Gideon Sam has defended his travel allowance ©Getty Images

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) President Gideon Sam has defended the ZAR6,000 (£360/$501/€407) daily allowance he has received when travelling.

Sam was speaking at the end of the month-long Ministerial Committees Inquiry established by South Africa's Sports Minister Thembelani Nxesi in August.

He received the allowance on top of his ZAR21,000 (£1,257/$1,753/€1,426) monthly stipend and the covering of all flight and accommodation costs.

"If I look at what the rand and the dollar were back then, it was small money," Sam was quoted as saying by IOL in response to repeated questions from labour law expert Shamima Gaibie.

"If you look at the Presidents of the bigger federations in this country‚ I'm just a small fry."

He justified the grant to improve upon the situation at the Rio 2016 Olympics, when he said they stayed at a "scruffy" hotel and received smaller per diems.

Sam also denied claims that SASCOC is a "dysfunctional" body.

"An organisation is not dysfunctional if on March 26 it has a farewell function and sends about 300 athletes and managers to the Commonwealth Games," Sam said.

"An organisation is not dysfunctional when it can continue to pay its services and so on, an organisation is not dysfunctional if somewhere it has reserves to the tune of ZAR18 million (£1.1 million/$1.5 million/€1.2 million). 

"An organisation is not dysfunctional when they run the programmes of coaches and associations on a daily basis."

Tubby Reddy had accused the Gideon Sam-led Board of mismanagement ©Getty Images
Tubby Reddy had accused the Gideon Sam-led Board of mismanagement ©Getty Images

A major split is thought to exist in SASCOC between a group close to Sam and a rival faction supportive of former chief executive Tubby Reddy.

Sam also defended the running of the body in several heated exchanges after he was accused of acting without Board approval.

He refuted suggestions there was a conflict of interest in his previous role as a director of Accelerate Sport, a company which had provided services for SASCOC members, on the grounds that the firm had not dealt directly with the National Olympic Committee.

The Citizen reported that Sam also called for SASCOC to be split into two separate bodies.

He proposed that one would serve as the National Olympic Committee and the other would govern national federations.

"The problem is with the structure of South African sport," Sam reportedly claimed.

"Not with SASCOC."

Reddy was one of three officials sacked after being found guilty of disciplinary breaches, which he denies.