Clive Eksteen fights back, takes Cricket SA to CCMA
Eksteen was fired on Sunday after he was found ‘guilty of transgressions of a serious nature’ following a long disciplinary process
Cricket SA’s former head of sales and sponsor relations Clive Eksteen is taking the governing body to the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for unfair dismissal just days after his sacking.
Eksteen was fired with immediate effect on Sunday after he was found “guilty of transgressions of a serious nature” after a lengthy disciplinary process.
The 53-year-old former player was suspended in October 2019 with CFO Naasei Appiah and then acting director of cricket Corrie van Zyl in a matter involving players and player contracts through the players’ union the SA Cricketers’ Association (Saca).
The trio’s suspension was related to their dereliction of duty after non-payment of player fees stemming from the 2018 Mzansi Super League (MSL).
Appiah is also appealing while Van Zyl has since been reinstated.
Eksteen said he faced five counts of misconduct.
Three concerned the Saca issue, a fourth was about the sponsorship deal — to which CSA was not a party — and the fifth was the sponsorship agreement for an amount less than had been approved by CSA executive committee.
He was acquitted on the three charges relating to Saca‚ and was also exonerated in the fourth charge.
Eksteen believes the fifth charge was a “lesser charge” and therefore he “should not have been dismissed at all‚ let alone found guilty”.
“In these circumstance‚ I shall immediately be referring a dispute to the CCMA regarding my unfair dismissal‚” said Eksteen on Tuesday.
The fifth charge Eksteen refers to is a sponsorship deal concluded between a multinational company and CSA for an amount allegedly less than had been approved by the governing body’s executive‚ which resulted in CSA losing out on about R1.7m in revenue.
He said he was made a scapegoat for the ineptness of others and is convinced his name will be cleared at the CCMA.
“My attorney and I are totally confident that I will be vindicated in due course. I believe I have been made a scapegoat for the shortcomings of others and …that relevant evidence has been ignored or overlooked.”
Eksteen said the fifth count was unrelated to the Saca matter and accused CSA of misinformation after the governing body said he was found “guilty of transgressions of a serious nature”.
Eksteen said the chair of the proceedings found that it was actually his involvement later on that was instrumental in getting Saca eventually paid.
The disciplinary proceedings against Eksteen started in November 2019 and were finalised in April. He subsequently lost an appeal against his sanction.
“My astonishment at my conviction of charge five is due to: the sponsorship was signed by my superior‚ not by me; no evidence was presented of the executive committee 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‚ before the executive committee meeting‚ in which I had told her of the current offer on the table from the sponsor.
“The chair chose to ignore these facts‚ and plainly misunderstood the nature of the sponsorship too.
“The chair found as follows: ‘I do not find that the employer established that CSA suffered reputational or image damage in relation to the conduct of the employee and while there was no financial loss in a true sense of the word for CSA‚ revenue was lost‚ as testified by witnesses. CSA accordingly lost revenue in the amount of $100,000 even if it was for lesser rights. I accordingly find the employee guilty of charge five.”
Eksteen said the chair’s finding that revenue of R1.7m was lost was directly contradicted by the evidence of CSA’s employees. He accused the chair of bias.
“Subsequent to my conviction‚ I presented evidence in mitigation. This included a variety of testimonials. The chair refused to accept pertinent testimonials into evidence.
“She also refused to accept that charge five was a minor charge‚ way less serious than the Saca charges on which I had been acquitted.
“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.
“My reputation and integrity have been severely questioned and tarnished‚ and I believed the disciplinary process would allow me the opportunity to lay out the facts around my suspension as well as subsequent allegations levelled against me.”