Netball SA to probe allegations over sex pest coach, but defend president on payments comment

David Isaacson Sports reporter
Suspended Netball South Africa president Cecilia Molokwane.
Suspended Netball South Africa president Cecilia Molokwane.
Image: Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images

Netball SA (NSA) says it will need three weeks to probe allegations around a coach accused of sexual abuse, but it defended suspended president Cecilia Molokwane on claims over so-called reparation payments.

The federation was reacting to a Sunday Times article which reported that a coach suspended amid sexual abuse allegations had been reinstated into the sport, sparking an outcry in some quarters.

The coach had been suspended in 2013 after three complaints had been lodged against him, and he returned in 2019.

One netball insider had said during discussions about the coach’s reinstatement Molokwane had alluded to the fact that it was “a cultural thing for black men to do what they want with women as long as there’s payment”.

Another said Molokwane had said the coach had paid the parents of a player he had made pregnant. That player wasn’t one of the three complainants.

“Their views and understanding of what Ms Molokwane said were taken out of context and completely misunderstood, all she did was to explain to the executive on the process that is undertaken when a man impregnates a woman he is not married to,” NSA said.

“She did not say that it is acceptable in the African customs for an older man to sleep with young girls and pay damages.”

The sports body said it took the claims about the alleged sex pest “very seriously”.

“Sexual misconduct is a serious offence in any sphere of our society, more so within the federation as a large number of our registered members are female,” acting president Nompumelelo Javu said in the statement.

“We will therefore leave no stone unturned. We will make sure that we decisively deal with this and whoever [is] found guilty will have to face the full might of the law.”

NSA said it had started with its own “internal investigations so that we can get to the bottom of this matter to ensure that we do the right thing and get the facts right before we say and do anything”.

NSA also said the psychologist’s report referred to in the Sunday Times, recounting the experiences of two of the three complainants, one of whom was underaged, had never been given to the body’s executive.

“It will be difficult to make comments on that until the federation has seen it.

“Legal counsel is currently being sought on the issue of dealing with the alleged coach and once that is cleared, action will be taken as advised by the legal teams.

“[NSA] kindly requests time to investigate this matter, after which the federation will be better placed to respond. We would appreciate a period of 21 days to conduct internal processes and will update afterwards.”​

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