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SA sport must adapt or die Mbalula, Sam

SASCOC President Gideon Sam and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula on Saturday both strongly urged the South African sports movement to adapt or die.

Sam and Mbalula were speaking at a SASCOC General Meeting at Olympic House in Johannesburg and warned that strong measures will be taken to move SA sport forward, most notably in terms of development and transformation.

The President warned that there was an air of complacency about South African sport. Addressing the leaders of 68 of the country’s National Federations present at the meeting he said: “In sport its simply not about you as an individual in the Federation. It’s the total commitment to what you are doing and not bailing out when the boat starts leaking.

“When the boat starts sinking then we see the true leaders standing up and I must warn you that we at SASCOC are committed and every day SASCOC CEO, Mr Tubby Reddy, refers to our plan that extends to 2017.”

Sam also warned that Federations are being continuously monitored to see if they are on track. “Already we have had the first report back from the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) and it’s clear that we need to be vigilant as the SASCOC Board as we guide you.”

The first five NF’s, those of athletics, cricket, football, netball and rugby, have already come under the microscope by the EPG.

And Sam said there will be dire consequences for the sporting movement as a whole if the Federations fail to do what was required, especially in terms of the Transformation and Gender Charter.

“The Minister is well within his rights to act, he has the power behind him! Let us resolve here and now that we will take control of what goes on in sport for the development and transformation of our sport,┬á and be more enterprising and innovative! ”

Responding to Sam’s opening address, Minister Mbalula pulled no punches. “On 25 March we received the pilot study on the status of transformation in sport and the findings were shocking… little has been done to transform and the issue of grassroots transformation and participation of blacks is declining drastically. We found poorly maintained infrastructure and a lack of willingness to transform despite the agreement as in the Sports Charter.”

Minister Mbalula then announced far-reaching measures to address the issues at stake.

“We will do the followoing:
“Aggresively implement the quota system as instructed in the National Sports Plan of 2011 in order to phase in equity in sport;
“Embark on a roadshow to all nine provinces to give feedback on implementations of EPG report;
“Insist on a change from a 50-50 proportion to a 40-60 representation both provincial and nationally;
“Seek development plans from those five bodies that have been reviewed by the EPG;
“Mandate all provincial leaders to report back to us;
“Seek the EPG and SRSA to implement these recommendations.”

And Mbalula warned of harsh punishment if there was any form of resistance to these measures.

“Any form of resistance and Government can: withdraw funding to bodies that fail to comply; withdraw national colours to Federations holding back, rule that utilising bidding and hosting regulations to be illegal, deregister any body that fails to transform and bar sponsorship to anyone hostile to transformation.”

Mbalula also found time to congratulate the national cricket team that reached the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh this week. “The world title continues to elude us but this was a team hungry for victory and we must remember that they were not playing donkeys. They were playing India. The young players in this team have got a great future in the national team. No ways was this team a disgrace… we congratulate and salute them.”

On the subject of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland later this year, Chef de Mission Ms Shikwambana reported back to the NF’s present.

Seventeen sports codes will be represented by Team South Africa including three that will include Elite Athletes with Disabilities (EAD).

No qualifying events as such will be used for team selection. SASCOC will be guided by the International Federations and the SASCOC selection criteria supersedes the International Federation’s criteria. Individual and team athletes must rank in the top five in their events amongst the Commonwealth nations.

Deadline for final team lists is 31 May and at this early stage, the projected team size is 152 (with 86 male and 66 female competitors).

At the last games in New Delhi, India, Team South Africa won 33 medals and team management are targeting 36 medals at these Games.

The meeting also received feedback referring to the matter of all National Federations having to re-apply for membership in 2013.

SASCOC selected 10 federations and were able to have one-on-one meetings with seven of them.

The panel said that key areas addressed were: Governance, status quo on geo-political boundaries, strategic plan or business plan, Transformation and strategy/targets.

It was established that attendance of Executive Members was minimal, they were not well prepared, there was an unavailability of NF’s for meetings, and some NF’s felt the invitation was on too short a notice.

SASCOC also embarked on visits to the various Provincial Sports Confederations where challenges raised by both SASCOC Membership and provincial Departments of Sports and Recreation were addressed.

First Vice-President Ms Hajera Kajee and General Manager Ms Patience Shikwambana represented SASCOC on visits to four different provinces.

Among the observations made were that SASCOC is undermined by the PSC’s, there was a lack of accountability and partnerships were not encouraged. It was found that dedication prevails, however professionalism needed to be improved.


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