SASCOC report Cricket SA & Chess SA; SASCOC mandate, with Deputy Minister

Sports, Arts and Culture

12 May 2021
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video: Portfolio Committee on Sport, Arts and Culture

The meeting concerned governance and coordination issues related to the mandate of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, known as SASCOC, and several of its member federations which were experiencing turmoil because of internal disputes (Chess SA) or constitutional and transformational challenges (Cricket SA).

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture discussed the mandate of SASCOC, in the context of legislation. They also referred to the preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and the extra precautions for Covid-19. The Department provided updates on the progress of the Zulman recommendations which date from 2017.

SASCOC presented information on the outcomes of various general meetings and the processes that followed. They provided an update on Chess SA, where there are two rival groupings involved in a legal battle: Mr Mahomole’s group and Mr Du Toit’s group. SASCOC discussed the constitutional issues around Cricket SA and its obligations to the sports federations that are its members.

Members raised concerns about the wellness of athletes for the Tokyo Olympics and issues surrounding the vaccinations of athletes, with Russia offering vaccines for Africa’s athletes.

Members asked when and how the legal battle between the rival groupings in Chess SA would be resolved? Members commented on the recent actions of the Minister with regard to Cricket SA and asked whether these constituted interference, or were interventions based on ministerial authority under the law.
Members asked about the ongoing dispute between the Minister and SASCOC and if SASCOC could please elaborate on what they meant by the “interference” of the Sports Minister into their mandate.

The president of SASCOC said they were committed to meeting with the Minister, and had been trying to organise a meeting with the Minister to settle the dispute amicably but they had so far been unable to set up a meeting.

The Deputy Minister maintained that the Minister had executive authority to intervene.

The meeting – which involved many spirited interactions - concluded with the Committee urging SASCOC to meet with the Minister within the next two weeks so that this issue can be resolved.

 

Meeting report

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) said he did not accept the apology from the Minister for his absence, and it was not advisable to keep quiet. He wanted the Committee to note his dissent.

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC)
Mr Vusumuzi Mkhize, Director-General, Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC), spoke to the mandate of SASCOC. He went over the Department’s support to SASCOC. In 2020/21, the Department provided R11.335 million: R4 million for games in Lesotho in December 2021 and an additional amount of R7.403 million in preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics. [Please refer to the presentations on the PMG web-page for the meeting to see full details.]

Regarding non-financial support, the Russian Olympic committee and the government of the Russian Federation pledged its support in providing the Sputnik V vaccine to athletes and Olympic family members representing the African continent. Pfizer has also committed to donate vaccines to the Olympic and Paralympic Games participants globally. The Department of Health is to ensure necessary approval of these vaccines.

Regarding governance matters, SASCOC is working with the Department to resolve federations with governance difficulties, with the focus on Basketball SA, Chess SA, and the National Amateur Boxing Organisation. SASCOC has been charged with convening the Chess SA council to initiate a process wherein a new Executive would be elected.

The Department is implementing Zulman’s recommendations, from an inquiry instituted by former Minister Nxesi in October 2017. A report was received by former Minister Xasa, appointed facilitator, to assist SASCOC in implementing recommendations in February 2019. Minister Mthethwa appointed a Compliance Task Team in August 2019 to assist in the implementation process. An update to Minister Mthethwa in October 2020 revealed progress in terms of recommendations. The April 2021 update revealed progress and an outstanding 11 recommendations, including those relating to the Amendment Act. Presentation of the final report to Minister Mthethwa is scheduled for May 2021.

Mr Simphiwe Mncube, Chief Director: Sport Support Services, DSAC, and Mr Ravi Govender, Acting Chief Executive Officer (ACEO), SASCOC, took the committee through a second slide presentation on the outcomes of the annual (AGM) and quadrennial general meetings (QGM) and the resolution of matters pertaining to Chess SA and Cricket SA. The AGM was held on 7 November 2020 and the following matters were tabled and resolved: approval and adoption of the audited annual financial statements and the appointment of the auditors for the forthcoming financial year.

