Play­ers’ union re­boots

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

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.”

PHOTO: EL­IZ­A­BETH SEJAKE

FIGHT­ING SPIRIT Play­ers’ union trea­surer Gor­don Maseko and gen­eral sec­re­tary Thu­la­ganyo Gaoshubelwe are de­ter­mined the play­ers will strike

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