Johannesburg - Sports minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday called on fighting factions within the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) to set their differences aside.
“South Africa wants medals not muffins,” Mbalula said in his address to the SASCOC board.
“We would like to register our concern on the media wrangling in relation to the upcoming SASCOC elective conference.
"We are disappointed that people choose to use the media to fight their own personal battles when it comes to organisational and leadership questions.”
“We call on everyone in SASCOC and elsewhere to concentrate on the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London.”
He said media reports of infighting at SASCOC were worrying and he wanted to understand the nature of the issues for it to be addressed.
“Society is built on the foundations of healthy contradictions not the ones that seek to undermine.
“I can assure you there was no blood on the floor between Tubby Reddy (CEO) and the president [Gideon Sam] and I think the board is attending to all the issues with regard to different federations.”
He told the board that "no-go areas" and "untouchables" should not be tolerated in South African sport.
Sam said if there were allegations of corruption or maladministration SASCOC would deal with it.
“To that extent we have not really turned our back on that and we are dealing with it in the federations,” Sam said.
“Our focus going forward is to ensure that we do far better than we did in Beijing.”
Mbalula said there was an “urgent need to run the confederation, federations and sport in all its facets transparently, openly, fairly and democratically”.
“We will use all means within our own regulations and the constitutional framework to root-out crime and corruption as well as maladministration in sport even if it means for us attending court cases.”
Mbalula also lamented South African sports teams’ poor performances at international competitions in 2011 and added he had requested a meeting with the South African Football Association following last year’s African Cup of Nations qualifying debacle.
“We call on the South African Football Association to put its house in order," Mbalula said.
"We are making this call armed by the cries of the nation in the aftermaths of the recent performances of our national teams, especially Bafana Bafana.