The QGM was led by a facilitator appointed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and complied with resolutions taken by the Special General Meeting (SGM), held in September 2020. The QGM It resulted in the in the establishment of a new SASCOC board.

To address issues in Chess SA [and the internal conflict between two rival groupings], a meeting was held with the purpose to attend to the outcomes of the meeting held with the Portfolio Committee and agree on a way forward. Mr Mahomole’s group was willing to not continue with the legal case but had no authority to withdraw the case as it was not initiated by them. Mr Du Toit’s group said they would await the results of the court case and both groups cited the issue of legal costs. A meeting was held between SASCOC and DSAC to discuss communiqués received [from the two groupings]. The meeting resolved that provincial sports confederations are to be consulted to check the status of chess structures of provinces. Three provinces have no structures (Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, and Mpumalanga). The other six provinces have structures, but only 4 (Gauteng, North West, Free State and Limpopo) submitted relevant documents. SASCOC decided to appoint an independent company to manage the elections and develop guidelines on elections process and procedures. The company will work with a task team. The next step is to set up the task team. DSAC and SASCOC are to engage and agree on possibility of liaising with the two parties.

Regarding Cricket SA (CSA) and the resolutions taken at the membership general assembly held on 8 May 2021, SASCOC noted that it is mandated to protect its member, CSA, and that their differences are not with cricket, but with the interference by the Minister. The Cricket SA board must continue to seek dialogue with the Minister, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and all other stakeholders.

Discussion
Mr B Madlingozi (EFF) asked about the possibility of the Tokyo Olympics being disrupted. He would like to know about the concerns about this. Another question, regarding the plan for Pfizer wanting to be of assistance to Olympians, is there any Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Health and Pfizer, and if so, is South Africa safe? As there has been news that Pfizer is bullying Latin America, wanting more than they can get.

And what is the interference from the Ministry that SASCOC is talking about? What are the contents of the MOU that SASCOC is not happy with?

Mr M Zondi (ANC) asked for SASCOC’s take on the legal battle between the Chess groups, because one is admitting that they do not have a case in court while the other one comments they can only drop it if the legal costs are paid. He expressed his confusion with this issue and would like to hear more. He would like the Department to have a take on that so that when it is resolved, it can be clear.

Mr Zondi raised the issue of documents SASCOC said it had had requested from the structures of Chess SA. [Second presentation, slide 8] Where was the mention of KZN and what was the issue with KZN and Western Cape in terms of compliance?

He said that there had been discussions of the autonomy of CSA on the previous day, and he now understood where it came from and that it should be protected. But he would like to know who should the autonomy of sports be protected from? Was it clear that the Minister is interfering with the affairs of SASCOC? If yes, how does the Minister interfere?

Regarding the protection of its members, he asked, who does it [SASCOC] need to be protected from?

Mr D Joseph (DA) asked if SASCOC is a multimoded sporting body, are there any other sports bodies or codes not part of SASCOC? Noting that SASCOC is responsible for awarding the national Protea colours, so who is then responsible for issuing Springbok colours?

He noted the R11.3 million granted to SASCOC for the 2021 financial year and asked how many members in the sports code participate in all the bodies under their umbrella? Was it public money the task team put together for the elections in Chess SA and all these legal challenges, or was it private?

Mr Joseph asked about the Minister, and what was the Ministry’s response on SASCOC’s stance on interference and autonomy. Because the report was initiated by CSA or SASCOC and not by the Minister.

He said there should be a concern about the offer received from the Russian Olympic committee to provide Sputnik vaccines, because the Russian Olympic committee had a bad history

Ms V Malomane (ANC) commented, referring to page 5 of the Department presentation, that there was talk that SASCOC is to present a list of athletes and teams which meet the funding conditions to the Department. When is it going to be submitted so that maybe the Portfolio Committee could also receive the document after it gone through to the Department? What are the preparations for going to Tokyo? How safe is it to take teams and athletes if Covid is to continue?

