Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Athletics SA is going for the jugular of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc)‚ declaring a dispute over the legality of the umbrella body’s board.

The federation‚ through its attorney Dev Maharaj‚ sent a letter to Sascoc on Monday, declaring the dispute.

Sascoc vice-president Barry Hendricks on Tuesday confirmed receipt of the letter.

This is days after Athletics SA won another dispute in arbitration: Sascoc was ordered to reinstate Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana on its board after he was voted off controversially more than a year ago.

If Athletics SA succeeds in having the board deemed illegal‚ it could cause a potential crisis for Sascoc‚ especially if all decisions taken since its inception 19 months ago are also scrapped.

That could pave the way for three fired officials to return‚ including CEO Tubby Reddy and chief financial officer Vinesh Maharaj. The two‚ and manager Jean Kelly‚ were dismissed early in 2018 after a disciplinary process that cost R4m.

Legality questions

Questions over the legality of the Sascoc board date back to before the 2016 elections‚ when senior counsel advised Reddy that some nominees were not eligible to stand because they were not members of federations as per the constitution.

But the board at the time ruled the poll go ahead with no nominees excluded‚ although a committee would investigate the constitutional clauses.

Hendricks‚ one of the two board members who would have been excluded by the advocates’ opinion‚ has argued that though he was nominated as a member of the Gauteng Sports Confederation‚ he was also a member of Squash SA.

After the Sascoc elections the board co-opted too many members‚ making them 15‚ one more than allowed by its constitution. The executive agreed to vote off either Skhosana or Jerry Segwaba to correct this.

Skhosana won the first vote‚ but four days later a second poll was called‚ ending in a deadlock. President Gideon Sam used a casting vote to keep Segwaba.

Arbitrator Nazeer Cassim SC last week ruled that Skhosana be returned to the board.

"Our client attempted to raise this [second] dispute and in fact did so during the recent arbitration proceedings relating to the unlawful removal of Skhosana. But unfortunately the arbitrator ruled the dispute was not properly before him in that your organisation did not consent to the dispute being referred to arbitration‚" Maharaj said in his letter to Sascoc. "Consequently‚ our client hereby formally raises this dispute."

The Sascoc board will meet on Friday ahead of a scheduled council meeting on Saturday.