Stofile: SA must lead Africa

Johannesburg - South Africans needed to be more involved in international sports organisations, former sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile said on Friday after he was elected vice-president of World Anti-Doping Code (Wada) for two years, from 2014 to 2016.

Stofile, who is currently South Africa’s ambassador to Germany said South Africa needed to lead the way on the African continent in terms of sport administration.

"We must not pretend we have a monopoly of knowledge, we must lead them forward together with partners in the world," Stofile said.

"For instance the European council of sports ministers is well in advance of the whole of the African continent in terms of policy, relations between governments and sport and athletes and administrators.

"So we have that joy of being connected with those kinds of organisations and hope we can inspire our fellow Africans."

Stofile, who previously served on the Wada executive committee and foundation board during his term as South Africa's sports minister, will serve under incoming president Craig Reedie.

The duo will replace outgoing president John Fahey of Australia and his deputy Arne Ljungqvist of Sweden.

Reedie, the IOC deputy president, was nominated by the International Olympic Committee. He served on London's 2012 Olympics organising committee.

Wada's Foundation Board, which comprised representatives from the Olympic movement and from governments, appointed the president and vice-president from within or from outside its structure.

There were currently 36 Wada Foundation Board members, plus the president and vice-president.

Stofile said South Africa were leaders in international sport referring to the country being the only the country with a Wada-accredited laboratory on the African continent. The laboratory is based in Bloemfontein.

"South Africa sometimes underestimates our capacity both in terms of sports scientists and the anti-doping laboratory in Bloemfontein and our anti-doping agency in Cape Town, Saids (SA Institute for Drug-free Sport)," he said.

"We are right up there with the leaders in the world, and we must keep it like that, we can only keep it like that if we have more that participate."

Earlier on Friday, delegates at a conference in Johannesburg adopted a more stringent doping code which would come into effect on January 1, 2015.

Doping bans would be doubled from a two-year period to four years, effectively making an athlete ineligible for one Olympic Games cycle.

"I hope and believe this conference will have an impact and a different meaning to everyone around the globe when it comes to this fight against cheaters and doping in sport," Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said at the closing of the conference.

"The code we've adopted will be a code that will usher in a new meaning and will accelerate the fight against doping in sport.

"Here in Johannesburg, we renew ourselves against the fight against doping and we warn the cheaters and say 'you will never be tolerated'." Mbalula reiterated South Africa and the African continent were ready to host the Olympic Games.

"Africa is ready to host the Olympics in the coming years, of course with your support," he said.

"This is the time, Ke Nako, we are ready to make it happen for the Africa continent.

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