Athletics boss faces palace revolt
While athletics boss Sello Mokoena moves to take control of Athletics SA (ASA) – after leading the dissolution of its board recently – some of his constituency in KwaZulu-Natal are planning to oust him, claiming a “lack of leadership” and “acting without their mandate”.
Mokoena, elected president of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) on a clean governance ticket two years ago, is facing a rebellion in his home province over claims that his attempts to lead the ASA were made without consulting them.
In November, Mokoena led a breakaway faction that ousted ASA president, James Evans, who was removed from the board along with vice-president, Hendrick Ramaala.
Mokoeana was elected chairman of the interim board.
Evans and Ramaala are contesting the legitimacy of the interim board.
Some athletics clubs in KZN said Mokoena, who took over KZNA after it had been mismanaged to the brink of bankruptcy by the previous administration, had yet to produce a business, marketing or development plan plus budgets for the provincial structures. They claim that without the budgets and a business plan, KZNA was rudderless.
They plan to bring a motion of no confidence in him at a special general meeting in March where they are hoping to oust him.
Mokoeana denied the allegations and said they were being peddled by people who were out to get him. When he took over the association two years ago it was R400 000 in the red and was now R1.7 million in the black, he said. He had always followed the processes of the KZNA and its constitution, he added.
Steve Mkasi, chairman of the KZNA disciplinary committee and chairman of the Phuma Athletics club, claimed 90 percent of clubs in KZN wanted Mokoena to step down.
“The decision he is taking is not taking the sport forward. It is even worse when they parade on national media as though they are the saviours of the sport, while they have failed. The sport fraternity needs to know who they are and what they stand for,” Mkasi said.
Mokoena had over the past few months acted “beyond the powers given to him”, he said.
“Mr Mokoena… simply acts beyond the powers given to him by our constitution. An example is the ousting of Evans. He said the council of KZN gave him authority to pass a vote of no confidence on the ASA board. But there was no council resolution and the matter has never risen before council.
“When we challenged him he apparently said that when he voted that was the authority he needed. He is assuming powers that have not been granted by our constitution.”
A source within KZNA said clubs had demanded Mokoena provide minutes of meetings showing when approval was given to dissolve the ASA board.
“To date we have still not got it,” the source said. “No sponsors have been approached, let alone secured. Mokoena has demonstrated no ability to lead his province, let alone assume the responsibilities of the national administration.”
Regarding the takeover of ASA, Mokoena said he had been given a mandate by the KZNA executive committee.
“I am the chairman and face of the executive. I must do what they tell me to do. We do have the minutes of that meeting.”
Mokoena said he was unaware of moves to oust him in March. “If anyone wants to oust the president or the executive of KZN, they are entitled to follow the constitution to do so.
“They have not followed the constitution but have gone to the media to do that. I simply acted on behalf of executive. If it is felt that in so doing I was wrong, the members who voted me in can vote me out,” he said.
Mokoena got club chairmen to call the Daily News to voice support for him.
Thai Mchunu, chairman of the Mgezeni Athletics Club in Richards Bay, said Mokoena had their backing to clean up ASA. Bongani Ndlovu of the Zabalaza Athletics club in Hammarsdale said Mokoena was doing a good job at KZNA and had a mandate to sit on the ASA interim board.