SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) briefing

Sports, Arts and Culture

24 October 2017
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) briefed the Committee on its governance, programmes and annual report including financials.

Members were dissatisfied with the quality of the presentation. They pointed out that the information on the financial was scant, that the document had errors and was poorly drafted and that it did not address many the challenges facing the organisation. The central concern for the Committee is that the athletes are receiving SASCOCs undivided attention and the preparations for future events are on track.

SASCOC told the Committee it had no relationship with Sedgars‚ the company that was allegedly linked to paying for a trip to Dubai for the former sport minister‚ Fikile Mbalula.

SASCOC admitted it had exceeded its own constitution by appointing 15 board members instead of 14.


On transformation, SASCOC said it is getting the various federations to align with its transformation processes and agenda. SASCOC is a partner of the EPG programme and working on the document of norms and standards which will encompass the six pillars of the transformation charter which is a part of the national sports plan.

SASCOC admitted it is in jeopardy highlighting that here are problems in many Federations: Angling, Shooting, Karate and all this does not paint a pretty picture.

Members asked if the President of SASCOC can assure the Committee that none of its board member is cooperating with staff or anyone else to damage SASCOC’s image and reputation by selectively passing information to the minister.  Members asserted that according to the media reports, there seems to be two centres of power at SASCOC, what are the internal issues faced by the organisation is there  duplication of functions as alleged by the media?  Others pointed out that reports suggests that SASCOC approached an Italian company to kit SA athletes; do SA not have companies that make and supply sports clothes in SA?  Members also wanted to know happened on the day the organisation help it’s AGM? With regards to the litigations, how many were instituted against SASCOC in the last five years?  How many cases were won and lost? 

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed SASCOC and accepted their apologies for their inability to present to the Committee since June. The President of SASCOC was then asked to introduce his team which he did. The presence of former SA star Paralympian Ms Natalie du Toit was noted and she was thanked her for service to the nation.

 

Briefing by SASCOC

Ms Ezera Tshabangu, General Manager, SASCOC, explained that SASCOC acts as the key controlling body of sports in the country and does this with the assistance of the ministry and national federations.  In terms of governance, there is the general assembly where all presidents of national federations and the sports confederations will sit and they are the highest decision making body according to our constitution. SASCOC is also accountable to the minister of sports and recreation and the portfolio committee of sports.

SASCOC also promotes high performance systems which are focused on the athletes and the systems, coaches support programmes and Coaching Development. SASCOC’s priorities also involve Athletes and Coaches Support Programmes, Operation Excellence, Special Support Programme, Olympic Solidarity and Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Special Preparation for Tokyo 2020. 35 athletes will be enrolled in Operation Excellence starting this October and the special support programmes.  Nine SA youngsters have been accepted by Olympic Solidarity for the Tokyo 2020 scholarships. They will be receiving monthly stipends from IOC through the Olympic Solidarity. ANOCA has $1m of funds now available for all African countries that SASCOC can tap into.

 

In terms of Coaching Development, the coach developer programme is continuing and a coach from the Canadian association is assisting SASCOC. There is also the Master’s programme the first of its kind in SA. It is now recognised by SAQA.

 

23 Coaches/ NCEAs/ National Coach Developers went through RPL for the Master’s Degree. The programme has not progressed due to funding. KZN province has committed to supporting its coaches and coach developers who were admitted onto the programme.

 

In terms of Team Delivery for 2017

-World Games 2017 – 1 medal (Tug of War)

-Commonwealth Youth Games 2017 – 18 medals (5th on medal table)

The Upcoming Games are:

-2018 Winter Olympic Games - PyeongChang 9-25 February

-2018 Winter Paralympics Games – PyeongChang 9-18 March

-2018 Commonwealth Games 4-15 April

2018 Commonwealth Games programme of action

-18 Sporting Codes (incl. 5 para sports)

-Potential to participate in 16 Codes

-Rugby 7’s and netball qualification confirmed by the Ifs

-Para sports, Hockey, Beach Volleyball qualification end on 31 October 2017

-Other codes – December 2017 14 SASCOC’s Priorities 2018 Commonwealth Games

-4 January 2018 – Submission of final teams by NFs to SASCOC

-5-9 January 2018 - Verification of submissions

-10 January 2018 – HP Commission meeting

-12 – 19 January 2018 - Board Ratification process

-25 January 2018 – Team Announcement

-26 January 2018 – Code Managers Meeting

-20 March 2018 - 1st group depart for Pre Games Training Camp (PGTC)

-24 March 2018 – 2nd group depart for PGTC

-25-27 March 2018 – Pre Games holding camp in Johannesburg 15 SASCOC’

 

Finances

Budget required for the quadrennial- full budget presented to Portfolio Committee in May 2017 - R595 700, 743.

