THE WAY FORWARD
SASCOC has been gravely damaged by an incriminating report from the Zulman inquiry. It is imperative that the new President and Board implement the recommendations of this report. SASCOC finds itself in a position of weakness because of the negative image on the brand and in turn because of its poor finances and lack of funding and resources. Government, the National Lotteries Commission and the corporate sector are unwilling to fund SASCOC in light of all the negative publicity in the last 3 years.
The new President must strive for fostering UNITY in the Sports Movement of the country. Nelson Mandela and many leaders of the world order believe strongly that sport is a nation builder, that sport has the ability to unite the people of a nation and in fact sport has the ability to unite the people of the World.
Similarly, the sport movement in the country, SASCOC, needs to develop along the fundamental principles of unity and nation building. Politics in sport has served to fragment and alienate the people in sport both those that participate and those that administer. Without this unity in sport we will not have unity of purpose in the nation.
The development program of each national federation must speak to talent identification and the nurturing of talent. In doing this the national federations availing equal opportunities for all the people of South Africa in an effort to unearth the talent countrywide amongst all the people in our diverse population.
Development must not be window dressing but rather the real growth of talent in our young boys and girls. National federations need to focus time and resources in their development program while also focusing on international growth and competition. Once section cannot be allowed to suffer while the other succeeds individually.
(III) Organisational Set-Up
The turnaround begins with the election of the new Board of SASCOC at the end of March 2020. This is a critical process and we need to ensure we elect men and women of integrity whose objective must be to deliver on the mandate of SASCOC. Do not elect friends and allies but rather individuals with leadership qualities and ones who are principled. I believe that democracy demands collective leadership and most certainly not a dictatorship.
Therefore, if you want collective leadership then vote me in as President and further vote in a team of men and women that have the credentials to help SASCOC achieve in its turnaround process.
The immediate task is to revisit the policy documents of SASCOC and adjust them where necessary. These are the policies that need to be implemented.
(IV) Management & Staff Structure
Management must understand and implement the policies as designed by the Board and approved by the General Assembly. It is important for the Board to understand and implement the parameters of responsibility of the Board on the one hand and of the management on the other. Management must ensure that the staff understands their responsibilities and carry out their function effectively.
(V) Marketing & Brand Strategy
It will be important to find a professional entity to design a strategy to market SASCOC and develop it as a positive sought-after brand that the people of our country will identify with and be proud of. To this end we need to also finalise ownership rights of the Protea emblem and the Protea colors. We need to ensure that the sport movement benefits through royalties to be levied to the various national federations. These funds must be used in addressing the development needs of sport for all people country wide. It will also be critical to secure sponsorship agreements with Supersport and SABC to showcase and promote the SASCOC brand through the many activities on the SASCOC programmes.
(VI) Funding & Resources
This is an area of serious concern. SASCOC has historically secured funding and resources
from the following entities:
(e) OLYMPIC SOLIDARITY
We need to reopen negotiations with SRSA for their grant to SASCOC for athlete’s development and team delivery to be at least R10 million per year for the 4-year Olympic cycle thereby totaling R40 million for the period. SRSA also needs to channel the National Training Centre funds through SASCOC for the programmes that take place at the National Olympic Training Centre in the Free State. Then we need to engage the National Lotteries Commission and highlight the fact that sport is a national priority and one that drives nation building and unity. The NLC must therefore seriously consider R50 million per year for a 4-year cycle for team delivery and athlete support totaling R200 million.
The next step is to engage the services of a sponsorship procurement agent whose task must be to secure Corporate sponsors both cash and in kind. For the attainment of these sponsors the company can get an agreed upon percentage commission. It is critical for this company to understand the products we need to sell and tailor-made for the different Games’ delivery. Olympics, Paralympics, Commonwealth, African Games, World Games, etcetera.
Sponsorship in kind must be secured which will act as budget relief on the various projects of delivery. Clothing, Airline, Motor Vehicle, Courier Services, etcetera. It is important to ensure that SASCOC follows up with procedure to access the funding from IOC, Olympic Solidarity, IPC, ANOCA, Supersport, etcetera.
(VII) Athlete Support System
This is probably the single most important mandate of SASCOC, which is the ability to have the necessary resources to provide a fully funded and professionally organised athletes support system for the identified high-performance athletes who have the ability to excel at the highest level. Serious focus needs to be placed on the support of team sport as well. Serious focus needs to be placed on the support team as well.
The Operation Excellence programme must start in earnest for the next 4 Olympics and Paralympic games of 2024, 2028, 2032 and 2036, and to all the Games delivery in between. Both the National Federations and SASCOC must ensure that they work in partnership to enhance the prospects of the athletes to succeed. This programme and the Athletics Commission must help grow the SASCOC brand into one of positivity and international recognition. All necessary support systems need to be engaged by SASCOC.
