ROAD TO WORLD CUP
Netball SA president Cecilia Molokwane called to account for series of racism, mismanagement and interference accusations
A former vice-president of Netball South Africa, as well as a former umpire, have accused the federation’s current president Cecilia Molokwane of a number of misdemeanours.
It’s now just a matter of weeks before South Africa welcomes the world for the first Netball World Cup to be held on African soil, which kicks off on 28 July in Cape Town.
However, a series of allegations aimed at Netball South Africa’s (NSA’s) president, Cecilia Molokwane, were brought to light in a documentary compiled by AfriForum a week ago.
In a statement to accompany the YouTube video, civil rights organisation AfriForum said: “Netball is one of the sports in South Africa that has incredible potential, but due to mismanagement and political agendas, this potential is not being fully exploited.”
Some of the allegations levelled against Molokwane include racism, mismanagement and interference when it comes to selections.
“Cecilia is a very vibrant person. She likes to be the centre of attraction. If you are in her camp, all is well. But if you’re not, you get to see the other side of Cecilia Molokwane,” said former vice-president of NSA Christine du Preez in the 20-minute film.
“She calls herself ‘The Chosen One’. I want to rename her ‘The Untouchable One’. Because things are happening and everything gets swept under the carpet. And she’s still cruising,” Du Preez added.
Netball SA, much like many other federations in South Africa is obligated to meet certain targets towards the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report on transformation on South African sport.
This as national representation under the apartheid government was reserved for white people only. Some of these targets — meant to ensure national sports teams reflect the country’s racial demographic — are set by the government, while the federations must also set their own goals to achieve.
“No selection goes untouched by Cecilia. If she’s not happy about the self-set targets within netball, she will say so. She does interfere in the selection process,” continued Du Preez.
“She would phone the coaches very quickly to say we are not going with the eight/four. Which is eight white players and four non-whites. She’d insist that they kick one of the white players out and bring an additional player of colour… It’s never in writing. It’s always a quick phone call giving you the command and that’s it,” the former vice-president added.
Daily Maverick briefly spoke to Molokwane on Wednesday, 21 June, where she said she couldn’t engage the publication at that present moment as she was “busy with a programme” and asked to be called on the morning of the next day. Subsequent calls to her prior to publishing rang unanswered.
Annie Kloppers — a former Netball SA director of umpires — also appears in the film. She alleges that Molokwane was the driving force behind her international accreditation being revoked by World Netball last year.
“In 2022, November, World Netball sent me communication saying that because of situations that happened with myself and Netball South Africa,” stated Kloppers.
“More especially [with] the president Cecilia Molokwane; that there were things I did not resolve and I was not in good standing (with NSA). [So] they would have to take away my international accreditation. It all went via World Netball.”
Molokwane is a former netball player and coach. She also served on the national executive as director of selection. She has been at the helm of NSA since the tail-end of 2017. The highlight of her tenure is undoubtedly bringing the World Cup to Africa.
However, her tenure has been littered with controversy. The Limpopo native fell under AfriForum’s spotlight in 2019 for alleged racist remarks during that year’s Netball Championships.
“We call on the president of Netball SA to fully account to the Portfolio Committee,” said the Democratic Alliance (DA) in a statement addressing AfriForum’s documentary.
“The DA will also be writing to the Minister, urgently requesting a thorough investigation into the inadequate response of the Netball SA president towards the concerns raised in the documentary. It is imperative that all relevant stakeholders are involved in the resolution of these issues. No one should be exempt from accountability.” DM