CricketSA and the Gauteng Central Lions have chosen to cover up what I regard as their malfeasance in the Teeger matter.

They have chosen to sweep under the carpet issues of corporate governance, fraudulent misrepresentations and violations of media contracts I contend employees and South African cricketers have breached.

David Teeger was charged with bringing cricket into disrepute by making a statement in favour of the Israeli army at a private function. He was not under contract at the time. Five complaints were lodged with the Gauteng Central Lions. Following the Lions’ initial position that it would send out letters to the complainants acknowledging their concerns, the matter was escalated. CricketSA became involved. The same five complaints that had been sent to the Lions now formed the basis of a charge brought against Teeger by CricketSA.

Of the complaints lodged, one emanated from Lenasia Cricket Club. Another came from Diadora, a sponsor of Lions cricket. There is a very clear link between these two complainants. The chairman of the Lenasia Cricket Club is one Azhar Saloojee. The person lodging the complaint on behalf of Diadora is also Azhar Saloojee: the same person. The complaint by Diadora South Africa stated that they ‘will not tolerate Mr Teeger playing in any tournament sponsored by Diadora’.

In its response, Diadora’s head office in Italy responded by stating that Diadora had no directors in South Africa, and disassociated itself from the statement made by Saloojee, stating that Saloojee was not authorised to make such a statement. The statement about Teeger was made by Saloojee in his personal capacity. So Saloojee, the chairman of Lenasia Cricket Club and subject to the jurisdiction and sanction of CricketSA, falsely misrepresented facts to Gauteng Lions and CricketSA and went as far as threatening CricketSA. 

From the Lions’ level, the matter was elevated to the CricketSA level, using the same complaints as those lodged with Gauteng Lions. There is nothing in the constitution of either the Gauteng Lions or CricketSA (the South African Cricket Board) which provides for a matter which has been launched at franchise level to be dealt with at a national level. The ‘acknowledgement of complaint’ letter was discarded, and Teeger was charged at a national level.

New complaint statements used in the charge against Teeger were those of Mohammed Moosajee, the president of the Gauteng Lions, Jonathan Leaf-Wright, the CEO of the Gauteng Lions, and Pholetsi Moketi, the CEO of Cricket South Africa. For these members to have provided statements, they needed to have received the prior approval of their respective boards. Moosajee acknowledged that he did not have permission from the Lions, but still irregularly submitted an affidavit in his personal capacity. Moosajee and Moketi, having charged Teeger for a statement made in favour of Israeli soldiers, failed to see the irony in their submitting their own views of the history of ‘the occupation of Palestine’ and the condemnation of the Israeli Defence Force. As no Board approvals were given, all these statements were unauthorised and irregular. There is no provision for executives to express their personal political opinions or to submit their own voluntary statements in disciplinary charges.

Further overt politics was brought into sport by the Palestinian Solidarity Alliance, which went into detail about the ‘genocidal war against the Palestinians’. In all, each of the complainants was given the right to express their opinions  ̶  some virulently political  ̶  against the statement uttered by Teeger.

Nonetheless, Teeger was charged with unbecoming conduct and statements detrimental to the game of cricket in violation of the Lions’ and CricketSA codes of conduct. Teeger was not subject to any social media contract which prevented him from making a statement to the media. His statement was not made to the media but was made at an awards ceremony at a private function.

Employees and cricketers on contract are, however, prevented from making public statements without the approval of the relevant cricket authority. Hashim Amla, an employee of the Gauteng Lions, as well as contracted SA cricketers Kagiso Rabada and Tabriz Shamsi, have all expressed their opinion of the Israel-Hamas war on social media. Each expressed an opinion in favour of the Palestinians. Each has a social media contract preventing them from expressing these opinions publicly. No action has been taken against them.

In an endeavour to have CricketSA explain its position concerning the above issues and take the necessary corrective measures, or explain why these were not necessary, legal correspondence was entered into. First, there was correspondence with CricketSA and Gauteng Lions and thereafter with their legal representatives.

After initial stonewalling by CricketSA, and non-substantive correspondence by their legal representatives, a final response was received, stating that ‘there is no legal obligation on our client to either provide the information that your client seeks or to take any of the measures demanded’.

So CricketSA, the custodian of cricket in South Africa which has undertaken to promote, advance, and administer the game of cricket in South Africa and adhere to the general principles contained in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, saw fit to charge Teeger because he expressed his constitutional right to freedom of expression. It apparently sees no reason to explain why it is not adhering to general principles of fairness and good labour practices – at least, certainly not to a mere stakeholder member of the public.

The same CricketSA, which swore to respect and recognise the penalties laid down by members of Cricket South Africa, apparently sees no reason to take measures where, in my view, numerous clearly identifiable offences arising out of the Teeger matter are chargeable in terms of CricketSA’s rules and regulations, and probably even in terms of South Africa’s criminal law.

While Lawson Naidoo, the chair of CricketSA’s board, may say that accusations of antisemitism are ‘not deserving of a response’, let’s see how he responds to accusations of malfeasance and double standards now that the matter has gone public. Double standards where Jews are involved usually suggest antisemitism.


The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR.

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Craig Snoyman is a practising advocate of the South African High Court.