SASCOC Must Correct Itself To Benefit South African Sport By Cheryl Roberts

11 May

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South African sport is still vastly white-dominated with skirmishes of transformation having ‘occurred’ in some sports here and there. Development of sport at foundation and grassroots level is dependent on volunteers in sport, most of them using their personal money to sustain South Africa’s sports foundation. And then you get SASCOC officials claiming South Africa’s controlling body for sport ‘SASCOC is almost bankrupt’.
But who has brought SASCOC into this state of affairs of near bankrupty, litigation challenges, poor governance? Is it not some of those who have been on the SASCOC Board for about two years and more? Why did SASCOC pay out about R12 million and more in litigiation fees to the legal company? Who is reponsible for appointing this legal firm?
In early May SASCOC faced the parliamentary portfolio committee of the Republic of South Africa. And this issue of R12 million and more being spent on legal fees to remove people from SASCOC was raised with concern.
Why does SASCOC have an acting chief financial officer and acting CEO being one and the same person? The portfolio committee wanted to know the reason as this didn’t demonstrate sound and good governance. I recall asking SASCOC Board member Barry Hendricks, over a year ago why SASCOC didn’t appoint a CEO and he replied ‘SASCOC didn’t have the money to pay a CEO.’ I was wondering why SASCOC was spending money on transporting and accommodating the acting CFO/CEO Ravi Govender in and out of Johannesburg and why SASCOC couldn’t have the CEO and CFO based in Joburg at no extra cost to SASCOC. Before the acting CFO also became the acting CEO, the then acting CEO Patience Shikwambana was demoted to her contracted position of chief operating officer. Again, when I found this out late last year, I recall asking Barry Hendricks what happened to Patience Shikwambana not being acting CEO and he replied ‘she was too close to Tubby Reddy (the former CEO)’. And why was a SASCOC employee who was chef de mission of SA’s 2018 Youth Olympics team given off with ‘light punishment’ when he was accused of misconduct that included racism, misogyny, drunken behaviour?
This leads me to ask: What is going on there at SASCOC with governance and decision-making? SASCOC over the past year had a task committee set up to ‘correct the wrongs and put in place correct governance procedures in SASCOC’. Shouldn’t SASCOC have been corrected after the workings and recommendations of this task committee? What we do know is that this task committee are all standing for SASCOC elections!
Parliament’s portfolio committee wanted to know why no financial statement was forthcoming from SASCOC when its financial year ended March 2020. Who was SASCOC’s acting President and Acting CFO/acting CEO on 31 March 2020?
That SASCOC has several challenges, there is no doubt. As Netball South Africa President Cecilia Molokwane told the portfolio committee, some Board members had been there very long, others for shorter spells and herself had just recently come onto the Board. Under whose watch at SASCOC – was it SASCOC President Gideon Sam or First Vice President Barry Hendricks – was SASCOC charged R12 million and more in litigation fees? What is this cabalism going on in SASCOC of fighting certain members, choosing certain members, being afraid of being challenged by certain members?
The mandate of SASCOC is to advance sport in South Africa, especially high level, elite, high performance sport and to deliver national teams at international events. SASCOC can’t attract sponsors nor sponsorships. Which sponors are going to want an association with SASCOC given its present state of litigation and acting positions and cabalism and members fearing each other?
Most SASCOC Board members are not on the ground and not seen at grassroots sports events so they don’t want to know about the struggles to participate in sport in our unequal South African society. But they want to be at the top, holding a national position and getting a monthly payment. And national officials of sports federations are rarely seen at grassroots sports events. That’s why when they vote for officials to be in national positions on the SASCOC Board they vote because they’ve been asked by a cabal to vote them in.
National federations must look at those standing for SASCOC election and see whose sports federations are white-dominated, are transformed and sponsored, and win medals for South Africa. Which officials have the expertise and ambition to take sport forward onto another level. If they haven’t done it in their sports federation then how are they going to do it for SASCOC? Truthfully speaking, which officials are going to get a hearing from corporates and potential sponsors?
Hosting the SASCOC elections and getting it done is not going to solve SASCOC’s challenges unless the best expertise and competent officials– and not cabal supporters – are voted by the sports federations to serve South African sport. You can already see what some officials did when given some power in SASCOC: ask about the R12 million and more in litigation fees and why the CFO and CEO positions haven’t been finalised and why SASCOC can’t attract sponsors.
I’m asking these questions because I’m on the ground in sport; I’m out there and see and know the struggles to participte in sport. And here we have SASCOC paying out R12 million in litigation fees, cutting down an African Games team because of lack of money and an acting CFO/CEO costing extra to be accommodated for SASCOC head office duty a few days a week. Who was giving leadership to SASCOC over the past two years that got SASCOC into this mess and now rests on the shoulders of Acting President Aleck Skhosana, to sort out?

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