Can SASCOC please brief the Committee on the interference by the Minister so there is clarity?

Mr Mhlongo (DA) asked SASCOC what was the outcome when the board met Chess SA, and when was it? If it had no met, then when do they intend to meet Chess SA? Referring to the question from Mr Zondi on sports needing to have autonomy, Mr Mhlongo expressed a belief that sports need to be independent but adhere to the rules. He said that he gave an example [at the Committee meeting] on 30 April, that if there is a law that drivers must be 18, they cannot drive at 16.

Mr Zondi interjected, asking if Mr Mhlongo was answering for SASCOC now.

The Chairperson said that everyone had a right to contribute and if Members were patient, the Committee would get the answers after all the responses from the presenters.

Mr Mhlongo thanked the chair for protecting him and reiterated that we need autonomy for sports.

The Chairperson said Members should please refer questions to the presenters.

Mr Mhlongo continued, asking if SASCOC can inform the Committee if there were any appeals that were not supported in the previous year. Can SASCOC can give more information if it supports federations that have majority independence, if not, why not? And can they tell the Committee how many federations attended their General Meeting of Members on Sunday 8 May? What dispute was there between CSA and SASCOC? Can the president of SASCOC inform the Committee on what happened during the Zulman meetings, and what did the Minister say during the first AGM? He asked what was the plan to resolve the CSA matter.

According to the DG’s presentation (slide 12), Mr Mhlongo said there were 11 outstanding recommendations. He asked for more detail on these outstanding recommendations. Lastly, when was the interim board of CSA going to close shop, and how much was budgeted and paid for interim boards?

The Chairperson said she was concerned about the Zulman commission that had existed since 2017 and in 2021 there are still outstanding recommendations. What are the reasons for so many years having passed and the Zulman commission remains incomplete?

At what stage must the Minister implement recommendations of Justice Chris Nicholson’s report on CSA? Does he have the right to do that? If not, what is the role of the Minister within this?

Does SASCOC still have a problem of the implementation of the CSA Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) (slide 10 of the second presentation)? Does CSA still have a problem?

She said she would appreciate it if the Committee can assist in overseeing SASCOC’s work together with the Department and iron out problems together. “If those who are supposed to drive the transformation of sport are not cooperative, we may never achieve the goal of transformation. All of us here do not want to fail South Africans.” She asked for the cases mentioned to be taken out of court because there are not enough funds, both in the Department and SASCOC. There were so many rural areas in need of upgrades and if money is taken for court cases, what would that achieve? “So whatever problems there are, please sit down like leaders of South Africa and try to not prolong those problems. Can SASCOC leadership assist the Committee to minimise the differences to look at the development of sport, the transformation of sport.” She said that she was pleading with the leaders who were in the meeting.

Responses
Mr Barry Hendricks, the President of SASCOC, said that he heard the Chairperson’s plea for leaders to meet and SASCOC is committed to this. He stated that many times they did try and meet to try and resolve the matter, but it was in vain.

He said the mood regarding Tokyo, was one of responsibility, care, and security because of Covid. But because of the negotiations between the IOC and Japan, all the rules and protocols are in place to ensure the Olympic and Paralympic games go ahead. SASCOC will wait for their advice, and they do provide regular updates on the pandemic. The previous week they released a rule book which states the protocols to be followed. Those protocols are very stringent. While the athletes are training and are busy qualifying, they are aware of these protocols.

Regarding the Pfizer vaccine, there was mention that the IOC has also approached SASCOC to say that even this vaccine will be fully paid for, to be issued to athletes as well as the Team SA delegation. On the previous day there had been a call from the IOC team commenting that meetings should commence to begin the process of identifying athletes. This is being done in conjunction with the Department of Sport and the Department of Health, and letters have been put forward to them about the opportunities to vaccinate.

