Sascoc at war with affiliates

2013-04-14 10:00

Sport governing body suspends ASA board, but many federations blame Reddy for chaos in sport

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) dropped a bombshell at its general meeting in Joburg yesterday when it announced the suspension of the entire Athletics SA (ASA) board, with immediate effect.

Lawyer Zola Majavu was appointed as administrator.

This is the second time in three years that the beleaguered federation has been put under administration.

Ray Mali was put in charge in November 2009 after the Leonard Chuene-led administration was sacked.

“After the turmoil that has been going on at ASA, the meeting agreed the entire board must be suspended,” announced Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy. He said the ongoing chaos at ASA was “the worst and had to be stopped”.

It also emerged that the request for a motion of no confidence in Reddy, brought by the SA Football Association (Safa), and which was due to be tabled in the meeting, as per the agenda, also collapsed.

It was reported that Sascoc had “committed a mistake by including the item in the agenda as, according to Sascoc articles, a motion can only be pursued in an annual general meeting (AGM),” said Reddy.

Unhappy about the dramatic turn of events, Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble said they respected the rules but defiantly added that “we are not going to withdraw the motion”.

He further said: “We will wait for the AGM if we have to, because this has to be discussed. Sascoc cannot communicate with the media about Safa without passing by us first.”

Meanwhile, impeached ASA president James Evans and his deputy Hendrick Ramaala, of the now suspended board, were surprised when approached by City Press, saying they were not aware of these developments as they were not at the meeting.

Ramaala said: “All I can say is I am not surprised and will not comment further until I receive a formal notice about the decision.”

A defiant Evans, who had taken his fight with the other board members to court, said: “The decision shows Sascoc’s ignorance and is in breach of a court order.

“This surely will be dealt with by a court of law because no one is above the law. I will consult with my legal team to seek a way forward.”

Sascoc has been at loggerheads with a number of its affiliates over a considerable period.

These affiliates include cricket, athletics, boxing, powerboating, karate, basketball and cycling.

In their letter, Safa had claimed, among other things, that “the current CEO of Sascoc has denied Safa due process before releasing statements about the association to the media regarding matters on which he had not consulted the association”.

They further claimed “Sascoc’s members are not satisfied with Sascoc’s arbitrary dispute-resolution process as presently implemented by the current Sascoc CEO”.

Reddy retorted: “I’m not worried because I am employed by the board and everything I do or say is a directive from the board.

“The people at the forefront of this motion are those from federations under investigation for mismanagement of public funds and theirs is to divert the attention to something else.

“Some of them are orchestrating this brigade because they are sour losers from last year’s elections.”

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani and Safa national executive committee member Nomsa Mahlangu lost out in their bid to get seats on the Sascoc board last year.

Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula concurred with Reddy, saying: “I don’t know anything about the motion of no confidence as I have not been fully briefed.

“But every decision was taken by the board of Sascoc and singling out an individual for a decision taken by the board is not right.”

Recently, Sascoc lost one of its many court battles with Powerboat SA (PSA) after Sascoc took their affiliate to court, claiming wasted costs for the leave-to-appeal judgment that was granted to PSA in May last year.

A jubilant PSA secretary-general, Khaya Mjo, said: “The leave-to-appeal judgment took Sascoc by surprise. They knew the consequences thereof, hence the only way out was to take our locus standi by terminating and suspending, whether lawful or not.”

The latest tiff between Sascoc and Cricket SA (CSA) is over the use of the South African flag above the protea symbol on national cricketers’ uniforms.

This resulted in CSA calling Sascoc “a bully” after Reddy had declared: “CSA will do the right thing, liking it or not, and will remove the national flag currently placed on top of the protea.”

Reddy said: “It is our duty to administer and protect national colours and we are very clear on that and there are no exceptions.”

CSA president Chris Nenzani said they were looking forward to engaging Sascoc, adding that “all relationships go through rough times”.

Reddy said the squabbles with federations were diverting their energies and focus from their main mandate of assisting in the development of athletes.

Sascoc’s road to Rio project, for instance, will be badly affected if these problems persist, he said.

The tussles between the Olympic body and its members have cost a fortune in taxpayers’ money, which could have been used more productively to develop athletes, Reddy said.

“Unfortunately, we cannot turn a blind eye to wrongdoing. This is a democratic state and wrongdoing is a crime and punishable,” he said.

He hoped the reregistration of federations for compliance purposes as well as the newly formed eminent persons group, mandated to advise the ministry of sport on transformation and policy matters, will bring some calm and order.

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