ASA suspends officials and staff

James Evans, president of Athletics South Africa. 
Photo: Gallo Images
James Evans, president of Athletics South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images

Six Athletics SA (ASA) board members and financial manager Terrence Magogodela were suspended, said ASA president James Evans.

"The cases will be finalised as soon as reasonably and fairly possible if the suspended members co-operate with the disciplinary committee."

ASA vice-president Hendrick Ramaala, a former elite marathon runner, Shireen Noble, Esther Malema, Pieter Lourens, James Moloi and Qwadiso Ntathu would all face disciplinary hearings.

Evans said Morgan Matholeni had been appointed as acting ASA general manager.

Last week, Evans obtained an urgent interdict in the High Court in Pretoria, preventing ASA board members from taking any further action in their attempt to remove him from his post, pending the result of an arbitration hearing.

Evans believed the board failed to follow constitutional processes last month when a meeting was called to have him impeached.

"Certain board members continued with their course of conduct, which ultimately brought them into breach of the court order," Evans said.

Since the motion of impeachment was passed, Evans said ASA had descended into a state of chaos.

The ASA bank account had been frozen, despite the embattled federation receiving a financial boost last month when it signed a new broadcast rights deal with the SABC.

Overdue payments had not been made, which included outstanding prize money to athletes, and ASA had received "several threats of legal action", including from the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

Evans confirmed that staff members had not been paid, and he criticised the board for not pursuing allegations of improper behaviour in the finance department.

"In short, those board members involved have left the sport in disarray," Evans said.

"While making... allegations against me of running the sport as a one-man show, the board members concerned have been taking decisions without referring to other board members or following any policy and procedures.

"This has to end if the organisation is to not be liquidated. Money which should be spent on the sport is wasted on further personal political battles, and the sport [is] damaged irretrievably."

The special general meeting scheduled to be held in Stellenbosch on Saturday would go ahead as planned.

The agenda would include a reconsideration of the decision made at the SGM in Johannesburg in March to impeach Evans. An independent commission of inquiry would also be set up to investigate the affairs of ASA and its financial situation.

"The focus of ASA shall be on restoring the organisation's administrative and financial integrity and then rebuilding confidence in the sport, which has taken such a battering during the past month," Evans said.

Evans's impeachment followed accusations that he made payments to himself from ASA's coffers, entered into various agreements and settlements with ASA staff without the board's knowledge, and instructed the chief financial officer to make payments without the board's authority.

Evans and Ramaala squared off in a public spat through the media following the SGM. While Evans maintained that he was still ASA president, Ramaala, who called the previous meeting, reportedly claimed Evans had been suspended.