South Africa: Sascoc Must Explain Why a Coach Accused of Sexual Abuse May Be Going to the Olympic Games

press release

The DA has written to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) President, Barry Hendricks, regarding serious allegations that not only are there still coaches, also at Swimming South Africa (SSA), who have criminal cases opened against them for alleged sexual abuse allowed to coach, but that one of them may be accompanying athletes to the Olympic Games in a month.

Last year the DA called for an investigation into an international report that stated that executives at SSA, some of whom serve on the SASCOC board, have failed to report allegations of sexual abuse of minors to the South African Police Service (SAPS) as required by the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007.

In our letter, the DA also asked Mr Hendricks for an update on the status of safeguarding policies to protect athletes from abusers that he promised to put in place, as well as which federations have updated their policies to include protective measures against sexual harassment or abuse. The DA is also aware of allegations in other sporting codes.

SASCOC has had ample time to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against these coaches, which includes the coach at SSA, as well as the numerous allegations levelled against water polo coaches. SASCOC cannot continue to put athletes, some underage, in harms way.

The DA is supportive that the criminal justice process runs its course, however, we insist that all coaches who have allegations against them, and especially those against whom criminal cases have been opened, must be suspended immediately and not under any circumstances be allowed to accompany these athletes to the Olympic Games or any other competitions pending the outcome of the investigations. SASCOC must create a safe environment for athletes.

The safety and well-being of our athletes must be put first.

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