President’s Speech For 2018 AGM  “Reconstruction and Modernisation” | SASCOC - SASCOC
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President’s Speech For 2018 AGM  “Reconstruction and Modernisation”

President’s Speech 

“Reconstruction and Modernisation”

The Minister of Sport and Recreation

Members of the board of SASCOC

Representatives of National Federations

Representatives of Provincial Federation

Friends and guests of SASCOC

Members of the media,

Good morning, it good to see you all.

The Chinese often say “we live in interesting times”, and I might add, “what interesting times indeed we live in”. These are the times of reconstruction and modernisation.

Before I go into that let me at the outset remind this gathering that we are meeting at Annual General Meeting of SASCOC, which has by constitutional definition, a mandate to discharge certain corporate governance functions of the organisation including but not limited to,

  • The tabling for discussion and adoption of the annual report
  • The tabling for discussion and adoption of the annual financial statements
  • Appointing Auditors,
  • Amendments, if any, to the constitution of SASCOC

These are the things, we must most definitely attend to today. The interesting times we live in however compel not to be tunnel visioned but to attend to other pressing matter that beset South African sport us and indeed SASCOC. In dealing with them, let me sketch it to you as follows:

  1. SASCOC owns the premier sports brand (by reputation) in the republic, called Team South Africa and is bestowed with vast sports governing powers as a controlling body for sport in South Africa. By extension, it has to make sure that sport is administered properly and is equitably accessed by all. It is also SASCOC duty to ensure that sport contribute appropriately to the socio-economic development of the country.
  2. It is important to understand and accept that all organisations, wittingly or not, go through changes of various forms, in their development cycle. In the case of SASCOC’s, the key triggers have been factors that are threatening our organisation’s livehood, namely;
  • Organisational malfunctions i.e breach of corporate governance, poor ethical conduct and mismanagement, leading to dismissal of three Senior Executives
  • The Ministerial Investigation into the affairs of SASCOC
  • Erosion of our Brand Image and reputation
  • Consequently our financial viability is under threat

The organisation’s ability to discharge the roles outlined above has somewhat been eroded in the last 18 months at least. Our operational efficiency has been negatively affected by decreasing revenue.

It is now a matter of record that the Board accepted the recommendations of the independent disciplinary process that the CEO, the CFO and Manager in the Executive Office must be dismissed from the organisation on or about the 8th January 2018 this year. Note must be taken that the case has taken to arbitration at the CCMA, and we await the outcome of that process.

Members will also be aware of the Ministerial Inquiry into the affairs of SASCOC instituted by erstwhile Minister of Sport and Recreation Hnr. Thulas Nxesi. We are on record as having welcomed the Inquiry even though we had question marks on how it came about. Board Members were called to testify at the commission, some went voluntarily, so did some leaders of National Federations and the other interested individuals. None can deny that the existence of such an Inquiry rightly or wrongly had a huge negative impact on our reputation, as our corporate governance and public trust was called into question. All of this has had a negative impact on the organisation’s ability to perform its functions and caused some confusion and paralysis in the functioning of SASCOC.   I’ll comment on the report later.

So, as a board we came to terms with the fact that all was not well in our organisation, and that something drastic needed to be done to stop the downward trajectory. We began institute a process of organisational renewal and austerity measures, without having to be cajoled by anyone else to do so. Ladies and gentlemen we all agree that we need:

  • A better managed SASCOC that adheres to sound corporate governance principles
  • That time where board members contradicted and questioned each other in public must and has come to an end.
  • That we must own up to our ills and FIX them
  • We need to be financially stable and sustainable
  • We must take our leading role as the custodians of sport in South Africa. It is critical that we do so or give way to another organisation.

It is time for reconstruction and modernisation, a time for renewal.

At our board meeting of 22 April 2017, we decided to start the implementation of the austerity measures in the interest of the organisation. We also decided that we need to set an organisational development and change process in motion to,

  • Develop the a Turn Around Strategy for SASCOC
  • Implement corrective actions to achieve what SASCOC was set up to do
  • Engage, with all relevant stakeholders;

In this regard, we appointed a Task Team that is to be chaired by Board Vice President, Mr Barry Hendricks and includes Board member, Ms Lwandile Simelane. In addition the following experts have been incorporated:

  • Alan Fritz ( Human Resources and Planning expert and current chair of REMCO and member of Audit Committee);
  • Ravi Govender (Acting CFO);
  • Qondisa Ngwenya (Specialist Sports Business and Organisational Development consultant).

This organisational development and change process has as its mission to do the following:

  1. Improve Financial Viability and sustainability ;
  2. Re-define the operating model to achieve maximum efficiencies;
  3. Regain organisational relevance and leadership;
  4. Fix corporate governance and resource for success.

