More recreation than sport?
Questions are being asked about the Department of Sports and Recreation's priorities after the release of its annual report.
Some of the concerns highlighted by opposition parties include the department spending R37-million on travel in the 2011-2012 financial year, and R45-million on the 2011 Sports Awards Gala.
The entertainment at the gala, which included US R&B singer Brandy and actresses Regina King and Vivica A Fox, is reported to have cost millions.
About R8-million of the R45-million came from the National Lotteries Board, and the department gave R12-million. This paid for travel to, and a week's accommodation at, Sun City for three athletes from each of 16 sport categories. The lotteries board gives 22% of its funds to sports and recreation organisations.
Minister Fikile Mbalula's special adviser, Justin de Allende - who described suggestions of financial mismanagement as "crazy" - said the money spent on travel and the sports awards was "absolutely justified".
"They physically have to go and make contact with stakeholders," he said.
The department could not account for what other role players contributed to the awards, he said.
"This year we are going to do the same. Our athletes deserve this. When our people achieve we must reward them. We are not apologising," De Allende said.
The auditor-general - in a report included in the annual report - criticised the department's lack of financial control.
"A total of 27% and 78% of actual reported performance information relevant to the sport support service and mass participation programmes was not valid," said auditor-general Terence Nombembe.
"This was due to a lack of monitoring and review procedures for the recording of actual achievements by senior management."
Only 45% of the department's targets were achieved and its accounting officer had failed to ensure that the department had maintained an effective, efficient and transparent internal control system, Nombembe said.
Leadership showed a lack of oversight responsibility regarding financial and performance reporting, he said.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is investigating the alleged irregular spending of more than R2-million on local and international flights by Mbalula and his deputy, Gert Oosthuizen.
Public protector spokesman Kgalalelo Masibi said the investigation would be completed next month.
The sports department's annual report shows that R37-million was spent on travel and subsistence in the 2011-2012 financial year, an increase of R6.6-million over the previous financial year.
Of the R37-million, R25-million was spent on local flights, R12-million on international flights.
Mbalula travelled overseas six times during 2011-2012: to Zurich for the 2010 soccer World Cup closure process, to Singapore for the netball world championships, twice to New Zealand for the rugby World Cup, and to the US in support of local basketball and to meet the South African ambassador.
The auditor-general criticised the department for underspending its R820-million budget.