Sascoc boss denies allegations made against him at inquiry
PREDICTABLY, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Gideon Sam’s first order of business in his appearance before the Zulman commission of inquiry yesterday involved him disputing the allegations levelled against him by earlier witnesses.
The Sascoc boss set about disagreeing with what the organisation’s former CEO Tubby Reddy said last week, particularly with regards to matters of finance and decisionmaking.
Sam disputed Tubby’s assertion that the decision to increase the daily allowance for all 14 board members travelling overseas – including to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games two years ago – was decided solely by him.
Sam said the decision was taken following a recommendation “by the board and Reddy”.
This contradicted what Reddy said last week when he said Sam was the only official behind the daily allowance being increased.
Sam, who defended the increment on basis of the dollar to rand exchange rate, said every decision he makes at the association is backed by the sports governing body’s board.
Sam said the board members approached him in Rio, complaining about the allowances being too little, followed by Reddy, who “persuaded” him to increase the money to $300 a day.
“They (board) were all there. I increased the money on the insistence of the board.
“They called me from the hotel and said they couldn’t live or survive on $200, taking into account the distances which they had to travel and expensive food.
“On the insistence of the CEO, a proposal was then made.”
Sam was also asked if he thought the new daily allowance was excessive and he responded by saying “it’s a little money” despite more than R2.2m being paid in board allowances each year.
“The Sascoc board must not really go there (to Brazil) to suffer for the good of South African sport,” Sam said.
“If I compare the dollar and the rand, that’s small money.
“Remember, they were not staying where the Games were happening.
“They had to come from far in a taxi because they were not getting free cars. When they went back, there was no food at the hotel, they had to go to a restaurant and get food. I wouldn’t say that was excessive.
“They stayed in a very scruffy hotel where sometimes there was not even enough hot water.”
With the inquiry expected to deliver its findings soon, Sam is challenging all the accusations levelled against him, including the circumstances that led to Durban losing the right to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
HAVING HIS SAY: South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee president Gideon Sam.