Budget Vote Debate 2017/18, Budget Vote No. 40 by Honourable TW Nxesi MP, Minister of Sport and Recreation

26 May 2017

2017: The Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo - Let us deepen unity

Theme: "School Sport the bedrock of our Sport System"

Deputy Minister, Honourable GertOosthuizen
Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MECs and honourable members
The Chair of the Portfolio Committee
The DG and officials of Sport and Recreation South Africa, as well as HODs
Chairperson of the Audit Committee
Members of the Eminent Persons Group
Leaders of Public Entities
The leadership of SASCOC and provincial sports confederations
Leaders of National Sports Federations, community clubs and sporting entities
Athletes, including Paralympians and recipients of the Ministerial Sports Bursary
Sporting legends: Bashen Mahlangu, Zola Yeye, Tap Tap Makhathini, Hezekiel Sepeng, Mantsho Martha Machoga
Members of the Media
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen

Let's get straight into the budget:

  • The total budget for 2017/18 to Sports and Recreation South Africa is R1.067 billion.
  • Of this, R689.1 million is allocated to mass participation sport and recreation activities under the banner of our Active Nation programme. This means that 64.6% of the budget goes directly to sport development.
  • Of this, R224.5 million (21% of budget) goes to School Sport.
  • The total allocation for transfers and subsidies stands at R796.1 million. Of this, R585.8 million is transferred to Provincial Departments by way of conditional grants to support delivery in the provinces.
  • The balance of the transfers and subsidies - R210.1 million - is allocated to support national sports bodies with an amount of R169.2 million, and R79.3 million largely to support high performance sport.
  • The Department has cut costs over the next three years by R27.8 million - cutting on advertising, contractors, travel and subsistence as well as the cost of venues and events.

I am also pleased to confirm that the Department again achieved a clean audit for the last financial year.

I want to first pay tribute to some of our sporting legends that passed on during this last year:


  • Joost van der Westhuizen, after a heroic battle with Motor Neuron disease;
  • Gugu Zulu who perished in an attempt to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Dr Petros 'White Head' Molemela, as well as
  • Mr Nick Durandt - the larger-than-life boxing trainer.

Our condolences to their families and friends.

I like to think that the rebirth of amateur boxing in South Africa, in some small way, will ease the pain of the boxing community for their loss. Sports and Recreation SA, last year, selected the national amateur boxing federation - SANABO - as 'federation of the year' - an annual programme - to strengthen a specific code and make that federation sustainable. The results include the creation of 90 new boxing clubs - 10 in each province; the training of officials and referees - including female referees; and the soon-to-be launched VukaSidlale!: Open Boxing League. Televised inter-provincial tournaments will take place in Gauteng and Eastern Cape (the home of South African boxing) - with the nine provinces entering a minimum of 10 male and 5 female boxers. In restoring amateur boxing, we are also strengthening the skills pipeline - along with professional boxing - in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.[By the way, for 2017/18, Volleyball is designated 'federation of the year'.]

This is also a time to acknowledge sporting achievements by South Africans. I am afraid the names are too many to mention. Just for the month of Mayalone we have winners in the following sports:

  • Wheelchair tennis, Lithuania Open
  • Wrestling - African championships, Morocco
  • Water Polo - Girls U17 - Nations Cup, Prague
  • Water Polo - Boys U17 - EU Nations Cup
  • Athletics - Diamond League, Doha:
    • Caster Semenya- 800 metres - Gold
    • AkaniSimbini- 100 metres sprint - Gold
    • LJ van Zyl- 400 metres hurdles - Bronze
  • Judo - African Junior Championships, Egypt
  • In our own PSL - Bid Vest Wits winning the League - with the finals of the Nedbank Cup still to come.
  • Let us also congratulate the Blitz Bokke, this week, officially crowned the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions. They are with us today. Hopefully they brought the Trophy with them. Can I ask them to rise and identify themselves.
  • TuksWomens Rugby Sevens may not have won the tournament in Paris - but their captain, Janse van Rensburg, was named best player of the tournament.

And all of that just during the month of May.

So there is much to celebrate in South African sport… And yet ….

There remains the elephant in the room. The majority of our schools - in the townships and rural areas -provide little or no physical education and sports opportunities. [How many of us in the past benefitted from 'Sports Wednesdays'.] At the same time, many of the national teams draw most of their players from a relatively small number of private and former model C schools. There are a number of problems with this:

  • First, it is morally wrong to exclude any child from fulfilling their potential;
  • Second, it weakens the health of the nation; and
  • Third, from a high-performance sport stance, it is extremely short-sighted. Just think of all that potential talent out there.

