ASA CEO to challenge dismissal

By SAPA Time of article published Oct 2, 2012

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Johannesburg -

Athletics SA (ASA) chief executive Frik Vermaak says he will challenge his dismissal after being found guilty on multiple charges in a disciplinary hearing.

“I think it is a gross injustice and I don’t believe that all the facts that I provided were taken into account,” he said on Tuesday.

“I will definitely take the case further through the normal labour process and I am not guilty of anything they have found me guilty of.

“If you read the verdict, there is no mention of what I presented.”

ASA said in a statement on Tuesday that Vermaak’s employment was terminated following recommendations it received after a disciplinary hearing.

“After hearing evidence for two days, Vermaak was found guilty on the charges of gross misconduct, gross dishonesty and poor work performance,” ASA said in a statement.

Vermaak maintained his innocence and said he had consulted a labour lawyer to institute proceedings for his reinstatement.

The hearing, held last month, had been delayed after a break-in at the ASA head offices in Houghton, Johannesburg, in early September.

Computers and other ASA property were stolen.

The charge of gross dishonesty related to Vermaak's involvement as CEO of Allegro Holdings and as director of Allegro Group Investments, Allegro Bridging, Allegro Property Services, and five related companies.

These companies were reportedly involved in the misappropriation of around R1.15 billion invested in a cash management fund.

Before the hearing, ASA president James Evans said Vermaak had not been honest about the seriousness of his involvement in the Allegro case.

He was accused of failing to promote transformation within ASA after he made appointments to the ASA head office which allegedly proved contrary.

Vermaak, 54, was charged with putting ASA at risk and facing liquidation, in a matter between ASA and promotion company Accelerate Sport.

It was reported in February that ASA faced liquidation if it was unable to service debt of R7 million owed to the promotion company.

Vermaak, an athletics commentator for the SABC, was appointed as ASA CEO on a five-year contract in December.

His appointment was made after a difficult two-year period for the athletics body during which three board members, including embattled president Leonard Chuene, were axed for the misappropriation of funds and their roles in the Caster Semenya gender debacle.

Before Vermaak's appointment, elite marathon athlete Hendrik Ramaala ran the office, despite sitting on the ASA board, which caused ructions within the embattled athletics body. - Sapa

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