SASCOC wishes to express its extreme surprise and disappointment at the statements made by Sunette Viljoen in the media regarding the functioning of SASCOC.
As a seasoned sports campaigner, SASCOC would have expected Viljoen, more than anyone else, to have approached us if she had any specific complaints or grievances or had experienced less than satisfactory service from any SASCOC officials. Furthermore, Viljoen is aware of all the processes and procedures available to her in the event that she believes she has been prejudiced or her ability to perform or participate has been negatively impacted upon.
It is therefore inexplicable why Viljoen chose the route of the media instead of firstly approaching her federation, Athletics South Africa, and secondly, SASCOC.
Viljoen’s desire to be the champion of voiceless athletes rings hollow as she has been unable to provide any substantive evidence of what she believes is a concerted attempt to prejudice her participation at events. On the contrary, what SASCOC has done is to ensure that at every event supported by SASCOC, that Ms. Viljoen participated in, SASCOC has gone out of its way, through its Operation Excellence Programme, to provide full support – financial and material – so that she is in a position to bring back a medal.
Let us explain the functioning of Operation Excellence support for our athletes who prepare over the four year period for the Olympics and Paralympics and many events leading to this pinnacle.
Athletes are identified onto the programme if they satisfy a set of criteria that indicates their potential to return medals at these multisport games or at least a finalist placing at these games.
Once they are identified they receive support to varying degrees for the following areas of preparation. These are as follows, and is given to the athletes based on need for the service. Monthly stipend – food and accommodation, medical aid, training camps both locally and internationally, competition both locally and internationally, scientific and medical testing, equipment purchase, technological support, sport psychology and a special fund for medical emergencies and injury treatment and professional coaching fees.
We started funding the athletes on our return from London in October 2012. We have funded these athletes therefore October 2012 – March 2013, April 2013 – March 2014, April 2014 – March 2015 and April 2015 – September 2015. Of course to access funds proper proof documents must be provided to show proper usage of funds received for the previous months. Unfortunately some want the funds but don’t want to account for its proper usage.
Viljoen is disingenuous when she falsely claims that athletes are afraid to speak out for fear of victimization or withdrawal of OPEX funding. Viljoen fully understands that when she signed the OPEX contract, there are clear guidelines and rules she had to abide by. This is not unique to South Africa or SASCOC. Athletes all over the world are bound by the agreements they conclude with their federations or Olympic Committees and Ms Viljoen is fully cognisant of the OPEX contract that allows her to approach SASCOC if she feels aggrieved. The fact that Ms. Viljoen failed to take that opportunity, fully provided for in the OPEX rules, clearly indicates that Ms. Viljoen is neither sincere nor truthful.
Since October 2012 up until September 2015, Ms Viljoen has received funding from SASCOC for R815 514 which makes her the sixth largest recipient of funds from SASCOC behind the swimmers and rowers.
The total OPEX spend thus far is a total of R35 000 000.