For the 2017/2018 Financial Year - R 119 214, 500.

Allocation from SRSA for 2017/18 - R 9 813 000 (OPEX and Coaching Development).

 

Discussion

Mr D Bergman (DA) said he told the Minister when he called for the commission of inquiry that the Committee would not like to be one sided but it is important to know what is happening hence he is asking SASCOC’s Board today whether the allegations made by the Minister is true. Did SASCOC or any federation respond to the Minister in any way? Can the President of SASCOC give any assurance that no board member is cooperating with staff or anyone else to damage SASCOC’s image and reputation by selectively passing information to the Minister?  With regards to the litigations, how many were instituted against SASCOC in the last five years?  How many cases were won and lost? SASCOC is begging for money but yet is paying hugely for things that are unrelated to sports. On the great mystery of Basketball South Africa missing millions, it was sad to read about the missing millions given by Lotto and what is being done about it?

 

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) welcomed the presentation with sadness as even their presentations regarding financials are not finances. There is neither accountability nor openness; and how can an oversight be carried out?  The presentation is poorly written and it was hoped that SASCOC’s challenges will be addressed in the presentation as it failed to address the CEO and Dubai issues with the former minister. Does this board have any relationship with a company called Sedgars and if so is there any existing contract with them and when is it going to expire? How long has the business relationship lasted? How much is the actual contract worth with this company? Could more details be provided because it is not always good to rely on reports from the media? There seems to be an alleged mismanagement of funds and this lack of openness on SASCOC finances is not helping matters. Is SASCOC aware of any relationship or contract signed with this company?  Or any gifts/payments made via the former minister with regards to the contract? These are some of the challenges that MPs expected to be addressed. According to the media reports, there seems to be two centres of power at SASCOC, what are the internal issues faced by the organisation and the duplication of functions as alleged by the media? There is the issue of SASCOC looking for an Italian company to kit SA athletes; do we not have companies that make and supply sports clothes in SA?  What happened on the day the organisation help its AGM?

 

Mr P Moteka (EFF) welcomed the presentation as ugly as it is. The presentation is a show of disrespect to the Committee because there is no openness. Two sentences do not constitute an organisation’s financials and is unacceptable. Information needs to be given to enable the Committee to positively engage. If this is the way SASCOC presents their financials no wonder they are struggling to attract sponsors.

Mr Gideon Sam, SASCOC President, objected that these are not financials. SASCOC always tendered to the Committee its full financials that is audited by a reputable auditing firm. Annual reports are brought to the Committee every year. To now say that what was gleaned as summary of the financials is now SASCOC’s annual financial report and as result the world is not giving SASCOC money is unfair to the organisation.

 

Mr Moteka continued. He said that he had previously asked SASCOC for details of its other funders separate from that given by the Department of Sports and Recreation (SRSA). SASCOC needs to polish their work so as to attract more sponsors. There are lots of litigations and disputes the organisation is dealing with and this is a put off for sponsors. More information is needed on the disciplinary case against the CEO. On what grounds and what is the issue about? Why was a board member removed?  The presentation does not address transformation.   When SASCOC next appeared before the Committee, there should be information on coaching development in the previous financial year and targets met or unmet and plans for the future. How many female and black coaches for instance have been developed?  What about the rural areas, what has being done to unearth talent and develop them? These are things that are of interest to the Committee. Athletes winning medals without a plan to reach the poor in the rural areas is not helpful.

 

Ms D Manana (ANC) asked if SASCOC was happy with the coaching development programme. This is because SA coaches are not being prioritised rather outsiders are scouted and parachuted to coach in SA. Is this state of affairs helping SASCOC in coaching development? SASCOC presentation is also full of errors and sometimes incomprehensible; this is not good for a reputable organisation like yours. On the issue of 361-Degrees, the Committee was told previously that SASCOC has a contract with this company; what about SA companies manufacturing good sporting attires? On the infighting going on at SASCOC it is hampering the smooth functioning of the organisation and leading to litigations. This briefing is supposed to include some information on Karate SA because of the letter written by them alleging injustice. The Committee would want to be briefed on what is going on. On the issue of the CEO, did the victim report this incident? The Committee would also want to know what happened and if she (the victim) reported the incidence before the CEO was suspended.

