GOVT GETS TOUGH ON SPORTS BODIES

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GOVT GETS TOUGH ON SPORTS BODIES

Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kazembe Kazembe has threatened to come down hard on errant sports bodies that fail to comply with the Sports Commission’s tenets on governance. Kazembe said it was imperative that sports associations acted for the benefit of the public while conducting their business transparently.

The minister, who was guest of honour at the second Sport and Recreation Conference on governance in Harare yesterday, told participants that Government was not amused by the attitude displayed by some associations when it comes to governance issues. The conference, held by the Sports Commission, is a follow-up to a similar one held in January where 2017 was declared as the year of good governance.

“The role of governance in any organisation cannot be understated as the fabric of any institution. It is measured by its governance systems and procedures. Governance also determines how institutions are presided over thus even deciding on their interaction with stakeholders.

It is, however, disheartening to note that most national sport associations have low regard for the adherence to good tenets of corporate governance. This sad situation explains why most sporting organisations are failing to attract investors to bankroll their activities. There is no serious investor who will put their money where it is not guaranteed safety.

“Equally the same as Government, we are not happy with some institutions who have been assisted with Government funding but fail to acquit for the resources that they would have received either from us or any other investor or well-wisher. It is also depressing to note that some of the institutions fail to acquit for resources they would have received.

This is clearly an attitude problem, and it paints the entire sports sector black,” said Kazembe. Over the years national associations have continued to cry foul over lack of funding and sponsorship for their various programmes including participation in major international competitions. It has also affected local athletes’ ability to effectively compete in international events as preparations for such competitions like the Olympics, World Championships or an continental level are usually limited because of lack of resources.

Kazembe said lack of accountability and transparency have also contributed to the current situation and he will take stern measures against those that do not want to adhere to good corporate governance. “As your minister, I may be forced to direct the SRC to take drastic action against the errant associations or sporting bodies for the benefit of the public. Sport cannot be expected to play a pivotal role in this new dispensation unless some sport leaders change their attitude.

“Going forward we are going to insist on the SRC to de-register all the sporting bodies which are not compliant with the laws of the land. This is not to say as Government we are oblivious of what the international sport federations say in terms of interference with regards to your operations. However, it is also true that international sport federations are for good corporate governance.

“As the ministry and SRC, we are going to tighten the screws especially on those who come to us seeking for assistance when they are not in good books with us. It must be borne in mind that Government collects money form the taxpayers and it is only fair that we deploy the scarce resources where there is order as we will also be asked to account for these resources,” said Kazembe.

The conference covered several topics including the state of corporate governance and compliance in Sport and Recreation, presented by acting director-general Joseph Muchechetere. Judging from Muchechetere’s presentation, there is still a lot that needs to be done to address the issue. Sports Commission chairman Edward Siwela spoke about the role of national sport associations’ councils and executive boards in turning around the industry.

Siwela noted that there is lack of accountability on the part of leaders as some of the elected members become law unto themselves. The Commission board chairman also emphasised the need for compliance and indicated they would demand more from the associations. “Compliance with statutory requirements it’s a bare minimum governance compliance. So we expect that all associations should be fully compliant with statutory obligations and that they are able to actually do more. They should actually be operating at a level far higher than what is required by the law.

“In governance the law provides the foundation but we need to have a situation where in sports good corporate governance, principles and practices are embraced and implemented so that sport and recreation as an industry is able to contribute more meaningfully to the GDP of the country,” said Siwela.

Other presenters included veteran sports administrator Tommy Sithole, who spoke about the global perspective of good corporate governance and Zimbabwe Olympic Committee vice president Thabani Gonye presented the road map to Tokyo 2020.

Zimbabwe Aquatic Union president Mary Kloppers presented a model of good corporate governance in line with the SI 342 giving a case study of the union on compliance. Yesterday’s conference was attended by various stakeholders including schools representatives — Naph and Nash – national sport associations, ZOC, Zimbabwe Tertiary Institutions Sports Union (ZTISU), uniformed forces and the corporate world.

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