation and the private sector, discussed the challenges of transformation with regard to participation and performance, and discussed the challenges facing the organization such as lack of funding, of full time staff and facilities.
Members commented that the issue of transformation should be examined, as it did not always imply that participation compromised performance. Members emphasised that it was unfortunate that because netball was a women’s sport it did not receive much support. Members asked about the dispute regarding the Nelson Mandela District’s affiliation to NSA. Members also questioned the rationale for the Merit Tournaments arranged by NSA.
The Sports Trust explained how the Trust was constituted, and what it aimed to achieve. It was noted that it would make community and individual donations, but did not fund travel or accommodation. Certain of the specific projects that the Trust was supporting were highlighted. It explained the relationship with donors and spoke of challenges of attracting more corporate donors, including the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). It also indicated that there were certain challenges around the funding from the National Lottery Fund, from which it had received ad hoc funding.
Members requested information from the Department of Sport and Recreation regarding the extent of funding they were giving to the Trust. Members also asked about the relationship with Trustees and asked whether the Trust was not able to get more corporate donors on board.
The Committee noted that it would be receiving a briefing on some of the problems in Beijing, and that the Minister would also be attending the meeting when the Annual Report of the Department was discussed. Further issues to be discussed by the Committee included the money given to Federations, who had not always signed the service level agreements.
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson stated that a week ago, when there was a problem in Beijing, he had received a letter from the Committee suggesting that there should be some enquiries into the problem, and this had been also asked in Parliament and had been responded to. This did not preclude the Committee from dealing with the issue. The Minister would be part of the meeting where the Annual Report would be discussed on 16 September 2008. The Department had to brief the Committee on all those issues.
The Chairperson said that questions had been asked around bonuses that were given to people and how the matter was being resolved. He also pointed out that the Auditor-General had picked up that the Department had given Federations money, and those federations had not signed service level agreements, as was a legal requirement. He noted that in the service level agreements the Federations’ outputs and programmes would be checked. Federations were required to report annually to Parliament about their activities. He stated that most federations had not come to report on these matters, despite being legally required to do so. In some instances, it was not even known if there were clubs existing. He asked Ms Kotelo and Mr Matlala from the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA) to check on these issues.
Mr M Dikgacwi (ANC) asked when the Committee would receive the
The Chairperson stated that there was still some clarity needed from SASCOC. He said that he hoped the Department would also be at that meeting so that it could explain about the preparation of the team, so that questions could be answered; to date several questions were being raised to which there were no answers as yet. He stated that the Annual Report meeting would not be the last meeting for the year. There was an undertaking that Moss Mashishi would come back to Parliament to meet with the Committee after returning from the Beijing Olympics. This would be arranged as soon as possible, and the Minister would also address the Committee.
The Chairperson also noted that the media gave incorrect reports, and was suggesting that
He said that a substantial amount of money was given for the preparations for
The Chairperson noted that it was the first time that he was meeting with Netball South Africa (NSA). He stated that he was not a very nice person, and that he did not want to be nice to NSA. He said that NSA had been arrogant in their response to the Committee when asked to address it. NSA said that they had already spoken to the Minister and would therefore not wish to meet with the Portfolio Committee. He hoped that that was a mistake; this was wrong politically and he was not asking for a relationship with the body, but simply needed working principles with them. He warned NSA that this was a dangerous route which they should not take.
He further raised the concern about the Nelson Mandela Region who had affiliation problems and asked NSA to deal with that issue.
The Chairperson then asked NSA to present their plans and challenges, so that the Committee could see how the Department of Sports and Recreation (Department or SRSA) could assist them to ensure smoother running of the organisation. He said that the Department could also help them with the Sector Education and Training Authority, in so far as training was concerned. The Committee also wanted to know what the allocations from the Department to NSA were and what were the challenges.
Ms Mimi Mthethwa, President, Netball SA thanked the Chairperson and introduced other members of the Executive of NSA.
