By Zaheer Cassim
Reggie Seane is the captain of the premier team at Kagiso Cricket Club, in Mogale City. He sits in a cold and grey change room conducting a meeting with four other men; they are discussing the state of the team. Outside, four junior players practice in the nets with tattered balls. Their coach did not show up to practice today and there is no one to whom they can complain.
Seane goes outside to offer some input and though he never takes off his white chapel hat, he is ready to stop playing cricket because of poor management and a lack of accountability. “The guys are not happy. We’ve lost so many players because of all of the shit happening here,” he says.
The beginning of October marks the first week of the new cricket season. Kagiso Cricket Club has three teams, and over the last five years, it has had problems with transport and food at games. Not only do players go hungry, but it’s also embarrassing for the township club, which has to entertain wealthier clubs from Johannesburg, Seane explains.
On Friday, 19 October, former Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola lost his appeal and was sent off the field for good. It was found that he had unlawfully giving extra bonuses of nearly R5-million to his staff in 2009, of which R1.8-million went into his own pocket. With this hanging over its head for the last two years, cricket management in South Africa has been divided between those who were for Majola and those who were against him.
This political instability at the top has filtered down into local cricket. Earlier this month, a game between Alexandra and Randburg was stopped after players from the former rushed the field and demanded an end to play because of a problem they had with Alex chairman Daniel Phetla.
At Kagiso, Charles Nyathi, a former all-rounder for the club, says players’ morale is low and players have left for a variety of reasons resulting from poor management. He is one of them. “I didn’t want to get involved in the politics, so I decided that it would be easier to leave,” he says. Nyathi is now a volunteer and though he is doesn’t play cricket anymore, he tries to help younger players when he can.
Kagiso Cricket Club falls under the Gauteng Cricket Board (GCB). Over the last five years, the club has received nearly R200 000 for food and transport from the board. But the GCB does not require a formal audit of the club’s expenses and so has no control over how the funds are spent.
Over the years, several members from the club have complained that these funds have not reached the players. Chairman Moagi Moswete is responsible for how the cash is spent; he did not comment on this issue, and was not willing to hand over a list of the club’s expenses.
Earlier this year, the GCB held an inquiry into allegations of financial mismanagement at Kagiso. Faizel Sallie, who commissioned these meetings, would not comment on what he found, but Moswete is still in charge of the club.
Corruption Watch has met disgruntled players and spoken to the chief executive of the GCB, Cassim Dockrat. He has promised that if players draw up a formal complaint and send it to him, he will look into it.