Johannesburg - The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has told Athletics South Africa (ASA) it has only a few days to sort out its internal conflict.
Cheikh Thiare, a representative of the global body, arrived in the country on Saturday morning and met with the majority of ASA members at Olympic House in Johannesburg later in the afternoon.
"It is quite encouraging that the IAAF is taking this situation very seriously," said ASA interim board chairperson Sello Mokoena.
"Mr Thiare made it very clear that when he leaves here on Tuesday the problems in South African athletics must be resolved.
"This is his mandate from the IAAF and he is sticking to it."
Mokoena said Thiare had confirmed that the ASA council had not followed constitutional process in appointing the federation's interim board, and he advised them to appoint a new ad hoc committee if they wanted it to be internationally recognised.
Thiare would not make a decision on which faction would receive recognition, however, until he had a chance to meet with embattled ASA president James Evans and his depleted board on Sunday morning.
Evans has stood his ground since an attempt to remove his entire executive at the ASA annual general meeting in November, claiming they were ousted unconstitutionally.
"The final decision will be taken by the IAAF on Monday, but they have given us direction on how to solve the problems with athletics in South Africa," Mokoena said.
While Thiare had asked to meet with all ASA members together, neither faction would agree to a joint gathering.
The meeting on Saturday, organised by the interim board, included representatives from 15 of the federation's 17 provinces. One province apologised for its absence and Athletics Central North West chose not to participate.
Hendrick Ramaala, the vice-president on Evans' three-member board, was also in attendance, though he left the meeting clearly flustered during a break and would not comment to the media.
Mokoena said no ASA members had been advised not to attend the IAAF's meeting with Evans, but if provincial representatives also turned up on Sunday morning, there could be a stalemate as the sport would be considered to have come to a standstill.
"Mr Thiare is here to listen and give guidance," Mokoena said.
"He has made it clear that the process going forward must be as inclusive as possible."
Mokoena, however, did not believe Evans would garner enough support from ASA members to receive IAAF legitimacy.
"The people here have mandates from their provinces. You cannot have two meetings to discuss the same thing, and I am not aware of any provinces who have a dual mandate to attend both meetings."
Thiare was pleased with the progress made in the first meeting, but he confirmed he would not make a decision regarding the rightful ASA leadership until he had met with Evans.
"This meeting went well, and if it goes well again tomorrow, it should be resolved," Thiare said.