Evans obtains interdict to suspend six ASA board members

2013-04-11 00:00

ATHLETICS South Africa (ASA) president James Evans has tried to turn the tables on six board members who pushed for his own suspension.

Evans announced their suspension pending the outcome of disciplinary cases against them.

The suspension of board members Hendrick Ramaala, Shireen Noble, Esther Malema, Pieter Lourens, James Moloi and Qwadiso Ntathu means that they cannot take decisions or any action relating to ASA.

Evans said they had been advised of their right to contest the suspensions, which are a result of an interdict he obtained from the high court in Pretoria to avoid being ousted from his position as president ahead of an arbitration hearing.

On March 9, Ramaala, as the deputy president of ASA, had a meeting in Johannesburg where it was believed Evans was removed as president.

Said Evans: “Firstly, I never attended the meeting as a flight ticket from Cape Town (where I live) to Johannesburg was cancelled due to non-payment by ASA. Nobody advised me the ticket would not be paid for, I thus never attended the meeting …

“Secondly, I was informed after the meeting by Ramaala that a motion of impeachment was passed and I was thereby suspended from my duties.

“This was not so, as impeachment … means a person is charged or accused or something. There was no evidence to indicate I was suspended with reason and I therefore continue as president.”

The meeting, whose make-up was questioned by a number of provinces, was called to impeach Evans on a number of charges. These include unauthorised payments to himself, entering into agreements without the board’s knowledge, authorising payments without the board’s say-so and agreeing to staff settlements without the board’s knowledge.

Evans has denied the allegations, saying: “I cannot access ASA’s funds without the proper procedure, which involves authorisation from more than one person …”

All six suspended board members signed a letter supporting the accusations and what they believe is Evans’suspension.

Evans said that because Ramaala had refused to accept the arguments made against the constitutionality of the meeting, he [Evans] had asked that it be referred to arbitration before the meeting went ahead. “Ramaala did not advise the meeting of this request, but agreed, in writing to my attorney a few days later, that the question of the meeting’s constitutionality had to be referred to arbitration.”

It was noted that 27 members had attended the meeting. Six of the 17 provincial members had written to say they could not attend and only two attended. They both contested the constitutionality of the meeting.

“The ASA constitution states that no meeting can be called without my authority as president and the order is to restrain certain board members from continuing to act illegally by calling meetings. They now risk being in breach of the court order,” said Evans.

Ramaala said yesterday: “I am not worried. This whole process must go to arbitration where everything will be exposed.

“Is Evans scared of arbitration? We agreed to this and now he goes and obtains a court order and suspends half the board. We cannot take this seriously and are still part of the board.

“One man cannot dictate to us and as far as I am concerned, the suspensions do not stand until a decision has been made at arbitration. That’s the bottom line. Evans must … realise that at arbitration, it’s him and us facing up in the boardroom.”

Evans said he was prepared to go to arbitration, but said it would not solve anything. “I agreed to arbitration on the constitutionality of the meeting in March, nothing else. These people think they can lay everything out at arbitration, but it only relates to the meeting. If other matters are brought up, I will leave.”

Financial issues have also come to the fore, with ASA’s financial manager, Terrence Magogodela, suspended pending the outcome of an investigation and possible disciplinary action.

ASA’s bank account had been frozen by the bank “until we sorted out our internal affairs”, said Evans. He confirmed allegations that certain payments were overdue and that staff had not being paid.

In short, ASA had been left in disarray, said Evans, and risked suspension by the IAAF.

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