Ms Mthethwa started by apologising for the remark referred to by the Chairperson. She wanted to place on record that NSA had not said that they did not want to meet with the Portfolio Committee. She said that they had a letter that was sent to the Chairperson’s office, requesting a detailed agenda. The letter also responded to certain issues that were raised, and that was perhaps where concerns were raised. She also said that NSA had clear channels of communication to respond to concerns of regions.
Ms Mthethwa stated that the mission of NSA, as the national controlling body of netball in
Ms Mthethwa explained that NSA had a President, Vice President and four Directors. One Director was in charge of Coaching, another in charge of Umpires, another in charge of Selection and one in charge of Demarcation and Structures.
The NSA had development programmes which were aimed at players and officials. They had leagues at club level, regional and provincial tournaments and SA Champs, which they used as a platform for development. Development workshops were also conducted in each province. NSA had development programmes that were run in partnership with leading netball countries. That involved taking technical officials overseas to learn from top officials in the game, as well as officiating tournaments there while being mentored and evaluated.
In regard to selection, the Director of Selection co-ordinated all selection processes. A board of selectors worked with the Director of Selection for selection of squad players and team players. The executive ratified final team lists.
The Director for Demarcation and Structures was responsible for ensuring that NSA rules and regulations were adhered to by members and that structures and committees were functional. She managed registration and affiliation.
Ms Mthethwa then dealt with transformation in NSA. NSA had to ensure that netball was played by all people of
Ms Mthethwa stated that NSA received funding from the Department for development, and from Spar who sponsored only the senior national team. Gilbert sponsored NSA with balls for National Championships. New Balance sponsored NSA with shoes and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was NSA’s broadcasting sponsor as well as the naming rights sponsor of the national league.
She further pointed out that all the executive members were volunteers. There was no funding for salaries for members working in NSA.
The NSA had merit tournaments as they were still trying to find a balance between participation and performance. They realised that they were struggling to balance participation and performance and were staring to lose players. Players were moving to play alternative sports because when the NSA insisted on so many players of each colour, some would be left behind. NSA would like to see regions being able to simply bring their best players, and that was how the merit tournament came into being.
NSA held national squad camps where they identified players and put them into squads. They had also realised that they were running short of top Black coaches and umpires. They wished to address that by decentralising the camps, so that in every region where there was a prospective coach or umpire who could be taken to a higher level, she would be given the platform to work with the top coaches.
NSA also had a good relationship with schools because they recognised the fact that they would not have players if schools did not participate in netball. Young players entered at school level and NSA did not want to lose them once they had completed school.
The Director of Demarcations had the task to go out into the regions. This was an area identified as very challenging. Most of the structures in the regions were not functional and there was a need to improve this.
NSA received reasonable news coverage from most newspapers and almost all radio stations across the country. Some radio stations conducted live broadcasts with representatives of NSA. It did get negative publicity from time to time but had been able to give objective responses. NSA had managed to establish a circle of journalists who understand netball, and who had covered netball stories for some time. NSA structures understood the protocol when there was a need to respond to the media, but unfortunately there were individuals who would go to the media and speak independently.
The SA Spar Protea team was currently ranked ninth out of 22 countries in the world, and second in
The NSA was experiencing challenges as far as transformation was concerned. Transformation did not only deal with participation, but also funding and facilities. Facilities and resources were a challenge, as well as the working relationship between provincial government and regional structures. It was also difficult for volunteers to achieve all their objectives, although to their credit they had done a lot towards developing netball in
The Chairperson noted that there were items sent to NSA by the Committee Secretary that he wanted the NSA to address and so he asked Ms Mthethwa to respond to those items before Members asked questions.
Ms Mthethwa replied that one of the items in the letter was about development. She said that she had covered that in her presentation. She added, though, that NSA believed that the four directors should be running development, and should be planning, co-coordinating, implementing and monitoring all development programmes. They did that with the assistance of conveners in the regions. NSA did work with the province but the province was not affiliated to the NSA, being a co-coordinating structure.
