Officials’ ego trips do Sascoc great damage
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.