Sascoc gets tough with Basketball SA

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has dissolved the executive committee of Basketball South Africa (BSA) and appointed an interim committee.

This follows allegations that Vusi Mgobhozi and Eric Nkosi—who were respectively president and treasurer of BSA until Sascoc’s move—are guilty of financial mismanagement and of flouting the constitution of the federation.

Last week the Mail & Guardian reported that the allegations against Mgobhozi and Nkosi include failure to conduct audits on 2006/07 financial statements, thus missing funding from the National Lottery and the Department of Sport and Recreation, signing and cashing federation cheques for themselves and appointing service providers without the knowledge of their colleagues.

Moss Mashishi, president of Sascoc, said drastic measures were taken after members of BSA’s executive committee failed to respond adequately to the allegations in a meeting last week.

“Reasons like ‘there was no money to appoint auditors’ were found not to be acceptable because when you get funding you budget for such things. We were not satisfied at all with the reasons and we were left with no choice but to appoint an interim committee,” said Mashishi.

“We had to find solutions and move forward to rebuild basketball. Our decision was not influenced by the fact that Mgobhozi did not attend the meeting and only Nkosi was answering questions. It was based on his reasoning,” he said.

The absent Mgobhozi sent a message that he had a family crisis to which he had to attend. The nature of this crisis was not clear.

Mgobhozi’s seat on the Sascoc board will be considered when the interim BSA committee announces its findings.

The committee, which will be chaired by Malesela Maleka, vice-chair of University Basketball, will assess the financial state of BSA, conduct audits for the financial years 2006/07 and 2007/08, review the constitution and develop guidelines and policies for the federation. It will convene an AGM in October to report its findings.

Maleka, who is also the spokesperson for the South African Communist Party, said: “New members of the federation will be selected during that meeting. Our responsibility is to pull the sport together again and use what has happened in the past as a learning curve and not dwell too much on it.”

Sascoc has asked the Department of Sport and Recreation to fund the interim BSA committee.

“It will be sad for the federation if allegations levelled against Mgobhozi are found to be true as I have worked with him and believe that everything he did was in the interests of basketball. But if he is indeed found guilty, necessary steps will have to be taken,” said Maleka.

“We are trying to rebuild the sport and hope to attract bigger investors as it is one of the most popular sports in the world,” he said.

Sascoc has asked the Department of Sports and Recreation for an interim budget to ensure that players are not affected by the upheaval at BSA, as was the case in April when the under-18 team failed to go to Zimbabwe.

Mashishi has encouraged administrators in other national federations to learn from the Gauteng Basketball Association (GBA), which made the complaints that led to the Sascoc investigation. He said they should speak out about corruption and not fear victimisation.

“Many administrators sit and turn a blind eye to things that are happening in their federations. This is doing injustice to our sports and we are pleading with people to come forward because we cannot always keep an eye on how federations are running on a daily basis. It is wrong to keep quiet and people should learn from GBA,” said Mashishi.

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