A power dispute has erupted in Athletics SA following a court wrangle over the suspension of five provincial athletics structures, three of them in the Western Cape.
The five bodies – Boland Athletics, Western Province Athletics, Central Gauteng Athletics, KwaZulu-Natal Athletics and Athletics South Western Districts (in George) – lodged an urgent application in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.
Their lawyer Dev Maharaj said it was dismissed because the court did not have jurisdiction over the matter.
They then filed an application in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg later that day.
The application related mainly to a decision taken by the board of Athletics SA on Wednesday.
According to an affidavit by Richard Stander, chief executive of Boland Athletics, the issue stems back a few months ago when 12 of 17 provincial structures requested a special general meeting in order to consider a motion of no confidence in the board, as well as its removal.
The request had been refused. Stander said a request was then sent to the Athletics SA council and with its support, a special general meeting had been convened.
The call for the meeting, he said, had been prompted by the situation the board had found itself in.
“It was rendered dysfunctional as a result of infighting and the high-handed conduct of (James Evans) who had become a law unto himself,” Stander said in his affidavit.
“(Evans) had purportedly suspended six of the 11 board members and had dismissed the chief financial officer during February 2013 and the chief executive officer during June 2013 whereafter he unilaterally assumed the position of executive president of ASA, a position that is not provided for in the ASA constitution.”
The five bodies had received notification of their suspensions following a resolution taken “ostensibly” by the board.
The court granted an interim interdict on Friday, allowing the special general meeting, as well as a vote, to go ahead.
According to media reports at the weekend, the board was dissolved at the Athletics SA annual general meeting on Saturday and an interim, seven-member board elected.
Evans disputed the authority of the new board, saying that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) still recognised his board as the official board.
“They’re a bunch of rebels,” he told the Cape Times. “The only way it can be resolved is by sticking to the international rules.”
But speaking on behalf of the acting board, Sello Mokoena said they had sent letters yesterday to the IAAF, Olympic committee Sascoc and the Department of Sport and Recreation notifying them of the change.
The case over the suspensions is set down for February 4 for final determination. – Cape Times