 

Ms B Abrahams (ANC) agreed with other speakers regarding the presentation and if one were to read the document alone without a presentation, it would have been very confusing. There is so much written in the media about SASCOC, and when the commission of inquiry regarding irregularities was announced shortly after the stories broke in the media, did SASCOC have any idea how this came to the media? What is the president’s understanding of the role and responsibilities of SASCOC as a sports confederation as well as an Olympic committee to account to government in terms of its resources regarding good governance?

 

Mr S Mmusi (ANC) recognised the presence of for SA star Paralympian Ms Natalie du Toit among SASCOC delegation. He thanked her for her heroic sporting services to the country by representing and flying the SA flag and continuing to serve the nation. He lamented the absence of the media to see what work is being done here. He wondered whether SA supports and honours its sporting heroes enough. He also congratulated the Proteas for beating Bangladesh.  The question to SASCOC was; given the negative media coverage it has received in recent months, what are the plans to rescue the brand and improve public perception as well as from within the sporting community? The notice of inquiry into the allegations against SASCOC is now gazetted but no one has been suspended or the organisation disbanded it has to be business as usual in preparing and supporting team SA for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Can this Committee be assured that all is on track and our athletes are receiving SASCOCs undivided attention? These questions would have been irrelevant if enough information was given to the Committee.

 

Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) also appreciated the presence of Ms du Toit and thanked her for what she has done for SA sports.  He asserted that there are senior persons in SASCOC who are suspended; what then is the percentage of those suspended members in relation to the senior staff complement?  This is important because of what happened at Boxing South Africa where the CFO, CEO and other important staff were all suspended and it affected their Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) compliance because the board chair had to assume certain positions that were contrary to laid out rules of fiduciary responsibilities simply to fill in those missing gaps.   It took years to correct those anomalies. How much did SASCOC push federations to meet their committed transformation targets as agreed on their score cards? Lastly, litigations leads to pressures and erosion of brand image; Lotto one of the sponsors of SASCOC when they came here had certain views regarding what they read in the media regarding the organisation.

 

The Chairperson thanked the board for coming and Ms du Toit for accompanying the board today. The Committee will have photos taken with her after the meeting. The Committee is not happy that internal SASCOC matters is going to the courts and monies that could improve SA sports is being paid to settle lawyers and litigants. Why can’t issues be resolved internally as one family?

 

Mr Sam apologised for the quality of the presentation and some errors discovered. As board members it is hurtful to be told that the quality of the report is poor, and SASCOC now understands the format that is demanded by the Committee and will also ensure that the report is sent to Members well in advance for a proper engagement to take place.   Also at this time of the year, the annual and financial reports should have been sent to the Committee.  This is a more detailed financial statement but SASCOC has not sent an annual report yet because the auditors wanted to get a sense of how far the inquiries and SASCOC’s own investigations is going to go before they can agree to put their signatures to the document. This has also delayed the AGM for this year because we do not have any concrete information for them in the absence of a financial report. After the KPMG saga, all auditors are now very careful.

 

On the litigations, there are pending court cases against SASCOC by its federating members.  This is because the SASCOC Constitution gives them autonomy.  For instance, there is a fencing athlete who said she should have been in the last Olympics in Rio but the criteria did not allow her to be picked.  She resorted to going to court and SA democracy allows such to happen if anyone is aggrieved.  SASCOC is therefore forced to defend all court cases. In a case where Athletics South Africa ignored a case date; a huge amount was awarded against them by the court. The decision that has been reached now is that once there is a dispute against any federation, SASCOC will encourage them to sort things out with assistance from the governing body until to the point that it is unable to; then it will be referred to SRSA. To be specific, on the question regarding Karate; Karate in SA has three membership bodies (full contact, semi contact and traditional).  The bodies were together before they split. This led to only one body (Karate SA) being recognised by the World Karate body. SASCOC said goodbye to the other two bodies; however it had to fight for them because the majority among them was full contact and made up mostly of black people. SASCOC took the case to the international body asking why the majority of karate athletes in SA could be outside the main body. There answer was that the international body does not need SASCOC because these bodies are very powerful.   The intervention led to litigation against SASCOC the governing body lost the case. Still the same condition prevails in Karate SA till now. SASCOC is now trying to see if they can be accommodated under Martial Arts South Africa. That SASCOC was taken to court in this instance is not of its making. The same issue happened in Fencing whereby an athlete disregarded the Federation and went to court.  SASCOC agrees that litigation has cost it millions but some of these cases are out of its control. The decision SASCOC has now taken is that once a dispute is declared in any Federation, it is referred to SRSA.

