Johannesburg – Faced with a stack of bills and outstanding payments, Athletics SA (ASA) administrator Zola Majavu admits the federation has a long way to go to rectify its current financial status.
“The picture with regards to finances is far from rosy,” Majavu said on Tuesday.
“If all the federation's creditors demanded their money now, ASA would be almost bankrupt.”
Majavu was appointed by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) last month after Sascoc suspended ASA's entire board for the second time in less than four years.
He submitted his first report to Sascoc on Monday, after 15 days in office.
While ASA had received an unconfirmed amount as part of a new broadcast deal with the SABC, Majavu said it was not enough to cover the federation's debt.
“We need to decide how best to spend this money,” Majavu said.
“First we must ensure we are (Sars) compliant, then the athletes must be paid, and then the service providers.”
The athletics body owed nearly R2 million to the SA Revenue Service. Money deducted from staff salaries was not paid to Sars. ASA deducted employees' pension benefits without placing the money in the pension fund.
“The amount that needs to be paid to bring us up to date, and ensure we are Sars compliant, is just north of R1.6m,” Majavu said.
If the outstanding money was not paid, Majavu said Sars could attach the federation's bank account. He however believed they would find a solution.
“We are on top of it. I have spoken to Sars and we know what the amount is, and over time we will regularise this.”
Outstanding staff salaries and municipal bills were brought up to date shortly after Majavu took office. Sascoc provided a bridge loan, but employees' 13th cheques from last year were still outstanding.
“I hoped to pay them last week Friday because there is money available for that purpose, but unfortunately I am still unable to transact from the ASA account.”
Majavu had been informed that unnamed sources told the bank that Sascoc appointed him illegally.
Millions of rand was owed to former ASA employees who had won cases at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. More was outstanding for commissions on broadcast deals, and to the federation's lawyers.
The lawyers had stopped servicing the athletics body, which resulted in ASA failing to contest a legal claim made by pole-vaulter Jan Blignaut, who fell and was hurt during an athletics event.
Blignaut sued for R2.6m and won the case. Majavu said they would return to court before the amount they owed Blignaut was confirmed.
“The ASA auditors have also not been paid. I have set up a meeting with them, and I'm not sure how much is owed, but it won't be pocket change.”
Prize money for last year's national 10km and half-marathon championships, in Kimberley and Cape Town respectively, and the Soweto marathon in November, was also outstanding.
Majavu confirmed there was enough money available to pay outstanding cash incentives for the Soweto marathon, but not for the national championship events.
Meanwhile, suspended ASA president James Evans had not paid arbitration costs, and the hearing against his suspension, scheduled between April 29 and May 10, had not taken place.
Majavu reiterated that he distanced himself from the arbitration process.
If ASA wanted to find its feet in the long run, after years of in-fighting, maladministration and financial misappropriation, Majavu said officials and board members had to work together.
“ASA must put sentiment aside and run this place like a business,” he said.
“This federation is not doing well, but I'm here to do what I can.” – Sapa