Sascoc ready for virtual election

Sascoc has been unstable as an organisation over the past decade.
Sascoc has been unstable as an organisation over the past decade.
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

Disgruntled sports bodies are set to elect a new executive at the long-awaited SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) ballot on Saturday‚ casting their votes on a virtual platform for the first time.

Of the 85 organisations making up the umbrella body‚ 46 approved the proposal for a virtual ballot before Wednesday’s 4pm deadline‚ with two opposing. A further six submissions arrived after the cut-off for an overall 51-3 in favour.

Among the three objecting federations was Athletics SA (ASA)‚ the home of Sascoc’s acting vice-president Aleck Skhosana‚ the face of the five board members who have locked horns with the bulk of sports bodies as well as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The Sascoc Five‚ also comprising DA parliamentarian Kobus Marais (disability sport)‚ Cecilia Molokwane (netball)‚ Kaya Majeke (bodybuilding) and Jerry Segwaba (rugby)‚ are all on the ballot‚ but they have alleged that the vote cannot be free and fair.

They’ve convinced parliament’s sport portfolio committee of this allegation‚ but whether it will come into play at the Sascoc headquarters on Saturday remains to be seen.

The rift between the Five‚ who make up the majority of a board denuded by six vacancies‚ deepened at the special general meeting (SGM) in September where the general assembly‚ Sascoc’s highest decision-making body‚ voted to reinstate suspended acting president Barry Hendricks and halt disciplinary action against him.

But on Friday an arbitrator ruled that the general assembly didn’t have the power to halt a disciplinary ordered by the board‚ but he also found the board had erred in the way it had pushed for the disciplinary‚ failing to have allegations against Hendricks investigated by a legitimately independent body or person.

By going to arbitration‚ the Five disregarded the IOC and IPC instruction not to do so.

In a second defiant letter to the mother bodies a week ago‚ Skhosana told them they no longer needed the election facilitator they’d appointed‚ veteran sports administrator Sam Ramsamy.

Skhosana conceded that while Ramsamy might “have the best interests of the organisation at heart‚ unfortunately his conduct clearly demonstrates a high degree of partisanship which is unbecoming of a facilitator”.

“The board is well able to organise the elections and as such we do not see the need for … Ramsamy to continue acting as facilitator since the perception is that his intervention has simply added fuel to the fire and has caused further division within the ranks of Sascoc’s membership.”

Ramsamy was appointed after the impasse between the Five and the sports bodies became untenable.

“It is the board’s intention to chair the forthcoming [election] and as such‚ there is no need for … Ramsamy to even co-chair that meeting‚” wrote Skhosana.

The election is scheduled to be handled by the appointed elector officer‚ named as Wesley Maringa.

Judging from how the sports bodies shot down the board on the Hendricks issue at the SGM‚ it seems none of the Sascoc Five are likely to win any of the eight positions up for grabs at the Sascoc headquarters on Saturday.

Skhosana and Majeke are standing for president‚ with the other three vying for the two vice-president positions. Some are also in the mix for ordinary board members.

There’s also a school of thought that the new board should carry no baggage from the past‚ which would exclude even Hendricks‚ who started the race as favourite when the poll was initially planned for late March before being delayed by lockdown.

If Hendricks doesn’t get the nod as president‚ Alan Fritz (swimming) could come into the reckoning.

Lwandile Simelane (hockey) has emerged as a strong contender for one of the two vice-president spots‚ as has Qondisa Ngwenya (gymnastics)‚ who was in a labour dispute with Sascoc after his contract as a consultant was prematurely ended last year.

Women must make up 50% of the board and Olympic codes must have the voting majority.