A last-minute deal saved Athletics South Africa’s headquarters from going under the hammer yesterday.
The deal, which has been kept secret, saved ASA blushes on the eve of the scheduled auction of their property in upmarket Houghton, Johannesburg.
The auction was meant to settle the long-standing legal battle between ASA and pole vaulter Jan Bliganut, who was injured in a pole vault accident in March 2009.
Blignaut successfully sued ASA for personal injuries sustained six years ago while he was competing in an event that was sanctioned by the ASA.
He won a default judgment against the beleaguered athletics governing body, and the North Gauteng High Court last year ordered the cash-strapped ASA to pay him R10.4 million.
In an emailed response to City Press, Blignaut’s legal representative Frikkie Jordaan said they granted ASA a three-month grace period to come up with a payment plan. He did not disclose the settlement figure.
Failure to settle by ASA will result in the auction of ASA House going ahead in August, wrote Jordaan.
ASA in the meantime will make an interim payment of the judgment debt in the North Gauteng High Court by next Friday.
Said Jordaan: “We confirm that the sale on execution of ASA’s immovable property was scheduled for [yesterday]. We reached a last-minute agreement with the defendant [ASA] on Wednesday evening stipulating the following:
» The sale in execution of immovable property would be postponed;
» ASA will make an interim payment of the judgment debt granted in our client’s favour in the North Gauteng High Court on or before May 14;
» We will grant the defendant a three-month grace period during which we will attempt to reach consensus on the payment of the outstanding balance due and the exact terms of the payment thereof;
» If no agreement is reached on either the balance of the amount payable or the terms of payment thereof we will immediately proceed with the sale in execution of the defendant’s immovable property;
» Given all the circumstances, we deem it in the best interest of both our client and ASA to agree to this compromise.”
ASA president Aleck Skhosana said: “The agreement is that we’ll pay an amount – that I can’t disclose – in the next seven days and we’ll engage the lawyers again on how we pay the rest of the money.”