Former cricket administrator and SASCOC board member Ray Mali will Monday (Nov 16) present himself to the Athletics South Africa offices in Johannesburg as an interim administrator.
This was announced at a meeting in Cape Town Saturday as SASCOC, the national Olympic governing body, moved to try and speedily clear up matters surrounding ASA’s handling of the Caster Semenya affair.
Semenya won the 800 metre title at the World Track and Field championships in Berlin in August but then a furore broke out over her gender and how the revelations were dealt with.
Earlier this month SASCOC first suspended ASA chairman Leonard Chuene and ASA board members and then the entire athletics body over their handling of the saga.
A statement issued by SASCOC after the meeting read:
1 The meeting unanimously agreed that the suspension of the membershlp of ASA by SASCOC is lawful the Ministry of sport informed the meeting through the deputy minister that SASCOC is the lawful authority to authorise the aforesaid suspension
2 The due process to be followed by SASCOC is the following
A. The administrator, Mr Ray Mali will present himself at the offices of ASA on 16 November Monday at 11am to take over the administration of Athletics South Africa.
B. Thereafter Mr Mali will initiate steps to convene a meeting of all stakeholders in athletics to form an interim board to govern and regulate athletics in South Africa and,
C. A disciplinary process has been initiated by SASCOC to convene a disciplinary inquiry to be chaired by a practising senior counsel to conduct disciplinary action against those members of the suspended ASA board and employees, thereof, pursuant to the recommendations of the investigation’s report, such report being adopted by the SASCOC board on 4 November 2009 and ratified by the Ministry of Sport on 5 Nov 2009.
Speaking at the meeting president Gideon Sam said the body had ÔÇ£followed due process.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£We have kept as low a profile as possible throughout. It is not in anyone’s interest to rough up a national federation in public. Action taken so far has been done on the advice of the Legal and Arbitration Commission.
ÔÇ£ASA responded to the suspension by informing SASCOC that we had no right to impose the suspension but we sought further legal counsel and we are certainly within our rights to do so.ÔÇØ
Sam said that it is up to athletes to govern their sport. ÔÇ£The view of SASCOC is that the athletes always come first┬áso Mr Mali will invite all the relevant stakeholders to elect an┬á interim board to run athletics.ÔÇØ
All national federations present at Saturday’s meeting supported SASCOC’s decision.
Also speaking on the matter was Deputy Minister of Sport Gert Oosthuizen. ÔÇ£In terms of the humiliation of Caster Semenya, the ministry has declared our support for SASCOC who have the powers to act. People must be held accountable,ÔÇØ said Oosthuizen.
SASCOC have also been in touch with the IAAF, world track and field’s governing body, about recognition for any interim body in order that South Africa’s athletes will be permitted to compete internationally.
The meeting was SASCOC’s final general meeting of the year and Sam is already looking ahead to next year.
ÔÇ£As we bid farewell to 2009 and turn our thoughts to 2010 I can foresee a few anxious moments as we welcome the world’s greatest spectacle in the form of the Soccer World Cup.
ÔÇ£No doubt a large chunk of the year will be given over to football but at SASCOC we’ll be working on our plans as well.
ÔÇ£ÔÇØWe are commited to sending quality teams to the major competitions like the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi as well as the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore.
ÔÇ£People still say I’m nuts about hoping for 12 medals at the 2012 Olympics in London but we are continuously working towards that goal. In fact we are already thinking further ahead and plan on focusing heavily on our juniors as we look to the Games in Rio Da Janeiro in 2016 and beyond.ÔÇØ
Also addressing the meeting was multiple Olympic silver medallist Frankie Fredericks who chairs the International Olympic Committe’s Athletes’ Commission.
ÔÇ£Athletes today play a big role in Olympic matters. They need to to be heard and know that they have their rights etc. But they also need to do this in a commited and responsible manner.ÔÇØ