Sascoc president Gideon Sam has made a trumpet call for Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula to forge a more efficient administration in the fight for sporting transformation.
Sam, speaking at the Highveld Lions awards dinner this week, said Mbalula was presiding over a bloated administration that was deflecting money away from the effort to clear “historical backlogs” in sport.
“The minister of sport has a very small budget, hardly a billion rand, and that’s for his administration too. Each minister of sport inherits a huge staff and, because of the power of the unions, he dare not touch that staff. I compare it to Sascoc and I wonder why there are so many people in the department of sport and recreation? It has to be asked. It’s very hard for the minister to work people out and usually he brings in more of his own people as well.
“Politicians want to use sport for ‘social cohesion’, but that phrase is not in my dictionary. How can sport, which is so impoverished, do that? The truth is, if you really go into it, South African sport is not structured correctly. We’re not giving impoverished sportspeople, black and white, a fair chance,” Sam said.
Sam suggested the debate over World Cup selection was “deliberate, to try and throw stones at the administration and it takes us nowhere”, but he did acknowledge that there was growing frustration at much of the bureaucracy that surrounds transformation and funding.
“The federations apply, they fill in all those forms and they don’t even get an acknowledgement so they get fed up with the battle. Why should they concern themselves with transformation policy when they have to foot the bill themselves?”
The Sascoc president said the club player who could “afford a plane ticket and the price of accommodation in a hotel” was always going to make a team ahead of competitors who could not afford to travel to tournaments.