Galaxy-Pirates drama under PSL prosecutor Majavu's consideration
The fracas that broke out between TS Galaxy owner-chair Tim Sukazi, his club’s officials and Orlando Pirates security personnel, including media officer Thandi Merafe, at Orlando Stadium last month, has landed on the desk of returning Premier Soccer League (PSL) prosecutor Zola Majavu.
“I have written to Tim Sukazi and I am dealing with the matter and will make an announcement soon,” said Majavu, who previously served as PSL CEO. “I can’t say anything more than that.”
Sukazi last month called for action by the PSL after video footage which circulated via Galaxy's Twitter account showed security personnel at Orlando Stadium appearing to manhandle the club boss as he attempted to go into the change rooms.
The physical confrontation and heated exchange of words took place before Galaxy's 2-0 DStv Premiership defeat to Pirates in December where Sukazi was denied entrance to the area despite having an all-access pass.
Sukazi was so frustrated he called a press conference at the SA Football Journalists’ Association (Safja) a few days later, where he alleged there was a similar pushing and shoving incident as the Pirates security officials attempted to prevent him from going on to the field before the kickoff of Galaxy's historic first match at Orlando this month.
As a result of the latest fracas, Galaxy's media officer Minenhle Mkhize opened a case of common assault at Orlando police station against his Pirates counterpart Thandi Merafe, who was arrested and charged before she was released on free bail without being detained.
The common assault case is set to be heard in court next Tuesday, but there has been a twist after Pirates counterattacked with their security official pressing an assault case of his own against an unnamed Galaxy staffer.
Newly appointed PSL prosecutor Majavu confirmed on Thursday that while he is unaware of the involvement of courts in the matter, his role is to focus on the footballing side of things.
He said the matter is receiving his attention and he's looking at it from a misconduct point of view.
Majavu, whose return as PSL prosecutor was officially announced by PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza at a press conference on Wednesday, said he has been in contact with Sukazi and Galaxy since last month regarding the issue.
“I don’t know if this matter is headed to the courts, all I am saying is that, from a football point of view, the matter that has been handed over to me and is receiving attention.
“I wrote to TS Galaxy to inform them what I am telling you now. I wrote to them in December and they acknowledged my letter.
“If somebody was arrested that has got nothing to do with me [or the league’s prosecutor]. The issue is from a football point of view. I am not in control of what happens at the courts, that is a separate process and I cannot comment on that.
“I am telling you what the PSL is doing on the matter from a misconduct point of view and I am telling you now that I have not made my decision [yet],” said Majavu.
According to article 55 of the PSL rule book, any action which offends the dignity of a person through contemptuous, discriminatory or disparaging words or actions considered discriminatory constitutes misconduct.
Any act which insults someone in any way, especially by using offensive gestures or language, or by violating the principles of fair play or by behaving in an unsporting way also constitutes misconduct.
Who is charged and who is not will be clearer when Majavu announces his decision, but it is likely that over and above charges of misconduct, the incidents at Orlando and subsequent utterances may have brought the PSL into disrepute and this could result in additional charges.
Galaxy said the club will issue a statement “as soon as there are updates” while Pirates did not respond to questions.
It is expected that Majavu's announcement will be around whether there is a case to be prosecuted, whether further investigation is needed, or if there is simply no case.