Players’ union reboots
The leaders of the SA Football Players Union (Safpu) believe the departure of Simba Marumo as its president will herald a new era – alleging his diplomatic way of dealing with matters was a stumbling block to their progress.
Marumo, who was elected in 2008, resigned before a motion of no confidence could be passed against him at the union’s national executive committee meeting last weekend.
This week, Safpu’s general secretary Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe stopped just short of saying that Marumo’s departure was a blessing in disguise.
He said the union would now move in one direction.
Safpu has once again threatened to down tools if its demands are not met by the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and clubs.
The union is in the dark about how much it is getting from the World Players’ Union through its membership.
“It’s a substantial amount of money that has helped our cause. Remember, we have not received any money from the league in the past three years,” said Gaoshubelwe.
In terms of their collective bargaining agreement with the league, the union is supposed to receive an annual grant of R1 million.
“This only exists on paper,” he said.
The union is demanding a minimum wage of R18 000 for National First Division (NFD) players and R35 000 for those in the Premiership.
“We did a survey where we asked players how much they deserve and, out of that, we got to these numbers. This is what the players are demanding and I don’t think it is unreasonable.”
The union is embroiled in a bitter dispute after suspending two of its employees. This comes in the wake of allegations of maladministration and a power struggle within the leadership.
Communication managers Peter Khoabane and Lovers Mohlala have been suspended for attending events without authorisation.
Khoabane is accused of attending an SA Schools Football Association event, while Mohlala is said to have been a guest at an Absa function.
But Gaoshubelwe dismissed the allegations of a power struggle, saying they were baseless.
He said the two would be hauled before the union’s disciplinary committee soon.
Some of the allegations levelled against the leadership surrounded the misuse of car allowances and other benefits.
But Gaoshubelwe said the policy allowed them to enjoy car allowances and insurance.
The union’s treasurer, Gordon Maseko, said whoever doubted their finances was free to conduct an investigation.
One of the resolutions made at last week’s meeting was to prepare the ground for a strike.
PSL head of legal Michael Murphy said they preferred the issues to be resolved behind closed doors. He said that, as a trade union, Safpu had the right to fight for its workers in whatever way.
“With regard to the latest events, they are internal matters and we are not going to engage in them through the media,” said Murphy.
“Every year we write letters to the clubs, but nothing happens and our players keep on suffering. We are now planning a strike as we believe the only way we can be heard is by paralysing football.”
FIGHTING SPIRIT Players’ union treasurer Gordon Maseko and general secretary Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe are determined the players will strike