Suspended ASA trio to seek legal advice

Suspended Athletics South Africa (ASA) vice-president Kakata Maponyane says he and his colleagues will seek legal advice before they decide whether to appeal the verdict of an inquiry panel.

“We need to get some clarity on matters and we’ll meet with our legal representatives before we make a decision,” Maponyane said.

Maponyane, ASA president Leonard Chuene and executive member Simon Dlamini were all found guilty of various charges by a disciplinary committee, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) said in a statement on Monday.

Maponyane said that Sascoc had lost track of its investigation.

“They have shifted the centre of this matter and have become sidetracked,” he said. “My suspension was based on the alleged mismanagement of Caster Semenya when we allowed her to run at the 2009 World Championships.

“Nothing else was mentioned in the letter of confirmation I received regarding my suspension. Now I have been found guilty on corporate governance and misappropriation of funds.

“What is that? I don’t deal with finances, so how can I be charged for financial issues?”

Maponyane, who had until Thursday to file an appeal along with Chuene and Dlamini, said he had not received any notice of the inquiry panel’s verdict.

Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy said the Olympic governing body had followed due process and would continue to do so.

“We are comfortable with the integrity of the process and the investigation and we will accept whatever action the investigation deems necessary when it makes its final decision,” Reddy said.

Sascoc suspended the entire ASA board in November 2009 over its handling of the gender debacle surrounding Semenya, after Chuene admitted lying about tests conducted on the world 800m champion in Pretoria.

All the board members except Chuene, Maponyane and Dlamini resigned.

Sascoc called for an internal audit after taking control of ASA, which reportedly revealed financial mismanagement.

As a result, internal disciplinary charges of poor corporate governance, misappropriation of funds and tax evasion were brought against Chuene, Maponyane and Dlamini.

The disciplinary hearings against them were held between November 8 and December 13.

Although advised to attend, Chuene, Maponyane and Dlamini chose not to present themselves to the hearings, Sascoc said at the time.

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg dismissed the trio’s application for an interdict to prevent disciplinary procedures.

The courts also turned down an application by them for arbitration.

The arbitrator, former chief justice Pius Langa, ruled that the Sascoc constitution fully covered the matters they had raised and the dispute was accordingly “not arbitrateable”.

The three had claimed that disciplinary committee chairperson Norman Arendse would invariably have a relationship with Sascoc through his previous position as head of Cricket South Africa.

Appropriate action
Sascoc said on Monday the internal disciplinary hearing had found the three guilty of a number of “serious charges”, but not guilty of other charges.

The ASA and Sascoc boards were given the option of acting on the disciplinary panel’s findings or referring them back for appropriate action.

Sascoc said it had elected to hand the matter back to the inquiry.

Chuene, Dlamini and Maponyane would have until Thursday to appeal the findings, after which the panel would announce its sanctions.

In November, they said via their lawyers that they would continue to fight the disciplinary charges as they believed Sascoc had no right to suspend them.

They said they were preparing an application to review a number of Sascoc decisions, including their suspensions and the appointment of Sascoc board member Ray Mali as ASA administrator.

They charged that Sascoc had acted unlawfully in staging a “coup” to take over ASA.

Sascoc handed control of ASA to its newly elected board in November when new ASA chairperson James Evans said it was ready to tackle the new year despite the three vacancies on the board. — Sapa

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