Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Sascoc given April deadline to clean its mess

Sports minister Tokozile Xasa approves the findings of the independent inquiry into the umbrella body dogged by controversy.

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has been given less than five months to get its house in order following the release of a scathing report into the governing body.

Nine months after a government inquiry into Sascoc was completed by an independent committee led by retired judge Ralph Zulman, sports minister Tokozile Xasa confirmed on Friday she had approved the findings.

“Sascoc is required with immediate effect to implement all recommendations subject to minor divergences where the recommendations of Sascoc have been approved,” Xasa said.

According to the Zulman report, the Sascoc board lacked sufficient corporate governance and was guilty of frivolous spending.

The umbrella body’s executive had also used an “inordinate” amount of resources to resolve both internal disputes and disputes with members, while factions within the board had apparently rendered it dysfunctional.

“A miniscule amount of time of the board is in fact spent on the statutory mandate given to sascoc to promote and develop high performance sport,” the report read.

“There is no compliance with the basic principles of ethics, transparency, accountability, good governance, or with policies and procedures for the purposes of managing the affairs of Sascoc, including its financial affairs.”

While former sports minister Thulas Nxesi had threatened to dissolve the Sascoc board based on the findings of the report, his successor Nxesi gave the sport body until the end of April to meet the required recommendations.

Before the deadline, an audit was required of Sascoc financial transactions over the last five years, while various procedures and policies would also need to be reassessed, including board allowances and travel commitments.

In addition, amendments to the Sascoc constitution were required, including board members being limited to two four-year terms.

Future nominations for the position of Sascoc president would be put forward by an independent committee, and the body’s executive members would need to cut ties with national sport federations in an effort to resolve alleged conflicts of interest.

According to the Zulman report, the National Sports and Recreation Act would also need to be amended to include a revised structure of Sascoc.

The roles of Sascoc and its members needed to be clearly defined, while an independent dispute resolution body would be appointed to deal with problems between Sascoc and its members.

The details of what should be contained in the Sascoc constitution also needed to be defined by the Act.

“Should I not be totally satisfied with the execution, implementation and fulfilling of the recommendations of the committee by Sascoc… I hereby reserve my right to implement necessary intervention measures in the best interest of sport and the public as a whole in the country,” Xasa said.

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