News 13th May 2019

Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa, Ms Tokozile Xasa (MP) on the outcome and way forward regarding the Caster Semenya ruling

Minister of Sport & Recreation Ms. Tokozile Xasa, has noted the outcome of Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) case on the matter involving, Ms. Caster Semenya, Athletics South Africa (ASA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF). The Minister had previously expressed her disappointment with the judgement. The Minister had further directed the High-Level Panel dealing with this matter to study the judgement and to advise her on the options available in order for her to take the matter forward.

The High – Level Panel of experts on the matter both medically and legally, met and reviewed the judgement and provided its advice to the Minister. The Minister has noted the recommendations of the High – Level Panel and has accepted them as a way forward to pursue this matter further.

Athletics South Africa (ASA) will appeal the judgement of the CAS and lodge its papers within the prescribed and stipulated period. The grounds for ASA’s appeal are summarised as follows:

1) ASA applied for recusal of two of the arbitrators who it felt they were conflicted since they have handled the earlier case of the Indian sprinter, Dutee Chand, as Caster was also going to be an affected athlete.
2) The strength of scientific, medical and legal case we presented, we believe, the outcome is inconceivable on the fact. The facts before court and the outcome do not match.
3) The pertinent legal questions that the court should have addressed we not addressed. The court simply gave the unfettered latitude to the IAAF to do as it pleases. For instance, it has not been answered as to how the IAAF will implement the regulations and how ethical issues will be addressed.

The Minister has also directed that the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa should work with other organs of State to intensify the international lobby and to approach the United Nations General Assembly to sanction the IAAF for violating International Human Rights Instruments. The Government will also have to mobilise and educate society on the key arguments and tenets of the case. To this end, government will make available information to the public and also develop online information instruments to empower the public on this key matter. The Minister was also pleased with the commitment by ASA to lobby other National Athletics Associations in other jurisdictions to sign a petition, petitioning the IAAF to rescind the regulations and to lobby against the current executive of the IAAF.

Minister Xasa has also expressed her gratitude to the people of South Africa and the World at large for their continued support for Caster Semenya in the face of this unwarranted affront. She once more, thanked various sectors including human rights bodies, media, medical science fraternity, sport bodies & sport personalities, the international bodies and the sports law experts, for their insights and unwavering support. Minister Xasa has further urged all South Africans to continue supporting Ms. Semenya as we continue with the appeal process.

• This media release was published by Sport and Recreation South Africa on 13 May 2019. Click here for the original.

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