Sascoc election: Board suspends boss after TSA’s Ravele files complaint

 Barry Hendricks during the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) Board members portraits on January 12, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Barry Hendricks during the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) Board members portraits on January 12, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Gallo Images

The Sascoc board has placed the federation’s acting president Barry Hendricks on a “leave of absence” with immediate effect and appointed Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana as the interim chief.

In a statement issued on Wednesday night, the troubled Olympic governing body said the move to suspend Hendricks was pending the outcome of an investigation by its judicial body.

The move follows a complaint by Tennis SA (TSA) board member Muditambi “Ntambi” Ravele that Hendricks and TSA president Gavin Crookes conspired to block her bid to run for the Sascoc presidency.

Ravele accused Crookes of refusing to sign off her nomination and alleged that Hendricks said she was not ready to contest for the top post. She then withdrew because her nomination would have been rejected without the signature of a TSA representative.

Based on this conflict, Sascoc then sought a legal opinion.

City Press reported at the weekend that Advocate Elizabeth Baloyi-Mere of the Pan African Bar Association of SA had, after a detailed investigation, concluded that Ravele should refer her dispute for arbitration. She also recommended that Sascoc must await the outcome of that intervention before it proceeds with the elections.

READ: Ravele glad Sascoc poll dispute goes to arbitrator

In her legal opinion, Baloyi-Mere concluded that Ravele’s nomination was not properly handled by Crookes and that the TSA board members were influenced not to endorse her bid.

Sascoc confirmed that the decision to suspend Hendricks was informed by the legal opinion, which was submitted to the federation on March 30.

“The board at its meeting of April 7 2020 deliberated on the opinion and accepted the advocate’s report.

The meeting also discussed the conduct of the acting president [Hendricks] and asked for legal guidance from the judicial body’s chairperson on due process to follow,” read part of the Sascoc statement.

The federation further noted that Hendricks did not respond to a letter asking if he was willing to go on voluntary leave pending the outcome of the arbitration.

Sascoc said it was “aware of communication” that Hendricks sent out to its members even before they concluded the meeting to decide his fate.

“The communication is not sanctioned by the board nor did the board have sight of the communication prior to it being circulated. The letter represents the opinions of Hendricks and the board distances itself from the communication until it has the opportunity to engage on the contents thereof,” Ravi Govender, Sascoc acting chief executive, wrote in a letter addressed to the membership.

Attempts to reach Hendricks were unsuccessful.

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