Sending the wrong message

2018-11-14 06:02

ONE of the current TV adverts produced by our globally rated advertising industry, and aired frequently enough not to be missed by potential customers, features a pleasant-looking teenager doing her best over a period of time to be noticed by the “in” crowd.

And boy, is she chuffed with herself when she finally succeeds, by way of having bought the same T-shirt as three more popular girls who nod in recognition upon seeing her wearing it in a shopping mall.

You might well also have seen this advert from a huge mobile operator yesterday or days earlier and, while admiring its overall creative aspects and message about perseverance, perhaps worried about it indirectly containing the wrong word about peer pressure.

Radio is just as powerful as the telly, and there was an interesting moment on this medium the other day when a very popular presenter went about “surprising” both his colleagues and audience by talking about a plan to introduce an extremely lucrative competition for the listeners.

Because his Durban-based station’s management supposedly knew nothing about this idea that was exciting but financially costly, he quipped on air that it is “easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission”.

Of course, his sudden “moment of inspiration” around the competition was not exactly that, as it was confirmed in the next day or two — after much teasing of the audience.

As was to be expected, the confirmation came as great news for the listeners, but when combining his “forgiveness and permission” line and the message of the TV advert mentioned earlier, there appears to be a very wrong signal about self-satisfaction or unnatural joy in our society where much good coexists with much bad.

And, our national sports fraternity seems very much part of this, with high-ranking administratorsforgetting far too often for comfort that there is no “I” in “team”.

Mind you, there do appear to be teams of undesirables found within these organisations who taint the work of more trustable colleagues striving to make South Africa a better place for all, including athletes, supporters and reliable investors.

Consider the following events or issues that have arisen over the past year or so.

The ministerial inquiry into alleged maladministration and financial mismanagement at the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has featured strong witness submissions about alleged conflicts of interest, exorbitant spending, high allowances, factionalism and a “common practice” of board members and staff seeking favours from service providers.

There has been a super-costly blunder by Cricket South Africa (CSA) regarding the creation of an international T20 competition for these shores, which finally goes ahead next week in a diluted form without much-needed financial backing from corporates and television companies.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) and SA Football Association (Safa) have been fighting over a certain advertising contract, and probably the commission linked to it.

There’s also a club boss who has been serving as acting chief executive of the PSL for more than a year, which brings transparency into question and robs a qualified member of the public of a job.

The president and chief executive of SA Rugby both have had to deal with allegations of fraud or kickbacks.

Closer to home, KZN Athletics (KZNA) has been accused by Athletics SA of poor management and of taking sporting matters to court too many times.

There are many other reports from the near and distant past that could be brought up to highlight the selfishness, theft, fraud, corruption, lack of development initiatives and limited spreading of benefits to people on the ground among the sports administrations in the country, especially those who have the power to attract big sponsorships from the corporate sector because of their size and importance.

Perhaps we need retired Professor Mervyn King, the undisputed king of corporate governance in South Africa, to draw up an “integrated and inclusive approach to corporate governance in the sporting sector in South Africa”.

We clearly require new checks and balances to be created and inserted into the handbooks of all our sports organisations for the benefit of all concerned,

And we need to reduce the room for individuals, or groups of individuals, to put themselves well before others in our lovely but tortured land that desperately needs every citizen to embrace the concept of working for the common good.

This is not to say that everything is bad in our sport, considering we have athletics stars reaching global heights these days and the richest soccer, cricket and rugby leagues in Africa, along with many other things.

However, we do need to reduce the damaging number of distasteful bits for the good of the country.

Aluta Continua!

• Carl Peters is the sports editor of

The Witness.

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