Axed members of Athletics South Africa have appealed to Parliament to have Leonard Chuene reinstated as president of the federation.
Axed members of Athletics South Africa have appealed to Parliament to have Leonard Chuene reinstated as president of the federation.

Axed ASA members want Chuene reinstated

By ANDISIWE MAKINANA Time of article published Mar 30, 2011

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Axed Athletics South Africa (ASA) members and other sports administrators are calling on Parliament to nullify the suspensions of the federation’s president, Leonard Chuene, his board and other office-bearers.

They want them to be reinstated immediately.

They also want Parliament to investigate the processes followed in suspending Chuene and his board and what they allege are links between the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

The calls are made in a petition, signed by 47 “concerned athletes”, to Speaker Max Sisulu.

The petition calls on Parliament to ask Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula to intervene, “for the sake of sport”, in the “fracas involving ASA and Sascoc”.

Chuene and two senior ASA officials were found guilty of bringing athletics into disrepute and dismissed after a series of investigations, among them into the handling of the sex tests performed on world 800m champion Caster Semenya.

“We are of the view that contrary to the assertions made by Sascoc, the report (that Sascoc commissioned) contains unequivocal evidence that ASA did not act improperly in the manner in which it handled the Caster Semenya matter,” the petition said.

“Such a finding would have made it difficult for Sascoc to suspend ASA members.”

The 47 allege that Sascoc for years targeted ASA’s leadership and used the Semenya debacle to remove Chuene and his board.

They say that when Sascoc found no wrongdoing in the Semenya matter, it extended its probe to other issues.

Appearing before the portfolio committee on sport yesterday, Michael Mbambani, from a Port Elizabeth athletics club and head of the campaign to reinstate Chuene and the ASA board, said: “It is worrisome that Sascoc will always remain silent when soccer, rugby and cricket have issues of national interest, like the leadership squabbles in soccer and the racism allegations in cricket.”

The petition, among other things, accuses Sascoc of disregarding the National Sport and Recreation Amendment Act by suspending ASA board members and some of its employees and by continuing to be involved in ASA affairs.

The petition alleges that most members of the lottery distribution fund are members of or linked to Sascoc.

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