BACKGROUND OF THE AFRICAN UNION SPORTS COUNCIL (AUSC) REGION 5

The African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 is one of the five Regions entrusted with the responsibility to develop sport under the African Union. This follows the dissolution of the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA), under which the Region 5 was known as SCSA Zone VI. Members of the Region comprise of: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The SCSA was established on the 14 December 1966 and served as a specialized agency of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for the coordination of the Africa Sports Movement and to utilize Sport in the struggle against colonialism and apartheid on the continent. Invariably, the SCSA was essentially a political organization which furthered the aims and objectives of the OAU through Sport.


The core functions of the SCSA, according to its Constitution, were:
  1. Enabling and implementing ways and means likely to foster development of African Sport;
  2. Fostering the development of African Sport;
  3. Cooperating with international organizations and institutions specialized in training of Sports administrators;
  4. Coordinating the organization of the All Africa Games; and
  5. Directing, coordinating and supporting the activities of the SCSA Sport Development Zones.

The Structures of the SCSA as enumerated in its Constitution are:

Council of Ministers
SCSA SCSA Zone VI/AUSC Region 5
General Assembly
Executive Committee Executive Committee
Presidency Secretariat
Secretariat General The Technical Commissions
Specialized Commissions Secretary General
Sports Development Zones General Manager
All Africa Games

 The SCSA mandate and structures were designed to facilitate the successful liberation objectives of the continent during colonialism. Indeed, the OAU through the active involvement of the SCSA was able to use sport as a campaign tool to boycott international sporting activities in order to send a clear message to the outside world that Africa would not engage in sports with colonizers and apartheid regimes. Noting that the SCSA was primarily established to advance the achievement of the political objectives of the OAU, it was therefore more focused on holding meetings and campaigns against apartheid and colonial regimes participating in international sporting events. Sport development and development through sports were not principal focus areas.

TRANSITION FROM OAU TO AU

The OAU was able to meet its objectives of liberating the entire continent from apartheid and colonialism. The post-colonial challenges required a different organization to meet the needs of independent states. This resulted in the transformation of the OAU into the AU with a mandate to integrate the continent and promote development and growth. Many of the agencies that operated under the OAU were absorbed into the AU and were subsequently fashioned to meet the new mandate of the organization. While progress was noted in many areas following the transition to the AU, the SCSA remained largely operative within the structure and context of the OAU. It has not been sensitive enough to changes in Sports development and governance taking place throughout the world. The majority of member countries started to question what value was accrued from being members of the SCSA. Invariably many started failing on meeting their annual subscriptions. Attendance at SCSA meetings also declined and nearly all SCSA Zones, except one, became very inactive. This was mainly due to the following:
  • Lack of leadership and guidance from the SCSA Head office;
  • Absence of dedicated sports development programmes;
  • Focus of communication from the SCSA solely concerning subscriptions by Member States without offering development programmes; and
  • The only visible SCSA programme, The All Africa Games, was organized by AASC, ANOCA and COJA with the SCSA treated as an outsider.

MILESTONES

Since establishment the SCSA was able to coordination the African Sports Movement and to utilize sport in the fight against colonialism and apartheid on the Continent. SCSA played a valuable role particularly in the struggle against Apartheid by sensitizing the international community on the atrocities committed by the apartheid regime in South Africa; and by organizing the boycott of international sports events that included the participation of the apartheid regime and those countries having sporting links with it. SCSA was also expected to serve as a forum for concerted action by Member States for the promotion and development of sport in Africa (SCSA Constitution, Article 3). However, SCSA lacked the capacity to implement any sports development programmes or had any meaningful cooperation and continental international sport organizations, except being the owners of the All Africa Games, pursuant to Article 41 of SCSA Constitution. Fundamental political, economic and social developments have taken place on the Continent since the end of colonial and apartheid era. There was the transition from the OAU to the AU with new structures and mandate leading to the restructuring of its organs and specialized agencies, but not SCSA. SCSA continued to operate with its old structure and mandate, thereby rendering it less competent and effective. Furthermore, the ever growing popularity of sports and its competitiveness in Africa, as well as on the international scene raised the question as to whether SCSA had the requisite structure to implement the new Vision and Mission of the AU and to meet the sport challenges of the 21st century. Therefore, there is a need for sport architecture to reflect and address the new realities, particularly the use of sport as a tool for development on the continent. In response, the African Union institutionalized the AU Conference of Ministers of Sport (CAMS) in 2006, to provide political leadership for the harmonization and coordination of sport policy matters on the Continent. In addition, note was taken of the enlargement of the African Sport Movement, such as ANOCA and AASC, that provides specialized technical services. Pursuant to the decision of the Executive Council, the AUC, conducted an in-depth appraisal of the structures and functions of the SCSA and evaluated its current capacity in the development of sports in Africa within the context of the New Sport Architecture. The following issues were addressed:

  • The current financial and human resources at the disposal of the continent in developing sport as well as using sport for the development and growth of Africa;
  • Clear synergy between the current needs and demands of the sport community in Africa and the Mission and Vision of the African Union;
  • Structures and functions of the new Architecture for Sports in Africa i.e. what structure can best be designed to address effectively the sporting needs of the continent;
  • Transitional arrangements for the integration of the function of the SCSA by the new Architecture;
  • Budget to cover staff and operation cost of the new Architecture while strengthening its institutions to be self-sufficient;
  • Funding potentials of the new Architecture; and
  • The status of the new Architecture as a specialized institution of the African Union Commission.
  • The initial draft report was subjected to a peer-review by independent sport experts, the Committee of Seven involving experts from ANOCA, AASC, and the Bureau of the CAMS3. Among the key recommendations of the Report are:
(a) Separate Sport Division in the Department of Social Affairs of the AUC to address issues relating to Sport Policy on the continent; (b) The establishment of a Specialized Technical Institution (STI) under the AUC (the African Sport Architecture Secretariat), ASA to handle technical and operational aspects of sport development and development for sport in Africa, including the organization of the All Africa Games; (c) Establishment of three (3) Technical Committees to advise the proposed Specialized Technical Institution for Sport in Africa, namely: (i) Technical Committee for Sport Development; (ii) Technical Committee for Finance and Auditing; and (iii) Technical Committee for the All Africa Games and Marketing. In this regard, the conclusion of an MOU with ANOCA and AASC will be desirable; (d) The Specialized Technical Institution for Sport in Africa is to be self-financing with expected huge revenue to be generated from the marketing of the All Africa Games and other sporting activities, funds from partners such as the IOC, as well as financial contributions and fees charged to Member States for participation in sporting activities; (e) A road map to ensure a smooth transition for transferring the functions of SCSA to the new Architecture for Sport in Africa; and (f) The Government of the Republic of Cameroon has offered to host the new Architecture for Sport in Africa. If the offer is accepted, a new Host Agreement with Cameroon would be required.
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