Athletics SA needs a president without baggage

2011-07-02 00:00

THERE’S no smoke without a fire and it would seem the flames are not just burning down KZN Athletics, but are also penetrating Athletics South Africa.

This week many media colleagues received a letter from James Evans, the chair of the interim ASA Board, denying allegations that he has been making money out of his photo-timing duties at national events. He went to lengths to discredit his unnamed accusers.

The question is, who would want to discredit the current chair of the ASA Interim Board and why? Could it have something to do with his standing as a candidate for president in ASA elections on July 31 where the disgraced Leonard Chuene, Kakata Maponyane and Simon Dlamini will be replaced on the board?

Rewind two or so weeks and recall that the same Dlamini, who despite being banned from holding any position in any sport for three years, allegedly phoned former KZN Treasurer John Hall to threaten him over undermining Aleck Skoshana’s bid to be president.

Hall is said to have been given an indication of what could happen if he continued to bring down “his [Dlamini’s] people”.

Going back a few years, Skhosana, who was a track sprinter coached by Victor Vaz, was surprisingly elected to the ASA Road Commission during the period when Leonard Chuene and Simon Dlamini headed the ASA board. If Hall’s allegations are to be believed, it would seem KZN president,Skhosana and Dlamini remain mutual supporters.

This could explain why, despite many questions from clubs, Dlamini is still listed as vice president on the KZNA letterhead and why there has been such resistance to replacing Dlamini on the local board.

Ironically, during Dlamini’s rant with Hall, he allegedly accused Hall, James Evans and me of trying to undermine Skhosana's bid for the ASA presidency.

This left media colleagues chuckling as Evans and I had crossed swords on occasion on technical and administrative issues.

Skhosana, on the other hand, was my ally during the transformation of sport from 1992 when the push for sporting unification placed me in a head-to-head confrontation with the many established and white dominated clubs.

On the face of it this article should support Skhosana over Evans, but in truth there is good reason to support a new face without baggage — not to wish ill of either of these men, but because Athletics South Africa desperately needs a new start, one without baggage, built on passion for the sport: perhaps an ex-athlete who can accumulate political nuance as their term grows.

It is an indisputable fact that KZN Athletics management allowed over-spending of R940 000 in 2010.

It’s not all financial.

The debacle over today’s half-marathon team selection, naming and travel indicates a complete lack of empathy and respect for the province’s top athletes.

Right now there is a major cloud over the credibility, performance, and involvement of Aleck Skhosana and the KZN executive.

Until such time as that is cleared or prosecuted, can anyone at that level be promoted to national level?

If the management at provincial level fail to deliver, why would it be in the interest of athletics for them to be elected to Athletics South Africa?

This has nothing to do with personalities. It’s the basic ethics of good business.

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