fast little loans
Graeme Joffe has 21 questions for Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula which no one seems to want to ask.
Pretoria - There are so many problems in local sport and at some point minister Fikile Mbalula needs to take responsibility, instead of worrying about how much he can spend on the next awards function.
Just how many millions have been spent on these often non-events should also be investigated.
But we know that won’t happen – so, here are 21 questions for the sports minister, which no one seems to want to ask.
* In 2011, Mbalula received a damning dossier, “The unhealthy state of South African sport”.
The introduction reads: “The South African sport needs a total overhaul in order to remove the corrupt elements within it and to create a healthy state, where athletes will be the focus of the day and their quest to excel in their God-given talents.
The current state of sport is riddled with covert corruptive tendencies which are similar to the tendencies taking place in other sectors of our society. The only difference is that people in general are not paying the necessary attention to the details for these evils to be rooted out of sport. A lot of people depend on the media for them to understand what is happening which has proven to be a disadvantage as investigative journalism in sport is not the order of the day.
“Some influential individuals have used sport as a platform to gain access to the top echelons of our leadership in government vying for recognition and acknowledgement.
“Others have used sport as a means of amassing wealth, taking advantage of the ignorance of the people involved within. There is no existence of corporate governance guidelines or policies and those who cite them are very mischievous and hypocrites. There is no sport federation in existence which can boast of corporate governance in their midst, including Sascoc as the co-ordinating body.”
The dossier named and shamed a number of individuals with hard facts and the author asked Mbalula to investigate.
The sports minister called the author a “coward” and said he would not investigate anonymous allegations.
The author then took a copy of the dossier to the minister’s office and gave it to his adviser, Mr Fuzani, who up until this day has failed to revert.
Who’s the coward now?
* Mbalula conveniently put politics ahead of performance in naming a new board for the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport, which took office on December 1 last year.
He appointed Dr Harold Adams to the board. Adams featured prominently in the Caster Semenya debacle and should still have many questions to answer.
Also surprising is that the chairman of the appeals board is Dr Denver Hendricks, who replaced Alex Abercrombie.
Hendricks is a previous director-general in the department, but has no legal background.
Should the chairman of an appeals board not have some form of legal background?
* South Africa wants medals not muffins. There is an urgent need to run the confederation, federations and sport in all its facets transparently, openly, fairly and democratically.
No-go areas and untouchables should not be tolerated in South African sport.
Is the Department of Sport and Recreation transparent?
Why is the Sports Trust used as a conduit?
* How can the department justify an expenditure of R45 million on one night for the sports awards last year and this year budgeting R65m for the awards?
* Why have there been numerous mainstream media reports about “tender irregularities” for the awards over the past few years?
* Why did one of the recipients of the “tenders” (a friend of the sports minister) threaten a journalist when he was investigating the tender process?
* What has happened to the R2.5m that went missing for R Kelly to perform at the Mandela sports day?
* When events company Octagon (whose chief executive sits on Mbalula’s transformation committee) was asked if they had tendered for their multimillion-rand contract for the Mandela sports day, their response was: “As this project belongs to the Department of Sport and Recreation, all queries in relation to it need to be answered by them please.”
No reply was forthcoming from the department.
* Before the London Olympics, Mbalula said “Oscar Pistorius was a political selection”. Did any members of the department or Sascoc benefit from his selection, from sponsors?
* Why has the sports minister endorsed a new SuperSport national basketball league with a chairman who had to resign as home affairs director-general back in 1999 after a Sunday newspaper revealed that he was misusing the department’s resources to run a basketball team?
Albert Mokoena allegedly used the department’s telephone and fax to run his basketball team.
He also reportedly illegally registered three Zambians in his basketball team as South African citizens.
Other allegations included an attempt to solicit a R453 000 sponsorship for his team from a computer company, which has a three-year service contract with the department.
How transparent is this new basketball deal?
* When SuperSport’s Graham Abrahams (who’s been the convener of the South African basketball steering committee and a former employee in the Ministry of Sport and Recreation) was asked about the new league and some other questions, his reply was: “I note you are sending me e-mails relating to Basketball SA to my SuperSport e-mail address.
“Could I request that you direct any Basketball SA-related enquiries to the national office for the attention of Mr Tsepo Nyewe, who is copied here?”
Nyewe’s reply was: “Thank you for your enquiry, please note that Basketball SA is currently under administration, all questions must be sent to SA Sports Confederation & Olympic Committee (Sascoc).”
No reply again was forthcoming from Sascoc.
A second request to Abrahams for some answers drew this response: “It seems you have difficulty in understanding a simple request – this e-mail address has absolutely nothing to do with Basketball SA!”
What is there to hide?
* What has the sports minister done to solve in the impasse between Athletics SA (ASA) and Sascoc?
* Why has there still not been an investigation into the allegations of the match-fixing of Bafana Bafana games, allegations which surfaced at the end of last year?
* Why did the sports minister take the leaked SA Football Association document of other alleged corruption from an “anonymous” source seriously?
* Why has the sports minister not been to the last two Sascoc annual general meetings?
* Does the sports minister know there is an ongoing public protector investigation into Sascoc?
* How does the ministry appoint someone with an alleged criminal record to the position of Boxing SA chief executive?
* Did the sports minister ignore protocol on a visit to Monaco with the swimmers before the London Olympics?
* How many friends and family did the sports ministry and Sascoc entertain in London?
* Why is the Sports Trust a conduit for the Department of Sport and Recreation and Lotto?
* When will Mbalula allow for a full forensic audit of the Department of Sport and Recreation, Sascoc and the Sports Trust?
South Africa needs a sports minister who has passion and knowledge of sport, and not a politician.
Sascoc also do as they please and if we don’t address the ills now, the future of local sport will remain under threat.
For what we have in finance and facilities, South Africa is a perennial under-achiever on the Olympic stage.
However, if the public monies are channelled in the right direction and the athletes become a top priority, then we will see medals and not muffin administrators.
* Graeme Joffe is a sports journalist.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.