KZN clubs call for athletics president’s head

2011-07-23 00:00

LIKE Nero who fiddled while Rome burnt — the president of Kwazulu Natal Athletics, Aleck Skhosana, is apparently ignoring the evidence that was brought to his attention over five weeks ago.

The “emperor”, who has ruled the roost at the provincial body for 11 years, has chosen to ignore such damning evidence as eight clearly copied and altered invoices relating to the 2010 National Youth Run.

The event was sponsored with over R600 000 of public funds from the Department of Sport and Recreation.

Finance and Administration Manager Joyce Smith submitted the invoices to the former treasurer, John Hall, as part of an audited account of the race organisation expenditure. Copies of the invoices have been seen by The Witness.

In a communiqué to clubs this week, Skhosana appealed to members to be patient, while awaiting the outcome of the audit that was demanded by clubs attending the council meeting on June 25.

Despite a constitutional requirement for two council meetings per year, this was the first to be held for at least five years under Skhosana’s Executive, which clubs say is typical of the unconstitutional way that Skhosana has led the organisation during his three terms of office.

In respect of the R940 000 of Lotto funding that was being used to counter the overspend that the Executive had allowed KZNA to incur in 2010, Skhosana stated that the remaining Lotto funds have been put in a separate bank account to gain interest until used for their prescribed purpose.

“As per instruction and appointment by the Special General Meeting [council meeting], a financial committee has been put in place to give the office direction in the management of the financial affairs of the association.

“This committee would also advise the Executive on financial issues,” says Skhosana in his communiqué that he admits is a response to being inundated by calls and correspondence demanding answers and action on what the clubs and individuals see as the meltdown of the provincial athletics administration.

The lack of action by Skhosana and the Executive has infuriated Errard Sullivan, a registered runner and businessman from Pietermaritzburg, to such an extent that he reported and opened a case with the Office of the Public Defender.

Runner Charlie Harvey wrote an open letter to Skhosana alleging that as opposed to assisting the investigation the president was purposely curtailing the progress by limiting the auditor’s scope of investigation, instructing that the auditor report only to him, and going to lengths “to keep the auditor and chair of the ad hoc damage control committee apart.”

Harvey believes that the ad hoc committee is being hampered by the fact that they have to report to structures that are complicit and the perpetrators of the alleged crimes.

Harvey said, “It gives me no joy to attack Aleck’s administration,”

“In fact I’m disappointed that responsible athletic clubs, fans and participants have to criticise and call for the removal of this former athlete, but past deeds … make it necessary if we are to clean up our sport and bring back participant spectator and sponsor alike.”

A petition, calling for Skhosana and the Executive to stand aside for the duration of the investigation, garnered support from over 20 club chairs in the first hour.

The petition further calls for Skhosana to be withdrawn from the presidential elections on July 30 and all KZNA members to be withdrawn from all activities at national and international level during this situation. This would also affect Moila who is a member of the ASA board and was being touted as a nominee at IAAF level.

Clubs and runners are surprised and disappointed at the silence of well-known names such as New York marathon winner Willie Mtolo, Comrades Marathon chairperson Peter Proctor, Chatsworth’s Dees Govender and runner Blanche Moila all of whom sit on the executive.

Their silence is being interpreted as tacit approval of what clubs considers an unacceptable situation.

“How can we support any KZNA member operating at ASA or heaven forbid IAAF, when they are so quiet about this [alleged fraud and corruption] in their home province,” said a local club runner.

“I can’t understand why Willie [Mtolo], Blanche and Dees have said nothing … I’ve been shown the evidence so I’m sure they have … how can they be quiet?”

In an attempt to ensure that the true circumstances in the province are correctlyreported to ASA, clubs have written to the KZNA office mandating John Hall, the chairperson of Natal Carbineers, as their voting delegate at the ASA Council meeting which includes the elections for national president and vice president.

Hall said, “I briefed Aleck fully at the beginning of June. There was blatant evidence supporting the allegations. I cannot understand why the president and executive have failed to take action,”

“Aleck and his Executive must now stand aside. The situation demands immediate action and a full and proper investigation.”

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