ASA sacks chief executive
Johannesburg – Athletics SA (ASA) chief executive Frik Vermaak, appointed in December, has been fired after he was found guilty on multiple charges in a disciplinary hearing.
"Athletics SA ... has terminated the employment of its chief executive officer, Mr Frik Vermaak, following the recommendations received after a disciplinary hearing," ASA said in a statement on Tuesday.
"After hearing evidence for two days, Vermaak was found guilty on the charges of gross misconduct, gross dishonesty and poor work performance."
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.
Vermaak had not been honest, ASA president James Evans had said ahead of the hearing, about the seriousness of his involvement in the Allegro case.
He was accused of failing to promote transformation within the federation after he made appointments to the ASA head office which allegedly proved contrary.
Vermaak, 54, was charged for putting the federation at risk and facing liquidation, in a matter between ASA and promotion company Accelerate Sport.
It had been reported in February that ASA faced liquidation if it was unable to service its 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.
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