Mthethwa’s tough talk delivers early elections for SASCOC

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Minister of Sports Nathi Mthethwa’s strong address to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) annual general meeting on Saturday seems to have done the trick.

SABC Sport understands that the SASCOC members have agreed to the recommendations for an early election of the SASCOC Board on the 28th of March next year and not in November as per their constitution.

Mthethwa had come in hard on the slow pace of implementation of the Zulman report recommendations in his address to the SASCOC members.  He says all he was asking for from SASCOC was action and implementation.

One of the challenges that Mthethwa has been having in terms of implementing his plans had been to be careful of walking the tightrope of interference in sport, something which is prohibited by the international bodies.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry was scheduled to have a Football Indaba but Mthethwa says they have since postponed to early next year due to some break down in communication after SAFA posed some questions about it.

But Mthethwa says the advantage he has with SASCOC is that he’s had more interactions with them but it’s the slow pace of implementation that remains a challenge.

The slow implementation of the Zulman report is also hitting SASCOC in the pocket. Financially the organisation has not been doing well, they had to cut their team which went to the All Africa Games recently.

The funding coming from Lotto has also been delayed ahead of the Olympics and the Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan next year. But outgoing President Gideon Sam was confident that they would be able to get the R54million they need from Lotto.

For Rio 2016, SASCOC had a budget of around R70 million and this also helped with the OPEX programme which provided financial support to the athletes for training purposes going to the Olympics. But Sam says they are strictly focusing on quality ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics next year.

SASCOC members also elected Hendricks as the first Vice President and Cecilia Molokwane as a Board Member on Saturday.

These special elections followed the vacancies created by Hajera Kajee, who was the previous first Vice President and Les Williams, a Board Member after they retired last year.

Its expected that Hendricks will be the Acting President when Sam retires end of next month but it’s the new journey away from the generation of non-racial sport, which should be interesting.

The Zulman report is also clear on how the SASCOC board going forward should be constituted and Mthethwa emphasizes why he had to come and address the board.

One of the major decisions from this AGM, has seen the members voting to scrap the SASCOC’s tough qualification standards.

This will open the door for many athletes who want to qualify to the Tokyo Olympics next year including the women’s hockey team. Report by Velile Mnyandu