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By Frank Maponya | Oct 07, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday called on Athletics South Africa to take disciplinary action against officials who mishandled the gender testing saga on world 800m champion Caster Semenya.

He said their actions had caused the Limpopo athlete a huge embarrassment and that those involved had to be dealt with.

Mantashe was speaking during a visit to Caster's home at Masehlong in Moletji north of Polokwane, where ANC representatives, including MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and the Minister for Children, Women and People with Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, had gone to offer moral support to the Semenya family.

"As the ANC we feel it would be appropriate to take action against those officials who failed to properly handle Caster's gender testing saga. They must account," said Mantashe.

He said the ANC would immediately intensify a campaign to ensure that the ASA board acted against the officials involved in the matter.

Recent media reports indicated that ASA officials were divided over the way the matter was handled.

Several attempts to unseat the country's athletics body's president Leonard Chuene have also been unsuccessful.

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema threw his weight behind Chuene after a one-on-one meeting with the embattled leader last week.

Mantashe, however, said there would be a national campaign to support Caster.

"The youngster needs everybody's support. We are going to fight to ensure that she continues to run as a woman," he said.

Mantashe also wished Caster success in her university exams.

Caster did not attend yesterday's proceedings as she was said to be preparing for the exams.

Madikizela-Mandela told the villagers she was touched by the conditions of her family and the villages around Moletji.

She praised Caster for taking on the world despite coming from an area with no facilities.

"The girl really has talent and she showed the world that it does not matter whether one comes from a poor family.

"We want to thank the family for producing a world icon," said Madikizela-Mandela.

She said as there was no gymnasium around Moletji, Caster must have trained on the gravel roads.

Madikizela-Mandela also took a swipe at the municipality for failing to deliver services to its people.


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