IOC steps in to assist stumbling SA Olympic body

Suspended board member Barry Hendricks remains at the centre of ongoing controversy within the national Olympic committee. Picture: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

Global officials have responded to government’s call to help Sascoc with its troubled election process.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will intervene in the election process, government has confirmed, as the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) continues its struggle to appoint new leadership.
“The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture welcomes the news of the appointment of a veteran sports administrator by the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to assist with the
facilitation of the Sascoc elections,” the department said in a statement on Saturday.
While the internationally appointed administrator had not yet been named, the move could prevent a potential breach of IOC and IPC rules, which did not allow for government interference in national Olympic committees.
Both global bodies had told government to back off earlier this year, calling on the sports ministry to give Sascoc space in order to resolve its problems.
Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa was unconvinced, however, that the umbrella body could do so without assistance, and he was relieved the IOC and IPC had responded.
“We strive to give space to sport organisations to address their own challenges and to only intervene as a last resort,” the sports ministry said.
“However, being on the ground, we are best placed to sound alarms when we see shortcomings in the ability of sport administrators to provide the kind of leadership required for stable and athlete centred administration.
“It was in this context that our earlier invitation for the IOC and IPC to intervene, and assist Sascoc to address its problems, should be seen.”
The Sascoc board was found to be “dysfunctional” by an independent ministerial inquiry in 2018, and though it had since made progress in an attempt to meet the 42 recommendations made by the inquiry report, battles continued to wage within the organisation’s executive committee.
Elections to fill vacant board posts had been rocked by allegations of attempts to block nominees, which resulted in the suspension of acting Sascoc president Barry Hendricks, who later called for the
organisation’s board to be dissolved.
Hendricks, who was temporarily replaced by Aleck Skhosana, had since
become locked in a battle with Tennis SA board member Ntambi Ravele, with allegations arising that legal representatives had interfered in an ongoing arbitration process.

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