He could not speak about the MOU regarding the Department of Health and Pfizer. That should be answered by the Department of Sport or Health.

The essential question that many wanted answered, was about the interference of the Minister in CSA. SASCOC have tried to explain it and Mr Hendricks referred to the Sports and Recreation Act 13.5 B2, which states: The minister may not interfere in matters relating to the selection of teams, administration of sport and appointment or termination of the service of the executive members of the sports or recreation body. The issue is that on two occasions, the members Council of CSA met at duly constituted meetings called SGM’s to deal with the matter of adopting the MOI. On the first meeting, they decided not to adopt the MOI. This related specifically to the key points of the dispute in this matter—the demand by the Minister and Nicholson that most board members must be independent. The second issue, a demand solely from the Minister, is that the president should be an independent person as well. As SASCOC had stated before the Committee in 2012, the board of SASCOC sat down with the legal team of the Department of Sport and concluded, based on the preference for civil societies structures to elect their leaders, that the recommendation of the Nicholson committee, that most CSA board members should be independent, was rejected then and accepted by Minister Mbalula. That policy remains and SASCOC still adheres to it.

After the first AGM, where CSA members did not adopt the MOI, the Minister was not happy and asked them to go back to find common ground. At the second SGM, the members did not adopt the MOI again, and the Minister went further and invoked section 13 of the Sports and Recreation Act, therefore, not recognising CSA as a national federation and defunding them. This was clearly a violation of section 13 B 2 which states that the Minister must not interfere in the termination of the executive members. By invoking section 13, which SASCOC feels was wrong, the Minister threatened cricket and its sponsors, and thereby the cricket board relented and adopted the resolution that most board members and the president must be independent.

SASCOC disagrees with that process, believing an Act was used incorrectly to get a particular process adopted and for certain members of the executive to be placed on a national federations board.

Mr Hendricks then asked if the oversight function of the Portfolio Committee could be invoked in this case? The pleas from SASCOC are for the Portfolio Committee to investigate this and present the findings.

Responding to question of who is threatening the autonomy of SASCOC, Mr Hendricks said it was the Minister, by invoking the Act and insisting that the make-up of the executive be entrenched based on his will.

Regarding the difference between the Protea and the Springbok Colours, the only reason why the South African Rugby Union (SARU) have the emblem of the springbok, was that, in the era of Nelson Mandela, in the spirit of unity, it was agreed by all the members of the then National Sports Council that the rugby team is the only one allowed with the springbok emblem. And according to the Act, SASCOC is the authority which recognises national colours.

Mr Hendricks said there were 89 members under SASCOC, and these members benefit from SASCOC. SASCOC is not only an Olympic body, but also a Paralympic, Commonwealth Games, World Games body and affiliated to the International Schools Federations. The ambit of SASCOC is large.

On the money spent on the legal battles in Chess SA, to SASCOC’s knowledge, these were personal legal expenses.

He said he wanted to correct the statement on the Russian Olympic body and their relationship with the IOC. There is no conflict with the Russian Olympic Committee and the IOC. Russia’s Olympic body worked through the IOC to make the Sputnik vaccine available. SASCOC will also work with the Department of Sport and the Department of Health to advise on the rollout of the vaccines.

In preparation for the Olympics and Tokyo, there are engagements constantly with the Department and the federations around the issue of safety protocols.

The new SASCOC board had not met with new board of Chess SA because SASCOC cannot recognise either of those structures yet. That is why a task team has been set up to work towards new elections for Chess SA and making sure that the provincial structures are compliant as well.

He did not understand the question regarding the appeal from the AGM [asked by Mr Mhlongo], and asked if that could please be clarified.