Ms Blanche de la Guerre, Vice President of NSA, explained the allocation received from SRSA to cover development programmes. The Department of Sport and Recreation was described as NSA’s “biggest friend in netball”, and that they maintained an open door policy to NSA. NSA received a specific amount from the Department, and for specific events. In the period 2007/2008 they received R2 047 578 specifically for transformation, more medals, high performance and development. She said that netball was a huge participant sport. NSA had its national team, which was its elite property, and it was easier to get sponsorship for this. However, NSA’s main duty was as custodian of netball right through the country. The biggest event was the merit tournament right at the beginning of the year, which meant mass participation. NSA paid for everything. They invited 36 regions to participate and they wanted all their best players there. It was run over a period of four days and the cost for that was R1,7 million.
Ms de la Guerre noted that the administration development had been successful. NSA had gone out into the regions, called the local leaders of netball, and were training them in coaching and umpiring, administration, demarcation and management. All the non-affiliated players from the rural areas were invited to come. NSA could only accommodate between 450 to 500 participants, and got this maximum number, which would cost about R120 000 over a weekend.
She further stated that there were training camps, looking at high performance, which were likely to cost around R170 000 to R200 000 over a period of four days. The reports of the training camps showed this was money well-spent. Players were brought to the camp, and were not only trained in netball but were also trained to live like super athletes, were followed by sports scientists, and the benefits followed them home. NSA believed that it would reap the benefits in four years time. There were seven camps held, so this could be multiplied by R200 000. The under 21 and under 19 championships were also part of the NSA’s development, for which they needed funds. She noted that a week-long championship such as that would also cost between R500 000 and R700 000.
She said that NSA had asked photographers to take photographs of the players and it could be seen that there was a natural spread of Black and White players. She said that she would leave these with the Committee.
She noted that NSA planned five years ahead since it was very difficult to plan for only one year. It had applied to the Lottery Fund for R29 million, but received R4.4 million, paid in tranches. They received R1.4 million and then they handed in a progress report. They received a report last year that Netball’s report ‘means serious business’ and she wanted the Committee to know that. NSA did have a proper audited statement with proof of expenses.
The Chairperson wanted to clarify how much was received from the Lottery Fund. Ms de la Guerre explained that it was R4.4 million, paid in four tranches. She also noted that NSA had to reapply to the Department every year for funding.
The Chairperson expressed concern about that and wanted to know why funds could not be allocated according to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework of the National Treasury. He noted that there had been problems with federations being given money, and not accounting for it properly.
Ms de la Guerre pointed out that she worked closely with SRSA staff. They had a good rapport and netball’s reports were well done. NSA provided the Department with their actual expenses and proof of payment. She suggested, jokingly that perhaps the Department should penalise the other bodies and give all the money to NSA.
The Chairperson said that he thought that she was perhaps right. The Department could not be forced to give money that was not accounted for properly.
Ms de la Guerre noted that many of NSA’s members came from the rural areas and that they had a duty to assist them.
She further noted that the R12 million from Spar was not all given in cash. It also came in the form of media, clothing, championships, test matches and tours. About R7.235 million in cash was given over three years. She noted that one tour cost about R900 000.
Ms de la Guerre said that NSA had ‘begged’ SABC to take them on board. It was agreed that for one year SABC would be their official television sponsor. SABC was also the naming rights sponsor of the national leagues.
The Chairperson asked why the NSA bore the cost for visiting teams.
Ms de la Guerre said that if they were invited to other countries, NSA paid for their own flights, but the host country paid for the inland costs. NSA paid for their inland costs also in
Mr Dikgacwi referred to the 38 regions, and asked where those were. He also asked about the statement that the provinces were not accountable to the NSA. He asked whether NSA’s constitution made space for the provinces, and asked how the provinces accounted to the NSA.
The Chairperson stressed that this was a very important question. Demarcation was informed by a constitutional requirement. There was conflict if there was a national body and the provinces were affiliated to it. National body decisions affected everybody and the national body could reverse decisions of lower bodies.
