By Duncan Mackay

Gideon Sam in suit and tieNovember 24 - A vote of confidence saw Gideon Sam and his team re-elected at the head of the South Africa Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) at the elections in Johannesburg today.

Sam was elected unopposed as President while vice-presidents Hajera Kajee and Les Williams also retained their posts. 

Sam had been first elected following South Africa's poor performance at Beijing in 2008 and had overseen an improvement at London, where the team won six medals, including three gold. 

"You have now elected us and we will lead," Sam told the delegates after the election.

"We will not be able to do this if we do not get the support from the people who elected us."

Sam had initially been set to face opposition for the top post from Irvin Khoza, who had been the chairman of the Organising Committee when South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

But he withdrew and urged everyone to back Sam.

Sam promised support for the national federations.

"There are federations that are dying a natural death in this country," he said.

"When you go back into history these are federations that did well on all levels of sport in the world."

But Sam called for greater unity in the nation's sporting administration structure.

"I call on all our leaders to settle their differences," he said.

"There's no doubting sport is a cut-throat business but we cannot afford all these disputes among the federations.

"They are derailing us, there are bigger issues.

"Our focus for the next four years will be to strengthen the Province's structures because we are still only scratching the surface when it comes to talent."

Among those overlooked for in the election for the vice-presidents was Kirsten Nematandani, President of the South African Football Association.

The new Board members who will serve for the next four years are, Keikabile Motlatsi, Mark Alexander, Themba Hlatsho, Kobus Marais and Mubarak Mohamed.

Alexander, Marais and Mohamed also served on the board for the last term of office.

Motlatsi from Athletics South Africa and Hlasho from Judo South Africa were the two new members on the Board.

Swimming South Africa president Jace Naidoo lost his seat on the board in the process.

Gideon Sam with Fikile Mbalula and Tubby ReddySouth African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula (centre) has backed Gideon Sam (right) after his re-election as President of the SASCOC

The re-election of the senior officers was welcomed by South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

"Sport is never perfect but we have to work for the good of what we have committed to," he said.

"To Rio [2016] and beyond we are in a position to achieve a lot.

"The Federations can function freely and corporations can come aboard for funding because we can't rely on funding from private sector.

"In closing let me say I have had a fantastic engagement with SASCOC, there is a single mindedness from me to support sport and I look forward to another successful journey with SASCOC."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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