Two months since the much hyped His Excellency Charity Cycle challenge, organisers are still to pay local cyclists their prize money.
The event, which was organised by the Office of the President (OP) through the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) and Botswana Cycling Association (BCA) was held on September 3rd this year.
While cyclists were promised that the money would be paid into their accounts a day after the event, it has however since been revealed that only a few riders have been paid.
The default is reported to have created tension between BCA and local riders, prompting the cycling motherbody to engage with both the OP and BNSC, who are responsible for the payments.
Reached for comment, BCA president Mmetla Masire confirmed that cyclists were owed money from the HE Challenge but said they are engaging with the organisers on the matter.
“As the BCA, we are very unhappy with the turn of events. This is not acceptable for the BCA and it is definitely not acceptable by the International Cycling Association (ICA),” Masire said.
He explained that having worked so hard to create a good reputation with cyclists, the delay in payment was disappointing and is damaging to the good reputation of BCA.
Asked what the BCA was doing to address the anomaly, the BCA president said all they could do was to engage the relevant authorities.
“We have tried to engage both the OP, as well as the BNSC through their Chairman Solly Reikeletseng and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Falcon Sedimo. Aside from that, there is not much we can do as we have no authority over the event organisers,” Masire explained.
“It is very difficult for us as the BCA as we cannot order the organisers to pay cyclists. If it were our affiliates who had organised the event, we would order them to make the payments and take action against them. In this case, we cannot do either,” he continued.
While details are still sketchy, it is alleged that when riders started voicing their concerns over the non payment, the organisers, who had promised to pay cyclists directly, decided to hand the payment issues to the BCA.
However, instead of crediting all the prize money into the BCA account, the organisers are said to have credited less than half of the monies.
As a result, foreign riders payments were prioritised and many of local riders were not paid as the money fell short.
It is said that of the P135 000 prize money promised, the organisers have only credited BCA with P50 000, leaving the association P85 000 short of paying all prize monies.
Reached for comment, acting BNSC Chief Executive Officer Bobby Gaseitsiwe said the remaining prize money was with the BNSC.
“All riders who have not been paid should approach Shadrack Kapeko at the BNSC on Monday to get their money,” Gaseitsiwe said.
On why the money had not been deposited into the BCA accounts, Gaseitsiwe said the agreement was for the organisers to pay the riders directly.