Sport and Recreation Policy
The DA understands the role that sport can play in our democracy and the defining role it plays in shaping and influencing our identity – as individuals and as a country. We also understand that sport can play a role in more practical terms, as a mechanism to uplift and empower, as an opportunity to enrich day-to-day life, as a means to healthy living and as a profession for those with the ability and talent to achieve success at the highest level.
The value of sport and recreation as a social connector is one of its most powerful development attributes. (White Paper on Sport and Recreation, 2012)
The National Sport and Recreation Plan (NSRP)1 recognises the wide-ranging benefits of sport and active living, including its long-term health benefits, its capacity to strengthen relationships between communities, its economic potential and its impact on community well-being (including its success in addressing social challenges such as delinquency, crime, alcohol and substance abuse and domestic violence).
A national focus on sport and recreation therefore makes sense from the perspective of public economics.
For South Africans sport is, however, more than a sensible investment. It is a national obsession that brings people from different backgrounds together to support their sporting heroes. It is a source of national pride, and it builds social and cultural bridges by bringing South Africans together to compete with and against each other.
Our national sport policy must incorporate mechanisms to support the competitive athletes and teams that can become our sports ambassadors, it must develop a pipeline of sporting excellence, it must promote participation in recreational sport and it must unite the nation behind our national teams.
The DA supports the 2030 vision for South African sport as outlined in the National Sport and Recreation Plan, including:
- That South Africa is acknowledged as a leader in world sport and recreation, including its contribution to sports research;
- At least 50% of South Africans participate in sport or active recreation;
- That 80% of prioritised National Federations (NFs) attain and maintain a top three position in world rankings;
- That South Africa must be a choice destination for major events and sports tourism;
- Effective cooperation between sport and recreation entities in the implementation of a national sport plan – based on agreed upon roles and responsibilities; and
- The improvement of corporate governance in South African sporting entities, including ensuring that relevant bodies are appropriately constituted, that they are capacitated to perform their functions and that they align their activities with the objectives of the NSRP.
To achieve these objectives, Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) (the National Department of Sport and Recreation) must be developed into a professional sport support body with highly skilled personnel with the necessary expertise and experience to provide strategic support for sports development in South Africa.
Social Protection Policy
The DA believes that opportunity is the vehicle through which all South Africans can be empowered to live lives that they value, to pursue their dreams and to develop their full potential. This belief lies at the core of our vision of an Open Opportunity Society for All.
To realise this vision, we understand that the government has certain responsibilities. First and foremost we see it as the responsibility of government to provide an enabling environment for job creating economic growth. This requires the government to provide a stable economic policy environment, appropriate incentives to guide business activity in support of growth and jobs, good infrastructure, and an education system that delivers a skilled labour corps that can propel the economy towards excellence.
But many South Africans remain excluded from opportunities. Where we govern, our long term goal will be to ensure that all people can be active participants in a vibrant, growing economy and enjoy the developmental benefits associated with growth. However, the reality is that some vulnerable citizens require immediate social protection provided by a government that is committed to ensuring that they have access to basic services and that they are protected from poverty-induced hunger.
In a society where nearly one if four people do not have a job, where 41% of the population lives below the poverty line and where 12 million people do not have access to adequate nutrition, there are many who require assistance from a caring government.
There is international consensus that countries should maintain a minimum “floor” of social protection1. This should include access to health care and basic income security to ensure access to nationally agreed necessary goods and services. Protection must be primarily aimed at those who are not or cannot be employed to earn their own livelihoods. This includes the most vulnerable groups in society, namely children, the aged, people with disabilities and those who find themselves without jobs for long periods of time.
In the South African context the consensus around the need to work towards a minimum social protection floor is supported by a rights-based approach informed by the Constitution. This includes:
- Section 27 – which determines that every South African has the right to have access to health care services, sufficient food and water and social assistance if they are unable to support themselves; and
- Section 28 – which outlines the basic rights of children (including the right to care, nutrition, shelter, basic health care and social services).
Social assistance in the form of grants comes at a great cost to the state. Between 1994 and 2010, social grant expenditure grew by 700% from R11 billion to R88 billion2. In 2013/14, government will spend R113 billion on social grants, mostly going to old-age pensions (39%) and child support grants (37%). Research by the Bureau for Economic Research shows that in 2012 there were roughly three people on social grants for every person who pays income tax and almost two social grant beneficiaries for every person with a job3. Further, research from the South African Institute for Race Relations shows that there are now only 90 people employed for every 100 people on social welfare in South Africa.
