KZNA still infuriating clubs

2011-07-08 00:00

BASED on Tuesday’s media release, and a lack of action by embattled KZN athletics President Aleck Skhosana and his executive, it appears that the current management condones the alleged fraudulent use of invoices and other financial discrepancies made known to them in early June.

This week’s media release by Skhosana deals only with the proposed changes to financial procedures and does not tackle the allegations of past offences.

In the release Skhosana maintained that “accountability and transparency has been the key to the successful running of KZN Athletics for many years”.

Athletes and clubs dispute the “success” of the provincial body as well as the transparency and accountability of the president and his executive, who have apparently done nothing to address the issues around the copied and amended invoices that were presented to the former treasurer, John Hall, by the finance and administration manager, Joyce Smith, as an audited account of the 2010 National Youth Run.

Despite the information and documentation being available to the president and executive for three weeks, Smith and other staff members continue to be operating at the KZN office.

The other members of the executive — Blanche Moila, Peter Proctor, Patrick Hlongwane, Mangethe Zwane, Dees Govender, Logan Naidoo, Sipho Mkhathini and Willie Mtolo — have been noticeable for their silence on all matters.

In Tuesday’s media release, the issues relating to the R940 000 over expenditure, the unauthorized use of Lotto funding and the alleged fraudulent invoicing and accounting practices are embodied in a single paragraph.

“An important but moot point is that we have taken away the signing powers — for cheques — from the office, which is now in the hands of the executive committee, and we have handed all accounting documents relating to the finances of KZNA to our auditors,” said Skhosana, who goes on to explain his vision of future financial control.

“We’ve been asked to put in place financial controls. We’ve been asked to place the lottery contribution into a separate account to accrue interest and we’ve been asked to look at ways of running the organisation in a manner which will satisfy all.

“We want all officials, clubs and members to be patient until everything is finalised.”

Former treasurer John Hall points out that the lottery was in a separate account previously, when the overspend took place.

For many clubs and athletic members the question is, why is it only now that Skhosana, who has ruled the roost in KZN for ten years, recognises the need for financial controls?

“We have been told that there is an investigation by the Lottery Fund, but what steps have they taken to deal with the alleged invoicing fraud and other non-lottery issues?” said Anjith Deena of Orion club.

KZN had qualified auditors reports for the previous three years and amassed losses were reported as R300 000 in 2008, R100 000 in 2009, and R940 000 in 2010.

The fraudulent documents provided by office staff relate to the 2010 National Youth Run, which is a joint project between KZNA, Comrades Marathon and the Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR). A number of executive members work for the DSR.

The lack of corporate governance is hitting the sport on all levels, from grass roots to provincial teams, and in the overall administration of the provincial body.

A major part of the tragedy surrounding the alleged fraud is that the money unaccounted for is required for athletes around the province. One example would be the four clubs in the Umzinyathi District.

“I’m shocked to hear about the [copied] invoices and money. We have always requested assistance to place a track, even a grass track, in our area,” said Sibonela Khulu, secretary from one of four clubs between Dundee and Greytown.

He went on to point out that a number of the athletes who compete provincially and nationally come from this and other rural ­areas.

“The measures being proposed in the KZNA media release are the basic [financial control] measures considered to be a given in any organisation. How were these not in place throughout Skhosana’s term of office?” said a current runner who was previously involved in race sponsorship.

“Why are they [KZNA] only handing all financial documents to their accountants now?”

When approached for comment, many other club chairpersons and a diverse range of athletes were considerably more outspoken, but refused to be named, fearing retribution from the provincial executive and administration. The fact that people within the membership fear publicly airing their views speaks volumes for the inappropriate status of the current administration in the province.

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