Nedbank must retain its sponsorship of Athletics SA or face the wrath of patriotic South Africans, the ANC Youth League said on Saturday.
”ANCYL calls on Nedbank to retain its sponsorship of Athletics South Africa (ASA) or face the might of patriotic South Africans,” league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said in a statement.
”The ANCYL will mobilise all patriotic South Africans, corporations, institutions and government departments that bank with Nedbank to withdraw their accounts from the bank and switch to other banks if the sponsorship is not retained.
”We place it on record that this is not a threat, but a promise,” said Shivambu.
Shivambu said the proposed action was intended to ensure banks and corporations understood their ”responsibility” to invest in the development of athletics in the country.
”The ANCYL is however willing to engage with the leadership of Nedbank to establish a common understanding on how funding of sports, particularly athletics development in South Africa should not be undermined because of slight mishaps.”
He suggested that Nedbank could have withdrawn their sponsorship of ASA ”premised on what they call negative publicity of ASA”.
It was ”apparent” that Nedbank’s withdrawal of sponsorship to the ASA was aimed at ”undermining” the sports organisation and ”roll[ing] back” the development of athletics in the country, said Shivambu.
His comments reiterated those of ANCYL leader Julius Malema, who threatened to ”mobilise society” against Nedbank on Thursday.
”Let them withdraw. We’ll engage them and we’ll expose them for who they are. We’ll tell them the truth of why they are withdrawing, and we’ll mobilise the South African society to know what Nedbank is,” Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.
”That’s what defines our struggle today — of people who are refusing to accept the transformation, to accept African leadership, to accept new development.
Malema criticised Deputy Sport Minister Gert Oosthuizen for calling for ASA head Leonard Chuene’s dismissal. Chuene admitted to lying to the South African public about not having any knowledge of gender tests conducted on 800m world champion Caster Semenya in Pretoria last month.
Nedbank pulled its sponsorship of the annual Matha Series races, the backbone of road running in the country.
”Nedbank’s dissatisfaction with the quality of delivery by ASA of some events in the City Marathon and Matha Series over the past years is well known and the negotiations to end the contract had commenced well before the start of the current controversy surrounding ASA,” the bank said in a statement. – Sapa