Police remove ASA chief exec
Cobus Coetzee and Wilhelm de Swardt
Johannesburg – The police were called and locks at the head office of Athletics South Africa (ASA) changed when the chief executive of the athletics body refused to vacate office on Monday.
The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) had suspended Molatelo Malehopo together with ASA president Leonard Chuene and four senior managers earlier this month, but by Monday afternoon Malehopo still refused to accept the suspension.
Chuene was not at the office on Monday.
Ray Mali, who will administer ASA at the decree of SASCOC, arrived at 10:50am at the offices in Houghton and met with staff.
Malehopo first wanted to prevent Mali from speaking to ASA’s financial managers, but later left the offices. However, he locked his office and Mali called a locksmith to open it.
According to Mali, Malehopo pitched at the offices hours later and tried to get in by the back door.
“He (Malehopo) said that his legal advisers had advised him not to accept the suspension. He said that he worked for ASA and that SASCOC could not suspend him,” said Mali.
Mali called the police and they led Malehopo from the offices. Mali then changed the locks at the offices.
A special notice was sent to ASA personnel not to remove any documents from the offices. This also applies to CDs, DVDs, laptops and any other property. Mali confirmed the notice.
He said that disciplinary steps would be completed as soon as possible and that no suspended person will be allowed at the offices during this time.
It is believed that Chuene is also struggling to accept Mali taking over.
He apparently wants to get a court order that will bar Mali from entering ASA’s offices.
SASCOC will oppose such an interdict application.
Prior to Mali taking over, Chuene had already prepared the agenda for the special members’ meeting at Kempton Park this weekend.
He wanted SASCOC’s interference in the management of ASA, as well as the leadership of ASA, to be discussed. It is unclear whether Chuene will now be allowed at the meeting.
Mali emphasised on Monday that he had taken over the duties of Chuene and Malehopo.
Chris Britz and Hendrick Mokganyetsi of ASA’s executive council have also resigned and this means that Chuene and the remaining members of the council effectively no longer have a quorum.
Ziggy Mutungwa, chairperson of the South African Schools Athletics Society, was also suspended Monday by his council and will have to appear at a disciplinary hearing.
Koos Engelbrecht, chairperson of the South African Federation for Disabled Sport, came out in support of SASCOC.
Mali hopes to restore confidence between ASA, sponsors, athletes and the International Associate of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
“I will ensure that athletes are protected from administrators at all costs,” said Mali.
Malehopo and Chuene did not respond to queries from Beeld.
Mali wants to meet with Chuene next week, but believes they “don’t have much to discuss”.
Meanwhile, the IAAF will not inform Caster Semenya of the results of her gender tests this weekend. This will apparently only be done at a later date.