Johannesburg – The SA Cricketers Association’s CEO, Andrew Breetzke told the Social Justice and Nation Building hearings that it had taken heed of lessons learned from the Aya Myoli/Robbie Frylinck incident to improve the support Saca provided for players.
Breetzke acknowledged that Saca – the players union – was mistaken in not giving Myoli further assistance after he was punched and burned with a cigarette lighter by Frylinck in an incident dating back to 2016.
The incident happened at Cape Town airport following a match the pair played for the KwaZulu Natal semi-professional side in Paarl. Although dealt with by the KwaZulu Natal Cricket Union at the time, it received publicity again last year after Lungi Ngidi’s call for the Proteas to show support for Black Lives Matter movement unveiled a racial storm in South African cricket.
It was raised again when Myoli appeared before the SJN in July. “In 2020, Myoli engaged with Saca and advised that we didn’t provide the requisite support, in 2016,” Breetzke told the SJN hearings on Wednesday.
“I as CEO reviewed what we did, and I agreed with Mr Myoli. We did offer psychological support for him back then, but I think we should’ve engaged directly with him and to offer him support in the process.
“An assumption that it was adequate for Saca to fight his cause by actively seeking disciplinary steps against Mr Frylink due to Mr Myoli not being charged, I think that was wrong. Believing he did not require further assistance was in hindsight mistaken. Hence at the end of last year I apologised to Mr Myoli. We even offered him further legal assistance to possibly clarify any issues he had.
"I do think we should have gone back to Mr. Myoli after the event, and said, ‘this event is concluded, where do you stand, are you happy with how it’s been concluded’ – because now it’s come out that he wasn’t happy with how it’s been concluded. It was a mistake on our side.”
Following an internal review into how Saca dealt with the issue, the organisation now retains the services of a third party assistant when dealing with disputes between players. “It’s like our own ombudsman – we go ‘is this an issue of discrimination, how do we assist this person,’ rather than saying the province has dealt with the issue and concluded it,’" Breetzke explained.
In another matter, Breetzke also told the SJN that various parts of former CSA Board member Dr. Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw’s testimony in July were false.
Kula-Ameyaw had testified that Saca paid the salaries of players in the country, something Breetzke said had caused professional players considerable harm.
“We do not pay the salaries (to the players). The salaries of the Proteas’ contracted players are paid by CSA, and the provinces pay the provincially contracted players. We do not pay salaries,” Breetzke stated.
“In addition, (Kula-Ameyaw) seemed to imply that we collude with the coaches, on a formula, so that the players get paid less. Again, that’s just not true. She fails to understand contracting and selection,” said Breetzke.
“She speaks of contract fees, match fees and commercial rights payments in the same breath. There are important distinctions in those income streams and she references the formula as being relevant for all, the formula is not relevant for match fees.
“Sadly, the narrative of Dr Kula-Ameyaw that got a lot of publicity has damaged the player's cause. I’ve had to engage with provinces, where there are new CEOs, or new board members, to correct part of her narrative which has been disappointing,” said Breetzke.