Oceans May Not Survive Beyond 2020, Warns Race Founder (Updated)

Open letter to race board raises concerns over corporate governance and corruption

Mike Finch |

<UPDATED: Includes response from Two Oceans Marathon Race Director Debra Barnes>

One of the founding members of the Two Oceans Marathon board and former president of Athletics South Africa (ASA), James Evans, has suggested that the future of the Two Oceans Marathon may be in jeopardy unless race organisers “get their act together.”

In a detailed 17-page open letter addressed to the board of the Two Oceans, Evans raises a number of concerns around how the race is being run and the lack of sponsorship the event faces in 2020 after title sponsor, Old Mutual and presenting sponsor, adidas, opted not to renew their contracts.

RELATED: Two Oceans Marathon Releases Statement Regarding 2020 Entries

“There is no way that the race is going to survive beyond next year,” Evans told Cape Talk. “They really have to tighten their belts and get their act together to get them out of the situation they are in.”

Evans said that he had decided to write an open letter  ‘because I have little faith that a private letter will receive a response.” He goes on to raise serious governance issues which had been raised at the races’ AGM late last month, including illegal payment of directors as employees, why a print contract, used to print the 50-year anniversary book, was awarded to a company owned by the current chairman of the board, Rodney Maharage,  and why renovations done at a newly-acquired property owned by the race were also done by a company linked to Maharage.

Oceans needs people with common sense and good business skills…

Evans also questions the logic in buying up a new property for R3-million, and renovating for R1.7-million, when the race faces a potential cash-flow crisis without substantial sponsorship.

“Two Oceans had tied up cash in property and one of those properties has been standing vacant for the past seven months, whereas cash could have earned interest,” Evans says.

Evans’ concerns over the printing contract stem from the quoting process.  “Associated Printing (the chairperson’s business) was not one of the original three quotes obtained by Two Oceans. Only after those three quotes had been obtained did Associated Printing become involved. So Associated Printing was an extra quote obtained after the original process and they quoted after all the other quotes were known.”

Evans then goes on to list a variety of concerns over the running of the event:

  • Why the race has outstanding debts with suppliers
  • The financial health of the race
  • Why the race lost it’s IAU Gold Label status
  • Why many experienced staff had left the organisation
  • Irregularities around the appointment of the race director
  • A lack of transparency at the AGM

“The issues I have raised, if there are no acceptable responses, leads to the inevitable conclusion that there has been a fundamental failure of corporate governance and either a serious failure of judgement on the part of the board members or possible corruption,” Evans says.

In response, Two Oceans Race Director Debra Barnes forwarded a mail sent to Evans in which she acknowledged a letter sent to her, ‘and one other’, that she forwarded to all board members of the Two Oceans Marathon on October 9. She confirmed that the board would meet and offer a formal response to Evans’ assertions.

Click on the link below to see Evans’ full open letter.

Open Letter to the Board of Two Oceans Marathon NPC

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