Johannesburg - Administrators have let the athletes down in recent years, newly elected Athletics SA (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana said following the election of a new board in Johannesburg on Saturday.
“We want to say to the athletes, we are guilty for what we have done, we have not done the best for our athletes,” Skhosana said after the special general meeting where he was elected.
“With my colleagues that were elected here we want to promise that it will be the most vibrant committee.
“The war has come to an end at ASA... those who have differing views must be able to bring it to the table.”
Skhosana said the board would be looking to employ professional people for positions such as general manager or chief executive roles which were responsible for operations.
“An organisation is well run when there is a chief financial officer and a chief executive... we are politicians and administrators, so we aren't going to be there most of the time,” he said.
“We have seen where politicians come to the operations things don't go well.
“The best would be to have professional and experienced people, who would be able to help us to streamline the organisation.”
The board would only stand until 2016 which would give it limited time to get the sport back on track.
Elections were held for positions on the ASA executive board. These were president, vice-president, chairpersons of the cross-country commission, the road running commission, the track and field commission and the athletes' commission, and four additional members.
Saturday's elections brought an end to a year-long power struggle and sees Skhosana, a former KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) president take the reins after the position was left vacant when the previous president James Evans stepped down following the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) visit in February.
On his visit to South Africa at the time, IAAF representative Cheikh Thiare met with the ASA council, represented by 15 of 17 provinces and an ASA general assembly, which include Evans's depleted board and one mandated provincial member.
The recognised ASA executive, led by Evans, and the federation's interim board, led by chairman Sello Mokoena, subsequently stepped down with both groups * each previously claiming to have control of the federation * agreeing to the appointment of an interim committee.
Skhosana beat off a challenge by Mokoena, Evans and Steve Mkasi on Saturday. Harold Adams was elected as vice-president after he withdrew his candidature for president.
KZNA was declared bankrupt under Skhosana, and the province had been marred by allegations of fraud, corruption and mismanagement.
However, Skhosana on Saturday said he had been cleared of any allegations of wrong doing.
Thiare, who oversaw the meeting, endorsed the process and believed ASA would move forward on a clean slate.
“We have full confidence in the new elected team and the fact that these elections would facilitate access to substantial sponsorship for ASA,” Thiare said.
“I think everything was done in a democratic and transparent manner and I have no doubt that the IAAF will recognise the elected board.
“I would like to express my hope that today's elections would set new standards of governing in South Africa and place athletes and the sport in the heart of its endeavours.”
The new ASA executive elected on Saturday was:
Additional board members were: Ntathu Gwadiso, Motlatsi Keikabile, Esther Malema and Shireen Noble.