Cape Town - The DAs decision to join the SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) and SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) in pushing for the reinstatement of David Teeger as the South African Under-19 cricket squad captain, has been labelled a racist defence of white privilege in sport.
DA spokesperson for sport, arts and culture, Veronica van Dyk, yesterday said the party had written to the International Cricket Council, demanding to know whether Cricket South Africa (CSA) provided it with adequate reasons for its decision to drop the Jewish captain and appoint Juan James as skipper for the U19 Cricket World Cup, currently under way in the country.
The DA this week also issued CSA with a letter of demand that if the body did not reinstate Teeger by tomorrow, it would approach the SA Human Rights Commission.
Teeger angered pro-Palestine groups when he said at the Absa Jewish Achiever Rising Star awards in October: “Yes, I’ve been [given] this award, and, yes, I’m now the Rising Star, but the true rising stars are the young soldiers in Israel.”
CSA removed Teeger as captain last week, citing the “risk that could result in conflict or even violence, including between rival groups of protesters” during the tournament.
The SAZF yesterday demanded that CSA issue a formal apology and reinstate Teeger as captain, saying it launched a petition that had so far garnered almost 50 000 signatures.
Rowan Polovin, national chairman of the SAZF said: “The Teeger case has shown how the South African government’s vilification of the Jewish State has led directly to actions against Jews who stand up for it. Anti-Zionism bleeds fast into antisemitism.”
He added: “The CSA’s rationale, citing security concerns, appears increasingly unfounded and is most likely politically motivated.”
ANC Western Cape MPL, Khalid Sayed, said the DA’s stance of opposing CSA’s decision was unsurprising.
He said James hailed from a club with a legacy of non-racial sport participation, and he should be supported.
Sayed said: “Primrose is a black club. It is a club from the community that has a legacy within the non-racial sporting fraternity, and Juan James comes from such a grassroots club. It shows the SA Zionist Federation and the DA are defenders of white privilege.
“Further than just wanting to defend Teeger, they also do not want to see a person from a club set in non-racial cricketing traditions to come through because products of those clubs are deemed by these elements in society to be incompetent.”
Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron said the DA was abusing the Saga involving Teeger.
He said: “The DA is trying to score political points by creating a victim of a young man who has himself not said he regards himself as a victim.
“It is even more disgraceful that the young man is being victimised at a critical point of his career, with a junior world cup looming – instead of being allowed to get on with it.
“If the captain of the national junior cricket team made statements about supporting Palestine, security threats or not, the DA would be... calling for his expulsion.”