Mr Dikgacwi asked where the netball was actually happening. He was from the Boland, and would like to see whether netball was really happening there.
Mr Dikgacwi referred to the executive working full-time elsewhere. He asked if the executive received stipends for meetings attended. He noted that if netball was to grow to a higher level it could not continue to operate without staff.
Mr Dikgacwi also wanted to know how NSA interacted with schools.
Ms M Ntuli (ANC) thanked NSA for their presentation, saying that she was glad they had finally come to the Committee. Netball was not a new sport. It should be transformed and developed. She said that netball was behind but expressed appreciation for their efforts. She would like to see the sport booming.
Ms Ntuli noted that the leagues were also looking for talent. She wanted the outcome of that project to be highlighted. She asked what talent had been discovered.
Ms Ntuli said that ratification of selection should be brainstormed. It was a thorny issue, and the balance of the demographics should be understood; she asked where this needed to be explored, whether in the major centers or small townships.
Ms Ntuli asked who really benefited from merit tournaments. She asked what the outcome was.
Ms Ntuli also asked about the shortage of black coaches and umpires and the training of officials in top netball countries. She asked when this project was established, as if it started long ago there should not be a shortage.
Ms W Makgate (ANC) repeated this concern. She noted that netball was a women’s sport, and agreed that not only players, but also resources and skills were needed. She noted that there was skewed funding, and because it was a women’s sport it was generally not well funded. The same happened to women’s soccer.
Ms Makgate was not impressed with the discussion of Black and White players, and asked specifically what was being done about girls from farming and rural areas, and how they were being taken on board, as these areas were traditionally neglected.
Ms Makgate also raised a concern about the link between provincial structures and NSA. She noted that often it was just left to the parents in various provinces to see that their children reached tournaments.
Mr T Lee (DA) asked if netball was internationally an amateur sport. He said that if there were professional teams internationally, and NSA was not, it would go down. He asked what it would take for NSA to become professional.
Mr Lee stated that his constituency was in the northern parts of
Ms Mthethwa said that NSA was reviewing several of its programmes and wanted to link this to the Department’s development programmes. They had agreed to work hand in hand.
Ms Mthethwa further agreed that the director of selections would be involved in talent scouting.
She said that with regard to mass participation they had met with the Department. There was no need to give NSA development funds to run some of the programmes. They would like the planning to be done at NSA level with the support of Department funds, as it already had the expertise.
Ms M Diale, Director of Demarcation and Structures, NSA, addressed the links between NSA and provincial structures. The NSA was aware that the federation dealt with provincial structures. NSA dealt with regions. It was planned that in two years time there must be 42 regions. It was expected that every region should affiliate by 28 February. Applicants must have 150 members, they must register the clubs, have development programmes, submit minutes and regional colours. They were then declared full members, and would have activities and league structures. The challenge was that regions were different.
Mr Dikgacwi asked if the NSA constitution made provision for the NSA to intervene. If not, then it would be useless. He asked how regions were made to account.
Ms Diale noted that the regional presidents sat on the Council, but did not have voting powers on the council.
The Chairperson said that it was not correct to open up participation and then lower performance. There was a need to capacitate and support players. The NSA was saying that transformation had lowered the standard, and that therefore they were shifting from participation to performance. He said that this was a complete contradiction.
Ms Diale stated that previously a target system was used. If teams did not reach that target, points were deducted. It made no difference whether players were black or white. NSA awarded points for targets reached. That system had worked but there were loopholes, and the question was how to measure transformation and development.
Ms Mthethwa said that NSA would like a build strong relationship with schools. She also noted that farm schools were catered for in the selections.
Ms Diale noted that in the
Ms Mthethwa stated that the primary reason NSA received information was in order to follow up. Because the executive worked only part time for NSA they were not always aware in which regions netball had died down. She added that, internationally, netball was an amateur sport. Some countries were semi-professional, and that was something that NSA aspired to. However, to do so it would need an office, fulltime staff, and marketing, and would need special facilities, like sprung-floors in every province.
