Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Sascoc fights liquidation threats

The embattled umbrella body owes its media partner, Highbury Media, approximately R4.7 million and is now being taken to court.

Taking a knock in its ongoing attempt to clean house, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) is gearing up for another battle.

The national Olympic body said on Tuesday it would fight an attempt to have the organisation liquidated, with former Sascoc media partner Highbury Media claiming it could not cover its debts.

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“Sascoc will be vigorously opposing the liquidation application filed by Highbury and are of the view that this is an abuse of the legal and court processes,” Sascoc said.

“We view this application

and the recent statements in the media as mischievous and a deliberate attempt at creating a misleading perception that Sascoc is insolvent.”

According to a report on IOL, Highbury had filed court papers last week in an attempt to have Sascoc placed under liquidation.

The report alleged that Highbury, which printed a quarterly magazine for Sascoc and managed its digital and social media platforms, was owed R4.7 million by the Olympic body.

Sascoc, however, said it was in the process of reviewing its current supplier contracts, claiming Highbury’s legal representatives had refused a round-table meeting in order to find an “amicable way forward”.

The Olympic body said it was concerned about clauses which allowed Highbury to renew contracts unilaterally.

“Sascoc reiterates that we are solvent and able to pay out debts when they become due,” Sascoc said.

“Notwithstanding, it would be irresponsible of the organisation to continue paying for services that it does not receive and partner with suppliers who do not align with the values of the organisation.”

Sascoc, which fired three senior employees under a storm of controversy last year, was facing a potential financial crunch, with the National Lotteries Commission threatening to reduce its annual funding towards sport.

The governing body was also in the midst of a battle with sports minister Tokozile Xasa, with Sascoc claiming last week that it was reluctant to abide by changes to its constitution which had been requested by government. This followed the release of a scathing report into the organisation’s board by an independent committee of inquiry which had been conducted last year.

While the Sascoc council had agreed to institute a forensic audit going back five years, as well as an internal process to rectify non-compliance of corporate governance principles, it had concerns with some of the recommendations made by the Zulman Inquiry, which were approved by Xasa.

Sascoc officials were hoping to meet with Xasa to discuss the matter further, but the sports minister had not yet lifted an April deadline for the organisation to have made required changes to its policies and constitution.

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