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SJN Hearings: Phangiso was shocked by De Villiers and Amla’s stance on salaries on India tour

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Former Proteas spinner Aaron Phangiso says he was shocked that some players on their tour to India in 2015 earned so little, while others made over R100,000 in match fees.

South Africa’s Aaron Phangiso celebrates a wicket with teammate Rilee Rossouw during a Twenty20 International against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2015
South Africa’s Aaron Phangiso celebrates a wicket with teammate Rilee Rossouw during a Twenty20 International against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2015. Picture: A.M. Ahad/AP Photo

AARON Phangiso said he was “shocked” by the response he received from AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla during a tour to India in 2015 when he complained to them about the differences in remuneration for reserve players in the South African squad and those who started matches.

Speaking at the Social Justice and Nation-building hearings on Tuesday, Phangiso, who played a total of 37 internationals for the Proteas across the two limited-overs formats, said he was disturbed by the disparity in earnings between players who took to the field for the national side and those who were non-playing members of the squad.

“If you played in every ODI and every T20 match, you could easily earn around R160,000 on that tour,” he said of South Africa’s 2015 trip to India, when the team played a five-match ODI series and a three-match T20 series. Phangiso played just one match in the ODI series.

Match fees, Phangiso explained, ranged from R25,000 per game for an ODI and R12,500 per game for a T20 International.

Meanwhile the four non-playing members of the squad had to split R25,000 between them in the case of an ODI and R12,500 for a T20I match.

“As a ‘bib guy’ you are travelling with the team, the humidity in India means you sweat the moment you go out of the hotel. You are bowling to guys in the nets; and in the game because it’s so hot they want water all the time so you are running onto the field a lot. But you are doing that and only taking home, after tax, about R20 000, while there are guys earning over R100,000.”

Phangiso said he spoke with the team’s manager at the time, Dr Mohammad Moosaje, and told him that he “had a big problem with this”. Moosajee in turn said he’d approach some of the senior players in the squad to explain Phangiso’s concerns.

“I said, I’m also in India, I’m bowling to these guys at practice, but I take home less than R30,000 and they are taking over R100,000, and that it didn’t make sense.”

“(Moosajee) said he’d speak to the senior players. Then I met with AB and Hash and explained where I stood. Their response was amazing, it was shocking … it showed me how people thought only about themselves first.”

“I explained to them at length, and they eventually did see the reasons (for my position).”

Two days later, the pair informed Phangiso that following engagements with the players union, the SA Cricketers Association, a second fee was added, meaning the four non-playing members split R50,000. “It was addressed, but I still felt it wasn’t enough.”

The SJN project was established last year after a call by Lungi Ngidi for the Proteas to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, exposed an undercurrent of racism within South African cricket.

Thandi Tshabalala, who played four One-Day Internationals for the Proteas was scheduled to make a submission on Tuesday, but it was postponed to give him more time to engage with the commissioners.

This week, advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, the ombudsman, is also scheduled to hear from Alviro Petersen and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

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