Johannesburg – James Evans is confident he will retain his position as the president of Athletics SA (ASA), despite an attempt by more than half of its board to have him impeached.
“I would only be worried if I had done something wrong,” Evans said on Tuesday.
In identical letters addressed to ASA vice-president Hendrick Ramaala last week, six of the 11 board members – Esther Malema, Gwadiso Ntathu, James Moloi, Mlungisi Mnyengeza, Pieter Lourens and Shireen Noble – called for a special general meeting (SGM).
“I request the SGM to begin impeachment proceedings because I believe that Mr Evans has acted on his own and without endorsement or confirmation from our elected board on numerous occasions,” each of the letters read.
It was alleged that Evans had made payments to himself from ASA's coffers, had entered into various agreements and settlements with ASA staff without the board's knowledge, and had instructed the chief financial officer to make payments without the board's authority.
Evans was also accused of unilaterally removing the University Sport SA representative on the ASA board from its letterhead without disciplinary action or authorisation by the executive members.
In a notice to board members, calling for the SGM on March 9, ASA vice president Hendrick Ramaala said the matter would be referred to an independent tribunal if the members voted in favour of giving Evans the chop.
Ramaala confirmed that the only matter on the SGM agenda was the request for the removal of Evans.
However, the embattled president said the ASA executive had not followed correct constitutional processes in its attempt to have him ousted.
“I should be allowed to respond to allegations before a SGM is called,” Evans said.
“My response should also be included in the notice of the SGM to all board members.
“There is mention in the notice of a letter and affidavit from the finance manager (Terrence Magogodela), which I have not seen.
“They can't expect me to walk into a meeting blind and try to defend myself.”
Evans believed ongoing financial irregularities were at the heart of the problem, causing infighting within the ASA board.
“I can't pay myself, due to the processes followed by Nedbank. It's not possible,” Evans said.
“There are questions about the finance manager, who was paid R18,000 three years ago, and is now earning R43,000 a month.
“I'm not in the office, so this happened without my knowledge, and I need to find out whether Frik Vermaak (former ASA CEO) approved that or if Terrence gave himself that increase.
“He is also using someone else's token to process payments, which could amount to fraud, so what they're accusing me of is what they're doing themselves.”
Financial trouble has all but crippled ASA, which remains without a sponsor for track and field meetings and road running events.
In February 2011, three senior ASA officials, including its former president Leonard Chuene, were banned by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) from involvement in any sport, for terms ranging between three and seven years, for maladministration.
In October, ASA sacked recently-appointed CEO Vermaak for mismanagament of funds, among other things. Vermaak appealed the findings of his disciplinary hearing and the case was settled out of court.
In December, ASA appointed a committee to address its financial crisis in an effort to service its R4.3 million debt.
Sascoc president Gideon Sam said last week the governing body would step in to help the ASA.
Howver, Evans insisted it could solve its own problems and did not want to be placed under administration by Sascoc again, as was the case with the previous regime.
“There are a number of issues that need to be dealt with at ASA, but it's about time we solved these issues ourselves. We don't want interference.” – Sapa