Cape Town — At last, Sascoc have a new permanent chief executive in Nozipho Jafta, whose appointment was announced by the organisation’s president Barry Hendricks last week.
It has been a long time coming, as the governing body of sport in South Africa has been without a permanent chief executive since Tubby Reddy — who passed away recently — was dismissed in 2018 following corruption and sexual harassment allegations against him, which he had challenged.
Reddy took the matter to the CCMA, and the case had not been completed at the time of his death, at the age of 62, in November.
Ravi Govender has been the acting Sascoc chief executive since Reddy’s departure, but now that a permanent chief in Jafta — who will start in January — has been brought in, SA athletes in particular will hope that all their concerns will finally be addressed.
Many athletes complained about the lack of funding and assistance in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics, and some even had to create crowd-funding initiatives to help them prepare for the Games.
In the end, Team SA earned just three medals in Tokyo — Tatjana Schoenmaker’s gold and silver in the breaststroke, and Bianca Buitendag’s silver in surfing.
That is simply not good enough for a sports-mad country like SA, especially after 10 medals were won at the Rio Games in 2016.
There were a couple of encouraging signs in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, with Hendricks able to attract a few sponsorships.
But the controversy continued after the event when Sascoc were unable to announce financial incentives for the medallists, something that should have been done before the Games.
A few public crowd-funding campaigns were launched to reward Schoenmaker and Buitendag, while a couple of sponsors also handed out cheques to the duo.
Eventually, sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa stepped in, with the department of sports, arts and culture announcing various incentives for SA’s Olympic and Paralympic medallists, with the amount totalling about R2.58million.
It should never have come to that, and Hendricks acknowledged that Jafta has a lot of hard work ahead to get Sascoc operating as they should.
Jafta is currently employed at Autopax, a subsidiary of Prasa, as an operations, sales, marketing, communication and stakeholder relations executive, having previously been the acting chief executive of the organisation as well.
According to the Sascoc statement, Jafta holds a degree in Communications and Honours in Psychology from the University of Fort Hare, and completed her Management Advancement Program (MAP) at Wits Business School and an effective leadership programme at Wharton University in the United States.
She has over 20 years experience in marketing, events, sports sponsorships and communication, and has worked for and with brands such as South African Airways, Vodacom, Telkom, McDonald’s, RAF and Proudly SA.
“We are very excited about this appointment, and we believe that having a permanent CEO is very critical in stabilising and turning Sascoc around. We went through a very rigorous process, involving independent consultants and a panel, and believe that we have the right candidate for the job,” Hendricks said in a statement.
“She will be working very closely with us in addressing financial and governance issues, and most importantly, rebuilding the Sascoc brand and stakeholder confidence to attract sponsors and stabilise the organisation.
“As an organisation, Sascoc is definitely going to benefit from the extensive experience that Nozipho has in both the private and public sector.
“In partnership with Sascoc, Nozipho managed the SAA sponsorship of both the Olympics and Paralympics in 2004 and in 2008, and she was involved in the Beijing Olympics with McDonald’s, who are the global sponsors of the Olympics and Paralympics. So, she is no stranger in our environment.”
Well, let’s hope Jafta finally puts the athletes first, so that Team SA can win many more medals at the Paris Olympics in 2024 …