One week after the IAAF welcomed Caster Semenya back to the sport, suspended President Leonard Chuene, his fellow Board members and three staff members are due to commence their disciplinary hearings under SASCOC.
The hearings, which commence on Thursday 15 July, were initiated on the basis of the handling of the Caster Semenya case prior to during and after the Berlin World Championships. Chuene was found to have lied to the South African public over his knowledge of the gender testing, a charge that probably had a few politicians and executives squirming in their seats. Three staff members closely involved in the case, General Manager Molatelo Malehopo, Event and Communication Manager Phiwe Tsholetsane and Humile Bogatsu have been suspended on full pay since November.
Although the action was widely welcomed in the sport at the time, a growing portion of the sport including Athlete’s Commission members who are saying that the sport was better run under the Chuene than the current interim administration, and that the IAAF ruling in the Semenya case vindicates Chuene’s attempts to keep the gender testing confidential.
Interim Administrator, Ray Mali, indefinitely delayed the election of a new board which was originally planned for May because were the disciplinary hearing to be in Cheune’s favour then he could return as President.
To some Chuene’s suspension for lies is akin to prosecuting Al Capone for tax evasion and point to the forensic investigation that resulted in ASA acknowledging that the organization is over R20 million in the red as a more valid reason for the hearings.
Investigations revealed that Tsholetsane had been involved in the appointment of a contract for bulk SMS to a company where she had part ownership. After receiving a salary on suspension for the past eight months Tsholetsane resigned from her post last month, but SASCOC have said that they still intend calling her to the hearing.
With the Interim Administration and ASA office fending off a growing number of complaints that include inconsistent team selection, incorrect calculation and payment of the Yellow Pages track and field series incentive money, and operating outside the ASA constitution, the sport seems unlikely to lose its embattled status until the hearings are completed.
In a number of provinces, including KZNA, the struggles at national level are mirrored at provincial level. After months of dissatisfaction with the actions and autocratic decision making of the Executive, KZNA athletes have forced a special general meeting for the election of a representative athletes commission, that can then officially contribute and follow up on their concerns with the running of the provincial structure and office. The Special General Meeting and elections are set for Saturday morning 24 July at Kings Park Stadium.