SASCOC members voice their frustration at Olympic Committee’s failings

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The Positive Change Group of National Federations and other members of SASCOC have voiced their frustration at the ongoing leadership crisis and nominations scandal involving the Olympic Committee.

The stakeholders group called out SASCOC’s failure to implement the recommendations of the Zulman Inquiry.

SASCOC members cry out for intervention

The Zulman inquiry revealed that SASCOC’s board was factional and dysfunctional, with money wasted and failures in governance compliance controls and urged the body to return to its core mandate, which is supporting and promoting athletes.

“Much has happened over the last few months at SASCOC that caused many to be disappointed, frustrated, angry, amused – or a combination of all – having read the long-running soap opera being played out in the media and behind closed doors,” a Press Release by the Positive Change Group of National Federations and Members of SASCOC reads.

“At the outset we want state that SASCOC as described in the preamble of its constitution was founded by South African sports organisations, namely its members to further certain aims, chief amongst which is the preparation and delivery of Team South Africa to any high performance event worldwide. 

“It is recognised by the Government of South Africa and international bodies as the representative of sports and recreation bodies, including Olympic National Federations. SASCOC pledges in its preamble to comply with the Olympic Charter and to abide by the decisions of the IOC.

“It is now common cause that the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture has pronounced strongly against SASCOC’s delayed implementation of the Zulman Inquiry recommendations and on a number of occasions including his letter to the IOC in April this year stated, ‘We wish to reiterate that as government we remain unconvinced that SASCOC has demonstrated the necessary will, to deal decisively with their internal problems, particularly those relating to governance, as spelt out in the Ministerial Inquiry Report’. 

“In his last address to the SASCOC General Council he asked members to do their part so that he can do his part, ‘help me to help you’, he said, and further urged the organisation to speed up the process of holding the elections.

“The IOC and IPC have weighed in on the same in their correspondence to the Board and the members, following the communications with the Minister. In the letters to the group of 5 Board members and member federations, over the last 2 months, the IOC and IPC have instructed SASCOC to hold an elective general meeting with immediate effect and comply with the decisions of the Special General Meeting (SGM) as such a general meeting is the supreme decision making body of SASCOC. They further appointed Dr Sam Ramsamy to facilitate this process and for him to meet all stakeholders including the members and the Board, which he has duly done. We endorse Dr Ramsamy’s impeccable conduct during this process.”

SASCOC pouring shame on SA sport

Those with the best interests of sport at heart, including athletes and administrators have grown frustrated as the boardroom shambles continues to affect sportspeople in their preparations for the Olympics in 2021.

“Our athletes have also raised their frustration and dissatisfaction with this running soap opera which has already heavily impacted on their preparation for Tokyo in 2021, and now further threatens their participation not only in the 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games but in all international events. What a shame that day would be for it would take us back to 50 years ago, and those were indeed shameful years when we were a pariah amongst nations.”

At the centre of this storm is the so-called group of five, who have apparently accused more than 50% of the members of SASCOC of being a “mob” and “hyenas” and instituted a dispute against the supreme decision-making body of SASCOC to which they are accountable.

“We have also learnt with surprise and disappointment about deliberations of the Portfolio Committee where it is reported that the group of five made certain scathing remarks about Dr Ramsamy accusing of him of placing himself above the law.

“If ever there was a case of people putting themselves above the law, it is clear as daylight this group has put themselves above the organisation and are refusing to be accountable to it. They and they alone brought the SASCOC into disrepute. It is they who have placed themselves above the SASCOC general council, the IOC and IPC as well as stood as a stumbling block to the implementation of the Zulman Inquiry recommendations as directed by the Minister.

“It is abundantly clear to us they will only consider the elections free and fair if they are managed by their cronies and this group is returned to office. They will not accept a seasoned and worldly respected individual like Dr Ramsamy, despite their initial support for him, and will not accept that there are some among us who have a different view to theirs, which happens to be the view of the majority. We have seen this before, when those in power can no longer manipulate the members and the electorate, they will resort to disrupt, discredit and slander the process.

“We have resorted to issuing this release, because all our efforts, championed by Canoeing SA amongst others, to call for an SGM earlier this year and to engage with the group of five have been either ignored or frustrated. We have tried to have our voice heard by the Portfolio Committee but were turned down and told to watch on the proceeding on YouTube (which was non-existent) whilst the group of five went on their destructive tirade unchecked.”

A meeting with Mthethwa

The stakeholders’ group have asked for a meeting with the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa as soon as his diary allows. 

“All we want is for the Annual General Meeting and the Quadrennial General Meeting to take place as scheduled on 7 November 2020, and for the facilitator Dr Ramsamy to be allowed to get on with his task. It is that simple.”

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