Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Investigation to be launched into SA’s anti-doping legislation delay

Sports minister Zizi Kodwa alleged that WADA's sanctions had been an attempt to "slander" the government and the ANC.

Though he confirmed there would be an investigation into who was responsible for the delay in updating legislation, sports minister Zizi Kodwa stopped short of suggesting heads would roll after the country was given some respite from global sporting sanctions on Tuesday.

Following an appeal filed by the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS), Kodwa said the SA flag would continue to be flown and the national anthem would be played at upcoming World Cup matches, until the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had made a ruling.

The delayed sanctions, which were expected to be enforced on Friday, were a result of South Africa not updating its legislation in line with the World Anti-Doping Code which was amended in 2021. It was one of only two countries, along with Bermuda, which had failed to meet the deadline.

Immediate concern

Kodwa, however, insisted the department’s investigation would have to wait until sanctions had been dealt with, in order to prevent the Springbok rugby team and the Proteas cricket side from being affected during their ongoing World Cup campaigns in France and India.

SA flag at the Cricket World Cup
The SA flag displayed on the field while players sing the national anthems ahead of South Africa’s opening Cricket World Cup match against Sri Lanka in Delhi last week. Picture: Surjeet Yadav/Getty Images

“My approach to resolving problems is not to play a blame game,” Kodwa said during a media briefing in Cape Town.

“My immediate approach when dealing with a crisis and difficulties is to look for a solution. The issues about who is responsible, sometimes for me that comes a little bit later.

“What I’m looking for now is to focus on the consequences, which as you can see will be very dire for the country… and that is why I am having sleepless nights at the moment.”

Political ‘slander’

Kodwa criticised the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for what he called a “rigid and uncompromising stance”, despite the country being given two years to comply. He claimed the anti-doping body’s sanctions had been an attempt to “slander” the government and the ANC.

In the long run, however, he believed the penalties placed on South Africa would be overturned while the government “fast tracked” the process of updating legislation, in line with both the national constitution and the WADA code.

“I believe the grounds for appeal are strong because the sanctions are not appropriate,” Kodwa said.

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proteas cricket team Springboks Zizi Kodwa

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