Sluggingit out in public

When comrades turn on each other in a public display of one-upmanship it is only their egos and reputations that suffer indelibly.

So it comes as no surprise that the stinging attack by parliament's sport and recreation committee chairman Butana Komphela on Moss Mashishi's SA Confederation and Olympic Committee - that the organisation is full of whites and Indians - has degenerated into a bruising clash of personalities.

Understandably Mashishi is hurting over insinuations projecting him as a puppet presiding over a Olympics governing body failing its country's vision to transform local sport.

Notably both protagonists are comrades who fought in the same trenches for a nonracial South Africa and therefore would be sensitive to the transformation agenda for sport.

How Mashishi and Komphela have come to distrust each other over pursuing this agenda is a mystery.

But most damaging is the manner in which the two powerful sports figures have behaved publicly, choosing to slug it out rather than to engage in a dialogue.

Noteworthy, though, is that engaging Komphela in a constructive debate has always been as futile an exercise as cleaning after a raging bull in a china shop, given the man's propensity for histrionics.

With diplomacy not one of his strengths, Komphela is characteristically not averse to irrational outbursts - having in the past threatened to stop an "unrepresentative" Springbok team from travelling to a Rugby World Cup engagements and to nationalise the woeful Bafana.

But his rantings are wont to be nothing but noise, serving to harden attitudes since they have tended to offer very few - if any - solutions to pressing challenges in our sports.

With the Beijing Olympics around the corner our team would rather not be subjected to comical distractions as they prepare for the mammoth task ahead.

The ANC must swiftly rein in the two before it is too late.