Mluleki George played a big role to unify sport in South Africa. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu
Mluleki George played a big role to unify sport in South Africa. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Mluleki George, 72, dies after Covid-related illness

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jan 6, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Anti-apartheid activist and decorated sports administrator Mluleki George has died after contracting Covid-19. He was 72 years old.

The South African Sports Conferderation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) confirmed George’s passing and said in a statement he “leaves behind a rich heritage of achievements and contributions to the country’s landscape”.

“He was an inspirational leader, with a decorated career in both the sporting and political arenas,” Sascoc said in the statement.

George joined the African National Congress (ANC) as a 24-year-old in 1972 and was president of the Border Rugby Union at the time of his arrest by the apartheid government in 1976, and banished to Robben Island for five years.

After his release George was a founder member of United Democratic Front (UDF) in 1983, before he went on to serve on the executive of a raft of organisations.

In 1988, aged just 40, he was a founder member of the National Sports Council (NSC) and in 1989, a founder and executive member of the National Olympic Committee of South Africa. This was a forerunner to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) that we have governing sport in the country today.

George played an integral part in the unification of South African sport in the early 1990s, served as President of the NSC and United Border Rugby Union from 1991 to 2001 and as Vice-President of the South African Rugby Football Union from 1993 until 1998.

He was also the interim chairman for the first year of the South African Football Association’s (Safa) existence in 1991-92.

George was also a member of the International Rugby Board from 1994 to 1997; amongst a host of other sporting designations.

In government, from 2004 to 2008, he served as South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Defence, while he was a founding member of political party Cope (Congress of the People).

@IOLsport

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