The protracted battle between Athletics SA (ASA) and provincial affiliate KwaZulu-Natal Athletics (KZNA) is far from over.
Last week, the KZNA structure got relief from a high court order to return to the office after being suspended by ASA. City Press has reliably learnt that ASA has already filed the papers to appeal the decision.
KZNA president Sello Mokoena told City Press: “Operations are up and running at KZNA and what ASA does next must be in the interest of athletes. We have been pleading that this matter goes to arbitration, but ASA never wanted to resolve things this way. The courts should be the last option.”
Mokoena said his board had a meeting on Wednesday, a few hours after the court ruling, to chart the way forward: “We didn’t recognise anything that is done unconstitutionally. The operations are running as normal at KZNA.”
The court also ordered that the ASA administrator pay KZNA all 2019 licensing monies collected. Mokoena could not quantify the amount.
ASA has accused its provincial member of misconduct and did not take kindly to KZNA taking it to court. The umbrella body also accused its affiliate of bringing ASA into disrepute in the public domain.
The long-standing feud between the two structures reached breaking point late last year when ASA suspended the board of KZNA. This followed a resolution taken at an ASA council meeting in October. The feud escalated when KZNA failed to attend the meeting in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.
After suspending the KZNA board, ASA ordered investigations into possible irregularities at the KZN structure and subsequently placed interim administrator Jay Reddy in control of the KZNA office.
A defiant KZNA had initially approached the Johannesburg High Court to contest its suspension, which it argued was “wrongful and unlawful”, but the matter was struck off the roll based on mutual consent.
Last week, Judge J Hadebe ruled that the dispute between the warring parties should go to arbitration.
Mokoena said his office would resolve any potential registration issues. A task team had apparently already issued 10 000 of the province’s 16 000 licences. Some are worried that runners and clubs could be the biggest losers in the KZNA and ASA battle.
“Any province that feels it has a grudge with KZNA must come forward,” said Mokoena.
ASA president Aleck Skhosana said he could not comment at this stage.