Athletics SA board split over report

2013-11-10 14:01

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Association’s president still in the firing line despite being exonerated

Despite a commission of inquiry exonerating Athletics SA (ASA) president James Evans, his board remains divided.

One section of the board maintains that the special meeting in June that voted for a commission of inquiry was unconstitutional, so they deem the report invalid.

Some say they haven’t seen the report that was sent to all members on October 29.

This contradicts the minutes of the June 22 meeting, which say there was a vote for the commission.

The commission was chaired by retired Supreme Court of Appeal Judge JJF Hefer. Evans says Hefer was nominated by members and didn’t cost ASA a cent.

According to the minutes, Athletics Gauteng North and University Sports SA (USSA) abstained, while other provinces sent apologies and others didn’t attend.

Hefer’s report concluded that the decision to impeach Evans was invalid.

Said Evans: “There has been no formal challenge to the meeting held on June 22. If they dispute the constitutionality of the meeting, our constitution provides dispute-resolution mechanisms. If they did not recognise the commission, then why did they make submissions?”

He added: “It really is time that this nonsense stops. Five board members are holding the sport to ransom. They make allegations they cannot support with evidence and try to resist every effort to bring the matter to conclusion. If they don’t like the way things are being done, why not resign in protest?”

City Press spoke to all the board members, including the five of the initial six of the 11 board members who called for the impeachment of Evans in February.

They were Peter Lourens (Boland Athletics), James Moloi (Central Gauteng Athletics), Shireen Noble (South West District), Esther Malema (Limpopo), Mlungisi Mnyengeza (Gauteng North) and Gwadiso Ntathu (Boland). Mnyengeza, who represented USSA, is no longer part of the board as his term has ended.

The group had accused Evans of having made payments to himself from ASA’s coffers, and that he had entered into various agreements and settlements with ASA staff without the board’s knowledge.

Hefer’s five-page report recommended Lourens be removed from the board after he “unilaterally sent out new qualifying standards for 2013 to the provincial bodies in spite of a recommendation by the other members of the committee that the 2012 standards be retained”.

Lourens argued that Hefer was not appointed by the board, a point which he and Moloi, Noble, Malema and Ntathu put across to Hefer via their attorney, Oupa Skosana.

Geraldine Pillay of Gauteng North said: “The report [Hefer’s] doesn’t say much because no one came with the evidence to back up their allegations against James. It is so annoying that some people are doing everything to derail the sport.”

Who is Judge JJF Hefer?

» Judge Josephus Johannes Francois Hefer (also known as JJF Hefer) acted as chief justice in 2001 and also as the interim president of the Supreme Court of Appeal between 2003 and 2008.

» He also chaired the Hefer Commission of Inquiry (2003-2004) into the allegations of spying against former national director of prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka.

» He was born in Brandfort, Free State, in 1931 and he is the honorary professor of the faculty of law at the University of the Free State

ASA commission of inquiry: commissioner’s report

Minutes of the special general meeting of the ASA NPC, June 22 2013

Lawyer’s letter: ASA commission of inquiry

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