Testimony by two witnesses at Thursday’s hearing of the Ministerial Committee of Inquiry into the Sascoc governance matters, painted a picture of an Olympic Body that is operating on a thin budget and skeleton staff.
The first two witnesses on Day 2 of the hearings, Sascoc COO and acting CEO, Patience Shikwambana, and Operation Excellence programme General Manager, Ezra Shabangu, shared details of how the lack of funds has forced the body to cut down and do the bare minimum.
Following damning evidence by witnesses on Monday, a former employee gave further evidence on the actions of former Chief Executive Tubby Reddy, on how he splurged company money on business class trips with his secretary.
The second day of Judge Ralph Zulman’s Committee of Inquiry saw the Olympic Body’s senior management take to the witness stand.
Tasked with investigating allegations of poor governance, financial mismanagement and a dysfunctional federation, the panel of Sport Administrator Dr Ali Bacher and Labour Law expert Shamima Gaibie, were taken through a quick tutorial on the day to day running of the organisation.
Shikwambana says, “For us as Sascoc, and as the president has already said, we welcome this inquiry. For us, what is important is that people must come here and they must tell the truth.”
Shikwambana and Operation Excellence Manager Ezera Tshabangu received sympathy on the hardships of working with mostly a skeleton staff in their various departments, whilst having to produce athletes to represent the country on the world’s biggest stage.
However, ousted Chief Executive Tubby Reddy was not spared as former employee, Wessel Oosthuizen, levelled serious accusations at his former boss.
Former Sascoc photographer Wessel Oosthuizen says, “You will see in that correspondence there, he says they are saving costs yet he flies to DRC with his PA who sits in business class.”
“In the same period, he went to the United States with her. He came back, then he flew to Auckland in New Zealand, he then came back home and then flew again to the DRC.”
“While all this happened I was photographing the Olympic day in Boksburg, where some black kids had lined up for the fun run in socks. This while the CEO is wining and dining in a foreign country with his PA.”
And while Oosthuizen’s testimony was not necessarily in line with the Inquiry’s terms of reference, it did paint a damning picture of a the former CEO.
“In Rio, last year, I covered the Olympics and Paralympics. May I just add, Mr Reddy in Rio, we did not attend a single event at the Olympics.”
Oosthuizen did not hold any punches, as he also gave evidence incriminating first vice President of Sascoc Hajera Kajee as well as Vinesh Maharaj who was Chief Operations Officer.
Reddy and Maharaj will have their day in the hot seat next Monday when they will get an opportunity to reply to the allegations levelled against them.
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