ASA board raises eyebrows
Wilhelm de Swardt
Johannesburg – A number of South African athletes are up in arms over the make-up of the interim board of Athletics South Africa (ASA).
It is believed that two supporters of suspended athletics boss Leonard Chuene have made it onto the body.
Some of the athletes that camped outside the offices of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympics Committee (SASCOC) in Johannesburg on Saturday, to hear who will serve on the new board, were unhappy after hearing that Alex Skhosana (KwaZulu-Natal) and James Moloi (Central Gauteng) had been elected.
Hezekiel Sepeng, who has just been elected interim deputy president of Athletics Central North West, is also upset because his province could not participate in the elections.
“I cannot support the new board. I will first have to speak to our athletes and hear what we have to do,” he said.
Other athletes were satisfied with the election.
“Of course we would have liked 50% representation on the board, but we only got 40%,” said Hendrick Ramaala, who is one of South Africa’s leading marathon runners and a new board member.
“It’s the first time that athletes have been so well represented. I believe that if we lobby on the board, we will be able to ensure that athletes’ interests are looked after.”
The other athletes on the board are Geraldine Pillay, a former Olympic and Commonwealth Games athlete, and Blanche Moila, the first black woman to have won Springbok colours in 1984.
A fourth athlete will be co-opted from the South African Athletics Committee onto the board.
It will in all probability be Olympic athlete Ruben Ramolefi.
Ray Mali, chairperson of ASA’s interim board, described the election as an historic day for South African athletes and the start of a new era.
He said that the new board would run athletics until all the investigations into alleged irregularities had run their course.
If everything goes according to plan, the election of the permanent board will happen by the end of May.
“I have good news for the athletes and it is that numerous sponsors are once again interested in getting involved.”
As far as unhappiness about Moloi and Skhosana are concerned, Mali said that Central Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal were free to put in motions of no confidence. He will take the matter further if that happens.
Central North West’s problems arose because of Adam Motlagale refusing to accept that he had been suspended at a special meeting last week. He and Dr Paul van der Merwe, who is serving as interim chairperson, both pitched at Saturday’s meeting.
Kaya Majeke of SASCOC told them that not one of the two may attend the meeting until they have sorted out the matter.
Van der Merwe spent about four hours trying to explain to Motlagale that his suspension had been carried out in line with Central North West’s constitution. This happened in front of the media.
Motlagale refused to accept this and eventually threatened to break away and establish his own athletics province.
A few athletes from Central Gauteng threatened to boycott next year’s events unless a solution can be found regarding Moloi.
The other members of the interim board are: James Evans (WP), James Mokoka (Gauteng North), Pieter Lourens (Boland) and Daan Louw (Border).