‘Racist’ sports boss spurned

2008-07-20 00:00

THE president of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), Moss Mashishi, slammed the “purely racist” statements of parliamentary sports portfolio committee chairman Butana Komphela in an interview with The Witness at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park yesterday.

Taking time out from watching the Davis Cup tie between SA and Denmark, Mashishi said Sascoc recently condemned the utterances of the controversial Komphela in the strongest possible terms.

“Sascoc will no longer meet Parliament’s sports portfolio committee, and all sports federations that fall under the Sascoc umbrella will not go there either,” the sports boss said.

In turn, the SA Tennis Association president, Johan Koorts, said tennis is delighted not to attend such meetings with Komphela as they have been “a waste of time”.

Mashishi continued: “We must take a stand. Mr Komphela has lost control of himself and the role his committee is supposed to play in SA sport.

“Komphela’s recent statements to the Mail & Guardian are totally unacceptable,” said Mashishi. “Sascoc takes extreme exception to this slandering of whites and Indians, and the meeting Sascoc held determined that our line of communication is with the Minister of Sport [Makhenkesi Stofile] alone.

We have gone to the sports portfolio committee in the past as a sign of respect to Parliament and we will not do so again as long as Komphela continues to show no respect to SA sports and its codes.”

Mashishi said the Sascoc meeting also recorded regret that the body had not responded earlier, as Komphela’s wild statements were an affront to its function.

“Sascoc is also sending a letter to the Human Rights Commission about Komphela’s statements, which are purely racist,” he said.

Komphela said Sascoc is “full of whites and Indians who don't understand transformation and lack vision”.

“His statements have created a climate of unhappiness in our sport,” Mashishi said.

“Transformation is crucial, but it is not simply a case of bartering with sports codes for so many black players in a team, as it does the sport and its participants no good. We need to look at the bigger picture. To transform a sport we have to ask what are municipalities doing in providing facilities for its residents.

“We are also looking at the manner in which National Lottery (NL) money is being used. Every year they give out R500 million to sport, that’s R2,5 billion in five years, yet it is so widely and thinly spread that is has made very little meaningful impact on raising standards in our sport.

“NL distribution is also very slow, sports codes have to wait months and months to receive money allocated to them. We have raised this issue for three years now, but nothing has changed so Sascoc is going to engage government at a high level to speed this distribution up,” Mashishi said.

“School sports bodies and national federations also need to work together, and Sascoc is looking at this closely, as so many talented players are falling through the cracks that occur between school and club sport …”

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