Sam hits back at Reddy bugging claims

Durban 2022 CEO Tubby Reddy. PHOTO: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images
Durban 2022 CEO Tubby Reddy. PHOTO: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

Cape Town - SASCOC president Gideon Sam has hit back at suspended CEO Tubby Reddy's claims that he had his home and office bugged.

In a report leaked to certain media houses last week, Reddy claimed that he had been spied on through the use of surveillance equipment at both his home and the SASCOC offices, and while he did not directly accuse Sam, he insinuated that he could have been involved.

A police case on the matter has since been opened, but Sam is adamant that such an operation is not something that SASCOC would be capable of. 

"We don't even know where Tubby stays, so who on the board would pay such a high price? I mean, you have to get into his house," a bemused Sam said when contacted by Sport24.

"How do you get into his house when his whole family is staying in the house? And how do you put up the bugging devices?"

Sam said that if there were bugging devices in Reddy's house and office, whoever the manufacturer was should be contacted and they should try and trace where they came from. 

Reddy was last week suspended as CEO under a cloud of sexual harassment claims, while Sam confirmed that he was also being investigated for bringing the organisation into disrepute following the bugging accusations.

But the war between Reddy and SASCOC goes far deeper than claims of sexual harassment and spying.

Reddy has also used the report to show how disgruntled board members, mainly Kobus Marais, voiced their disapproval at how the nomination process for the SASCOC board had developed towards the end of last year. 

Marais, the vice-president of the South Africa Sport Association for the Physically Disabled (SASAPD), had been nominated to stand for the SASCOC board in 2016 by SA Tug of War, among other federations. 

However, the nomination was not accepted due to an interpretation of the SASCOC constitution, which states that anybody nominated for the board must come from a recognised SASCOC federation. 

According to legal experts that Reddy had approached, SASAPD was not considered a recognised SASCOC federation. 

Still, on November 26 last year, that ruling was ignored as the board decided that Marais was in fact allowed to be nominated and he was duly elected as a board member. 

Marais had previously been elected in 2008 and 2012 - both times while he was vice-president at SASAPD.

The report suggests that the pre-election drama fuelled administrative confrontation between Marais and Reddy down the line. 

In a section of the entitled 'Attacks on CFO, Mr. Vinesh Maharaj', it is implied that the board's finance commission, at a meeting on February 20 this year at which Reddy was not present, launched an investigation into Chief Financial Officer Vinesh Maharaj.

Marais, who chairs the finance commission, voiced a number of concerns over Maharaj's dealings, including that had been given a daily budget for the 2016 Paralympic Games despite having returned home early. 

Members of the board then moved for Maharaj's suspension, while there were also requests for an independent body to be appointed to control SASCOC's finances. 

This outraged Reddy, who said that Maharaj handed over his allowance to one Clifford Cobers, who had stayed on in Rio in Maharaj's place. 

Reddy then sent a mail to the board and president Sam expressing his "serious concern" at what had transpired during and following the February 20 meeting.

It was not the job of the board, Reddy said, to hire and fire people but rather to "shape policy". 

After an emergency meeting on March 24, it was decided to move ahead in seeking independent financial control, but Maharaj was not suspended. 

SASCOC will be holding a finance committee meeting on Friday, and Sam has instructed Marais to get to the bottom of where the funds came from for Reddy to order the security report from SS Griffin that details the alleged bugging. 

The report also details the controversial board reshuffle that ultimately saw Aleck Skhosana dumped from the SASCOC board last month.  

A number of mails from board members are included that show confusion in how exactly to go about reducing the board from 15 to 14 members. 

Among those is a mail from Olympian and current SASCOC board member Natalie du Toit, who called out the organisation.

Du Toit expressed her disgust at the way in which her colleagues on the SASCOC board engaged with each other via e-mail, making unfounded statements and accusations.

She reminded them all that their priority should be to benefit the lives of the country's athletes, and not to engage in "petty politics". 

Reddy, meanwhile, is suspended with full pay until August 18. By then, SASCOC will have reached a conclusion in the matter. 

Follow Sport24 journalist @LloydBurnard on Twitter...

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