Submission of the Young Communist League of South Africa to the Portfolio Committee on Sports and Recreation on National Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill
(as introduced in the National Assembly as a section 75 Bill: Government Gazette no 27787 of 22 July 2005)
The Young Communist League of South Africa is a youth organisation with membership of more than 35 000 countrywide, a presence in all the provinces and with more than 400 branches in rural, township, universities and schools. The YCL is the youth wing of the SACP with voluntary membership of youth between 14-35. We are located at 1-5 Leyds Street, COSATU House, Braamfontein, Johannesburg 2000.
Our contacts are:
Tel: 011 339 3621
Fax: 011 339 4244
Cell: 082 567 3557
P. O. Box 10952
Contact Person: Castro Ngobese (National Spokesperson)
The YCL convened a consultative conference of youth formations, attended by 10 organisations and thirty individuals, and also engaged in a process of consultation with various students and youth formation active in sports, journalists and activists in order to solicit their views and opinions so as to consolidate our input.
Most of our members, and young people in general, stand to benefit from the various amendments suggested in the Amendment Bill, and thus we take the process quite seriously. We would like to extend our appreciation to the Portfolio Committee for the invitation for us to make this submission.
Overall thrust and focus of our Submission
Our overall focus will be on ensuring that new body, SASCOC, is able to allow access, equity and redress of sports facilities to historically disadvantaged individuals. We will also seek to ensure that there are clear objectives that National Federations represented in SASCOC commits to, and that SASCOC becomes the overall body that supervises the achievement of such. We will also seek to, throughout our submission, ensure that we locate sports development at a local level and that SASCOC through provincial, district and member national federations develop sports at that level.
General Comments on the Bill
We are aware that SASCOC has been in place for more than two years now, and has performed various tasks in accordance to the provision of the Act as required by the Sports Commission. We are further aware that the existing structure has been as a result of the participation of the existing national federations, and that this structure is reflective of the will of those structures. We will however be making various points relating to composition and representativity.
We need to indicate from the onset that if our intention is to create a toothless structure that will not have powers, we will be basically coming back to the current situation where certain national federations are a power unto themselves without any teeth to ensure that there is development in sports. SASCOC should not be reduced into some Olympic Organising committee, and although this is important, it is also important that is is accorded the power to intervene in the instance of crises and problems in the various federations. The dispute process is significant in this regard.
We are also aware that the intention of the Bill is also to insist on the current national focus and national correlation in terms of SASCOC and the Ministry of Sports together with the national federations, we want to submit that sports development should start taking place at the District and Municipality level. This is in line with the dearth of sports development at this level, and the need for such focus by these government structures. We see the role of SASCOC as important in this regard.
We further want to reiterate that the question of accountability of SASCOC towards its constituent national federations, the National Ministry of Sports and the various stakeholders in Sports. This factor around accountability is not very clear in the Bill. Anf thus we see the need for it to be registered.
The last general point relates to the usage of the words may, will, shall, policy guidelines and mandatory tasks of either SASCOC or those of the Ministry of Sports in relation to SASCOC. There are instances where we firmly believe that these words needs to be utilized in one or another different form, however, either in the Act or in the Amendment Bill, the proposal is that the either the Ministry may instead of will, or that policy guidelines will be developed instead of mandatory regulations will be developed. We may reflect on this points when we speak to specific points.
Sports as a part of the Developmental Role Government should be playing.
We want to indicate that we see Sports and Recreation as a part of the developmental role that the state should be playing. Although Sports does not or cannot be directly be equated to Housing, Health or Hunger, we believe that it still remains government responsibility to set the developmental goals in terms of performance, access, equity, mobilisation of the nation and involvement.
There has always been a limitation around the lack of government interventions in instances where national federations have not met the expectations of the national developmental goals. There has been one crises after another in Rugby (mainly relating to administration), Soccer (mainly relating to power struggles on who should lead and further impacting on the performance) Cricket (relating mainly to equity, access and the mobilisation of the entire nation behind the sport). International Standards have always been used to ensure that the National Ministry does not intervene to ensure that South African Sports development is in line with the current dispensation.
Due to the Apartheid past, the racial division and separate development, sports reservation and racial exclusion through sports are still visible, for instance, in some of the high performance sports that SASCOC will be responsible for. The Ministry should through this Bill ensure that powers are given to SASCOC to ensure that it intervenes on behalf of the Ministry to ensure that national federations meet the national goals set by the government and the people.
Collectively, SASCOC, the Ministry, national federations and various Sports stakeholder including performers should collectively determine the goals or targets in each of the sporting codes. For instance, the Ministry, without contravening with the FIFA regulations, may agree with all the other structures that a long terms (say 8 year goal) of the South African Football Federation) should be the winning of the 2014 World Cup, and that all SAFA should do is work towards the attainment of such a goal. Some of the goals should include the attainment of various racial quotas to ensure inclusivity in administration, performance and technical skills. We cannot have a situation wherein 12 years after our democracy, we have still not attained acceptable levels of equitable inclusion of black youth in Rugby, Cricket and other sports historically reserved for whites.
