Boks can be stripped of national flag due to non-compliance
BREAKING NEWS: The Springboks might have to compete under a neutral flag in the quarterfinals of the World Cup and without the opportunity of singing the national anthem due to non-compliance of the latest World Anti-Doping Code (Wada).
The date for the quarterfinals is the weekend of October 14 and 15.
If the South African government does not comply by October 13, the first steps of the consequences of non-compliance will start. And one of those consequences is not being allowed to participate under a national flag.
The non-compliance by the South African National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADO) is a result of legislation not in line with the 2021 Code.
On September 23 this year Wada announced in a statement that South Africa has fallen foul of Wada’s mandatory compliance requirements and will face the dire consequences. (The notice of non-compliance can be read here: https://www.wada-ama.org/en/news/wada-compliance-update-following-executive-committee-meeting-22-september)
The Code is a global policy that is agreed and adopted by both the sports movement and governments from around the world (public authorities).
Unfortunately, the South African government has failed to amend its outdated drug-free sport act to comply with the latest World Anti-Doping Code (Wada) that came into force in 2021.
The new revised anti-doping code from Wada came into effect on 1 January 2021 and all member countries must comply.
South Africa and Bermuda are the only two sporting bodies and federations out of 700 that have not accepted the new code.
“Wada wishes to update stakeholders regarding the Executive Committee’s decision to endorse 10 recommendations of Wada’s independent Compliance Review Committee (CRC),” the Wada statement read.
“During its meeting, the Exco asserted non-compliance of three Anti-Doping Organisations (ADOs) with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).
“The two National Anti-Doping Organisations (Nados) in question are Bermuda and South Africa; and the Major Event Organization (MEO) in question is the Pan American Sports Organization (Panam Sports).
“In the cases of the Bermuda and South Africa Nados, the non-compliance is a result of legislation not in line with the 2021 Code.”
According to Daily Maverick the South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (Saids) had warned the government and federations previously of the consequences of non-compliance a year ago.
The first formal meeting with sports federations and the South African Sports and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) took place in Johannesburg on 25 November 2022.
A draft bill had been sent out in April 2023 by Saids to all federations and Sascoc outlining the compliance regulations, Daily Maverick reported.
They had until May 5 for comments and amendments. After that deadline, Saids reviewed comments and inputs and made changes where appropriate.
A statement by Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa, dated September 22, on the official government website read:
“I have noted the decision by the Wada on Friday, 23 September 2023, that current South African legislation, the South African Drug-Free Sport Amendment Act, 25 of 2006, is not compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code,” Kodwa said.
“We have worked tirelessly to amend legislation as recommended by Wada. There has also been input by Wada in working with us to draft Saids’ Amendment Bill, which will now be taken through the South African Constitutional process of finalising a Bill.
“It is disappointing that South Africa has been found to be non-compliant despite this undertaking to pass legislation which meets the World Anti-Doping Code.
“I would like to reassure athletes, sports federations, and the sports public that the non-compliance finding will not affect drug testing in South African sport. Saids will continue to deliver services that protect clean sport in South Africa
“The South African Government process for promulgating legislation is thorough and comprehensive. Any legislation, including amendments, must meet the muster of the South African Constitution and cannot contradict or nullify any existing laws.
“I officially communicated with Wada President Witold Bańka on South Africa’s position, and have requested to meet with him urgently.
“South Africa is committed to anti-doping in sport. Saids has done much work to meet the evolving dynamics of compliance in global sport on matters of anti-doping, anti-corruption, governance reforms, child safeguarding and data protection.
“The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture will continue to expend all efforts get the Amendment Bill adopted expeditiously.”
South Africa is compelled to comply as a signatory to the International Convention Against Doping in Sport, adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in Paris on October 19, 2005.