Olympic body’s bigwigs spend four days at a plush hotel while athletes cry out for funding
While its athletes are grovelling for funding, Sascoc fat cats were wined and dined at the Durban July, racking up a bill of as much as R370 000.
The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) CEO Tubby Reddy and several board members spent four days celebrating the glamorous equestrian event, it can be revealed.
Sascoc’s budget for elite athletes is so limited that many of the country’s leading sportsmen no longer get funding for coaches.
But an investigation by City Press’ sister publication Rapport shows that Sascoc’s weekend of festivities in Durban cost at least R80 000, but possibly as much as R370 000.
Reddy’s son Mishen, several Sascoc board members and employees, ANC MP Mgolodi Dikgacwi and other guests who are not employees of Sascoc, racked up their hefty bill at the luxury Coastlands Hotel in Umhlanga. Dikgacwi is also his party’s whip in the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport.
Sascoc president Gideon Sam and the chairperson of the National Lottery Board, Professor Ntshengedzeni Nevhutanda, also stayed at the hotel.
Meanwhile, several medallists at last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games have, since March, not received any money from Sascoc to help cover their coaching fees.
Sascoc regularly refers to its “limited resources”, which apparently forces it to “prioritise” its spending on athletes.
The horse race took place only on the Saturday, but Reddy and company regaled themselves at the hotel for four nights.
The hotel expenses for Reddy and his son Mishen were more than R23 000 and Tubby blew R7 654 just on food and drinks.
Reddy and eight other Sascoc board members are currently suing sports journalist Graeme Joffe because he said in a column they are using Sascoc funds as their own personal bank account.
The R79 161 hotel bill is more than the coaching subsidy that the athletes of Sascoc’s Operation Excellence programme (Opex) could previously have relied on for a whole year.
But several Opex members’ training grants were suddenly stopped in March when they signed their new Sascoc contracts.
This applies to all 10 of South Africa’s swimmers who are hoping to win medals at the next Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio.
Their previous Sascoc contracts made provision for coaching fees of at least R5 000 per month.
Several other top athletes and members of the Opex group said Sascoc’s limited financial support is making things difficult.
Last year, swimming star Roland Schoeman complained about Sascoc’s poor support.
The South African men’s rowing team that shocked the sporting world when they unexpectedly won gold at last year’s Olympics also indicated earlier this year that they were struggling financially.
Sascoc’s hotel account was, in all likelihood, Sascoc’s smallest expenditure for the weekend.
The Sascoc group and their guests at the July followed the race from the Pegasus Lounge.
Neither the Pegasus Lounge nor Megapro, the company that did Sascoc’s bookings, wanted to indicate how many guests Sascoc entertained, but the above-mentioned hotel guests, the few Olympic stars and their families who were there along with other confirmed guests amount to at least 20 people.
A source in the travel industry said Sascoc booked 18 business class return tickets from Johannesburg to Durban on SAA.
Neither SAA nor FliAfrica, the company that handled Sascoc’s travel arrangements, was prepared to confirm this, but Dikgacwi told Rapport that Sascoc bought his plane ticket for him.
But he said he flew from Cape Town on budget airline Mango.
Another guest at Sascoc’s July weekend, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed Sascoc paid for his plane ticket from Johannesburg.
Sam denied that Reddy’s son stayed at the hotel at Sascoc’s expense. “Why would we do that if we know we are being watched so closely?” he asked.
He said Dikgacwi was not there in his capacity as an ANC MP, but as part of the sport portfolio committee.
According to Sam, expenditure for the July was justified because Sascoc is a shareholder in the horse racing company Phumelela.
Reddy refused to answer questions about the hotel accommodation, air tickets or the reception costs at the July.
He wanted to know who had given the media this “false information”.
Democratic Alliance shadow sports minister Winston Rabotapi said he was shocked when he heard that Sascoc had invited a fellow committee member to the July.
Powered by WPeMatico