Chuene backed

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Athletics South Africa's provinces and top athletes have given their besieged president, Leonard Chuene, a vote of confidence to continue leading the federation.

The 17 provinces came out with guns blazing in support of Chuene, who insists there is a third force out to destroy him personally ahead of the ASA elections next month.

The vote of confidence was passed on Chuene at a special ASA meeting that comprised provincial presidents, athletes, coaches and technical officials in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, on Friday night.

Influential members of the South African athletics family said recent media reports were aimed at harming Chuene's reputation ahead of the elections.

Athletes supporting Chuene included Khotso Mokoena, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and Geraldine Pillay.

The internationally respected Chuene has put the blame on media reports about the South African Sports Confederation and Olympics Committee (Sascoc).

Chuene and Sascoc have been at loggerheads after the ASA president made a presentation in November before the portfolio committee on sports and recreation.

In his presentation in parliament, Chuene said he was not happy with the transformation process of Sascoc in terms of its executive committee.

Sascoc were clearly not impressed by Chuene's utterances.

There are also allegations of financial irregularities at ASA but this has been strongly denied by Chuene.

"If they want the financial reports, our doors are open. They must not use people on ASA's board, promising them positions, to destabilise athletics," said Chuene.

"I'm disturbing their comfort zone when I speak about transformation. They are also using the white media to portray me as a bad person in the eyes of the public.

"I don't own a media house. Certain white media houses have already found me guilty. They don't want to write stories when we present them with the real facts.

"They also use certain white athletics administrators, who left ASA a long time ago because they were against transformation, as faceless sources to pull me down.'

Sascoc's critics say it is a conflict of interest that the body was busy with Chuene but turning a blind eye to Basketball South Africa (BSA).

BSA has been in turmoil for sometime, with provincial structures accusing its president, Vusi Mgobhoz, of allegedly running the federation like his own.