Sport24 columnist Graeme Joffe (File)
The real fight is now on.
I received a combined summons from Sascoc and eight plaintiffs (Gideon Sam, Tubby Reddy, Hajera Kajee, Leslie Williams, Kobus Marais, Mubarak Mohamed, Mark Alexander and Jace Naidoo), suing for defamation, for over R21 million.
But I will not give up the fight for our sportsmen and women, who have no voice for fear of victimisation.
So, it couldn’t have been an easy decision for USSA to withdraw their membership from Sascoc but it was the right decision and it made sure SA’s student athletes are able to compete in the World Student Games in Russia from July 6-17.
Someone needed to stand up to Sascoc.
Why should the athletes suffer in a dispute between administrators from Sascoc and ASA?
Interviewed on SportsFire, the vice president of USSA, Ilhaam Groenewald said: “We felt as University Sports Africa leadership that we couldn’t adhere to that (Sascoc’s) decision because it had an extremely negative impact on our athletes. Imagine you have athletes that are prepared for months, they have sacrificed academically, financially and mostly their sport participation to qualify for the World Student games. So, that just didn’t go down very well. So for us it was really, really a very critical decision to make.”
Meanwhile, sports minister Fikile Mbalula is acting like the dispute between Sascoc and ASA has only just happened.
Where was he when Sascoc sent Hendrick Ramaala in as a decoy back in February to cause a rebellion within ASA?
Five months later, Sascoc was firmly put in their place by the IAAF and Mbalula is now quoted as saying: “We are employed to lash these people when they're being naughty in the boardroom.”
So, the circus continues.
Following the suspension of ASA, Mbalula called a meeting with Sascoc, only for Sascoc President Gideon Sam (who said my heart bleeds for the athletes) and CEO, Tubby Reddy to make themselves unavailable.
“Unavailable”, knowing full well the SA student athletes were scheduled to leave for Russia, three days after the meeting.
What could have been more important for Sam and Reddy when they have been chiefly responsible for a crisis in SA sport that almost ranks up with our suspension from the Olympic movement back in 1976?
Well, Reddy was on another overseas trip, this time to Hong Kong.
So, in June alone, the self appointed CEO has been in New York, Moscow, Lausanne and Hong Kong (business class) while SA sport is grieving.
I emailed the CEO, asking to please confirm his trip to Hong Kong and what business interest it was.
Yes, no response.
Sam’s response to my email, why he couldn’t make the meeting with the sports minister - a one liner.
“I went to my ancestral home in the Eastern Cape as I normally do in June.”
These are the people running SA sport but they couldn’t care one bit if our athletes went to the World Student Games or not!
The meeting with the sports minister was attended by Sascoc vice-president, Hajeera Kajee and redeployed Sascoc administrator, Zola Majavu in the absence of Sam and Reddy.
What value could they add?
Majavu’s value to Sascoc must have risen as he paid some outstanding ASA accounts including an amount of R2.2 million to Accelerate Sport, a company which Gideon Sam just happens to be a director of.
A rather large payment for a federation that was reported to be bankrupt and had more pressing debts to pay.
But Majavu never ever mentioned this payment to the media.
I wonder why?
Now, you can see why Sascoc really wanted access to ASA’s bank account.
To add insult to injury, Sascoc is currently in default of the Companies Act as they had to have a new memorandum of incorporation by May 1, 2013. Instead, they are quietly trying to de-register Sascoc as a non-profit company and change to an association.
This could have more disastrous consequences for the federations and athletes.
Although, can the greed get much worse?
Mbalula says athletes should ignore the “shenanigans” going on in sporting boardrooms.
Hard to ignore when the sports minister is in bed with Sascoc and he just ignores the blatant corruption and nepotism within SA sport.
The Minister and entire Sascoc board should resign in disgrace or more federations need to have the courage to withdraw their membership, like USSA.
Email Graeme at: email@example.com
Catch Graeme Joffe on SportsFire every Monday and Thursday at 17:30 on Radio Today, 1485am in JHB, National on DStv audio channel 869 and streaming worldwide on www.1485.org.za. Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboyDisclaimer:
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