SA sporting colours not legal – probe

Siya Kolisi. File photo.
Siya Kolisi. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images

Every cap earned by Bok captain Siya Kolisi‚ Bafana Bafana star Itumeleng Khune‚ fastbowler Kagiso Rabada or any other national sportsperson in SA for the past 13 years is legally worthless.

This is according to the ministerial committee of inquiry into governance at the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

An executive summary of the report‚ which has yet to be made public, shows the committee was highly critical of president Gideon Sam‚ fired managers Tubby Reddy and Vinesh Maharaj and many processes at the umbrella body.

The committee said it had found Sascoc’s failure to appoint a national colours board in terms of the National Sports and Recreation Act‚ its constitution and internal regulations‚ and to manage the awarding of colours to athletes “irrational and arguably unlawful”.

“Sascoc’s award of colours to athletes through its executive management and or the CEO is irregular and unlawful.”

Sascoc took over the awarding of national colours after its inception in late 2004‚ which means that the colours awarded to all national sports people across all codes since then are effectively null and void.

The committee said the CEO’s exercise of the function of awarding colours was not only open to manipulation‚ it was also unlawful.

“The board’s acceptance of the CEO’s exercise ... constitutes a dereliction of the duty of the members of the board.”

The committee said the “excessive travel and subsistence perks” for Sascoc board members and managers “amount to an abuse of Sascoc monies‚ and therefore of public funds”.

“Such benefits are, in our view, out of sync or incongruous with the principle of the efficient and effective use and management of public monies.” It said Sascoc’s travel policies were vague.

The committee also found that there was a conflict of interest, where Sascoc board members sat on executives of other organisations to fundraise for Sascoc‚ like the Lotto distribution agency for sport.

It also found that Reddy‚ the former CEO‚ had manipulated the Griffin Report on security at Sascoc and that his submission of it to the sports minister was a contravention of Sascoc policies and constituted “unethical and dishonest conduct and amounts to a fraudulent misrepresentation”.

It said Maharaj’s use of Sascoc service providers for personal favours [for himself] and board members “constitutes conduct akin to corruption”.

And Sam’s “leadership style and function is highly inappropriate and not suitable for a public institution like Sascoc”.

“His unilateral approach to the management of Sascoc is almost dictatorial, lacks consultation‚ is not transparent and does not comply with the basic principles of accountability.”

The committee criticised, in particular, the appointment of the legal team for the disciplinary proceedings against Reddy‚ Maharaj and senior manager Jean Kelly.

The committee’s recommendations include:

● Revising the Act and the structure of Sascoc;

● Setting up an independent dispute resolution body;

● That the board includes specialists from various fields such as corporate governance and commercial law; and‚

● That senior management does not have links to sports bodies.