Comrades disputes resolved

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iol spt dec10 Comrades runners INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS The internal wranglings at the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) were over, said KwaZulu-Natal Athletics president Sello Mokoena on Monday.

Durban – The internal wranglings at the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) were over, said KwaZulu-Natal Athletics president Sello Mokoena on Monday.

“It was a concern, but we at KZNA have always been sure and confident that the problems were not insurmountable,” Mokoena said.

“The CMA itself is solid and is strong, because the focus is always on the athlete.”

The organisation had been rocked in recent weeks after the voting-in of board members at its Annual General Meeting was deemed unethical and went against the constitution.

“It was an issue of governance, but we knew it could be sorted out one way or the other and we have absolutely no concerns moving forward,” said Mokoena.

CMA members were allowed into the October 31 AGM and permitted to vote for a new board despite not paying their fees in advance, which was against the rules of the body.

Two board members, MacDonald Chitja and Steven Mkasi, stepped down in protest.

There were further claims that not enough transformation had taken place within the CMA.

Last Wednesday, Graham Mackenzie, a Member of Parliament who served on the Sport and Recreational Committee in the National Assembly in Cape Town, facilitated a Special General Meeting in Pietermaritzburg where the new board positions were filled without any opposition.

Dave Dixon retained his position as chairperson, while Chitja would serve as his deputy Ä both with one-year tenures compared with the regular 24-month period Ä until elections were held again in October 2013.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Mokoena said. “There were issues raised that were legitimate and had to be dealt with.

“The National Sports Portfolio Committee intervened and came in with a very timely intervention. All the parties have supported this, including KZNA.

“Issues of transformation, issues of dealing with the constitution and so forth, were dealt with so the CMA has now turned the corner.”

The KZNA chief also felt the politics would have no effect on next year’s race.

“I think the only way it will affect the race is in a better way,” he said. “As I indicated, our focus has always been to look after the athlete.

“We think we will look after the athletes much better than we did before.”

Dixon said the happenings of recent weeks could now be put in the past and was pleased a consensus had been reached.

“We are the custodians of the world’s greatest ultra-marathon and an event that belongs to the people of South Africa,” Dixon said.

“We, as the newly elected CMA board, are focused on maintaining and enhancing the world class status of the Comrades Marathon.”

The 2013 Comrades would be run from Durban to Pietermaritzburg on June 2. – Sapa

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