Back in the good old days as I was just discovering the joys and freedom of riding a bicycle at speed with Lawrence Whittaker (our then esteemed leader), Lloyd Wright, the Simpson brothers, Paul Dalton, Jon Doig, Vernon Davis and Matthew Ferguson - among others, racing around a haphazard "criterium" circuit in Constantia or doing time trials up Constantia Nek, we were blissfully unaware of the development of EPO or its impact on professional cycling. In fact, watching a final sprint in one Rapport Tour, we innocently believed in "Pan y aqua" of our own cycling legends - even though in retrospect amphetamines were already in prolific (and of source secretive) use in the local pelaton.
The Pedal Power Association, formed around 1977, and then know as the Western Province Pedal Power Assocation or WPPPA for short (hardly) was our local club and also organised the Argus Cycle Tour which now is called the Pick n Pay Argus Tour.
I entered my first "Argus" in 1982 and as testament to the PPA my results are still available online:
The PPA has grown over the years and is the largest (I stand corrected) representative of cycling interests in the country with a membership of over 18,000 cyclists.
Cycling South Africa is, however, the official government sponsored (via SASCOC - the SA Olympic committee) vessel and so represents the interests of the country and is also answerable to the UCI and WADA in its various capacities as upholder of the UCI constitution, organiser of UCI sanctioned events (that may or may not include UCI points) and as policeman for anti-doping (along with SAIDs).
Now here's the rub as I see it.
CSA need to fulfil their obligations to the UCI and WADA. The UCI has made it clear that licensed riders may not participate in non-sanctioned events - most likely as of next year. Call it governance, call it whatever, but the need to stop licensed riders from racing in non-sanctioned events is a question of money. That's just it. Non-sanctioned events essentially would not contribute to the federation at all. Non-sanctioned events could also not apply the basic public liability insurance requirements and would possibly not apply the requisite anti-doping regimes. And not pay calendar fees or license fees either.
But, the PPA do pay over license fees to CSA every year for their members and by implication you - as a PPA member - become a licensed rider and must therefore adhere to the CSA constitution and rules.
The money problem is exacerbated by the fact that PPA run at least 5 lucrative events during the racing season and a host of other smaller "fun rides". However, and where I see CSA champing at the bit to get their hands on some, is that the PPA have full discretion where and to what to allocate the returns from these events. And I guess CSA want some. Which is why they persist in threatening the continuation of - in particular - these 5 events.
I don't think that the intent is particularly insidious, but if the financial failure of ASA is anything to go by, a little more cash flow would hardly be a bad thing for CSA in the long run. Whether or not, the Argus or Double Century would continue to be successful under CSA's tenure is certainly something for debate.
I like William Newman, I have known him for quite some time and have no doubt that he wants to do the right thing for South African cycling. But for now I hope that PPA succeed with the court action.