Warring administrators turn school athletics fields into battlegrounds

Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana.
Athletics SA president Aleck Skhosana.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

School athletics fields have become a battleground for administrators. 

Athletics South Africa (ASA) on Monday announced it had placed an interim executive in charge of the SA Schools Athletics (Sasa) after suspending the body for resisting merger attempts. 

But Sasa hit back in a communique, telling members they would go it alone. 

At stake are upcoming schools championships. 

ASA wants the primary school track and field championships to be staged in Pietermaritzburg on March 20 and 21, and the high school showpiece to be held in Paarl from March 26 to 28 as part of a bigger competition.   

But Sasa says the primary school championships will be staged in Bloemfontein from March 26 to 28 and the high school competition in Boksburg from March 18 to 21. 

Sasa said the decision to break away was taken at a special general meeting on Saturday. 

“The so-called suspension by ASA does not apply to SA Schools Athletics as Sasa is not a member of ASA but an associate,” Sasa said.

“We hereby request members to ignore any communication from any structure if not from the Sasa national office. 

ASA said Brandon du Plessis would chair the interim board with Sibusiso Nyamane as his vice. 

ASA said there had been several consultations with Sasa aimed at aligning the two bodies since late last year. 

“But it then became clear to the ASA executive that the Sasa executive were resisting the required alignment with ASA, and had also gone as far as deliberately misleading the Sasa council regarding the mandate received from ASA.”

ASA said Sasa executive members were not allowed to serve on any ASA national structures, while Sasa said members deployed to the 17 ASA provincial structures had been recalled. 

ASA said it was in consultation with government, speaking to both the sport and basic education departments.