Sport federations see light at end of tunnel

Sports bosses on Wednesday left the first workshop they held with the government in more than 10 years feeling optimistic that there is light at the end of the long, dark tunnel they’ve been travelling.

This has the potential to kick-start sport in South Africa, which had lost its way with lack of money, resources and a central focus across all levels, from elite down to development, they say.

Functional funding models and the National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP) that has been gathering dust for several years were among many issues thrashed out during the three-day indaba, organised by the department of sport, arts and culture (DSAC) with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

The smaller, cash-strapped bodies have complained about the way they receive money from the DSAC and the lottery, which operate on a year-to-year basis without provision for long-term planning.

But DSAC deputy director-general Sumayya Khan reiterated the government’s commitment to changing the funding cycle to three years.

A National Lotteries Commission (NLC) official told delegates they were looking at shaking up the existing system where federations get 3% of the total sport allocation of nearly R300m a year.

The lottery was a major funder for Olympic sports from 2009 to 2016 before tightening the taps. The DSAC is developing a sport information management system (SIMS) that will, among other things, make it easier to keep track of all athletes.

“We will be able to track an athlete from school level to elite,” – said Sascoc board member Kim Pople.

Federations are required to submit mountains of paperwork to the DSAC, the NLC and Sascoc, but SIMS would allow them to make one submission accessible to all three bodies.

Khan said they started the system because keeping track of participants at all sport and recreation events around the country using handwritten entry forms was cumbersome.

Another bugbear raised by federations was the transformation barometer used by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), with bodies arguing many elements being measured were not applicable to them. They preferred the DSAC’s transformation scorecard.

Delegates, who also agreed the NSRP needed to be reviewed, were informed they should be able to make inputs on the draft National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill to parliament’s sport committee.

Khan said a report from the workshop would be given to sport minister Zizi Kodwa and Sascoc president Barry Hendricks. A plan of action would be drawn up after that, but she noted Kodwa had said he would be in the portfolio for 12 months and wanted to make an impact.

One important element of the workshop was the synergy between the DSAC and Sascoc, which has resumed after a hiatus of a few years. There’s plenty to be positive about, though the optimism is cautious.

“Great noises. Let’s see if it translates into anything.” – said one sport delegate.


About Post Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.