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By Don Makatile | Sep 22, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

ILL he or will he not?

ILL he or will he not?

Leonard Chuene staying on as president of Athletics South Africa (ASA)will be a slap in the face of all those gender activists and the broader public who took up the cudgels on behalf of Caster Semenya.

It will pour water on representations made by the likes of Minister Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya at the UN over the appalling treatment meted out to our golden girl.

But for those who shared the boardroom with Chuene to remain in their jobs would be a double violation of Semenya, worse than what the bigots heading the International Amateur Athletics Federation are guilty of.

For those of us who lived under apartheid, our memory allows us to dip into the dark past of heretic concepts and really wail or just whimper.

The so-called technical draw in the welterweight bout between "Fighting Prince" Arthur Mayisela and Harold Volbrecht, is one of those jaw-droppers.

A year earlier the regime dropped another bombshell when, in failing to ascertain the role played by each accused in the murder of Vaal councillor Jacob Dlamini, it lumped all Sharpeville Six in guilt using a legal expedient called common purpose.

If it's not dusting off antique gems, New Age-speak has its own fascinating terminology.

An old concept that has found currency in the vocabulary is collective responsibility. Its popular use is helped a lot because it has become as ANC as "chief".

Wikipedia says collective responsibility is a concept or doctrine, according to which individuals are to be held responsible for other people's actions by tolerating, ignoring, or harbouring them, without actively collaborating in these actions.

As the storm gathers around Chuene collective responsibility should be ringing in the collective head of the buffoons who make up ASA's general council.

To his credit, Chuene has owned up and lived up to his family name!

But it is going to be difficult to find anything positive to say for the suits inside the general council or those that went to bed on Sunday night adamant they were "satisfied" with Chuene's handling of the Semenya matter.

Exactly a week before Chuene's confession that he lied over the thorny issue, the General Council had met and made resolutions.

What they termed Resolution 2 goes: "The general council approved of the manner in which the president Mr Leonard Chuene and the management of ASA handled the issue affecting one of its athletes with the IAAF."

As if they had not made the point clearer, their item 2.8 reiterates their support for Chuene.

Those who initially thought of former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho's relationship with club boss Roman Abramovich as obsequious have clearly never been to Athletics House at No3 11th Avenue, Houghton Estate.

While the Special One has once or twice told the billionaire owner where to get off, the dynamics of the relationship between Chuene and the staff at Athletics House is founded on the kind of respect that borders on fear.

Take the man who asked me the other day to park somewhere else and "please, not here" for example. He inadvertently left me in no doubt that not moving the car would have landed him in trouble. Serious trouble.

The man is at the lowest rung of an organisation that has let Chuene get away with a lot, from allegations that he'd inappropriately increased the salary of his personal assistant Humile Bogatsu, rumoured to have been his lover at the time, to reports of general mismanagement of ASA finances.

The IAAF violation of Semenya's human rights has united the country in anger against the abuse of the 800m gold medalist and women in general. It is a sensitive matter that has seen even a radio DJ suspended for shooting his mouth off.

If the general council really thinks Chuene handled the matter exceptionally well, then they have blood on their hands, as guilty as the DJ, if not worse.

Deputy Minister of Sport Gert Oosthuizen says that if the membership of ASA fail to fire Chuene, they run "the risk of being led by a liar".

This is where the honourable minister and those who call for Chuene's head miss the point. They assume that the inner sanctum closest to Chuene are innocent.

They applied their minds fully before taking the resolution to stand full square behind Chuene. Throughout his successive terms of office, they knew full well the type of leader he was.

Subroto Roy, chairperson of Indian corporate giant Sahara Group, talks of collective materialism, a leadership concept that ensures continuous collective growth. Surely it can't have been Ms Bogatsu alone. who benefitted from Chuene's largesse, monetary or otherwise.

Through their vote of confidence in Chuene, the ASA top brass has been complicit in the lie.

They made their bed and must lie in it - they must go, en masse.


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