New boss at ASA despite his contentious past

2014-06-08 15:00

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Erstwhile KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) president Aleck Skhosana (pictured) has shrugged off long-standing allegations of mismanagement of funds in his province to become the new boss of Athletics SA (ASA).

The special general meeting, held at Olympic House, Joburg, yesterday was to fill 10 executive positions in the ASA board. They will hold office for only two years.

The 47-year-old Skhosana secured 31 votes for a landslide victory over Sello Mokoena (eight votes), Steve Mkasi (seven) – both from KZNA – and Western Province’s James Evans (four). The four men were contesting for the presidency after Boland Athletics president Dr Harold Adams withdrew.

Adams, the medico who made headlines during the Caster Semenya gender row in 2009, received overwhelming votes (30) for the vice-presidency position.

Following his election, Skhosana denied allegations that he was occupying the ASA hot seat with a chequered past hovering over him.

He said: “People just wanted to tarnish my image. It started when ASA was going to have elections [in 2009] and also for the 2012 elections because I was the frontrunner. I’m not a vindictive person, but the same people did it again last year.”

All these stemmed from allegations that Skhosana and his KZNA executive were at the centre of the fraud and corruption scandal that left the provincial structure bankrupt in 2011.

Skhosana said yesterday’s elective conference – which was observed by Cheikh Thiare from the office of the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) – was free and fair. “This is the first step towards good corporate governance. We are more worried about stability, progress and development in athletics. We spent many years bickering and fighting among ourselves. We need to strategise while we focus on our core business – to serve athletes.”

He said that his board would convene soon to map the way forward, including taking feedback from the ad hoc committee.

The newly elected 10-member board will hold office until 2016 to conclude the four-year term that was left halfway by former president Evans’ board – dissolved in November last year.

Evans had served just two years when he was ousted by an interim board at ASA’s general meeting almost seven months ago.  He lost out in all five positions he contested yesterday.

It was through the intervention of the IAAF in February that ASA had an ad hoc committee in place to defuse a leadership squabble that had overshadowed the sport for almost two years.

While Skhosana called for unity in athletics in his acceptance speech, it remained to be seen what difference the new board would make, considering that most of them had served at this level before.

They have a limited time to serve their mandate, which, among other challenges, must remedy ASA being in debt estimated at around R5?million.

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