Soweto Marathon: MEC labels Evans a liar

MEC says ASA's James Evans is lying after he said he was not consulted on the cancellation of the marathon.

Athletics South Africa (ASA) Chairperson James Evans. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Athletics South Africa's president James Evans said the organisation was not consulted before the decision was made to cancel this year's Soweto Marathon.

The iconic marathon was called off after what Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Lebogang Maile, described as a lack of funding to keep the event afloat.

Evans said ASA was not informed of the final decision to can the race.

"I'm disappointed mainly because it's a bad thing that it has been cancelled. We are just disappointed that we were not consulted when the decision was taken."

But Maile labeled Evans "a liar" for claiming ASA was not consulted about the decision.

Maile said funds were made available, but it was not distributed accordingly.

"James Evans is lying to the public. I tried to avoid the internal politics of ASA because we as government are only interested in saving the marathon. There are resources that have been paid by the SABC for broadcasting rights, and part of which were supposed to go to the marathon, but those resources were not allocated accordingly."

Evans however maintains he was not consulted and says he can't understand why ASA was left in the dark.

"My office tried, I tried without any without success. But when I finally got hold of someone yesterday, the pressure was already on. Why weren't we involved or at least given the decency to be consulted?"

Evans was contacted by Eyewitness News shortly after the MEC made that comment and refuted claims that he's been untruthful.

The race was supposed to take place in November.

Last month, ASA and the Soweto Marathon Trust (SMT) had an altercation regarding the marathon, with both parties showing diverging views about the organisational structure of the event.

ASA claims there was no proof the trust owns the marathon or is an affiliate of ASA.

ASA and SMT then appeared to have reached an accord, making the announcement later that they were both ready and willing to organise the marathon.