JOHANNESBURG – Cricket South Africa’s former head of sales and sponsor relations, Clive Eksteen will file a dispute with the CCMA following his dismissal by the federation.
Eksteen said in a statement released on Tuesday morning that he believed he’d “been made a scapegoat for the shortcomings of others.”
Cricket SA announced on Sunday that Eksteen, who’d started working for the organisation in 2015, had been found guilty of “transgressions of a serious nature,” and he was subsequently sacked. If CSA hoped that would bring an end to a saga which has been dragging on since last October, it was very much mistaken.
Eksteen has taken issue with the manner of his dismissal particularly the charge levelled against him, calling into question the judgement of his now former line boss, Kugandrie Govender, Cricket SA’s Chief Commercial Officer.
Eksteen along with Corrie van Zyl, then the acting Director of Cricket and chief financial officer, Nassei Appiah, were suspended last October. The trio were charged with misconduct related to payment that was due to the SA Cricketers Association for players image rights for the Mzansi Super League.
Two further charges were levelled against Eksteen, the first related to a sponsorship deal concluded between a sponsor and a broadcaster – which according to Eksteen had nothing to do with CSA – and the other alleged that Eksteen had “concluded a sponsorship deal between a multinational company and CSA for an amount less than had been approved by the CSA Exco, as a consequence of which CSA ’suffered financial loss, reputation and image (sic).’”
While the first four charges were dismissed, Eksteen was found guilty on the last charge and was fired. His letter of dismissal was signed by Cricket SA’s president, Chris Nenzani.
Eksteen however lays the blame at the feet of Govender, claiming she signed the agreement. “No evidence was presented of Exco having mandated a final amount for the sponsorship; and my superior in her evidence failed to mention that she had read a message from me to her, prior to the Exco meeting, in which I had told her of the current offer on the table from the sponsor,” Eksteen said in his statement on Tuesday.
Eksteen accused the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing of ignoring facts and “misunderstanding the nature of sponsorships.”
Following his conviction Eksteen said he provided evidence in mitigation that “included a variety of reputable testimonials. The Chair refused to accept pertinent testimonials into evidence.”
“In addition, I am in possession of evidence which exculpates me, which has come to light after the conclusion of the disciplinary inquiry, which evidence was known to CSA at the time,” Eksteen continued.
“All of the evidence presented at my disciplinary inquiry, as well as the additional evidence which has now come to light, as I have set out above, will be laid out before the (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. My attorney and I are totally confident that I will be vindicated in due course. Unfortunately, I believe I have been made a scapegoat for the shortcomings of others and I believe further that relevant evidence has been ignored or overlooked.”
Nenzani refused to be drawn on Eksteen’s case when speaking to the media on Tuesday evening. The CSA president cited sub-judice rules, even though that doesn’t pertain to internal disciplinary matters. “To some extent (Eksteen’s) statement is factual,” said Nenzani. “I can’t comment on the merits or demerits (of the statement) because as Mr Eksteen states, he is taking the matter to the CCMA and in a sense that makes in sub-judice. It is not advisable to comment.”