The legal war, seemingly for control of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, took a new turn this week with claims that the judge who ordered that the organisation’s annual meeting be held this month should have recused himself because he was biased.
KZNA president Sello Mokoena, in a fresh urgent application this week, said Acting Judge Alex Jeffrey was a member of Savages Club, which was one of the clubs in the province intent on electing new office-bearers.
But the judge failed to disclose this when he heard an application brought by Phuma KZN Athletics Club last month and issued an interim order forcing the holding of the meeting on the last weekend of this month.
And, Mokoena said, the judge also dismissed an application by KZNA for “reconsideration” of the order because, the athletics body alleged, it had been granted on “fraud” and lies.
Mokoena’s application was heard by Durban High Court Judge Anton van Zyl this week, who granted an interim order setting aside Judge Jeffrey’s interim order.
Both applications will be back in court on March 17.
In the first matter, heard before Judge Jeffrey on February 12, Phuma KZN Athletics club’s Steve Mkasi, who is also an attorney, said the KZNA constitution required that the annual meeting be held at the end of March, and the notice had to be sent by that afternoon.
KZNA was not represented in court and the interim order was issued.
Without waiting for the return date, KZNA went back to court early with its application for reconsideration, and, by chance, Judge Jeffrey was the rotation judge in motion court that day.
KZNA said there was no point holding the meeting because the audited statements were not ready.
It said it had become common practice to hold the annual meeting late, and accused Mkasi of siding with James Evans, the previous president of Athletics South Africa, who is in a leadership battle involving Mokoena.
Mkasi, it was argued, had misled the court and lied to it.
But Judge Jeffrey declined to reconsider his order, saying it only directed KZNA to carry out its obligations in terms of its own constitution, and he could see no prejudice.
Mokoena said that at the time of both applications he had not been in court, and was not aware which judge was dealing with them.
Mkasi, he said, would have known about Jeffrey’s relationship with running, but failed to alert anyone to it.
Mokoena said Jeffrey had also represented KZNA member Norrie Williamson in a disciplinary hearing, in which he had been accused of wanting to undermine the executive committee and remove him as president.
Jeffrey has finished his stint as an acting judge and is again practising as an advocate.
When contacted yesterday, he said he could not comment other than to say the issue of his recusal had not been raised before him. - The Mercury