Monday, October 25, 2021

Irate education ministry throws flak at BISA for COSASSA media mix-up

Confederation of Southern African School Sports Associations (COSASSA) is said to be sweating over an unpaid broadcast bill to South African television personality Thomas Kwenaite.

The sports journalist-cum-Supersport TV presenter was roped in by the COSASSA Games organisers to provide television coverage for the games, which were held from  August 22 to 28 last year.

According to sources close to the COSASSA games organising committee, Kwenaite is owed money in the region of R250 000, which is approximately P200 000.

“In the build-up to the COSASSA Games, the organisers had approached several companies for sponsorships. Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), which had a representative in the Games’ Board, then came forth and pledged to pay for the broadcast of the games. That is when Kwenaite was roped in to cover the games as there was belief that the BTC would cover broadcast costs,” the source revealed.

“However, when the time came to pay, BTC was nowhere to be found and the Games Local Organising Committee was left saddled with a large bill to pay. This has forced the COSASSA organisers to approach the Ministry of Education to foot the bill,” said the source.

Reached for comment, Botswana Integrated Sports Associations (BISA) president Joshua Gaotlhobogwe, who sat in the board of the games confirmed the matter.

Speaking in an interview, Gaotlhobogwe confirmed that while the BTC had pledged to “cover the event”, the company was yet pay as promised.

“All we ever got from the BTC from all the sponsorship pledges they had promised was two cell phones and P6 000 airtime. We are yet to receive any monies from the company to cover the costs of the games coverage,” he explained.

With the monies not forthcoming and the creditors banging on BISA doors, Gaotlhobogwe said he had no other option but to go to the Ministry to ask that they cover the bill.

“To be honest, the Ministry was very livid with us over the matter but they have promised to help us pay. We have thus furnished them with the invoices from the creditors and are now awaiting payment,” he explained.

Concerning BTC’s pledge for the games’ coverage, Gaotlhobogwe said he was not privy as to what could have made the company not honour its pledge. 

Asked whether there was any written pledge to that effect, Gaotlhobogwe replied on the negative but said the pledge was made at board level.

This version of events is however disputed by the BTC who say they had fulfilled all their sponsorships obligations with COSASSA.

“I am not at liberty to discuss contents of our contractual agreements with COSASSA nor am I allowed to speak to the media. However, all I can say is that we as the BTC fulfilled all our obligations,” BTCL Head of Sponsorships and Consumer Public Relations Tiro Kganela said.

He said as BTC, they could not pledge media coverage sponsorship as they only sponsor as per the services they offer.

“We gave the COSASSA games Local Organising Committee (LOC) some gadgets and other related services including airtime, which amounted to a total sponsorship value of P70 000. That is what we had promised and I believe we successfully delivered on our promises,” he concluded.

While the BISA president refused to delve further into the matter, sources say “something had irked the company’s hierarchy”. 

Asked to clarify whether this assertion was true, Gaotlhobogwe said he could not do such as the BTC had not given reasons for their failure to pay their pledges.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper