The Democratic Alliance (DA) has taken note of a dispute between the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and the South African Football Association (SAFA), regarding football teams participating in the 2019 All Africa Games. SASCOC made a decision in June 2019 not send teams to the Games that are not going to qualify in the 2020 Olympic Games. This meant that SAFA teams could not go to Morocco as they have different procedures to qualify for the Olympics.
Following this decision SAFA agreed to pay for the national soccer teams’ travel – a decision which was apparently opposed by SASCOC. SAFA subsequently approached the Sports Ministry to seek relief.
The DA has seen a letter by the acting Minister of Sports, Toko Didiza, issuing a directive in terms of Section 13 of the National Sports and Recreation Act, granting the necessary paperwork and requisite support to all SAFA teams to participate in the All Africa Games.
The Ministry’s involvement in this matter is akin to political interference. Instead of having the two parties resolve the matter through the proper channels, government intervened, in what can only be described as an attempt to stay in the good books of its continental allies.
The DA has it on good authority that SASCOC obtained legal advice to ascertain the legality of the Minister’s decision to institute Section 13 and found that it is in fact challengeable. Section 13(5) (b) of the Act states that the Minister can only issue a directive until such time an official declaration of a dispute was declared and that the handling of such a dispute was determined to not be reasonable.
The reality is that, had SASCOC been adequately funded by national government, this dispute between the two sports bodies would not have gotten to this point. South Africa’s sorts bodies are struggling financially, this while the politically elite ransacks the state coffers.