It is clear that to ensure that the tax base can accommodate South Africa’s social protection system, we must continue to make it our first priority to grow the economy and create jobs.
Social protection in the form of social grants has, however, been one of the most effective policy interventions in South Africa in terms of reducing poverty and vulnerability.
Between 1997 and 2011, social grants have helped to decrease the number of people in South Africa living on less than $2 a day by 82%4. There has also been a marked decline in child poverty and in the number of children who do not have access to an adequate standard of living, including access to electricity, housing, water and sanitation5. Research shows that child support grants and old-age pensions are used to enhance the nutrition and schooling of children6 and that child grant beneficiaries are already more likely to be in school and achieve higher scores in critical subjects (such as maths)7.
Labour force surveys tracking social grant recipients over time have shown that workers in households receiving social grants “look for work more intensively and extensively and find employment more successfully” than workers in comparable households who do not receive grants.
Social cash transfers provide a coping mechanism for the least fortunate, supporting a minimum level of subsistence and allowing them to invest time and money to improve their chances of getting better employment.
(Samson, 2009 – OECD)
The DA therefore supports a targeted system of social assistance to vulnerable persons.
To retain our primary focus on job creation means that our social development system must go beyond the mere protection of livelihoods – where we seek to ensure that all South Africans can maintain a minimum living standard. We must pursue social development policies that achieve livelihood promotion, where the assistance provided helps recipients to lift themselves out of poverty.
The DA believes that a caring government must ensure that accessible, affordable, high quality health care is available to every South African.
We subscribe to the nationally agreed Vision 2030 which sets out to significantly reduce the burden of disease, to raise the life expectancy of South Africans to at least 70 years, to ensure that the generation of under-20s is largely free of HIV, and to achieve infant mortality of less than 20 deaths per thousand live births and an under-5 mortality rate of less than 5 per thousand.
The DA pledges itself to pursue the goal of adequate universal access to health care for all South African citizens and to giving effect to the Constitutional provision for guaranteed access to emergency medical treatment.
“Everyone has the right to have access to (a) health care services, including reproductive health care; No one may be refused emergency medical treatment.” – South African Constitution: Section 27(1) and (3).
Based on our experience in running the Western Cape Health Department since 2009, we believe that such an outcome can be achieved largely within the existing administrative structures and the available resource envelope. Our experience shows that the actions of a politically-accountable provincial executive – and the cascading of quality and professionalism from that point through the entire system (primary, secondary and tertiary) – is the critical variable in tightening and improving the quality of health care.
The DA stands for universal access to health care for all citizens. We believe the key to this, over the next five years, is not big policy developments but making the current regional management model work.
Better health governance is most meaningful to the most poor and marginalised, who are not covered by medical aids and lack the resources to access private health care. For these citizens to play a role in the DA’s overarching vision – The Open Opportunity Society for All – their free access to health care needs to be ensured. This is an essential component of our proposal to combat poverty-related diseases and is an absolute minimum requirement if South Africa is to win the war against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB).
The DA envisages a strong doctor-driven Primary Health Care (PHC) system, based on the social model of health and thus equipped to contribute to dealing with the full range of social determinants of health. This models allows for localised health care service delivery through strong community-based structures.
The DA will act to move public health to focus on wellness for all. The concept of ‘wellness’ is an outcome of growth, education and social development; it is thus a transversal issue with its outcomes most visible in the health sector. At present, the tendency is for patients to present themselves to in the public health system only when diseases become disabling. Wellness requires regular general check-ups and behavioural modification as happens among those fortunate enough to enjoy private medical aids.
Health is not just a medical issue. The social determinants of health need to be addressed, including promoting healthy behaviours and lifestyle.
(National Planning Commission, 2012. National Development Plan)
The DA envisages a society in which citizens take increasing personal responsibility for healthy lifestyles, and in so doing reduce the burden of non-communicable lifestyle diseases. The growing desire of South Africans to know their HIV status is an indicator of an appetite for such responsibility. The DA envisages citizens actively managing their health thereby freeing the public health system to focus more on basic health, disability, mental health and special needs cases.
The over-centralised and statist proposals contained in the National Health Insurance (NHI) Green Paper are not only dangerous but are unnecessary if the public health systems in all nine provinces can be managed effectively.
The NHI Green Paper also implies that the failings of public health are the fault of the private sector. The DA disagrees with this analysis. We envisage a solution where the strengths of the private sector are leveraged to improve public health through partnerships. Our vision is a system embracing public and private health service providers where the state offered service is of sufficient quality to compete with the private sector and to spur it on.