SASCOC does not support majority independence [on members on sport governing bodies]. “Sport belongs to civil society. When it comes to the election of civil society structures such as trade unions that work under their own legal constitution, it is not good for government to intervene to insist that most members in leadership be independent people. This takes away the thrust of the growth of civil society and its development of leaders.”

Mr Hendricks said there was no dispute between SASCOC and CSA. The reason why the matter was handed over to the Minister was not because of the MOI, but because of the Fundudzi Report. [See PMG meeting report https://pmg.org.za/committee-meeting/31234/ 20 October 2020]

He could not state exactly what the Minister said, but he could relate it to the actions of the Minister in invoking section 13.

Mr Hendricks said the Nicholson Report did not recommend an independent chair for CSA. SASCOC intends to resolve the matter through a dialogue. There is a need for need independence as well as respect and balance of civil society and the way it elects its leaders. This is a dynamic that is internationally accepted. SASCOC does have an action plan and believes there is time to sit down with CSA and all stakeholders to resolve this issue amicably.

Regarding the questions of the Chairperson, he stated that he heard her plea and gave his unconditional commitment to sit down and talk in a matter that is fitting for national leadership.

SASCOC is committed to the rule of law, transformation and growth, grassroots development, and high-performance development. There were requests to meet with the Minister on two occasions and on both occasions, SASCOC was told they would meet when the Minister was ready. That commitment to meet remains on the table.

The CEO, Mr Govender, commented on the number of SASCOC members who attended the session. On Saturday, 8 May, 66 out of 89 members attended [the General Meeting of Members].

In closing, Mr Hendricks said it was not R11 million that was allocated to SASCOC during the financial year, as R4 million goes to the African Union. In the following year, the same thing will happen with the Commonwealth Games. The plea is for this budget to be increased so that the country can compete with countries such as England, who receive £350 million over four years. SASCOC needs more discussion with the National Lottery Commission to give SASCOC more than R5 million and treating SASCOC like a national federation, because SASCOC’s role is much bigger.

Mr Mkhize said the Minister has indicated that he will meet with SASCOC. The difference is that SASCOC had handed over the matter to the Minister and, as the president of SASCOC had stated, the rationale behind it, their problem was that they could not deal with the legal fees. The Minister then had to resolve the matter with CSA but that did not imply an unwillingness to meet with SASCOC. The Minister has made it clear he will meet with SASCOC, but he had to resolve the issue with CSA.

There were about nine issues with CSA that required intervention and that mandate was given to the interim board. The Minister, and the previous ministers referred to, did not themselves invite Justice Nicholson to investigate. It was a consequence of governance failures by the people who oversee sport matters. The recommendations had to be implemented by the board of CSA, not the Minister. The Minister oversees the implementation of the recommendations, but it must be clear; there was a reason why the investigation had to be done. To misrepresent the intention of the Minister’s intervention is incorrect. One should always ask, why the intervention?

The issue of interference has been explained before, in terms of the national Sport and Recreation Act. There are clear sections that govern the process of intervention, relating to what is [regarded as] interference. Here, the Minister followed all protocols to engage with parties concerned. The public outcry around lack of transformation [in cricket], from current and former players cannot be ignored and downplayed by SASCOC. [There are perceptions of] paying lip service to transformation. It cannot be correct, when the sponsors decided to abandon CSA, and [the Department] continues to say things are fine with CSA. The international reputational damage required intervention and assistance in bringing sound governance. There was a necessity to address the governance failures within CSA.

Mr Mkhize said there were engagements with the Department of Health on the issue of vaccines. He had received confirmation they would provide their response on the following day, which he will pass on to SASCOC.

The Department’s take on the legal matter of Chess SA was that it could not participate if they insist on the issue of taking each other to court. However, the Department believed they should be able to find a solution.

Many of the questions referred to the Zulman commission, which has not been concluded yet. Four of these issues refer to the amendments of the Sports Act, and the appointment of senior executives is one of the areas that still need to be addressed.

