The Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture in the Legislature on Friday conducted a consultative meeting with municipalities, the Departments of Education and Sport, Arts and Culture and other stakeholders to discuss issues relating to sport in Limpopo.
The level of sport infrastructure in the province and at schools, the utilisation of the 15% of Municipal Infrastructure Grants to be used for sport infrastructure and the sport programmes in municipalities, including school sport, were among issues discussed.
Portfolio Committee Chairperson Onicca Moloi said municipalities have constitutional obligations to support and develop sport, and national and provincial governments have to see that municipalities function well in this respect. She said the portfolio committee was there to discuss differences and listen to constraints and visions of municipalities. She said money appropriated to municipalities in terms of sports grants, should be spent as appropriated and that the meeting was called to have municipalities report, as no transformation was seen in the area of sport.
Limpopo municipalities reported that they have a big problem regarding sport infrastructure: most district municipalities reported that there are not enough facilities available and the available infrastructure is old and dilapidated, have been vandalised and need upgrading. There is not enough money for the upgrading of facilities, which in some cases would cost R30 million and R40 million per stadium for instance, as was the case for the upgrading of the Makonde and Saselamane Stadiums in Venda.
In Sekhukhune most stadiums and facilities needed upgrading. The situation at some facilities poses a danger to attendees and some venues have been relegated to church venues.
School sport was an important item on the agenda of the meeting. Matthews Mhlongo, in a presentation on behalf of the MEC for Education, stated that the budget for school sports has been slashed from around R15 million to R2 million only, and there was not sufficient money to support school sports on all levels and to fully roll out the programme. The National Lotteries Board of South Africa was approached to assist in the school sports programme. The departments of Education and of Sport, Arts and Culture were working on a memorandum of understanding to regulate each department’s role in terms of school sports. Schools are supposed to have identified at least three sport codes in which learners could participate, and on Wednesdays learners should have sport at schools.
Other challenges related to school sports were:
• Late start of school sport programmes
• Late registration of schools for events
• Lack of sport facilities in schools
• Non-maintenance of existing sport facilities
• No access to municipal sport facilities due to unaffordability. Schools have to pay anything from R5 000 to R50 000 deposits for municipal and private facilities, which they cannot afford.
• Teacher training and development.
The acting HOD for Sport, Arts and Culture Mabakane Mangena, said the department was a big department with a small budget and the money was not sufficient to run all their programmes. He said they spent 99,9% of their budget. As the result of an Imbizo held in Waterberg, representatives from various departments such as Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs as well as MECs expected to attend the Portfolio Committee meeting, could not attend the meeting. The Waterberg district was also not represented at the meeting.
Moloi said this time attending the meeting was upon invitation, but parties may be summonsed in future. She also said committee members would do some oversight visits to facilities in districts soon.