‘under-19 cricket captain’s human rights have been violated’


The decision by Cricket South Africa (KSA) to strip its under-19 cricket captain, David Teeger, of his captaincy, apparently on the basis of his faith, is a violation of the Constitution’s Charter of Human Rights.

So says Veronica van Dyk, the DA’s deputy shadow minister for sport, art and culture.

RNews previously reported that Teeger will be replaced with another captain for the duration of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup, which starts next week in South Africa, due to security concerns.

In October, when he was named rising star of Absa’s awards for Jewish excellence, Teeger said that the real stars are young soldiers in Israel, referring to the conflict between the latter and Hamas. KSA now says, as with all other similar events, it receives regular safety and risk analyzes about the World Cup.

“We have received information that protests related to the war in Gaza can be expected at venues for the tournament,” says a statement from KSA. The information also indicated that the protests were likely to focus on Teeger’s position. “There is a risk that this could give rise to conflict or even violence, including demonstrations between hostile groups.”

“KSA was misled,” says Van Dyk. “His primary duty is to comply with the Charter of Human Rights, as contained in the Constitution of South Africa. It expressly prohibits direct or indirect discrimination based on, inter alia, religion, ethnic or social origin, consciousness, beliefs and culture.”

Van Dyk believes that the decision is made worse in light of the fact that the current chairman of KSA, Lawson Naidoo, is also the executive secretary of the Council for the Promotion of the South African Constitution and regularly presents himself as a defender of human rights.

“By bowing to threats of violence, Naidoo and the organization acted like cowards and betrayed the values ​​of the Charter of Human Rights. Instead of bowing down to bullies, KSA has a duty to uphold the law. This means they must protect the rights of players, including their right to free expression, faith and belief, against those who want to commit violence against them.”

Van Dyk says this precedent can pave a dangerous path. “Will KSA next strip the captaincy of a Muslim player if anti-Muslim groups threaten to protest? Will players be kicked out if racists threaten violence because of their skin color?”

The DA requests KSA to immediately reverse the decision. “Failure to do so will force us to submit a formal complaint to the Human Rights Commission. We will also consider further steps.”

SAZF also condemns KSA’s decision

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) also strongly condemned the decision by KSA.

“This is a blatant act of discrimination and antisemitism against a Jewish player,” says Despina Harito, spokesperson for SAZF.

“The action against Teeger, who is Jewish, based simply on his religious identity and personal beliefs, is extremely worrying and sets a dangerous precedent for sport in the country. It is an insult to the values ​​of diversity, inclusiveness and the spirit of sportsmanship that cricket and all sports are supposed to embody.”

Harito says KSA’s reasons are not convincing. “The organization has also failed to explain why it is unable or unwilling to put the usual security measures in place to ensure the safety of participants and spectators.”

The SAZF calls on KSA to provide a complete and transparent explanation for the pressure that led to the decision.

“We also demand an immediate apology from KSA for Mr. Teeger and request that he be reinstated as the captain of South Africa’s under-19 cricket team.”

According to Harito, the International Cricket Council (ICC) applies a strict anti-discrimination policy to ensure that any form of racism or discrimination based on race, religion or ethnic origin is prevented. “We will request the ICC to investigate KSA’s actions.”

Harito says all sports fans in South Africa should be worried. “The ANC government’s political hostility towards Israel and its support for Hamas created a climate where it became completely acceptable to target a sportsman just because he is Jewish.”