South Africa
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

SIU probing old Sascoc spending, says president Barry Hendricks

The sins of predecessors are being visited upon the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) with the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) probing funding from 2016.

Sascoc president Barry Hendricks made the announcement at the AGM in Johannesburg on Saturday morning, but he declined to give details, such as the amount involved and the source of the money.

“We’ve been approached by the SIU ... to ask us to account for that,” said Hendricks, pointing out it predated the election of all incumbent board members and appointment of senior managers.

“We’re sitting down with the unit to [assist] the investigation and to ensure that the funding we receive is not compromised. We’ve had several meetings with them already,” he said, adding the SIU made its approach a few months back.

Sascoc, which enjoyed huge funding from the National Lotteries Commission at the time, was also channelling money or looking to spend on the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Durban, which the government ceded in 2017, and sports training centres in different parts of the country.

In 2017 Lotto slashed funding to Sascoc, sparking a cash crisis that hit Olympic and Paralympic athletes from early 2020.

CEO Tubby Reddy, CFO Vinesh Maharaj and another senior manager were fired amid allegations of financial irregularities in early 2018 and later that year a ministerial committee, finding governance breaches, recommended a five-year audit into finances.

Hendricks wouldn’t be drawn on whether there was any overlap between that audit and the SIU probe. “We were able to identify the transactions and handed that information to them as well.”

Sascoc has turned the corner, attracting a R66m sponsorship from Bidvest, its first big-paying private backer since it was formed in 2004.

The 2022/23 audited financials show Sascoc’s revenue improved to R101m and the surplus rocketed to R43.9m after a R352,177 deficit the previous year.

But CEO Nozipho Jafta said the organisation was being hampered by “legacy issues”, such as four labour disputes that forced Sascoc to declare a contingent liability of R11.58m,  even though it is confident of winning the cases.

Athlete funding was resumed with 100 recipients across three tiers — Paris 2024 hopefuls, Los Angeles 2028 prospects and grassroots development.

“I’m hoping that in 2024 we’ll bring back more medals than we did in Tokyo (three medals), but come 2028, you can fire me if we don’t bring more than 10 or 15 medals,” Jafta told amused delegates.

The country’s best Olympic haul to date is 10 medals, achieved on three occasions in 2016, 1952 and 1920.

Sports, arts and culture minister Zizi Kodwa said the sizes of the Olympic and Paralympic teams needed to be looked at “in relation to the realistic potential South Africa has to bring back medals”.

He added: “I cannot get involved in the selection of teams. I need to impress on the need to strengthen our athletes’ selection policy to ensure that Team South Africa is kept compact in terms of numbers, yet is very competitive.”

Kodwa’s predecessor, Nathi Mthethwa, made a similar appeal before Tokyo, but was roundly rejected by federations that had revolted against the controversial tough selection criteria imposed by the previous Sascoc regime in 2019.

The minister also said he was doing his best to reverse the noncompliance status of South Africa by the World Anti-Doping Agency.