Many of our government ministers have a habit of grandstanding on critical issues in their portfolios, perhaps as a way to bolster their egos.
Normally, the sabre rattling and quotable quotes are for local consumption, but occasionally, they go further.
That is when we risk – dealing as we are with foreign governments and organisations – embarrassing South Africa through statements or actions which have not been carefully thought through.
Such is the case with the latest moves by the government to put a stop to the rot in the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).
Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi has threatened the organisation that he will dissolve its executive “as a last resort” if the mess is not cleaned up.
The problem is that the minister is putting the entire local Olympic sports community at risk of being banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which views any sort of government interference in Olympic matters very seriously.
Compounding the problem is the fact that Nxesi did not reveal his “last resort” option when communicating with the IOC.
We have no problem with the minister trying to sort out Sascoc, which will benefit all South African sportspeople. But he needs to tread very carefully…