Sascoc votes for gender equity at board level

Barry Hendricks during the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) Board members portraits on January 12, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Barry Hendricks during the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) Board members portraits on January 12, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

SA’s sports leaders on Saturday unanimously agreed that future SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) boards must be made up of at least 50% women.

The decision was one of several constitutional changes aimed at lifting the battered image of the umbrella body.

The Zulman committee that investigated corporate governance issues in 2018 had recommended many of the alterations‚ although sport minister Nathi Mthethwa had a few of his own.

Sascoc’s acting president Barry Hendricks said delegates also adopted a clause allowing an election to be held on March 28‚ instead of waiting until after the Olympics later in the year.

In future Olympic years the poll can be held at any time of the year‚ but the early election for 2020 was requested by Mthethwa‚ who believed the existing board was tainted by the dramas of the past few years.

The biggest debate of the day was on the 70-year age limit of executive members.

In a close vote‚ the only issue that went to a ballot‚ it was decided to change the rule and prevent candidates from standing for the board if they were going to turn 70 at any point in the four-year tenure.

Three members of the executive‚ who were elected in 2016 have stepped down in the past two years‚ including president Gideon Sam and first vice president Hajera Kajee.

When the new Sascoc board is elected in two months time‚ four of the eight successful candidates must be women.

Furthermore‚ there must be at least one woman in one of the three top positions‚ president or first or second vice president.

The constitution still allows for four co-opted members‚ but two must be independent.

The gender equity ratio must be maintained‚ however.

The last member of the board is the chair of the athletes’ commission‚ although there is space for ex officio members‚ who can now come from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The ex officio position was previously reserved only for International Olympic Committee (IOC) members. The change means that Debbie Alexander‚ who resigned as an elected member from the Sascoc board last year‚ will return as an ex officio member because she sits on the IPC executive.

The constitutional changes are expected to see government and Lotto reopen purse strings for cash-strapped Sascoc.


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