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IOC Against South Africa Olympics’ Virtual Election

 More criticism is mounted on South Africa Sports Confederation and Olympics Commitee, first by Sport minister and later by the parliament. Now the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has also raised concerns with the crisis-ridden SASCOC holding a virtual Presidential election, following a troubled nomination process.

SASCOC confirmed it was considering the possibility of staging its elections virtually amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Deciding the dates for the election to succeed Gideon Sam as head of the embattled body is among the key agenda items for a special general meeting called by SASCOC in response to criticism from Parliamentary members.

Elections are set to take place during the SASCOC Quadrennial General Meeting (QGM), which had been scheduled for March 28 before being postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fact SASCOC had not yet held its elections was among the concerns highlighted during a joint sitting of the Portfolio Committee on Sports, Arts and Culture, and the Select Committee on Education, Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture this week.

In response, SASCOC said it had discussed finding an alternative way to stage the QGM during lockdown conditions, imposed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, with the IOC.

Acting chief executive Ravi Govender told members the IOC said it was “preferable if the QGM is not a virtual one but rather be physically convened when it is safe and permitted to do so”.

“This is to ensure that the QGM holds credibility, without any risk of litigation subsequent to the outcomes of the elections,” Govender wrote.

In a separate statement, SASCOC said the IOC “discourages the hosting of a virtual elective conference having further noted the challenges experienced during the nominations process”, which has been plagued with issues and disputes.

Four candidates, including Acting President Aleck Skhosana, had been blocked from standing by acting head Barry Hendricks at the time.

All four were subsequently cleared to run in the election after winning a case against SASCOC following an investigation, which led to the suspension of Hendricks.

Discussions on the IOC’s guidance and the ineligibility of the candidates is also set to be discussed at the special general meeting, the date of which has not yet been confirmed by SASCOC.

“We undertake to set a new date for the QGM soonest while monitoring and adhering to the Government’s announcements on regulations surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and permitting such a gathering,” SASCOC added in a statement.

“In the interim we continue to fully explore the possibility of a virtual meeting.”

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