The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) could face suspension from the Olympic movement if Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi follows through with a threat to disband the organisation’s executive.
Informing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last week of a ministerial inquiry into the Sascoc board, Nxesi claimed there was no intention to interfere with administration.
“We are merely intervening to ensure the smooth running of the organisation,” he wrote in a letter to IOC president Thomas Bach.
However, in a letter to Sascoc president Gideon Sam, Nxesi warned he could go the route of “dissolving the Sascoc board as a last resort” if the inquiry committee found it was dysfunctional with regards to governance and administration.
In response to Nxesi, IOC deputy director-general Pere Miro warned that the international organisation would not tolerate government interference, in line with its principles of autonomy.
According to clause 27.9 of the Olympic Charter: “The IOC executive board may take any appropriate decisions for the protection of the Olympic Movement in the country of an NOC (National Olympic Committee), including suspension of or withdrawal of recognition from such NOC if any governmental or other body causes the activity of the NOC or the making or expression of its will to be hampered.”
The IOC confirmed yesterday it had reached out to Sascoc in a bid to “better understand the situation” and was awaiting further information. “We will not speculate further at this point,” the Olympic body said.
Attempts to get comment from Nxesi’s office were unsuccessful.
Sascoc, which is facing a looming financial crunch with the National Lotteries Commission looking to restrict its contribution to sport, has been at the centre of various controversies and allegations in recent years.
A spat between Sam and suspended Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy recently reached breaking point after a bizarre string of events, with Reddy claiming his personal communication lines had been bugged and a fake e-mail surfacing in an apparent attempt to clear Reddy of allegations of sexual harassment.
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela opened a probe into Sascoc in 2013, but the process was disrupted by resource constraints. – email@example.com