(VIII) National Academy System
The support system must be at all levels starting from youth, junior to senior, culminating in Olympic and Paralympic excellence. The support system must be all inclusive covering the athletes, coaches, scientific personnel, technical expertise, medical expertise, etc. They must work in tandem with the National Government to ensure developmental programmes for talent identification in conjunction with national federations. One needs to be target focussed towards youth games, world junior games per national federation towards world senior championships and Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
This system will ensure a structured pathway on the road to the various games at the different levels. There will be a continuous cycle of new talent at 15/16 years of age every four years going forward. We need to embrace the diversity of our nation when focussing on the areas of need in the support system for OPEX athletes. We must use the best personnel available for the expertise required. We must not overlook our heroes and heroines of the past, as well as advice from our elders. We must strengthen school programmes, tertiary level programmes and developmental programmes. We must use the best practices and the experience of similar level nations that we compete with on the world stage in exchange programmes to enhance the quality of our athletes and coaches.
SASCOC needs to continue to regulate and implement the National Academy System to ensure that the talent countrywide is identified and nurtured to full potential. A proper monitoring system must be implemented through all nine provincial academies
countrywide. Provincial athletes must receive support at those academies until such time they progress to national and international level to naturally benefit from support through the Operation Excellence programme.
We need to engage SRSA to ensure that the nine provincial departments of sport work in collaboration with the provincial sport confederations and provincial academies in a seamless process to the national set up. The national Training Center in the Free State needs to trully cater for the expertise required for the ultimate development of the athletes.
(IX) School Sport
This is another area of deep concern for SASCOC. The lack of physical education in schools and the lack of a structure nationally to drive the interests of school sport is a serious setback for the development of and identification of talent at schools’ level. SASCOC needs to focus on driving the agenda of the national federations to ensure that they develop their sport in schools. Children need to play and children have to play. Talent needs to be identified at a young age and talent needs to be nurtured. SASCOC needs to work closely with SRSA and the Department of Basic Education on this crucial aspect of school sport.
(X) Stakeholder Engagement
It is important for SASCOC to once again be seen in a positive light by all our stakeholders. One needs to firstly regain the trust and support of the Government and SRSA. Sport is an important tool for nation building and this belief in sport and SASCOC needs to be rekindled. There needs to be trust and mutual cooperation between SASCOC and the national federations, both working in tandem with each other and not against each other. This will ensure the sport movement moves in one direction towards nation building. We need continuous engagement with our most prized asset, the athletes. There has to be a strong working relationship with SASCOC and the Athletes Commission. One needs to hear the critical needs of the athletes and remember the slogan “PUTTING ATHLETES FIRST”. Finally, SASCOC will need to gain back its respect from all our international stakeholders like IOC, IPC, CGF, IWGA, ANOC, ANOCA, AU and the list is endless.
One needs to regain the trust of the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) who are responsible to help promote all issues of national priority. Sport is definitely one of the national priorities of our country. The NLC was largely responsible for the tremendous success of SASCOC from 2009 to 2016 and this must be acknowledged. In 2017 the leadership caused everlasting damage to SASCOC and its growth. In fact, it led to SASCOC’s demise. I do believe that I can show the NLC very clear and concise plans to make our nation once again, a force in the international world of sport.
We need to instill confidence once again in the private sector to provide much needed funding to help support the athletes’ preparation programmes. The athletes and coaches need to function free of the pressures of having to worry about how they are going to cover their living expenses and other expenses in order to train and participate internationally to get much needed game and competition exposure, to gain experience in order to cope with and perform at world level.
We need to show that SASCOC is a highly ethical and honest body that has leaders of integrity and goal-oriented. One needs to show SASCOC’s adherence to high standards of corporate governance, that SASCOC has the necessary checks and balances that are above board at all times.
Two very important stakeholders are the Department of Basic Education (schools) and the Department of Higher Education (universities). These two centers are where we source the athletes and the coaches that we need to develop. These institutions need to work closely with our national federations and their international federations in the growth of the athletes and especially the education and certification of coaches of international stature.
(XI) Dispute Resolution Mechanism
SASCOC has to have a viable and practical dispute resolution mechanism that is made up of independent experts who have no links to any national federation or SASCOC. In the first instance, the national federation must use its own systems internally to resolve disputes. Only in exceptional circumstances, a dispute can be brought to SASCOC for a solution. Under no circumstances must these disputes end up in the courts of law as this results in large amounts of money being wasted when this could have been used to support athletes and coaches.
We come from a divided past which through apartheid, which rendered the playing fields being grossly uneven and unfair. Therefore, the national federations are obliged to create opportunities for all South Africans to play the sport of their choice and to excel to the highest level, irrespective of race of the individual. SASCOC has an obligation to ensure that the leadership in all their national federations are actively engaged in building a free and fair society so that the teams that represent us at international level reflect 100% of our population and not just 20%. Imagine the strength we can get from 100% rather than 20%. So, come let’s help each other to create a winning and harmonious nation for future generations.
I PROMISE TO SERVE SASCOC HONESTLY AND DILIGENTLY WITH FULL COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES IN SPORT FOR ALL OUR PEOPLE IN THIS BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY. I CALL UPON YOU TO ELECT ME AND A SOLID TEAM IF YOU BELIEVE IN COLLECTIVE LEADERSHIP FOR SPORT IN SOUTH AFRICA. - ALECK SKHOSANA