The setting of a National Sports Development Agenda/Goals will allow the Ministry and SASCOC to be able to intervene in the form of temporary administration, or the insistence that new leadership should be ended. This further in our view will bring to an end the monopolization of sports to some bosses or managers and further ensure the total mobilisation of the people behind specific sports. We cannot afford to have a lame duck Ministry of Sports and SASCOC when it comes to Sports Development.
The role of the Government in sports affairs to be raised together with South African Sport Unions and clear picture on allocation of resources must be provided for.
ENSURING THAT SASCOC BECOMES A REPRESENTATIVE STRUCTURE
We are of the view that poor performance by the players occur as a result of poor administration in some of the national federations. In soccer for instance, there has been reports of soccer players performing poorly due to management not taking into consideration the needs and demands of players. We are not justifying some of the unreasonable demands that may have been made, but we are of the view that there is a need for better ways to anticipate players needs and demands. This includes having some form of representations not only in national federations, but also in SASCOC of players unions from the various sports.
There is a further need of SASCOC taking up some of the responsibilities of improving the ‘employment relationship some of the federations have with the players. There are serious inequalities in terms of payments, exploitation of players and abuse of lack of understanding of basic relationships between players and management.
We note that there are various players unions in Rugby, Soccer and other sporting codes. The relationship between these unions and SASCOC may be regulated in the form of guideline or policies, mandated by the Act.
We further need to emphasis the need for gender representation in structures such as SASCOC, with an insistence of equitable gender representation.
We are of the view that avoiding the whole issue of representation will be detrimental to sports development. In order to ensure that this happens, we need to ensure that various sports are as representative as they may claim, and that a certain number of members and participants should be determined in terms of the specific sports to qualify for a structure to be deemed as a national federation and thus having a say in SASCOC.
TECHNICAL TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OF ADMINISTRATORS, COACHES AND TECHINICAL SUPPORT
We note that although there is some level of training in terms of the administrators, technical support and coaching, we need to ensure that there is massive availability of trained people to prepare youngsters for the sport of their choice. In most of the rural areas, schools in particular, most of the sports trainers are not necessarily well trained in sports science, and the sports they are preparing the learners for. Some of these trainers are using traditional, suicidal and scientifically disproved methods of training, and thus, youngsters careers in sports are killed at that stage. There is a need to ensure that if South Africa is to perform well in high performance sports, youngsters are prepared well from an early age. Every school must have a trained technical person in each of the high performance sports. SASCOC and national federations have an important role to play.
We further note that in some of the sports, the period of training for coaches is very short and we not certain about the skill they have obtained, we feel that this is a quick fix arrangement, and believe that SASCOC should play interface with the relevant bodies mandated to accredit coaches, administrators and technical staff. We should also note that there is mushrooming of sports training institutions which reap vulnerable South Africans of their resources.
The whole issue of importing skills is particularly relevant as it comes to high performance sports. How many PSL teams are for instance using foreign coaches when there are former professional players who could have been trained and performed well. We believe that skills development in general should also consider the available skills in Sports. We must emphasize on developing local skills in coaching.
Although neglected in the responsibilities of SASCOC, we think the training of players in basic life skills is very important. WE have had players destroying their future, sacrificing their education and basically joining the unemployment que after completing their professional careers.
THE ISSUE OF NATIONAL COLOURS AND SYMBOLS
We need to indicate our appreciation of the role that Sports plays in the process of reconciliation. Immediately after a violent and confrontational, divided past, Rugby, Cricket and Soccer played an important role not only in South Africa but also in various other countries. However, we need to note that we cannot continue to have more than one national symbol in terms of Sports. Currently, we have different colours and symbols in the form of the Protea and the Springbok. We believe that the time has come now that SASCOC, the National Ministry of Sports and national federations scraps the continued use of the Springbok and retain the Protea as the only symbol in sports. We believe that we have attained national reconciliation, and thus, need to move towards national unity in terms of the symbols in sports.
We further need to emphasize that the national colours in sports should be consistent in line with national colours instead of the national colours of the various federations. SASCOC should deal with this immediately.
CAPACITY OF SASCOC AND THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE BILL
We are of the view that we need to be careful on what we expect SASCOC to perform and what it may be able to achieve. For instance, the whole issue of the construction of facilities such as stadiums is significant, however, should that not be the responsibility of central government and local municipalities.
Our view is that SASCOC should mainly focus on the following:
- Ensuring access at a community level, including in centres of learning and sports community centres;
- Management of and disbursing of resources to national federation;
- Promotion of traditional sports;
- Ensuring that there are common developmental goals determined; and
- The co-ordination of national federations, provincial work, district work and community sports.
It should therefore not be given a mandate or task it may not be able to attain, or a responsibility which should be exercised by some other layer of government. There also needs to be a clear performance assessment of the incumbent of SASCOC Executive structures.