Ms Bennie Saayman, Director of Coaches, NSA, said that sport should be part of the Life Orientation programmes in schools, and if this was done then NSA could send people to school level to be the basis for development.
The Chairperson informed the meeting that there would be a national conference where the NSA should prepare an input. He said that the Department could not meet the needs of all sport codes. He said that there was a view that the Department should support at least ten sport codes rather than 70.
Ms Mthethwa noted that NSA struggled to retain top players. Many players could not get time off from work to participate in tournaments. NSA could not pay them and this undermined their participation. Players were often forced to choose between their job and playing netball.
Ms de la Guerre noted that the Department had given R250 000 for schools development. The Department was also funding some of the camps.
The Chairperson said that the Department was doing far more than the sponsors. The private sector could benefit hugely yet they gave so little, and it must be recognised that Government could not do this alone.
Ms Makgate reiterated that there was a need to look at the bigger picture. The walls around women’s sports needed to be broken down.
Ms Mpumi Javu, Director of Selection, NSA, noted that talent scouts were sent to the leagues and that players were sent to training camps. Coaches were not allowed leverage with their own players. Independent selectors were used, who discussed the players with their coaches.
Ms Saayman said that development of black coaches had started in 2005. NSA compiled a pre-level to attract more people, but no-one was coming through, and it had then started with a performance programme linked to empowering people to do courses. This served four regions per province. She said that four coaches were sent to the
Ms Diale stated that previously the
Ms Ntuli requested that more energy be spent on marketing netball to attract more sponsors.
The Chairperson stated that NSA had not spoken about their relationship to the Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA). He noted that rugby and football were using the SETA strongly. He noted that NSA would pay nothing for being trained through the SETA.
Ms Diale said that mass participation was a challenge. She said that there would be volunteers at grassroots level, but that the Department employed non-netball people.
The Chairperson said that it was not the Department’s fault. The Department was given names, and was ambushed. NSA needed to engage with the Department.
The Chairperson asked NSA to give the Committee their Life Orientation and Life Skills plans next time. He noted that the working life of an athlete was normally limited to ten years and many fell into financial distress later.
Ms Noma Kotelo, Director: Sport Support Services, SRSA, asked about the issue of the
Ms Diale replied that NSA sat with the Department in the
The Chairperson stated that the NSA should be given three months to sort it out.
Mr C Frolick (ANC) said that a report from the provincial department was needed, since these were serious allegations.
Ms Mthethwa stated that NSA had gone to the
She said that NSA appreciated the advice received from the Committee. She said that allegations could not be made without background. NSA would take up the matter.
The Sports Trust Briefing
Ms Anita Mathews, Operations Executive, the Sports Trust, said that the Sports Trust would increase access to and create opportunities for all South Africans to participate in sport, through the provision of equipment and facilities. It was a private sector initiative, spearheaded by Nedbank with the partnership of Sun International, SuperSport, First National Bank and the endorsement of late Minister Steve Tshwete. The Department was committee as a partner and this was followed by the endorsement of macro sport bodies and national sports federations. The main objective was to developing sport across all disciplines and all levels in
Ms Mathews described the current trustees and organisational structure (see attached presentation). There was a focus on previously disadvantaged communities. Leverage was obtained through the good will of the Sports Trust brand. There were various partnership projects – such as the Nedbank Cycling Programme, and there was exposure on SuperSport. Donations to the Trust were tax deductible. She described the membership of the trust, and what it would entail, including the building of the brand. She noted that there were also other donors, including SRSA, who contributed R250 000 annually for transformation, a sports bursary of R10 000 to study at Boston City Campus, computer training and other skills being given to players, and partnerships in 2007 and 2008 with the Star. The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund would allocate grants to The Sports Trust for specific communities on an ad hoc basis: Other payments were fully set out in the presentation.