The term of the Interim board of CricketSA will end at the AGM which is scheduled for 12 June.

When investigations are initiated, the recommendations must be followed by the entity which is responsible for implementation, while the Minister or Department plays the oversight role.

Ms Nocawe Mafu, the Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, said she would like to reiterate that SASCO and the Department derives their relationship from the Act: the Sports and Recreation Act 110 of 1998 as amended. The president of SASCOC had talked about the Nicholson report, where he felt some areas are not acceptable. What needs to be understood, is that if anybody, including an ordinary member of South Africa, has discomfort about a judicial report, what the next step involves is to take that report for judicial review. There is no word from SASCOC that they have taken it to review. In the Deputy Minister’s opinion, what the Minister did was to appoint a committee which came up with recommendation that the Minister is trying to implement. If there is unhappiness during the implementation process between the two parties, there is a need for continuous interaction.

Responding to comments on interference, the Deputy Minister said she would like to go back a bit to remind the Committee that there have been reports about CSA for some time now. There is also a report from the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) indicating the issues of transformation in certain federations. She reminded the Committee that considering the relationship between SASCOC, the Department and the Minister. at the end of the day, it was the Minister that had executive authority. The EPG report along with other things that have taken place within CSA, needed interaction and assurance that something is being done. The Minister was then implementing recommendations from the committee that was appointed. What was needed was that the relationship between SASCOC and the Minister was agreed.

She said that she was quite happy with the issues of Chess SA and agreed with the questions asked from the Committee about how to take things further. There needed to be a progress report on the way forward.

The President of South Africa is the champion of vaccines for Africa and there is also a Covid Centre for Africa where all African countries negotiate on how to take the issue of vaccinations forward so that the continent is covered. The understanding is that Africa is busy with the acceptance of Sputnik V, and there are processes of testing it to ensure it meets our requirements. If that vaccine gets accepted, there is no reason for athletes to not use it. There is no problem between Russia and South Africa in terms of Russia’s problems in the Olympics. What the DG had said was of importance: there are interactions with the Department of Health to ensure the athletes are safe.

South Africa has long come to an agreement with Pfizer. A total of 30 million vaccines [have been procured] and the Department of Health is busy with that. On Monday 17 May, the country will start with phase two of its vaccinations. Whatever challenges there are, they will be handled at a political level.

The Deputy Minister said she would like to discuss, the issue of funding of SASCOC, particularly in relation to the National Lottery. Before the Olympics was postponed, the issue of the National Lottery arose because they used to give them R100 million. That amount dropped to R5 million because SASCOC had to account for the money that was given to them. The discussion that was had at the time was that they had to correct what was needed so that the allocation could be increased. When the SASCOC president responds to the R5 Million, he should give us a report on the progress on what has happened, and if the accounts have been corrected.

The DG stated that the Minister has never said he is not prepared to meet with SASCOC. The Deputy Minister said she would like to understand, if there had been a communication from SASCOC to the Minister about the [General Members] meeting on Saturday [8 May 2021]. The Deputy Minister stated that there needs to be a meeting, but from the side of SASCOC, has there been an effort to say they would like to meet? The Committee must enforce that this meeting must take place and in the next meeting, follow up on whether this meeting occurred. The Act has forced a schism in the relationship between them.

Follow up Questions
Mr Madlingozi asked what caused the president of SASCOC to be in cahoots with the CSA after the CSA meeting that the president did not attend. And why did the president of SASCOC go to the media and present a different statement after the crucial meeting.

Did all the members of the council agree with the way SASCOC has been dealt with? He said that he had never heard Mr Hendricks cry foul like he is now when the racial allegations of black cricketers were making rounds. Does Mr Hendricks expect the Minister to curl away, when the Minister is pushing against members of the sporting organisation who are adamant in refusing transformation? Mr Madlingozi asked what Mr Hendricks said about the invoking of rights for the Portfolio Committee to do its oversight and could he please repeat that statement.

