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Jeremy Gauntlett instructed in forthcoming South African Olympic Committee Appeal on Caster Semenya gender debacle


The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) is appealing a High Court decision setting aside its suspension of the Board of Athletics South Africa (ASA) arising from its handling of the Caster Semenya gender-testing debacle.

In 2009 South Africa’s 800 metre world champion was subjected to gender-testing shortly before the Berlin championships without informed consent, setting off an international sporting and women’s rights furore.

A challenge to the SASCOC decision was brought over three years later by South African sports administrator and ASA Board member Laraine Lane. The High Court in Pretoria reviewed the SASCOC decision to suspend the Board of ASA on both substantive and procedural grounds, but rejected a claim for various injunctions against SASCOC by Lane.

In its written argument filed today, SASCOC contends that the High Court judgment was flawed in multiple respects. The challenge had become moot before it was heard because Lane had resigned after her suspension. Moreover her membership was a matter regulated by contract, and did not constitute ‘administrative action’ as defined by the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 3 of 2000 (PAJA). Even if the suspension was a public-law and not a matter, and within the purview of PAJA, there had been inordinate delay in mounting the challenge, and a failure to exhaust domestic remedies.

The hearing by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein is expected in October or November 2014 .

Jeremy Gauntlett SC will appear for the Olympic Committee, instructed by Jay Reddy Attorneys, Durban.