Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa gives Sascoc vote thumbs up
Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has given the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) election his blessing, effectively dismissing calls that the ballot would not be free and fair.
The embattled umbrella body votes for a new executive on Saturday afternoon.
Mthethwa, addressing the Sascoc AGM via Zoom in the morning, said he had been asked to halt the election, but he refused, explaining he couldn’t take sides.
Five members who make up the majority of a denuded Sascoc board with six vacancies have accused Sam Ramsamy, the election facilitator appointed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), of favouritism and argued the election cannot be free and fair.
None of them physically attended the meeting, staged in hybrid format with physical and virtual attendance, with some delegates questioning whether all five had actually logged on.
The Sascoc Five were all nominated for the election, but few people are tipping them to win any of the eight spots available.
Mthethwa spoke about the open war within the Sascoc board, particularly between the Five and acting president Barry Hendricks, as well as between the Five and the bulk of sports bodies.
The fight, said the minister, “got expressed in terms of those wishing to postpone the elections and those who wanted them to proceed”.
“In the last week or so I was … invited to express my support for one side or the other … I could not.”
Mthethwa pointed out that he had invited the IOC and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to intervene in Sascoc as far back as April.
The IOC, with the IPC’s blessing, appointed Ramsamy in July to facilitate elections as soon as possible.
“It was much later the IOC and IPC realised they needed to intervene,” Mthethwa said.
The minister kept his address short and to the point, and wished Sascoc and Ramsamy good luck with the election, scheduled for after lunch.
The AGM in the morning will focus on the latest annual financial statements.
It is understood that 80 of Sascoc’s 85 members joined the meeting.