The Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture has made a major breakthrough in its effort to end the rivalry between the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC).
The historic discord between the country’s two top sporting bodies dates back before the formation of the sports ministry and is believed to have stalled the development of sports in the country.
The ministry has been engaged in a campaign to reconcile the two to complement each other in developing athletes and sports in Botswana.
Rivalry between the two sporting bodies ran deep and was a result of a clash of egos and structures. Their mandates overlapped resulting in duplication of roles and collision of administrations.
The ministry is helping the two bodies to come up with a structure that will streamline their conflicting responsibilities to being complimentary.
The current structure was not only irreconcilable, but was also a drain on the limited government funding as the ministry had to spread its meager budget around funding the same activities duplicated under the two bodies.
Initially there was a proposal to merge the two bodies. According to a document passed to Sunday Standard, this would have meant “A total merger of the BNSC and BNOC, at both boards and secretariat levels on condition that statutes of the merged bodies (with a new name) complied with national legislation and that of IOC respectively.”
It was further proposed that under the new structure duplication of efforts, roles and resources would be removed.
However, the proposal came up with a new challenge as it needed the enactment of a new legislation (National Sport Act), which would repeal the BNSC Act. It would also require the ministry to establish a sport unit to collaborate with new entity.
The proposed name was ‘Botswana Sport Federations and Olympic Committee’, and its board was to be elected by sports associations as opposed to appointment by the minister.
The two bodies however agreed on an alternative option which proposes the clarification of roles and elimination of programmes duplication between the two bodies. Under the second proposal, BNSC and BNOC have agreed on temporary roles as part of a work in progress.
Permanent Secretary in the ministry of MYSC, Kago Ramokate has already proposed new roles that will see the two bodies working cordially together. Proposed roles for BNSC under the new structure include: reporting body, finance, corporate services, strategy, HR, policy, sport dispute resolutions, lobby group, facilities, recreation, licensing, and registration of new National Associations and sport volunteers. The BNSC is also to oversee the national Olympic Committee whose responsibility is: elite sport development, games, anti-doping, sport science, programmes, professional sport, NSA budgeting. Minister Thapelo Olopeng considered the second option as a viable and implementable option. Olopeng implored BNSC and BNOC to work towards implementing the proposed structure. He rejected a merger because enacting a new legislation was going to be costly and time consuming. Both BNSC and BNOC were expected to come up with a working document to make the option operational.