Amid an ongoing scandal involving unpaid salaries and the firing of 22 players, the South African Football Players Union (Safpu) has exposed the Moroka Swallows management.
Leruma Thobejane, the attorney representing Swallows, disclosed on Marawa Sports Worldwide that the team has subsequently fired the 22 players who were charged and appeared before the disciplinary committee.
In December, the Dube Birds failed to honour their DStv Premiership fixtures against Mamelodi Sundowns and Golden Arrows after players were alleged to have gone on a go-slow after salaries were not paid.
Since then, Safpu has contested the situation by rejecting the player dismissals, claiming the team has acknowledged that it has a history of not paying players’ salaries on time as per their contracts ever since being promoted to the top-flight league.
Longstanding issue of overdue salaries
“Moroka Swallows, in a candid acknowledgement, admits to the longstanding issue of overdue salaries affecting its dedicated players,” said Safpu president Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe at a press conference in Milpark on Tuesday.
“The club declared an earnest commitment to rectify the backlog of payments, shedding light on a historical struggle with salary disbursements.
“The club conceded to critical failures in non-payment of salaries, signing-on fees, and the absence of pay slips, citing a malfunctioning payroll system.
“The tipping point was reached in November 2023 when the club failed to meet the salary payment deadline, leaving players without their due earnings for the month.”
According to Safpu, club chairman David Mogashoa was the one who called for the cancellation of the games, not the players, and he lashed out at reports that Swallows players skipped the two games against Sundowns and Arrows.
Chairman thrown under the bus
Gaoshubelwe stated: “Chairman David Mogashoa promised and committed to providing players with compensation by December 22 2023, but failed to fulfil this commitment.”
“In a shocking turn of events on December 23, Swallows bore witness to a reprehensible act of betrayal as all team members, in unwavering dedication, dutifully reported for duty and geared up for a fierce battle against Sundowns, precisely as the club’s explicit request.
“However, the chairman of Moroka Swallows made the call to cancel the much-anticipated game in a clear show of disrespect for the players’ efforts and the fundamentals of fair play.
“This shocking revelation lays bare the chairman’s betrayal of trust and the club’s willingness to sabotage its players in pursuit of self-interest.”
In addition, Gaoshubelwe disclosed that Mogashoa had committed the same act during the Arrows game and that the team had falsely accused players of participating in a strike.
Two of the 22 players on the dismissal list, Kwanda Mngomyama and Mbulelo Wambi, attended the press conference to represent the players.
Safpu issued a warning to Swallows management not to move through with the dismissal of the 22 players, threatening to take the issue all the way to the dispute resolution chambers.