Chess SA’s unlawful suspension has serious consequences

Issued by Veronica van Dyk MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts & Culture
01 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English soundbites by Veronica van Dyk MP.

The DA has called on the Chairperson of the Portfolio committee of Sports, Arts and Culture to raise a formal enquiry regarding the suspension of Chess SA.

On 14 March 2023, SASCOC sent a notice suspending Chess SA in accordance with a discussion of this portfolio committee. Chess SA immediately responded, explaining the unlawful nature of the suspension at the time, but received no response.

The suspension of Chess SA holds the following detrimental consequences:

  • Development strides made for Chess South Africa comes to a halt;
  • Financial crippling with a direct impact on access to tournaments and assistance to underprivileged players;
  • Chess players are unable to be awarded national colours; and
  • Chess players geared up for international events, representing South Africa, such as the one taking place on 4 May in Egypt, for which parents have spent huge amounts of money is now no longer a reality.

A further deterrent to the success of this sporting code is the in-fighting of two factions, both claiming to be the legitimate board.

The current executive of Chess SA was elected on 8 December 2018, pursuant to the successful high court applications of Gauteng Chess and the Players Commission.

There has never been an election in terms of which the 2nd Board, led by Joe Mahomole, was legally elected as the executive of Chess South Africa.

Notwithstanding, the group led by Mr Joe Mahomole has been openly supported and favoured by SASCOC to the exclusion of the legitimate board, since 2019. SASCOC has further entertained unsubstantiated allegations of racism against certain members of the executive when the opposite is true as already discussed in a previous portfolio committee meeting.

The DSAC and SASCOC apparently refused to engage with the elected board – which was vindicated by a full bench Judgment.

SASCOC and DSAC’s bullying behaviour is unacceptable and unconstructive. They have seemingly no regard for the development of chess in this country or the individual players’ opportunities on the ground.

These concerns must be addressed and resolved urgently to ensure that players, the ones most affected by this, are able to receive their well-deserved recognition and represent South Africa on international platforms.