SJN Hearings: Why Roger Telemachus didn’t get the KZN Inland job
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Johannesburg – Heinrich Strydom, the CEO of KZN Cricket Union, said his predecessors could have done a better job in handling the fallout from the fight between Aya Myoli and the now retired Robbie Frylinck in 2016.
The bulk of Strydom’s testimony on Monday involved providing reasons why Roger Telemachus didn’t get the head coaching job at KwaZulu Natal Inland, something Telemachus in his testimony to the SJN in July felt he deserved on account of his experience as an international player and his coaching credentials, which included a Level 4 certificate.
Michael Smith, who was appointed to the position, has a Level 3 certificate, which Strydom told the SJN commissioners was the minimum requirement for candidates applying for the post.
He stressed, under questioning from transformation ombudsman, Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza that it wasn’t the only criteria the interview panel had used, before making their decision. “We did various interviews and had employee assessments from players who had been coached by him, and there was a feeling that KZN cricket had been overly accommodating to him,” said Strydom.
He also pointed out that the majority of the five person interview panel was black and they felt that Smith’s interview was “impressive,” and they were excited “by the plans he had for taking KZN Inland forward”.
Before the position had been advertised, Strydom said that Telemachus had thanked him for his time at the union. However after the interview process, Telemachus had phoned Strydom and “was quite aggressive in his tone about why he didn’t get the job”.
“My response was that the interview panel felt that Michael Smith was the best person to take KZN Inland forward.” Strydom said he was left with the impression following that phone call “that Roger felt it was all good.”
“But then the SJN platform was used to criticise the process we went through.”
Telemachus has since moved back to the Western Cape and is currently the academy coach at Western Province.
Speaking on the union’s handling of the incident involving Myoli and Frylinck back in 2016, Strydom said KZN “could and should have handled it better.”
Frylinck had assaulted Myoli following a match in Cape Town, when the two were playing for what was then the semi-professional KZN side. Frylink would acknowledge his guilt in a private meeting with the union’s former CEO, Pete de Wet, and was fined and had to do community service. The outcome of the hearing was never communicated to Myoli.
The matter resurfaced last year in light of the Black Lives Matter protests and the subsequent instances of racial discrimination that were made public after Lungi Ngidi had expressed a desire for the Proteas to show recognition of BLM. That step by Ngidi ultimately led to the establishment of the SJN. “The sanction (should) have been communicated to Myoli, it would have helped him with closure on the issue,” said Strydom.
When the matter resurfaced last year, Strydom said he was in communication with Myoli and that in correspondence between the pair, Myoli acknowledged that the matter had been handled, even if he wasn’t entirely satisfied with how that happened. “I think we can and should be more transparent,” said Strydom.
Frylink has since retired from the sport, while De Wet has moved to New Zealand where he is currently the CEO of the Central Districts province in Hamilton. One of the SJN commissioners, Adv. Fumisa Nqele, acknowledged that it was “so unfortunate” that Strydom was answering on a matter that took place well before he became CEO.
Strydom explained that the union had taken heed of lessons learned from the incident and how it was handled. “I have tried to create an environment where players, and other employees have the opportunity to say when they are not happy or don’t agree on a topic.”
The hearings continue this week.