Mali oversees 'graceful' takeover at ASA

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) board member Ray Mali said Athletics South Africa’s (ASA) suspended staff members had gracefully allowed South Africa’s Olympic governing body take over administration of the federation on Monday.

“Athletics is a member of the sports fraternity and has always been a member of Sascoc,” Mali said at ASA’s Houghton, Johannesburg, office.

“I met with the ASA general manager and we resolved all that we felt needed to be resolved and he was able to move out gracefully.”

Earlier this month Sascoc suspended ASA boss Leonard Chuene, along with the rest of the board, events manager Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane and Chuene’s personal assistant, Humile Bogatsu, for their handling of the Caster Semenya gender debacle. In addition, the embattled ASA was reportedly facing a financial crisis.

The suspended figures initially vowed to fight Sascoc’s ruling, but Mali said on Monday ASA general manager Molatelo Malehopo had “gracefully” moved out of office while he and his colleagues prepare to face disciplinary hearings.

Mali, a former president of Cricket South Africa, added he had empathy for the suspended figures and understood why they had threatened to fight the ruling.

“I don’t blame anyone for digging their heels in and saying they are not going, but ASA has now been given clarity on the issues which they were not clear about.”

Chuene, who had ignored the suspension and was continuing work as usual until last week, was not at the ASA office in Houghton when Mali arrived to take over the administration.

Mali said, however, he would meet with the embattled federation president as soon as possible.

Mali said ASA’s 17 provincial members would elect an interim board while the suspended figures await their fate—a process he hopes will move swiftly—while Sascoc president Gideon Sam attempts to mend the rift between ASA and the International Association of Athletics Federations.

“The future of the federation will be subject to a disciplinary process. I do not envisage this taking too long if we work as a team to solve the problems with athletics in South Africa.”

Mali met with ASA’s employees, including the three senior staff members who have not been suspended, and instructed them to continue working as usual.

“I do not want programmes that are already running to be affected.
Development programmes and other plans that are already in place must carry on.”

While Mali hopes the federation’s restructuring process will not drag on, he was under no illusions that the problems ASA face will be mended overnight.

“We would be foolish to think this will be resolved next week. The length of time the process will take depends on the role-players—the Sascoc team members and people representing the members provinces—and the outcome of the disciplinary hearings.

“I’m looking for the process to be short-circuited because I would like to see normality restored.”—Sapa

Client Media Releases

Fempreneurs shine during EWP gala event
Might as well face it