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IOC Wade Into South Africa Olympics Election Imbroglio

The South African Sport Confederation and Olympics Commitee (SASCOC) election imbroglio seems to have seen the end of the tunnel as International Olympics Commitee (IOC) has waded in by appointing a 82-year-old IOC member, Sam Ramsamy to help to oversee and “facilitate the process leading to the elections” in his home country.

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 postponement came amid a troubled nomination process to succeed Gideon Sam, who stepped down as President last year after reaching the age limit.

“My task is to discuss issues with SASCOC’s Board and its membership to effect a satisfactory and fruitful conclusion,” Ramsamy said.

The IOC are reportedly hopeful the election can be held “as soon as possible” following consultation with all parties, including member federations.

“The IOC has been following the situation of SASCOC very closely over the past few months,” a letter from IOC President Thomas Bach to Ramsamy reportedly read.

“In view of the ongoing situation, and in order to provide further assistance to SASCOC, the IOC has decided, with the support of the IPC (International Paralympic Committee), to appoint you to work closely with SASCOC and to supervise and facilitate the process leading to the elections.”

Ramsamy was previously deployed by the IOC to oversee elections at the National Olympic Committee of Kenya in 2017, following a period of turmoil in the organisation.

Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, has welcomed news of Ramsamy’s appointment.

“The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture welcomes the news of the appointment of a veteran sport administrator by the IOC and the International Paralympic Committee to assist with the facilitation of the SASCOC elections,” Mthethwa said in a statement.

“As a Government, we strive to give space to sport organisations to address their own challenges and to only intervene as a last resort.

“However, being on the ground, we are best placed to sound alarms when we see shortcomings in the ability of sport administrators, to provide the kind of leadership required for stable and athlete-centered administration.

“It was in this context that our earlier invitation for the IOC and the IPC to intervene, and assist SASCOC to address its problems should be seen.

“On our side, we stand ready to cooperate with the appointed facilitator and wish him well on this important assignment.

“The Department wholly welcomes the action by the IOC and the IPC.”

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

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.

Athletics South Africa President Skhosana, Netball South Africa President Cecilia Molokwane‚ Free State Rugby President Jerry Segwaba and Northern Cape Sports Confederation head Farrell Moses had all lodged appeals after being deemed ineligible.

Ntambi Ravele was also barred from entering the race, and a probe into her exclusion is ongoing.