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Athletics | SA Track & Field

James Evans © Gallo Images

Evans set to face tribunal

An independent tribunal into allegations against Athletics SA (ASA) president James Evans will be held, ASA vice-president Hendrick Ramaala said on Friday.

He said this would happen regardless of the outcome of a vote by ASA council members to impeach him at a special general meeting (SGM) in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The Saturday vote was an attempted impeachment process and not a commission of inquiry, said Ramaala.

"A tribunal will be held afterwards to deal with allegations, even if the motion goes against the board," Ramaala said on Friday.

"If the majority says 'no', they [will] overrule the board and tell them to go away."

Evans is facing accusations from more than half the board that he made payments to himself from ASA's coffers, entered into various agreements and settlements with ASA staff without the board's knowledge, and instructed the chief financial officer to make payments without the board's authority.

The embattled ASA president remained adamant that the ASA executive had not followed correct constitutional processes in its attempt to have him ousted.

"In terms of the constitution they quite clearly have to ask me to respond to the allegations and I have not been asked to state my case," said Evans, who confirmed he would not attend the meeting.

"In South Africa we follow the rule of law and this meeting cannot be legal."

A practising advocate, Evans said he would take legal action to set any decision aside and have the matter sent to arbitration.

In a letter sent to the ASA executive members last week, Evans called for an independent investigation into the allegations against him, provided the inquiry also investigated the board members involved for their "violation of the constitution".

Ramaala, however, said the constitutional process was open for interpretation and he preferred the council members to decide on whether they wanted Evans ousted.

An elite marathon runner who holds a law degree, Ramaala was confident that more than 50 percent of the 17 provincial members would be present at the meeting, which would constitute a quorum.

The embattled athletics body had been hit by financial trouble in recent years, losing all major corporate sponsors.

In October, ASA fired CEO Frik Vermaak for mismanagement of funds, among other allegations, but Vermaak appealed the findings of his disciplinary hearing and the case was settled out of court.

Two months later, ASA appointed a committee to address its financial crisis in an effort to service its R4.3 million debt.

SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) President Gideon Sam, said last month the governing body would step in to assist athletes while ASA attempted to mend its financial problems.

Amid all the ructions surrounding ASA, the federation announced on Wednesday it had finalised a one-year deal with the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Evans, however, said the broadcast rights deal would not solve their immediate financial woes, and questioned who would foot the bill for flying council members to Johannesburg for the SGM.

"Ultimately, the people who suffer are the athletes," Evans said, "and the money would be better spent on outstanding prize money."


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