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Omphitlhetse Vivian Mooki, Hlengiwe Nhlabathi05 Nov 2009 15:18
In a surprise move South Africa’s Olympic governing body, Sascoc, has suspended Athletics South Africa (ASA) president Leonard Chuene, the board of ASA and its members ‘with immediate effect pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation and further action” over their handling of the Caster Semenya saga, a notice on the body’s website read on Thursday afternoon.
Sascoc said it is also considering ‘taking appropriate action against the IAAF for its disregard of Semenya’s rights to privacy”, following speculation over her gender.
Semenya won the women’s 800 metre title at the World Championships in Berlin in August, but reports have said that she underwent a gender test before participating in the event. Chuene later admitted to lying about the results of the test.
The Mail & Guardian revealed in October that a report by the doctor of the South African athletics team, Harold Adams, accused Chuene of deliberately politicising and sowing confusion in the Semenya gender test saga.
Adams’s confidential report, leaked to the M&G, suggests that Chuene consulted top-level politicians before deciding, against Adams’s advice, to field Semenya in the World Athletics Championship in Berlin in August.
According to the Sascoc website, a special board meeting of Sascoc was convened to consider a report by the body’s legal and arbitration commission into the handling of the Semenya saga.
The board resolved unanimously to accept the recommendations made by the commission as listed below:
Further recommendations include:
Meanwhile, Sapa reported that ASA has launched an internal investigation into a contract awarded to a company apparently owned by embattled ASA events manager Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane, one of the suspended figures.
ASA general manager Molatelo Malehopo, also suspended, said he would not divulge who had signed the contract on behalf of ASA or when the contract had been awarded.
Tsholetsane is believed to own a mobile marketing company that was awarded a R600 000 contract from ASA.
Chuene insisted he knew nothing of the matter when the contract was signed and was “upset” to hear that Tsholetsane’s company had been awarded the contract, which he said was “very wrong”.
A member of ASA senior management, who would not be named, insisted Malehopo, as general manager, would have signed the contract.
A senior athletics official, who would also not be named, said the contract was worth R600 000 and that Tsholetsane had awarded the contract to herself.
“She’s the events and marketing manager,” the official said, “of course she decided who received the contract. And she chose to give it to herself rather than another private company through a public tender.”
Tsholetsane, however, refused to admit whether she owned the mobile marketing company that received the contract.
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