Court orders ASA to pay R10m damages for Blignaut

2014-09-20 11:08

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Athletics SA (ASA) must pay R10?million in damages to pole vaulter Jan Blignaut, the North Gauteng High Court ordered the athletics governing body this week.

In his ruling in favour of Blignaut (26) on Tuesday, Judge Pretorius ordered ASA:

»?to pay Blignaut R10?402?106.94 together with costs and interest on the capital sum at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of the order to the date of payment of the capital and;

»?on the taxed party and party costs of the plaintiff (Blignaut).

Blignaut initially sued ASA for close to R3?million for the head injuries he sustained while competing at an ASA-sanctioned track and field event five years ago. The claim has shot up to to R10?million.

ASA yesterday said that they couldn’t contest the actuarial calculations of the claim as they also failed to attend the initial hearing in April last year.

Some of the other reasons given, was that the ­­­

cash-strapped organisation could not afford to pay their lawyers at the time due to leadership dispute at the federation.

The new ASA leadership only instructed their former attorneys to hold a watching brief at the trial on Tuesday.

ASA attorney Monty Hacker yesterday said the athletics body “intends to approach the court to apply for a stay of execution of judgement and/or to rescind judgement”.

But Blignaut had already indicated through his legal representatives that he “required the payment in terms of his judgment and will, if necessary, bring an application for the liquidation of ASA, should he not receive payment of his judgment in full”.

ASA president Aleck Skhosana said the Blignaut lawsuit was the “biggest lesson” for the federation.

“The biggest lesson here is that there are risks that one can take and those that you can’t. In this case, the risk taken by ASA in 2009 by not having insurance in place resulted in the decision of the judge on Tuesday. The current leadership of ASA and those who will come in future should never allow this to happen again.”

Skhosana said ASA will also refer the matter to International Association of Athletics Federations for guidance.

See the full statement from Athletics SA

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