nxesi sascoc government ban

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – MAY 02: Minister of Sport Thulas Nxesi during the Minister of Sport visit to SARU Offices at SARU House on May 02, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

Nxesi moves to quell concerns over possible Olympic ban

Thulas Nxesi has urged calm over speculation that South Africa might face an Olympic ban.

nxesi sascoc government ban

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – MAY 02: Minister of Sport Thulas Nxesi during the Minister of Sport visit to SARU Offices at SARU House on May 02, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Gallo Images)

Not that keeping a lower profile than the previous Minister of Sport and Recreation was an all too difficult task, but Thulas Nxesi has ruffled a few feathers without even sending a Tweet.

The recently appointed Minister on Tuesday had to calm speculation that South Africa could be faced with an Olympic ban.

This after a letter emerged in which he threatens to dissolve the SASCOC executive committee “as a last resort”.

Such action could have bleak consequences on SA sport and could result in South Africa facing an Olympic ban as clause 27.9 of the Olympic Charter states:

“The IOC executive board may take any appropriate decisions for the protection of the Olympic movement in any country of a National Olympic Committee(NOC), including suspension of or withdrawal of recognition from such NOC if any governmental or other body causes the activity of the NOC or the making or expression of its will to be hampered.”

The issue relates to the ministerial committee recently set up by Nxesi to investigate SASCOC. In a letter seen by TheSouthAfrican.com, addressed to SASCOC president Gideon Sam, the minister expresses his concern over poor governance and its negative impact in sport in general.

According to Nxesi, Sam and several board members have not been complying with SASCOC’s Constitution and mismanaging to funds to “fight personal legal battles”. All while not providing justifications for the dismissal of certain members holding key positions among many other things.

Sam welcomed this inquiry, saying it will result in them focusing on their mission to present Team SA at major games.

“His inquiry is welcome. We will cooperate with the commission,” Sam said.

In another letter, addressed to IOC president Thomas Bach, Nexi talks inform the governing of the inquiry into the SASCOC board but assures that his office does not intend to interfere with administration, but rather an effort to “ensure the smooth running of the organization”

In response to this, IOC deputy director general Peter Miro warned against any interference and asked for clarity regarding some of the allegations raised.

The Citizen first reported the story over the weekend, suggesting that there might be some concerns over government interference. However, on Tuesday afternoon, the Minister’s office released the following statement:

The Minister wishes to make the following points:

  • The Committee of Inquiry was appointed in response to very serious allegations of poor governance, mismanagement and non-compliance with the constitution of SASCOC. These allegations require an independent inquiry.
  • That is why the Minister will not speculate on the specifics of the case and prefers to wait for the findings and recommendations of the Committee before commenting further.
  • The Committee of Inquiry consists of a retired judge, 2 additional members and a team leader for leading evidence – all with experience in the field of constitutional matters, governance and administration to investigate, make findings, report on and make recommendations in relation to the above-mentioned Board related governance issues and alleged non-adherence to the Constitution of SASCOC.
  • In the meantime, the currently constituted Board remains in place to carry out the mandate of SASCOC – to prepare team South Africa for upcoming major tournaments.
  • The Ministry is aware of the necessary processes and respects international best practices. The Minister did consult widely and informed the International Olympic Committee of the inquiry and committed to keep them informed on the process.
  • We shall await the outcome of the Committee of Inquiry led by the retired Judge and his team.

When Nxesi assumed office in March this year, he promised to make it his mission to tackle poor governance in sport. He lifted the bidding ban imposed on SA Rugby and Cricket SA by his predecessor, Fikile Mbalula. South Africa is currently bidding for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.