Cape Town - South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president Gideon Sam says the organisation drew positives and negatives from recent sporting events and developments.
Sam was speaking SASCOC’s general meeting at Olympic House in Johannesburg this past weekend.
The event was modified from that of an annual general meeting due to a lack of signed financials, with 71 national federations and sports confederations in attendance.
“The period 2016-2017 was a period of both positives and negatives in South African sport. The positives being that we had an excellent Rio Olympics and Paralympics where our athletes across all spheres continued to do the rainbow nation proud whilst the biggest negative during this period was the fact that Durban did not get the nod to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Sam said.
“The 2022 Games was an event which I was so confident we had firmly in our grasp but sadly the economic climate in the country made it impossible to carry on with what we firmly believed would have been a wonderful opportunity for our athletes to showcase their talents in front of their home crowd as well as the 2023 Rugby World Cup.”
The general meeting was held at the most unusual time of February well over six months later than the usual scheduling of this important yearly occasion.
“I must emphasise from the outside that it is abundantly clear that we are not living in usual times with a lot happening in the world,” Sam added.
“Even in South Africa we are not immune to global uncertainty and politically we find ourselves in an extreme state of flux as we seem to be caught between two presidencies right now.”
Sam gave some highlights of how South African sport performed in the period in question, one that concluded back in April last year.
“I urge you to think about the schools’ project that continues to elude us. I’ve said this before and will no doubt say it again: The bedrock of each and every sport is school sport and we must grab this nettle and deal with it. If the brutal truth be told, the majority of our schools in this country are not regular participants in sport.
“The time has now come for National Federations who are serious about survival, to take a serious look at school sport. We can no longer plead poverty as national federations because sooner or later we will have no athletes to advance for a winning nation,” Sam explained.
Getting back to performances over the year in question, apart from the Olympics and Paralympics the other multi-code games were the AUSC Region 5 Games in Luanda, Angola.
Sam explained that these regional events may get very little in the way of exposure but despite their many unique challenges it’s a unique opportunity for our youth to find their feet on the continental stage before stepping on to the global stage.
“Moving off the sporting field, just like is happening at government level, we also find ourselves in a state of flux at SASCOC.
“You will all no doubt be patently aware of the boardroom goings-on in Olympic House over the last year. I have said time and again that good governance is non-negotiable and that goes for every facet of life.
“The decision taken in January this year to dismiss three long-serving SASCOC employees was no knee-jerk reaction. It came after months and months of thorough investigation and deliberation, from all angles.
“As I’ve said, this was not a decision taken lightly. It was made after extensive legal investigation, research and long hard and honest hours of discussion at board level.
“Again, when it comes to conflict resolution I’ve always urged our federations to sort things out amongst themselves before rushing to court and incurring expensive legal fees and the like and from my side I think we have done our utmost to sort this matter out with the minimum of fuss and the utmost decorum for everyone concerned,” explained Sam.
Sam informed the delegates that SASCOC’s work is not over yet and on Monday the ministerial committee of inquiry begins it’s investigation into SASCOC.
“I have the utmost faith in the honourable minister of sport, Mr Thulas Nxesi and believe we will be able to move on in positive fashion once this is concluded.”
Sam concluded his address by highlighting that SASCOC was able to come out of the last sporting year with its heads held high because of the many people and structures who supported it. He expressed his sincere gratitude to national federations who as usual toiled all year round to produce the athletes to deliver to all our major competitions.
He also thanked all partners such as the IOC, CGF, IPC, ANOCA, COSANOC and loyal sponsors National Lotteries Commission and SRSA, without which the already challenging task would be even more enormous.