CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 14, Frik Vermaak (CEO of Athletics South Africa (ASA)) during the announcement of the new CEO by Athletics South Africa from Western Province Cricket Club, Keurboom on December 14, 2011 in Cape Town, South Africa Photo by Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images

Johannesburg – Athletics South Africa is like a dilapidated house that needs to be demolished, say athletes who plan to march on the embattled federation’s warring leaders.

Several provincial athletics bodies have called for a vote of no confidence in ASA’s board.

Legendary Athletes of South Africa secretary-general Dorah Mngwevu said retired and elite athletes, including Olympic medallists, will join next Saturday’s march from Johannesburg Stadium to Athletics House in Houghton.

“Athletes have been silent for a very long time hoping that ASA leaders will turn things around to improve athletics’ status in South Africa,” said Mngwevu.

Olympic medal winners Kgotso Mokoena and Steven Mokoka, Gert Thys, Xolile Yawa, Fusi Nhlapo, Willie Mtolo, Simon Magakwe, and Ofentse Magawane are expected to participate.

The divided ASA board has been involved in costly rolling court battles. The federation’s bank account was also attached by lawyers, who had acted for most board members against president James Evans.

Evans said ASA was fighting the attachment but ASA staff have still not received their October salaries.

ASA’s debts appear to be mounting. The security company it contracted claims it has not been paid since May and is owed more than R100 000.

About 800 to 1 000 people are set to participate in the march. “The real work will start after the march,” said Mngwevu.

“We intend to resolve all issues… so that we can focus on the real challenges that can take athletics forward.”

Mngwevu said the current leadership at ASA needs to step down.

“ASA is like a dilapidated house that needs to be demolished,” said Mngwevu. The organisation will need to be rebuilt from scratch, he believes.

“It’s important that issues are resolved immediately to enable the federation to secure sponsors, put national development programmes in place and have national calendar running,” she added.

Mngwevu said the chaos at ASA have severely affected the athletes’ preparation for major competitions such as the Olympic Games which will take place in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“The impact is massive because athletes are in despair.”

“Without direction and guidance, they (are) doing their own thing through their respective coaches and managers.”

Athletes of South Africa president Yawa, who still ranks high in the national records for all events from 3 000m to the marathon, said the sport had sunk to below rock bottom.

‘‘It is common knowledge that ASA is a disaster… We have lost confidence in the leadership.” – Additional info: Times Newspaper

Saturday Star