First female President elected at Cycling SA

During the CyclingSA Elective AGM held on the 1st February 2020 in Johannesburg, the General Assembly elected a new President and Vice President to serve their terms for the next four years.  Whilst the current Treasurer Mr Andre du Toit was re-elected in his position.

Mrs Ciska du Plessis-Austin is the first female President of the Federation with Kevin Green from Paarl as Vice President.   This is also the first time a representative from the Boland has been elected into the top two positions at CyclingSA.

“Our new President presented her proposed strategy for the next four years which will focus on seven key business and development units.   Her vision is to better align all the parties involved in cycling and bring into being a united front.”

The General Assembly unanimously agreed to rejuvenate the ‘club system’ and the role the Provincial and Regional affiliates play in the value chain offered to members and event organizers. As such this will be another focus area around which to build supporting administration and develop the sport.

CyclingSA aims to create more champions and future heroes and Austin’s proposed strategy includes a focus on a clearer talent development pathway within a stronger positioned sporting structure. This will run parallel to a National development and capacity building program incorporating the involvement of all nine provinces which will also better align with the transformation charter of our Government.

Following her election, Austin commented that: “Accepting this position and undertaking the task at hand will take some time to align and roll-out.  The sports industry has changed, and we will now change with it.  I am worried about the digital craze amongst the youth and the resulting decline in their participation numbers. It is a concern for all sports, but we will endeavour to make cycling in all its forms more attractive.”

As Austin will finish her Master’s Degree in European Sports Governance this April, she comes to the fore with a very strong commitment to putting in place more robust governance principles and financial austerity measures.

In line with this, her motion to the General Assembly to establish an Independent Compliance and Advisory Board (The CAB), to guide and oversee legal, financial, ethical and disciplinary matters received unanimous approval, and will be made up of the following members; Andre du Toit Federation Treasurer, Julian Cox, the Disciplinary Commissioner from Kwa-Zulu Natal , Pieter Aucamp, an advocate from North-West, Piet van Niekerk, a senior advocate from Gauteng, Attorneys Ayanda Kheswa from the Eastern Cape and Gert Fouche, an avid cyclist who still holds the current hour record in South Africa and the World Record for his age group from Gauteng North as well as a potential three more members with experience in financial and commercial business management.

Backgroud: Ciska du Plessis-Austin

Ciska took the position of Vice President not too long ago in June 2016 but had to withdraw from her position due to increased work commitments at the time.

Her link to the federation has spanned many years when she became involved in a cycling club in the Free State in 2002. She moved onto administration roles in the sport, where most South African road cyclists will know her as Secretary for the Cycling SA Road Commission from 2007-2009, and thereafter as the Secretary General for Cycling SA from 2010 to mid-2012.

Ciska is currently studying a Master’s Degree in European Sports Governance through the University of Limoges in France, considered the foremost programme in Sports Administration in Europe.

In her role as VP, Ciska will play a supportive role to the President and staff as well as the Executive Committee and the various Commissions. “Governance of the sport is key to me and I will work closely with our Secretary General especially to ensure all processes are respected and where needed, I will assist to put it in place.”

She will also work closely with all the board members as well as staff to ensure performance and assessment of resources in all the areas as well as providing training and guidance.

Ciska believes that “any federation should be athlete-centric”.

“Cyclists are the core of our organisation at Cycling SA. As it is our responsibility as a federation to determine and drive achievable strategies for the future of our cyclists, I hope I can play a small role in doing this and to see us succeed beyond imagination.”