KZN athletics coach to fight sudden dismissal

2016-05-19 06:00

PRESIDENT of KZN Athletics Sello Mokoena is keeping his cards close to his heart regarding the suspension then dismissal of KZN athletics coach Marc Labuschagne.

Labuschagne found himself without a job after a meeting between KZN Athletics and the Department of Sport and Recreation — a meeting to which Labuschagne was invited — regarding the living conditions of five underprivileged athletes.

The five athletes, in their teens, were part of a squad hand-picked by Labuschagne­ for specific training with the long-term view of producing athletes to represent South Africa on the international stage.

Recently, it came to light the athletes had complained regarding their treatment by the appointed housemother, who neglected them and was verbally abusive to them.

The aforementioned meeting was to address the problem and while the proverbial fly on the wall may be the only creature to know what transpired at the meeting, the end results has seen Labuschagne in his current predicament.

Having been originally offered a three-year contract as KZN athletics coach, Labuschagne still has two years remaining and he has gone the legal route, taking the matter to the CCMA stating unfair dismissal and unfair labour practice regarding his suspension. There is also the matter of being paid out the remainder of his contract to address as well.

The matter comes up on 23 May and Mokoena is meanwhile stating only: “I am not in a position to comment on this, as it is an internal issue involving KZN Athletics”.

Mokoena went on to say he respects Labuschagne’s privacy and has to keep intact the reputation of KZN Athletics.

“I do not think it would be fair to openly comment at this stage,” Mokoena­ said.

And that is where the issue stands. It appears that KZN Athletics is prepared to follow such a route, but on what grounds or what they base their actions and decisions on, plus who will represent them, remains in Mokoena’s hands.

As Mark Futcher, Labuschagne’s attorney said: “This whole matter is ridiculous. My client was head of sport at Glenwood High School for 10 years and had a secure job.

“He was asked to consider being the KZN athletics coach and would obviously have done his homework regarding a decent salary and job security.

“The last thing on his mind a year later would be to sit without a job and not be allowed access to the athletes he is supposed to nurture.”

Coach found himself without a job after a meeting between KZN Athletics and the
Department of Sport and Recreation - a
meeting to which Labuschagne was invited - regarding the living conditions of five under-
privileged athletes

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