Government addresses threat of flag, anthem ban
The Ministry of Sport is confident it will avoid sanction from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) ahead of a looming deadline to update the country’s legislation to be in line with the World Anti-Doping Code.
As previously reported, next week’s Rugby World Cup 2023 quarterfinal might see the Springboks playing under a neutral flag and unable to sing the national anthem.
The same applies the Proteas at the Cricket World Cup in India which began yesterday.
That’s because government has not met a deadline to amend the outdated Drug-Free Sport Act to comply with the latest World Anti-Doping Code that came into force in 2021.
The code is a global policy that is agreed and adopted by both the sports movement and governments from around the world (public authorities).
IoL reports that Wada’s revised anti-doping code came into effect on 1 January 2021 and all member countries are expected to comply. SA has until 13 October to pass the required amendments, or they may no longer be able to compete under the country’s flag.
‘Government is engaging with Wada in relation to our amendment Bill and we will provide an update in due course, but there is no way we will be in a situation where our teams will not play under the SA flag,’ a Sports Ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.
Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa last month said SA is committed to making the required amendments to the Act, and that this process is well underway.
‘We have worked tirelessly to amend legislation as recommended by Wada,’ Kodwa said.
‘There has also been input by Wada in working with us to draft the SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) Amendment Bill, which will now be taken through the South African constitutional process of finalising a Bill.
IoL reports that the new Wada code became effective on 1 January, 2021 with SA and Bermuda named as two countries who had yet to make the necessary amendments in law.
Article disclaimer: While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide final legal advice as facts and situations will differ from case to case, and therefore specific legal advice should be sought with a lawyer.