We are clear that whilst we are focused on the organisational renewal, SASCOC must continue to honour its critical commitments to maintain its relevance and deliver on:

  1. High Performance: This is the most critical job the citizens of our republic look upon us to do and we cannot fail. We must continue to put the Athletes and coaches at the forefront of what we do. It means that even with the little resources we have must by all means, assist our athletes. This is a non-negotiable.
  2. Governance of SPORT: We must continue to lead even when it looks impossible to do so. Yes our ability to do so has come into question and in this regard we have been our own worst enemies. We have not been singing from the same hymn sheet, we have given people reasons to doubt our leadership. It must stop right here, right now. Let us today be clear and say we are going to rebuild SASCOC from Average to Good to Great.
  3. Team Delivery: Nations of the world, the international Multi Sports bodies we belong to, our government, and the athletes we support, expect us to deliver Team South Africa on the world stage. This again we must do, even if we only have pennies, in other words we must divide the little we have to make sure this happens, whilst we are restructuring ourselves.

So, in the midst of everything that is happening these three things above must happen.

Ministerial Inquiry into the Affairs of SASCOC

Let me turn my attention to a very topical issue in the last 24 hours, the Ministerial Inquiry into the Affairs of SASCOC.

We received the Final Report on 19th September 2018 and submitted our response 15th October 2018. Between then and yesterday Minister Tokozile Xasa, has applied her mind to our submission and those of others and released her final report yesterday. At the outset the Minister was very clear that she has accepted the recommendations of the commission as they were. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am not going to delve into the recommendations because those of you who follow the media will already have seen the recommendations. Let me deal with those that we think require your thorough consideration:

  • That the Sports and Recreation should be amended to provide for the:
    • Clarity of roles between SASCOC, Department and sports and recreation bodies
    • SASCOC’s powers and duties and its obligations to the Department as well as to each sport and recreation body
    • An independent dispute resolution body
    • Stipulate other clauses to be included in the SASCOC constitution,
  • Revision of SASCOC Board and mode of operation
    • Here the key issue is the proposed appointment of the President of SASCOC as opposed to the open election process we currently have
    • Appointment of independent members of the board by an independent electoral college rather than by the board as it is now
    • The term of office board members is capped at two terms of 4years
    • That once elected members must relinquish the membership as “officials or elected office bearers” of sport federations
  • The minister has directed that SASCOC regularise the National Colours Board and that her Ministry has begun gazetting an amendment to the Act to ensure permanent regularisation of this.

Other than the above, all the other recommendations, deal with operational and corporate governance matters, some of which we have begun to address via the organisational development and change process alluded to above.

The board has taken note of the minister’s reference to the allegations of financial impropriety and mismanagement and the board will be closely monitoring the operational implantation of her expectations.

Insofar as recommendations pertaining to the SASCOC board and its management structure the Minister expects SASCOC to have these implemented by the end of April 2019 and will appoint an independent monitor to ensure that all the recommendations are dealt with.

Once again, “what interesting times we live in”. Ladies and Gentlemen we are called on to revamp the manner in which sport is governed in the country to, amend the Sports Act to incorporate the structural arrangements of SASCOC amongst other things. This is where your input is most required. I want to urge you to bear in mind the following as you do so:

Be Constructive and Progressive and NOT Obstructive and Argumentative.

Let me remind you once more, that we have begun the change process already, way ahead of this report being released. We started the organisational reconstruction and modernisation of SASCOC. We must in considering the above be constructive and progressive and not obstructive and argumentative. We must be mindful that:

  • We are also subjected to the IOC, CGF, IPC, ANOCA and World Games Association statutes.
  • That SASCOC has a dual personality,
    • 1) it is composed of voluntary associations that by necessity are membership driven,
    • 2) that it has been bestowed with the role managing national (state) assets and functions.

Therefore we have a very fine balance to achieve. We must be constructive and progressive.

Let me focus my attention very quickly on our other matters:

Today we will be tabling our annual report and audited financial statements for the year 2017/18 and it gives me great pleasure to say so, following the tribulations we had last year Indeed our administration is turning the corner. Let me be candid they don’t paint a great picture, it’s been a very tough year characterised by significant loss of revenue, particularly from the National Lotteries Commission and the private sector. The reconstruction and modernisation programme is intended to lift us out of the hole towards financial stability, we need to change…..FAST.

We remain appreciative to Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and National Lotteries Commission (NLC) for the funding they have given us during this financial year. It would be amiss of me not to highlight the drastic cut of funding from the National Lotteries Commission though from what they used to give us. Their change in the regulations to now classify SASCOC as a National Federation means that we can only get an allocation of R5million per annum with a 12-month cool off period, this is a drop of nearly R100m per annum almost overnight. This decision has come short of crippling the organisation. We remain in engagement with the NLC and with the help of SRSA, we hope we can get this decision reviewed sooner than later.

We must thank all our various partners and suppliers, each and every hard- working staff member at SASCOC, the various Provincial Governments, to all our friends as well as all our sportsmen and women out there who we strive to support throughout the year. All of them have stood by us during these trying times.

Let me conclude, these are interesting times, the changing times, the times are changing, Tokyo in 2020 is upon us. We must keep up with the changing times. We must renew our organisation. We must to modernise.

Gideon Sam

President

 


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