Ms Mathews then went on to describe the funding criteria and what was being covered by the facilities. She noted that maintenance and sustainability plans were included. She further described the Sports Trust Discretionary Fund, which was used if an individual or community club requested assistance with something like training shoes or kit. However, the Sports Trust did not fund travel, accommodation, or capacity building courses. She set out the application process, which was a reactive one (since limited resources prevented a national call for applications) and said that communities would bring the application. There were about 245 applicants per year, and it was reaching communities from all nine provinces. The same applied to sports from disabled communities. The benefits in a number of communities were then set out. The Sports Trust had provided wheelchairs to disability sports and had installed multi purpose floors.
Ms Mathews summarised that the Sports Trust had achieved much but its needs were still great, and greater financial support from the SRS and National Lottery Board would enable The Sports Trust to assist Government in reducing the backlog.
MS Mathews noted that the Sports Trust had just gained additional donors, Murray and Roberts and BHO. Boland Athletics had requested it for assistance with their Pole Vault Academy. There were four development players in the Academy. It contracted suppliers to the community, would do random checks and follow up reports. It tried wherever possible to use black economic empowerment partners. Some partners even assisted with fundraising and any leftover or second hand stock was brought to the Sports Trust.
The Chairperson asked Ms Kotelo how much the SRSA awarded to the Sports Trust.
Ms Kotelo said that the amount varied from year to year.
The Chairperson asked exactly how much was given to the Sports Trust last year and this year.
Ms Kotelo replied that last year R1200 000 was given, and R250 000 was given this year.
The Chairperson asked the reason for this drop.
Ms Kotelo said that it was because of the drop in allocation from the National Treasury.
The Chairperson stated that immediate help was needed for many children. Many were going overseas and needed to buy shoes or rackets. He asked Ms Kotelo if the Department was happy to have the Sports Trust as a partner.
Ms Kotelo replied that the Department was very happy to do so, and that it was a lifetime partnership. The Sports Trust did do inspections and would follow up. The Department was not able to fund individuals but would refer people to the Sports Trust.
Mr Frolick thanked Ms Mathews for her presentation. He noted that there had been a study tour to Supersport, where members had an opportunity to see what the Sports Trust was doing. He noted that it was not easy to get lottery funding. The less said on this point the better. He asked about the Sports Trust’s interaction with donors, whether they were happy, and what the challenges were.
Mr Lee asked whether the Sports Trust had approached other donors.
Mr Dikgacwi asked when were the opening and closing dates for the Sports Trust’s applications, and what the criteria were.
Ms Ntuli asked what the format was for applying for individual funding.
Ms Mathews said that regular meetings were held with trustees, and that they seemed to be very happy, since none had communicated any unhappiness. However, the Trustees felt that there was a need for more ‘sexy’ projects to market the Trust. At the moment the Trust was receiving ad hoc coverage. Funding was a further challenge. The Trust received ad hoc funding from the Lottery Fund. When the Trust lodged an application it was said that the Lottery could not fund third party donors. The Lottery wanted to be acknowledged as the sole partner. A further challenge was identified in delivery, and because the funding was received in tranches, the Trust delivered also in tranches. They would like to see quicker implementation but this was not possible at the moment.
Ms Mathews said that the Trust had approached many other corporate donors. It was quite disheartening as they were often refused. It had approached Telkom, Vodacom and MTN. She asked that the Committee forward details to her if they knew of any possibilities for funding. There was no strict format for individual funding. People could basically send a letter to the Trust. In 99% of cases the Trust would assist, but she reiterated that it did not fund travel.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Mathews for her passionate presentation. He said that the Committee was keen to assist. He stated that there should be a meeting with the Trust and possible corporate sponsors.
The Chairperson asked what the role of the SABC was.
Ms Mathews said that the Trust had tried to meet with the SABC, since this was a vehicle to educate the public, but the meetings had been deferred. A meeting with their Corporate Social Investment department had been postponed three times. The Trust hoped that the meeting of 2 September would materialise.
The Chairperson said that he would write a letter to the SABC the following day. He noted that 90% of people did not have access to M-Net.
The meeting was adjourned.
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