Athletics bodies called to order

2010-07-25 10:58

Parliament has called warring athletics bodies to appear before the

Sports Portfolio Committee on August 10. 

Committee chairperson Butana Komphela this week told City Press he

had sent letters to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympics

Committee (Sascoc) and the interim Athletics South Africa (ASA) leadership,

asking them to explain, among other things, why suspended Sascoc chief Leonard

Chuene continued “to be tried in the media”.

Komphela said this was in a bid to “lay the Caster Semenya issue to

rest” and stop the ongoing spat between the suspended board and Sascoc.

Sascoc is the administrator of the interim athletics body through

board member Ray Mali, who was installed following Chuene’s suspension last


Komphela?said Mali and his team have to explain to the National


» what the terms of reference were that led to the enquiry

following the suspension of Chuene and his board;

» if there is any substance to allegations of financial

mismanagement and governance and;

» why there is a contradiction in the terms given by Mali in the

media and the terms given to Parliament after the Semenya gender test row

dominated media headlines.

Komphela said the Semenya issue “started in the ­National Assembly

and the country must have the privilege of hearing the full story”.

“What irritates us is the public attack on Chuene, who appears to

be continuously tried in the media.

“It has taken them nine months to resolve their issues and we are

now dictating our own terms seeing that they have failed to come to us

voluntarily and give a report back,” said Komphela.

“We have issued a letter to Mali to give Parliament a status

report. We have been fed contradicting statements in the media. The Caster issue

should be laid to rest and not come back to the public domain again.”

The Semenya saga has changed athletics leadership and strained

relations between ASA and Sascoc.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam said a preliminary report on the

findings was ready and that his office was in the process of briefing the

ministry and ASA before a formal charge sheet was drawn.

With elections looming, one of the suspended ASA members alleged

“there is a power struggle going on and some people are taking advantage of the

Caster issue ahead of the elections in September.

They are in cahoots with

Sascoc to pave the way for them to take control of ASA”.

The official asked to remain anonymous.

This week an email written by James Evans of Western Province was

circulated ­proposing a special general meeting.

According to the document – quoting a clause from the ASA

constitution – a motion of no confidence must be passed on Chuene and his

suspended board as they can no longer form a quorum following a spate of

resignations in the wake of the Semenya row.

Mali said he had met and discussed the matter with Evans before the

document was sent out.

“I did not instruct him to send it out but we’ll

definitely look into its merits,” said Mali.

He added: “I am only here to do what is good for athletics and once

I have finished with the elections I will hand over to the athletics people –

that was the mandate. I don’t believe in factions and my role is to


As the athletics storm continues, Komphela is likely to be accused

of defending Chuene, whose survival has previously been linked to his political


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