 

On Basketball SA and the alleged missing millions, according to SASCOC books, they were paid out but they are contending that somebody hijacked their share of Lotto sponsorship grant. SASCOC told them to go to the police if they feel aggrieved.  They are now going to court and SASCOC hopes it will not be involved in.  On Sedgars, they are a business and not sponsors and unless they come and offer to give us their goods on a discount, SASCOC has nothing to do with them. There is no relationship with Sedgars rather SASCOC buys from them on a needs basis and no board member benefits from this relationship.  Again SASCOC will want to clarify that it has not signed a contract with Lotto Sport; they are a sports wear manufacturing company in Italy.  There was no correlation between the former sports minister’s visit to Dubai and that of the board. On the issue of Athletics South Africa (ASA), the background is that we went to a council meeting and someone on the floor said we are fifteen members instead of fourteen.  This was as a result of the invitation of ASA into the board which was a mistake that was also supported by the board of SASCOC.  As a result the board was divided; some voted differently which of course is their democratic right.  It was subject to misinterpretation by outsiders that we voted differently.  Yes SASCOC is in jeopardy now because not only is SASCOC the issue but the members are often in trouble nowadays.  There are problems in many Federations: Angling, Shooting, Karate and all this does not paint a pretty picture.

 

On transformation, SASCOC is getting the various federations to align with its transformation processes and agenda. SASCOC is a partner of the EPG programme and working on the document of norms and standards which will encompass the six pillars of the transformation charter which is a part of the national sports plan.  The Minister is always kept informed of all that is happening at SASCOC. The Minister is entitled to establish his commission and SASCOC will cooperate with him to ensure the success thereof.

 

On the litigations that have taken place, SASCOC cannot answer that question precisely but as for karate, an amicable solution has been reached with them and it was unknown how many board members are supporting the mMnister.

The draft charge sheet against the former CEO was only received yesterday and it covers;

- Sexual harassment and victimization

- False reproduction of intelligence report dictated by the CEO and typed out on the Executive Manager’s computer and disseminated to the Minister and the media. This forms part of the charge sheet and has been sent out to the individuals concerned.

-Involving the Minister without following internal processes, which is contrary to SASCOCs constitution.  The CEO was supposed to have gone to the board first to solve disputes, this was not followed. 

-Opening a case with the South African Police Service (SAPS).  This is with regards to the placement of bugs in the office. To date no formal response has been received from SAPS regarding this case. An investigation uncovered that a family member of one of SASCOCs service providers is a family member of the police officer that approached SASCOC and tried to intimidate its staff.

-Misappropriation of funds, without following procurement and payment policies

 

For the CFO:

-Misleading the board and finance committee by not providing information that was requested

-Illicit payment to a service provider of SASCOC for renovations made to his private home

-Providing a contract to a SASCOC service provider and increasing the value of that contract by 200% without following proper procurement procedures.

 

All this information was very confidential up to yesterday and that was why SASCOC could not disclose it to the Committee until it had the charge sheet. 

 

On responsibilities to good governance, SASCOC worked well with government to carry out its mandate and it reports to government on a regular basis. There are only three suspensions so far. They are the CEO, CFO and the Executive Manager. The organisation was functioning well in their absence.  On the percentage of suspended members in relation to staff complement, we can answer that later.