The 2015/16 Annual Report into Transformation in Sport released by the independent Eminent Persons Group argues that School Sport is the 'Achilles heel' of the entire Sport System. They suggest that some national codes may not be sustainable in the medium to long term due to projected demographic changes - in brief: the number and percentage of kids in township and rural schools is rising; the percentage in traditionally sporting schools will fall.

Transformation of Sport is a process, not an event - and it starts with development at school and community level. But it is a process that needs to be measured and evaluated. That is the role of the Eminent Persons Group'sAnnual Audit and Barometer - as the saying goes: "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it."

Transformation is not simply about the racial make-up of the national teams. The EPG audits what is happening across the whole sport system. For the Transformation Barometer, federations - based on their circumstances -set transformation targets to be achieved annually. It is a system which has been embraced by the national federations - both to support transformation, and for strategic reasons - to increase the pool of talent. Ours is to ramp up the process: ensuring that goals for the transformation of school and community sport are progressively raised.

The EPG Report provides the scientific under-pinning to the vision of government: for An Active and Winning Nation. In other words:

  • An active and healthy nation - which requires sports development in schools and communities,
  • And from there an integrated and aligned sport system which recognises and channels talent to the highest levels of sport to ensure a winning nation.

So we will not neglect the programmes to support high performance sport such as the academies, the sport focus schools, sports bursaries, the National Training Centre, the sports science programme, as well as funding to support national federations.

As the national department, together with provincial departments, SRSA organises annual national school competitions across sixteen prioritised sport codes. The system works well from the district level up to province and national. But the challenge is the poor participation rates at circuit and school level - approximately 6,000 schools out of 25,000.

When I met with MECs last week to workshop the School Sport Programme, they gave me a clear message.They said: 'we have the policies - what we want to see is implementation' - and for this we have to provide coordination and alignment.In line with this, MinMec adopted the following recommendations:

  • To review and fully implement the Memorandum of Agreement that exists with the Department of Basic Education - to ensure that access to Physical Education and sport is expanded across the school system. This process is already underway;
  • To coordinate with the Department of Social Development in relation to their EPWP programme to train ECD (Early Childhood Development) practitioners - providing trainers and materials - so that children in the ECD phase can be trained in fine motor skills - critical to physical and sports development as they grow older.
  • To cooperate with the Department of Higher Education which is piloting the delivery of training courses for Physical Education teachers and coaches through the TVET colleges.
  • We are also working with SASCOC - representing the national federations - so that we all align with the LTDP (Long Term Player Development) strategy - to build a unified and expanded skills pipeline across the schooling system - so that talent can be identified and channelled from a much larger pool. To this end we will be training more talent scouts - amongst others drawing on retired sportspeople - and utilising them as coaches for that matter. From the side of the federations, annual transformation targets - and projects in disadvantaged communities will be progressively ramped up.
  • I have also said that there can be no school sport without teachers. So one of my priorities is to engage with teacher unions. For that matter, I also want to meet with parent bodies - to see how they can be mobilised.
  • The sheer number of stakeholders required to strengthen school sport requires that we establish a coordinating platform to provide the kind of coordination and alignment which the sector requires.
  • At community sports level we are seeking to cooperate with COGTA (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Authorities) and municipalities for the sharing of sports and recreational facilities. From last year it has been agreed to ring-fence a percentage of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant to build community sports facilities.
  • I am also pleased to announce that the Rural Sports Development Programme is already underway across all provinces. This is based on a partnership with traditional authorities (as well as farming communities in the Western Cape.) The early knock-out rounds have taken place- with national championships scheduled for mid-year.
  • Let me also mention the Indigenous Games Festival which will take place during heritage month in September. The games will be strengthened by the inclusion of schools for the first time.

We have declared 2017 to be the Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo - recognised for his role in the liberation struggle. But there was another side to Cde O.R. At school,Tambo excelled in cricket, football,athletics and tennis. At Fort Hare,Tambo led an initiative for students to rebuild a disused tennis court on campus.When the authorities declined permission for the students to play on Sundays, this led to protests and Tambo was amongst those expelled. His first career was as a science and maths teacher - but I have no doubt that he also passed on his sporting skills and enthusiasm to his learners. I would like to believe that Tambo's holistic education - physical as well as academic - contributed to making him an outstanding leader in later life.

We honour the legacy of Oliver Tambo by restoring physical education in all our schools and developing sport across the whole school system and at community level. This is where transformation starts. And in so doing we contribute to a healthier nation - in mind and body - as well as helping to combat anti-social behaviour amongst the youth. We also build a larger, stronger skills pipeline - channelling talent into the wider sport system - ensuring the sustainability of national sports codes.

I cannot conclude without thanking my wife and family for their support, as well as the DG and his team for smoothing the transition to a new minister.

Thank you.


SRSA has many events happening throughout out the year and we need volunteers!

Major Stakeholders