Inquiry to investigate SA under-19 cricket captain’s pro-Israel comments at awards ceremony
David Teeger, who was set to captain South Africa’s under-19 cricket team at next year’s junior World Cup, could have that honour taken away following comments he made at the Jewish Achiever Awards.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has appointed an independent inquiry to determine whether comments made by South Africa under-19 cricket captain David Teeger breached either the CSA or Central Gauteng Lions codes of conduct, CSA announced on Sunday.
Teeger (18), the head boy of King Edward VII School (KES), said the following after receiving the Rising Star Award on 22 October at the Absa Jewish Achiever Awards at Sandton Convention Centre:
“Yes, I’ve been [given] this award, and yes, I’m now the rising star, but the true rising stars are the young soldiers in Israel. And I’d like to dedicate it to the state of Israel and every single soldier fighting so that we can live and thrive in the diaspora.”
Teeger’s words were reported by the South African Jewish Report on 26 October.
This was flagged by the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA), which lodged an official complaint with the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), CSA and Gauteng Lions Cricket for Teeger to be suspended from representing the national team following his “provocative, biased and inflammatory” comments.
Teeger was announced by CSA as captain of a provisional 18-player under-19 World Cup squad for the tournament in January next year.
South Africa was last week confirmed as the host of the biannual tournament after the initial host, Sri Lanka, and its board were provisionally suspended from the International Cricket Council because of extensive government interference in the board’s administration.
CSA held a board meeting on Saturday in Johannesburg where the decision was made to appoint an independent inquiry into Teeger’s statement, which will be adjudicated by advocate Wim Trengove.
“The inquiry will be conducted expeditiously and the decision of Adv Trengove as well as his reasons will be made public,” CSA said.
The situation is thorny, given that Teeger is not contracted by either CSA or the Central Gauteng Lions despite playing for both (at under-19 level).
CSA board chairman Lawson Naidoo referred Daily Maverick to the CSA statement when asked for further comment.
Attempts by Daily Maverick to reach Teeger were unsuccessful, but a source close to him said that Teeger regretted his statement.
Teeger’s comments follow the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas after Hamas launched a series of attacks in southern Israel on 7 October, killing at least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 240 hostages.
In response, Israel launched a full offensive on the Gaza Strip, which by Sunday had, according to Hamas, killed more than 15,000 people, mostly civilians.
Teeger, who is an orthodox Jew, is currently writing his matric exams. The batter has never received media training as he has never had a professional cricket contract.
In its statement, the PSA called for Gauteng Lions and CSA to establish an inquiry into Teeger’s comments.
The PSA called Teeger’s comments a “provocative and inflammatory political statement, worsened by the fact that he made it at a time when thousands of innocent Palestinian people, men, women, children and babies were being killed by the Israeli army”.
They demanded that Teeger be suspended from representing the Gauteng Lions and the SA under-19 side at the World Cup next year.
Whether either will be done is up to the independent inquiry to decide. The inquiry will also establish whether CSA has a leg to stand on in either case as Teeger is not formally contracted by either entity. DM