Sascoc will face scrutiny after Nathi Mthethwa's said there is no turning back for Cricket SA
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JOHANNESBURG – The authority of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee will be placed firmly in the spotlight in the next few weeks following a fiery engagement with parliament's portfolio committee for sports, arts and culture on Friday.
While the committee’s agenda was primarily focused on Cricket SA and the outcome of the administrative restructuring of that organisation, Sascoc, was again drawn into the fray, as its president Barry Hendricks, repeated claims that Sports Minister, Nathi Mthethwa had overreached in terms of his remit, regarding the invoking of Section 13 of the National Sports and Recreation Act.
Mthethwa on Friday instructed his department to withdraw his invoking of powers with regard to Cricket SA, pulling that organisation back from the brink. He did so after CSA agreed to implement a new Memorandum of Incorporation (MoI), central to which is a new board of directors made up of a majority of independent officials and chaired by an independent director.
Sascoc claims it has not had sight yet of this new MoI and that CSA cannot go ahead with implementing it, until CSA receives Sascoc’s approval. Hendricks told the committee, that a Sascoc task team will review the MoI and make recommendations at a General Assembly on May 8.
Mthethwa however isn’t waiting for the Olympic body anymore. Twice on Friday; firstly to the parliamentary committee and later at a press briefing in which CSA’s new MoI was announced, the Sports Minister emphasised the need to move forward. Asked about his thoughts regarding Sascoc on Friday afternoon, Mthethwa said almost dismissively: “I don’t know. There is no way this (CSA) process will go back.”
Rihan Richards, the acting chairman of Cricket SA’s Members Council – the organisation’s highest decision-making body, comprising the 14 provincial presidents – said that while he felt CSA was still in good standing with Sascoc, the cricket body had to move forward with administrative reform. “We needed to forge our way forward. That might lead to conflict with Sascoc, but we will with that, at that stage,” said Richards.
Sascoc continues to maintain that sport federations should be run by ‘sports leaders.’ Hendricks told parliament that in his view it appeared that independent administrators were being forced onto federations.
It was that particular stance that led Sascoc, then run by Gideon Sam and Tubby Reddy to push CSA in 2012 to deviate from the recommendations of the Nicholson Commission of Inquiry. Those recommendations specifically outlined the need for a board of directors with a majority of independent directors.
That decision ultimately led CSA down the road to the crisis which enveloped it in that last couple of years. Sascoc’s administration has also recently faced scrutiny through the Zulman Commission of Inquiry, with Mthethwa and the chairperson of the parliamentary committee, Beauty Dlulane, saying Friday they wanted to review that commission’s report.
“As government we were reluctant to get into the fray, because we believed that CSA itself, should be able to resolve its issues,” Mthethwa said at the CSA briefing. “But when they failed to resolve their issues – in fact they made things worse with cricket going down the drain – we then, following the law...said ‘no wait.’ There is Sascoc, and Sascoc could not resolve the matter, they actually failed. And they brought it back to the minister.”
In fact Sascoc twice asked for Mthethwa’s office to intervene in the CSA drama - the first occasion in September last year when it failed to gain access to the Fundudzi Forensic report - and then earlier this year when Sascoc itself withdrew from the process in which CSA’s new MoI was being negotiated.
“I hope we're not going to be asked to intervene in any other sporting codes, and people will follow what is correct, starting with Sascoc,” Mthethwa stated.
“This thing that we hear people talking about that ‘sport should be run by sport people,’ what has it brought to sport in South Africa? What, for example, has it brought to Cricket SA?’”