Athletics farce

2013-12-01 14:00

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As court hearing and AGM take place simultaneously.

Athletics SA (ASA) yesterday sank deeper into disarray and now runs the risk of being banned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

This is after a court case brought by five suspended provincial boards at the South Gauteng High Court was postponed by Judge Margaret Victor to February 4.

While incumbent president James Evans and his deputy, Hendrick Ramaala – both lawyers by profession – sat in court, the provinces went ahead with an annual general meeting, where they removed the current board and elected an interim structure.

Such moves are scorned by global sporting organisations like the IAAF, which prefers matters to be sorted out within the sporting structures.

In a dramatic week preceding yesterday’s events, Boland Athletics, KwaZulu-Natal, Central Gauteng, Western Province and South Western districts were suspended by the ASA Evans and Ramaala who claimed to be acting on behalf of the boardfor calling “an unconstitutional special general meeting” that was scheduled for Friday night in Johannesburg.

On the day of the “suspensions”, two board members – former athlete Blanche Moila of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics and Andre Gobey of Athletics Gauteng North – tendered their resignations, meaning that only three members from the initial 11 were left.

The ASA constitution stipulates that there must be at least five members to form a quorum.

The IAAF is expected in the country on January 22 to mediate the drawn-out dispute between the ASA and the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), which suspended the membership of the ASA in June.

Since then, tensions have been brewing within the ASA board, led by Evans.

Yesterday Judge Victor postponed the matter and provisionally lifted the suspensions of the suspended group, while the AGM in Isando near Kempton Park, took a decision to dissolve the ASA board and appoint a seven-member interim committee.

The newly elected committee is made up of Harold Adams, Aleck Skhosana, Tebogo Masehla, Jakes Jacobs, Sello Mokoena, Daan du Toit and Steven Khanyile.

The group said it had been given a mandate by the provinces to run the affairs of the embattled federation.

Mokoena, from Athletics KZN, said: “It came to a point where the provinces had to stand up and hold the board accountable.

The motion to dissolve the board was carried unanimously at a special meeting on Friday and at the AGM yesterday. We now have six months to hold the elections.”

However, a defiant Evans emerged from court yesterday saying the AGM could not be held in their absence.

“Clearly it wouldn’t be constitutional to go ahead with the meeting because there was no motion [to remove the ASA board] on the agenda,” said Evans.

“We need to take guidance from the IAAF and I can guarantee that they are not going to accept the committee elected today [yesterday] because they didn’t get prior approval for it.”

Evans said they will look at the Companies Act and the IAAF constitution to see how his remaining board could move forward.

The special meeting still went ahead on the eve of the AGM, where a motion of no confidence in the ASA board was discussed.

Also on Friday, ASA board led by Evans also had a meeting that was only attended by the ASA president, Ramaala and athletes commission chair Geraldine Pillay.

The motion to oust Evans and his board was tabled at the AGM yesterday, where an interim structure was eventually elected.

Yesterday, Sascoc president Gideon Sam said they were not getting involved in the latest ASA fiasco.

“We are not getting involved because we were told to back off by the IAAF. Whatever happens this time, it is for the IAAF to act.”

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