Cape Town - The South African government has reportedly published a bill that will 'nationalise' the country’s sports bodies.
According to Rapport, this includes the major sport governing bodies like SA Rugby, Cricket South Africa and Athletics South Africa.
The report in the Afrikaans weekly added that the Sports and Recreation Amendment Bill - which was published just before Christmas - caught the country's sports administrators off guard.
It added that the new proposed legislation would be so drastic that it would transfer almost all the powers of the current sport governing bodies to a deputy director general of the Department of Sport and Recreation.
The department would be empowered to hand out penalties to organisations if they did not comply with the prescriptions in the bill, including fines and up to two years in jail.
Kobus Marais, a board member of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), said if the bill was accepted South Africa would be kicked out of the Olympic Games because the world governing body prohibits government interference.
Sumayya Khan, acting director general of the department, denied that sports minister Nathi Mthethwa wanted to take over South African sport.
"The minister just wants to create a mechanism so that he can intervene to initiate investigations without interfering (in daily administration)," she said.
However Steve Cornelius, a sports law expert from the University of Pretoria, warned there is no doubt that the draft amendments are seeking to put the minister in full control of sport in the country.
- Compiled by Sport24 staff