The Portfolio Committee is the vanguard of sports in all its entirety and the Committee needs to be respected with its Ministry. Especially in terms of transformation, is SASCOC and CSA thinking that they can self-correct themselves without having the Ministry taking charge. The Ministry is the executive authority, so it needs to be listened to.

Mr Zondi said he had some comments on the issue of autonomy of sport that should be protected and on the way the Deputy Minister and the DG responded to these issues, and also on the issue of oversight and the absence of the Minister. He expected the Minister [to attend] all meetings that were scheduled for Tuesdays. He understood that he not was not in the meeting [on that day, because of] all the cabinet meetings. He said he was happy that SASCOC has pleaded with the Committee about who is wrong with the MOI and that he will be happy if SASCOC and the Minister are in the same meeting. The president of SASCOC referred to the Act, and he would like to Committee to revisit the Act so that there is a way forward to understand how the Minister and the Department handled the MOI going forward.

Who is SASCOC condoning, on the issue with Chess SA and the court case and the conflict between the two groupings? How is this issue left while SASCOC is there and saying nothing without advising them?

He said he did not properly understand the difference between “interference” and “intervention”, perhaps because English is not his first language. He sees it as an intervention, not an interference.

Mr M Seabi (ANC) commented that in the last meeting where to Committee was engaging with the issue of CSA, and the Minister and SASCOC were present, the majority agreed that they support the intervention of the Minister because “we can no longer postpone of transformation. If it means that South Africa should be isolated from the international arena to deal with its domestic issues, let it be. Because we cannot continue with the current status quo. Black players, former and current, have been complaining about transformation, discrimination in this democratic era and have never heard SASCOC raise their voice. With the resolution of SASCOC saying they do not support the MOI, is SASCOC showing the Minister the middle finger? The MOI as approved by the members’ council of South Africa. Is this saying that all federations voted against transformation?”

Mr Seabi said that if the dispute is about the interpretation of the legislation, perhaps the Committee should fast-track the review of the legislation. It was unacceptable that this dispute has not been able to be resolved for 12 months. SASCOC was also taking its time to resolve the issues with Chess SA.

Mr Mhlongo said that the difference between the MOI and transformation was that the MOI is the constitution [of CSA] and transformation is the desire for change. Political interference is not supported, but independence of sport is supported. SASCOC said that 89 members were present in their meeting, how many federations were there, and did they vote? Was there anyone against the decision? What is the status of the outstanding recommendations?

Mr Joseph said that there was a request for the Committee from the SASCOC president to investigate whether the Minister interfered. He asked the meeting to look at that when the Committee will have the opportunity.

The Chairperson said that according to her, in the last meeting where CSA, SASCOC and the Minister were present, the problem of the interpretation of the section was being spoken about. This had been when CSA had no problem with the MOI, but the SASCOC president had a problem because he commented that the Minister was not supposed to invoke the act. The Chairperson said that was the moment for members to interrogate because they were supposed to finalise their differences. It was now a new term, and the new executive of SASCOC should assist the Committee so it did not still have problems at the end of the term. She asked SASCOC to please go an iron out their misunderstandings and that whoever has a problem with the Nicholson report must take it for judicial review. But she questioned if this was necessary?

She acknowledged the date of the AGM of CSA was overdue. But SASCOC is still complaining by about the intervention, saying that they were forced. SASCOC had made public statements, and the Committee did not know what was going on. It felt as though the Committee did not do oversight. “We cannot transform sport if there are such differences.”

She said the only thing the Committee can do is oversight, it cannot investigate. This will ensure that these two bodies will meet and discuss time frames. They should personally ask the Minister to meet within the next two weeks regardless of their diaries.

Further Responses
Mr Hendricks said he did not make comments on CSA’s transformation [as president]. It was during the phase when he was not part of SASCOC. The entity was willing to engage on any platform about transformation. He said SASCOC will sit down with the Department, who is responsible for the EPG, to try and create greater awareness.

