Ministry expresses dissatisfaction with Chuene

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pretoria - The sports ministry has expressed its dissatisfaction with
Athletics South Africa's (ASA) President, Leonard Chuene, for admitting that he lied about his knowledge of gender tests conducted on Caster Semenya.

Chuene admitted during a press briefing at the weekend that gender tests were conducted on Semenya before she left for the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) world championships in Berlin.

He said that he had thought he was acting in the best interests of the 800m gold medallist and wanted to guard her privacy and confidentiality.

"Chuene has not only lied to us as the ministry but to the whole country, and this is not acceptable," said Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation Gert Oosthuizen.

He said the department was convinced that the perpetual denial of the knowledge of the tests had fuelled the continuous violation of Semenya's rights and dignity, by foreign and some local media.

"We do not agree with Chuene's insistence that he lied in Semenya's interest, in fact we are of the view that his lies were to Semenya's detriment."

Oosthuizen requested the membership of ASA to not only take disciplinary action against Chuene, but to fire him from his position as the President of ASA. "If they fail to do so, they will be running the risk of being led by a liar," he said.

He further urged ASA to get their house in order, and act in the best interest of sport.

The minister said the resolutions adopted at the Athletics South Africa Council last weekend had also been based on a lie.

At that meeting, ASA called on Chuene to withdraw his resignation from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and resume his responsibilities after it approved the manner in which he handled the issue of Semenya.

At the time, ASA confirmed its support and confidence in Chuene and said that he had handled the matter exceptionally well and advised him to continue defending the athletes.

On two occasions, the ministry requested a report from Chuene on what happened prior, during and after Berlin and they still have not received the report.