Pressing Issues: Will the sports minister finally show her fangs?

2018-11-04 05:45

Sport and Recreation Minister Tokozile Xasa has promised to release the long-awaited ministerial inquiry report into the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) in three weeks’ time.

The inquiry into the governance at Sascoc was initiated by her predecessor, Thulas Nxesi, and was led by retired Judge Ralph Zulman, with other members being former cricket administrator Ali Bacher and labour law expert Shamima Gaibie.

Given the explosive evidence that was presented daily at the inquiry, which ended in March, the country is waiting with bated breath.

Some sections of the fourth estate have even anticipated that heads are expected to roll at Sascoc when Xasa releases and adopts the recommendations of the inquiry.

But that is just speculation as the current sports minister still has to show her fangs when it comes to serious sports political matters.

Besides this inquiry, she still has to take the nation into her confidence about why she called off another one that was launched by Nxesi into the death of two soccer fans at FNB Stadium during a Soweto derby.

She hasn’t said whether it will be revived or if it is dead and buried.

READ: Ministerial inquiry: D-day for Sascoc

Watching the latest edition of this match last Saturday, I couldn’t help but ponder what was going through the minds of the families of the two victims.

Will they ever get closure? Will they always wonder what led to the death of their loved ones every time they watch this epic sporting spectacle that brings the country to a standstill?

In fact, the minister has her plate full and it’s piling up further as the South African sporting fraternity seems to be in tatters.

As colleague Daniel Mothowagae reported last week, there are four major local sporting organisations that are led by acting chief executives.

Sascoc’s Patience Shikwambana has been acting chief executive for close to a year now, since the organisation fired Tubby Reddy.

READ: Sascoc asks for more time to respond to irregularities allegations

To say Sascoc is in disarray would be the understatement of the century. The organisation is in junk status and what is even more scary is that the next Olympics are in two years’ time in Tokyo, Japan.

The sooner Team SA preparations start, the better.

Meanwhile, the country’s two football governing bodies – the SA Football Association (Safa) and Premier Soccer League (PSL) – are also under acting heads.

Russell Paul has been in the hot seat at Safa since Dennis Mumble took “leave” prior to his contract expiring at the end of September.

Both the national football governing body and Mumble have been mum on the way forward, but whispers are that the relationship has broken down beyond repair.

READ: Where is Dennis Mumble?

There are even rumours that Mumble might be headed for the same position at Safa’s special member, the PSL, which has had Mato Madlala as acting head since October 2015.

Many feel that this appointment was wrong and should not have happened in the first place, given that Madlala is the boss of Lamontville Golden Arrows and also serves in the league’s executive committee.

She is also a member of the 32-member board of governors, which comprises bosses of the 16 Absa Premiership clubs and the same number of National First Division bosses.

Being PSL boss makes her privy to all contracts and agreements signed between the PSL, sponsors and other stakeholders.

One wonders if the minister had a discussion around this conflict of interest when she visited the PSL offices soon after her appointment.

Richard Stander has been at the helm of Athletics SA since May 2016.

The minister needs to act fast in putting the sporting landscape back into shape or we might be forced to borrow a line from the 1987 movie The Untouchables, where a thug who was thrown out of Prohibition agent Eliot Ness’ office after trying to bribe the cop turned around and said: “You guys are the untouchables?”

The minister recently threatened that heads would roll at Safa if Bafana Bafana’s performances do not improve.

Can she bare her fangs already and let us see heads rolling all over the place, or are there organisations that are the untouchables even for government ministers, as has been the case in the past?

Follow me on Twitter @Sbu_Mseleku, 

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August 18 2019