Mr Hendricks said the Sports and Recreation Act is clear about the role of SASCOC, and SASCOC is not paying lip service to the issue of transformation. The Zulman committee did state that there needs to be greater clarification between the Department and SASCOC, especially around the issue of mass participation. For now, transformation as a project falls under the Department.

When the Nicholson report came out, SASCOC had met with the Department’s legal team. What emanated from that was “an agreement that the recommendation of Nicholson is not adopted, and the board of CSA would not have most of the independence”.

It was a very serious statement [ by the Deputy Minister] that SASCOC never accounted for Lotto funding, especially considering that the Lotto have been giving SASCOC money for the past year or two and gave more money recently. That indicated that SASCOC’s responsibility of reporting would have been cleared. If that is not the case, he asked the CEO to answer. There had been a meeting with the Lottery the previous day to discuss funding.

SASCOC would gladly write another letter to meet the Minister, and would do it on that same day because of the urgency.

SASCOC has never been in cahoots with any of its members and the discussion with its members on Saturday [8 May] was a collective decision taken by the membership. This expressed their feeling regarding CSA and asked SASCOC to lead on this matter by adopting those resolutions

Mr Hendricks did not know if he asked for an investigation. He thought he was referring to a focus group study on this matter of the Sports and Recreation Act and believed that was within the Committee’s purview.

Any organisation—including SASCOC—can self-correct if it is following a strategy of self-correction. SASCOC could not have done without this the Zulman Committee’s intervention showing the weaknesses of SASCOC. SASCOC is committed to work with any organisation.

SASCOC was not condoning a certain group within Chess SA. It is working with the Department on this matter and going back to the provincial structures to try and correct from the bottom up. When the final elective meeting occurs, it will be within the buy in of its members having complied to its compliancy matters.

SASCOC would never disrespect the Minister by “showing the minister the middle finger” [as had been said by Mr Seabi].

Mr Hendricks said that during the voting process of the federations he had asked if there was any dissent towards it and there was none. It was a unanimous decision based on the members who attended the meeting.

SASCOC had sent the report regarding the outstanding recommendations of the Zulman report to the Department the previous week. If it could be forwarded to the Committee, the Committee could see the specifics of that report. The real outstanding issues are the long-term issues: the changing of the Sports and Recreation Act and the formation of a dispute body outside of SASCOC, as this takes up a lot of time as well as the national colours board.

Mr Hendricks said SASCOC was really looking forward to engaging on the matter of CSA, if there could be a meeting the next day. But he was aware of how full the Minister’s programme is.

Mr Govender said that there were 66 members of the membership represented when voting in their meeting [on 8 May]. No objections were raised, and, on that basis, resolutions were adopted.

He said there had been some level of miscommunication on the issue of the Lottery. SASCOC is fully compliant with Lotto’s regulations. The issue is that Lotto has redefined SASCOC as a national federation, rather than a macro-body for sport [and therefore it qualifies only for a lower level of funding.] The discussions with them have been going on for more than two years so that SASCOC can be redefined [again].

The Deputy Minister commented that the important thing for the Department was that the Act must be followed.

Mr Mhlongo questioned whether there would be open dialogue to resolve these problems and whether the solution would be aligned with the majority of SASCOC.

Mr Seabi requested that SASCOC send the names and profile of their membership to the Committee.

Mr Madlongozi said that Mr Hendricks did not answer the question regarding how many members of CSA are within the members’ council. What is the power the members’ council has over CSA?

Mr Hendricks said that answer needed to come from CSA themselves, and SASCOC would do that homework for the Committee. He said that SASCOC feels as though they have a solution that will be amicable to all parties. It will allow for leaders to be elected in a democratic matter and maintain their independence.

The Chairperson thanked the presenters and Committee Members.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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