JOHANNESBURG – The gloves are off in the ever-intensifying battle between Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa and beleaguered SASCOC president Gideon Sam.
Xasa, presenting to the sports portfolio committee about the Zulman inquiry on earlier this week, labelled Sam as “disrespectful" before questioning whether he respects political authority.
The inquiry – led by retired Judge Ralph Zulman – focussed on SASCOC’s alleged malpractice in the governance of the scandal-ridden sports body.
Zulman’s findings were scathing with the recommendations far-reaching in a bid to correct the mismanagement that has plagued the organisation for years. Among the changes are reducing terms of board members from three to two, board members waiving membership to federations and the election of the Sascoc president by an independent committee instead of the Sascoc council.
According to the report, Sam’s management was “almost dictatorial in nature”, not transparent and did not fit with the “basic principles of accountability”.
Sam has already pushed back the recommendations by suggesting that South Africa could miss the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 should government intervention into the body continue to be ramped up.
"If you're going to be on a confrontational road, it means that Sascoc will be expelled from the IOC and IPC," said Sam.
Xasa, however, remains steadfast in the belief that SASCOC requires urgent and substantial change.
"You have leaders who are not focused on the entire organisational development and making it credible, but, some of them have been pointed out to have used some of the money for personal benefit rather than for the purpose of the organisation,” she said.
It is unclear at this point whether SASCOC will meet the 30 April deadline given by Xasa to assure the government that the changes called for in the recommendations by the Zulman inquiry will be carried out.
For Sam, the standoff with Xasa is just one battle he is currently facing after former media partner, Highbury Safika Media, filed a liquidation application as they look to recoup the R4.75 million for services rendered over the past six years.
SASCOC’s financial position continues to be of grave concern after they posted a R16 million loss in the last financial year. This due to legal fees skyrocketing to R6 million and a vast reduction – from R100 million to R5 million annually - in Lotto funding.
Xasa and Sam are set to meet later this week.
Africa News Agency (ANA)