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Suspended Sascoc president hits back calls for board’s removal

The South African logo The South African 2020-04-19 James Richardson
a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The South African

The intrigue at the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s (Sascoc) deepened this past week after the suspension of acting President Barry Hendricks.

Hendricks stands accused of interfering with the nominations process ahead of the organisation’s presidential elections scheduled to take place in March.

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The national lockdown forced the suspension of the Sascoc conference, and it remains unclear when the elections will take place.

Hendricks has described his suspension as unconstitutional and has called for the dissolution of the Sascoc board after eight of the remaining nine members voted to place the acting president on precautionary suspension.

When Hendricks was elected as first vice president, it was understood he would take over from retiring president Gideon Sam. Hendricks feels that due process has not been observed regarding his suspension from the post of Sascoc president.

“I regard myself as the legitimately elected ‘first vice president’ by the membership and appointed acting president,” Hendricks wrote in a letter to the Sascoc board.

“There is no provision in the Sascoc constitution authorising the board to relieve, suspend [and] place me on forced leave, without a judicial process having occurred.

“I will, therefore, continue with my duties as acting president, and I don’t intend to adhere or respond to further nonsensical and unconstitutional statements of the board.” 

A defiant Hendricks has called for the board to be dissolved and an administrator to be appointed to oversee a transition in the Sascoc leadership.

Acting CEO of Sascoc Ravi Govender defended the decision to suspend Hendricks.

“The matter is under investigation. Therefore, I cannot respond to the allegations made about the board or myself. If he wants to exonerate himself, he should allow due process to take its course.”

Hendricks accused the Sascoc board of a conflict of interest and asked that they excuse themselves from the arbitration process begun upon his suspension.

“It is my considered view that most of the current board members, especially those standing for elections, have a vested interest in the outcome of the arbitration. Therefore, they are conflicted and should forthwith cease to be involved in any manner or form in trying to resolve them.”

Blocking nominations and financial troubles

Multiple accusations of interference in the nominations process have been levelled at Hendricks among them is a claim made by Tennis South Africa (TSA) board member, Muditambi Ravele. 

Ravele wrote to Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa asking for him to investigate the Sascoc boss in February.

Hendricks says that he blocked Ravele’s nomination because of a lack of relevant experience.

“I like to first see people gain experience as Sascoc board members before nominating themselves for president,” Hendricks told investigators.

Sascoc is currently undergoing a five-year financial review led by retired Judge Ralph Zulman. The review will look into the stewardship of the South African Olympic committee and possible fiscal corruption.

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