The civil rights organization AfriForum launched a court application to set aside the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee’s (Sascok) decision to suspend Chess SA.
RNews previously reported that Saskok summarily suspended Chess SA on 22 April.
According to Ronald Peters, spokesman for AfriForum Sport, this is contrary to Saskok’s procedures, as contained in the Constitution.
“AfriForum strongly condemns this decision, as the reasons for the suspension are unfounded and unlawful.”
The suspension and dispute appear to be the result of a years-long argument – and a series of court cases – between Saskok, Chess SA’s legitimate board led by Hendrik du Toit, and an interim board led by Joe Mahomole. This council should have been disbanded a long time ago, but apparently still interferes with Chess SA’s decision-making.
Peters says Saskok’s decision is just another example of how official sports bodies in South Africa succumb to political pressure and show no backbone to promote and protect sports codes – in this case chess.
“It is clear that the legitimate council has been worked out by politically driven agendas, while this sport and its participants are now suffering as a result of the power struggle.”
Du Toit says Chess SA has been struggling since 2017 with a group that he says is trying to hijack the federation.
“With few resources and the help of our legal team, we fended off an attempt to take over control of Chess SA in 2018. In 2022, Chess SA was leveled by a decision of a full bench of judges from the highest court of appeal and the case was decided in Chess SA’s favour,” says Du Toit.
“We realized that we needed expert help. AfriForum’s success record in helping organizations targeted by state organs speaks for itself and has become a natural choice,” says Du Toit.
A court date for this case will be confirmed shortly.