 

Mr Mhlongo asserted that the board must come out clean. SASCOC should know the number in its senior management portfolio and then the percentage can be worked out from those suspended. This smacks of lack of openness. In SASCOCs constitution it is clearly stated that fourteen members at its AGM or council meeting yet this provision was flouted. How can this be justified?  Is that good governance?  On transformation, SASCOC only answered it knows its responsibilities but what has it done and the progress made to date? How much has been spent on the inquiries? How much was used for the internal investigations? Members read about a company that was paid lots of money that SASCOC did not care to mention to this Committee.  Regarding the audit, there was another vague answer. How much was the Lotto cut off? What is the size of the selection committee for 2018 Commonwealth games? Give the actual number. Is there a chance that SA will be embarrassed later regarding the last Olympics at Rio? Is the selection criterion going to be reviewed for the 2020 games and what is the medal target for those games?

 

Ms Manana asked whether the victim reported the incident after the CEO was suspended. It seems the President defied SASCOCs constitution, was he doing a favour to anyone by co-opting the member from ASA to increase the number to 15 instead of 14?

 

Mr Bergman said SASCOC came here with a moral high ground. Why could it not tell the Committee how many litigations happened in the last five years? The fact that SASCOC is losing in court is not the fault of democracy but rather a manifestation of poor decisions. There is a hockey team ready to pay its own way and SASCOC says it can not participate but Banyana Banyana that can’t pay itself is told they can participate. This is a good basis to take anyone to court. Politics is being played in the boardroom. How many cases were taken against SASCOC and how many did they win in the last five years?

 

Mr Moteka wanted more clarity regarding the money transferred to Basketball SA.

 

The Chairperson agreed with the Committee members probing to know more.

 

Mr Sam replied that not only he should take the blame but all the board members who supported the decisions and are therefore culpable.  SASCOC is looking at taking 284 athletes to the 2020 games depending on qualification. Selection is capped at 99 for individual athletes slot and this is based on previous qualifications.  In terms of team sports, it is 72 athletes. In terms of the selection policy for 2020 games, SASCOC is going through a review process. A selection policy group has been working since October 2016 and different drafts are being presented for the general eligibility criteria such as nationality issues because many of the athletes have dual citizenship. Also, many of them tend to use SA as an easy way to qualify for the games. The final draft will be going to the AGM for final input but it has being circulated twice to the various national federations. In terms of athletes who challenged the selection criteria and went to court: 1 came from weightlifting (SASCOC won); 1 from Equestrian (SASCOC lost) and 1 from Fencing (pending). Within the Federations, there was a cyclist who challenged the federation because they had an internal selection policy which is encouraged. For golf, the international federation capped the ranking for the Olympics. This was sent to the international federation: those who were within top 60 were eligible for the games. Many golfers pulled out of the games because of the Zika virus. The question on Basketball SA is sub judice. The victim reported the matter and SASCOC responded when she spoke.  That started the whole process.  The number of senior management suspended is three out of eight that translates to 37.5% of senior staff complement.

 

Mr Sam explained that the first he got to hear of the sexual harassment case was when the head of department in KZN brought it to his attention. That individual asked why SASCOC was not doing anything about the matter. The answer was that SASCOC was not aware and cannot do anything until it is brought to its attention. The CEO was then called in and informed about the allegation, which he denied. The victim had a legal team that was asking SASCOC to do something about the matter. SASCOCs response was that it has to have facts in order to deal with the CEO.  It also had to follow a procedure: this consisted of forming a team to listen to the parties. Unfortunately the CEO did not avail himself to state his case. Should he have done so, that case would have been contained because the next step was to have an investigator to investigate the matter. This was done as well. The complainant gave her side of the story but the CEO was asking for the charges made against him instead of stating his own case.  It was from here that the case went out of control because she was now adamant that it has to go to court. The investigator subsequently disappeared after getting the whole information from the victim. SASCOC had no report from the investigator afterwards. Nobody can fault SASCOC because it went through the whole procedure that was mandated by its laws. Everything at this point went to the media. It was at this point the Minister instituted a commission of inquiry.

 

The Chairperson told the SASCOC to go back to the drawing board and correct mistakes made with fellow colleagues. The board should also be blamed for not sticking to its constitution.  The Portfolio Committee is always here to advise SASCOC should they need one.

 

At this point Mr Mhlongo told SASCOC not to hide under the sub judice rule to absolve itself from answering difficult questions. The Committee is left with its own conclusions when information is not volunteered. He called for unity of purpose to fight the common purpose of seeing SA athletes succeed. He then proposed that the Committee meet them in their next board meeting when the whole board will be present. 

 

The Chairperson then requested that SASCOC board resolve their differences as leaders in their own right.

 

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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