Of­fi­cials’ ego trips do Sas­coc great dam­age

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT -

It has been more than five years since a gov­ern­ment depart­ment first warned it would step in to re­solve long-run­ning is­sues at the SA Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion and Olympic Com­mit­tee (Sas­coc).

Since 2013, three sports min­is­ters have threat­ened to in­ter­vene, along with the pub­lic pro­tec­tor, but noth­ing has been done.

In March, af­ter lis­ten­ing to var­i­ous in­di­vid­u­als pro­vid­ing tes­ti­mony, an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry panel pulled no punches in its assess­ment of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Sas­coc was fall­ing apart from the top down, ac­cord­ing to the Zul­man in­quiry, and the board had be­come dys­func­tional.

Even Sas­coc board mem­bers agreed that in-fight­ing had ren­dered them vir­tu­ally use­less, with some of them sug­gest­ing the en­tire ex­ec­u­tive be re­placed.

Nine months later, how­ever, the same board is still in con­trol and no changes have been im­ple­mented.

Granted, sports min­is­ter Tokozile Xasa made it clear yes­ter­day they had un­til the end of April to com­ply with rec­om­men­da­tions made by the Zul­man in­quiry, but we’ve heard that song from her pre­de­ces­sors and the lyrics are get­ting old.

Dur­ing the in­quiry, the mud-sling­ing be­tween board mem­bers and se­nior staff made it ev­i­dent that any real res­o­lu­tion be­tween the cur­rent ex­ec­u­tive was un­likely at best. At worst, leave them in a room to­gether too long and knives will be drawn.

The Sas­coc struc­ture and con­sti­tu­tion @wes­bot­ton needs to be amended, and it’s a big step for­ward to have bet­ter def­i­ni­tions in the Na­tional Sport and Re­cre­ation Act re­gard­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s role in South African sport.

And there is a con­cern that a po­ten­tial sus­pen­sion of Sas­coc from the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) could re­sult from gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion.

But the in­cum­bent board mem­bers have made it clear they can’t work to­gether, and rather than bring­ing an end to on­go­ing spats be­tween in­di­vid­u­als, gov­ern­ment has sim­ply pushed the war­ring fac­tions back into a room, locked the door and told them to sort it out.

The prob­lem is not that Sas­coc can’t fig­ure out where it’s go­ing wrong or re­solve its own is­sues, but rather that in­di­vid­u­als at the top are un­will­ing to set aside per­sonal bat­tles in an at­tempt to clean up the sport.

Not ev­ery Sas­coc board mem­ber can be ac­cused of mis­man­age­ment of funds, mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion or con­flict of in­ter­est, but as a col­lec­tive they have been found to be waste­ful, un­eth­i­cal and cor­rupt.

Long-term changes are nec­es­sary, but an im­me­di­ate shake-up is also re­quired if the Olympic body is to clean up its mess.

Three sports min­is­ters and a pub­lic pro­tec­tor have all made threats, but five years on, the ma­jor­ity of the most in­flu­en­tial in­di­vid­u­als are still there.

They’ve been given an­other life­line, with Xasa al­low­ing them a five-month win­dow to im­ple­ment var­i­ous amend­ments to Sas­coc’s poli­cies and con­sti­tu­tion.

At the end of April, how­ever, when she opens the board­room door, Xasa may find the Sas­coc ex­ec­u­tive have en­gaged in car­nage rather than find­ing res­o­lu­tions.

Per­haps then she’ll bring the axe down on the trou­ble­mak­ers, rather than mak­ing threats.

The South African sports fra­ter­nity has been locked in tur­moil for far too long, wait­ing for an an­swer with no res­o­lu­tion in sight. They have waited long enough.

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