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LAAA vice president suspended


Moorosi Tsiane

LESOTHO Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) vice president, Tšeliso Pheta, could lose his position and be barred from participating in the association’s national executive committee elections after he was suspended with immediate effect for allegedly making disparaging comments about the LAAA and the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC).

Pheta, who is set for a disciplinary hearing, could lose his post and is not eligible for nomination should the hearing be held on a date later than Saturday when the NEC elections are held in Maseru.

LAAA spokesperson, Sejanamane Maphathe, told the Sunday Express that Pheta had been temporarily relieved of his duties pending a full disciplinary hearing.

He said Pheta stands accused of making damaging claims about the association in the district executives’ WhatsApp group in September this year.

“We have a WhatsApp group which includes the executive committee and executives from all districts. It is in that group that Ntate Pheta unleashed damaging information about the association to other members.

“We followed procedure and Pheta was subsequently asked to ‘show cause’ why he should not be suspended from the association but his response was not convincing at all.

“We then received a letter from the LSRC demanding clarification of the statement that was made by Pheta at the Queen’s horse race in Leribe two months ago.

“Again we wrote to him and again his responses were not convincing so the only option was to suspend him while we conduct our own investigations. He will be given a full hearing where he will present his side on these two issues,” Maphathe said.

However, Pheta denied any wrong-doing on his part and attributed his suspension to machinations to ensure he would not be eligible to challenge LAAA President, Pati Mareka, on Saturday.

“I received the suspension letter on the 9th of this month, accusing me of bringing the LAAA into disrepute. I was surprised because I don’t remember ever doing that. I was first given ‘show cause’ letters and I responded but this suspension is unlawful as I was not even given a hearing.

“I have since written to the Sports ministry and copied my letters to the LSRC and LNOC so that my case will be heard by the ministry’s principal secretary with all the stake holders present on Monday (tomorrow).

“There is nothing new (with the suspension) because they did the same to the Mafeteng district association that has been suspended since 2015 by our president. He always seeks to eliminate those he views as rivals for the presidency and that is the same case with me as we head for elections on Saturday,” Pheta said.

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