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Sascoc board looks to ban suspended president Hendricks at long-awaited disciplinary

Suspended president Barry Hendricks Barry Hendricks. File photo
Suspended president Barry Hendricks Barry Hendricks. File photo
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) board wants suspended president Barry Hendricks ousted from the organisation at a disciplinary hearing scheduled for August 15.

The notice to attend the disciplinary hearing‚ issued by the chairman of Sascoc’s Judicial Body‚ Willem Edeling‚ comes as Sam Ramsamy assured Sascoc members that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would allow them to hold a special general meeting on an online platform.

The SGM is a key step towards holding the Sascoc election that had been scheduled for late March but delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

If found guilty and suspended from Sascoc‚ Hendricks would be prevented from standing in the ballot‚ where he is considered the favourite to win the vote for presidency.

All the elected and co-opted members on the Sascoc board intend standing in the election‚ including acting president Aleck Skhosana and Kaya Majeke‚ who are also presidential candidates.

There are two charges levelled against Hendricks.

The first relates to the allegation that he and Tennis SA (TSA) president Gavin Crookes had conspired to block TSA board member Ntambi Ravele from standing in the Sascoc election.

“You allegedly misconducted yourself [as Sascoc acting president] in a manner likely to prejudice the objects and activities of Sascoc in that you have intentionally and/or negligently canvassed against the nomination of an opposition candidate(s) for the presidency … in taking and making a non-supportive stance towards Ravele and Riad Davids’ nomination and chances of success.”

Crookes had asked Hendricks what chances he thought Ravele and Davids‚ TSA’s vice-president‚ stood in the Sascoc election‚ to which Hendricks replied that he felt they weren’t well known enough and needed to serve more time on Sascoc committees to establish their names.

Two other investigations have already been conducted on this charge‚ one being an arbitration which cleared Hendricks of the conspiracy allegation.

The arbitrator felt Hendricks had acted inappropriately by answering Crookes’ question‚ but was not persuaded that there was a case to disqualify him from the Sascoc election or even subject him to a disciplinary process.

The second probe‚ by TSA‚ was completed a while ago‚ although a process of mediation and a possible hearing arising from that is still being completed.

The second charge against Hendricks relates to letters he sent the Sascoc membership in mid-April after the board had placed him on a leave of absence which prevented him from contacting Sascoc members.

He is charged with bringing the organisation into disrepute for‚ among other things‚ breaching the terms of his suspension by making statements deemed defamatory.

“In that through the above conduct a breach of confidence in your suitability as board member and‚ accordingly‚ that your actions as alleged have irretrievably destroyed the trust relationship underpinning your office within Sascoc.

“Sascoc will further contend‚ during the hearing‚ that the above allegations both individually and collectively warrant the suspension of your membership with Sascoc on equitable terms given the circumstances to be presented.”

Where Edeling says “Sascoc will contend”‚ he is presumably referring to the board. The Sascoc general assembly is split on the Hendricks issue with no fewer than 29 sports bodies having called for a vote of no confidence in the board since he was suspended.

The board rejected their call.

The board had yet to inform the Sascoc membership of the outcome of an earlier assurance to investigate the possibility of holding a virtual council meeting.

But Ramsamy‚ in a letter to Sascoc members on Tuesday‚ said it wouldn’t be a problem for the IOC.

“The IOC has confirmed that‚ under the new normal and in view of the current health restrictions in South Africa due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic‚ there is no objection for the SGM to be held on virtual basis‚” Ramsamy wrote in the letter on Tuesday.

“A circular will soon be forwarded to you seeking your approval to hold the SGM on a virtual basis.”

The SGM is required to make necessary constitutional changes before the election can be held.