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Clifford Mulenga unloads on Jomo Cosmos salary saga

Posted: 7 August 2018 Time: 18:00

Jomo Cosmos midfielder Clifford Mulenga describes the salary situation at the club as extremely disheartening, and has called on club boss Jomo Sono to rectify the matter.

According to Mulenga and the South African Football Players’ Union, players at the National First Division side have not received their salaries for some time now.

Sono couldn't be reached for comment.

"Eish, no it's terrible hey," Mulenga tells KickOff.com.

"Basically you know it's a whole lot of issues concerning salaries you know, like since last season from like October you know, we were told that the club now was going into ... experiencing some financial issues you know. We were told that SARS apparently closed some of the club's accounts so the club was struggling to get money out of SARS and the bank to pay the players. In October there was a situation you know where we were given cheques that we had to go to the bank and share you know. And the players that were not there that time, did not get their salaries for October you know. Then we moved onto November, November also we were short paid though some players also didn't receive their salaries for that month. Come December, we were given letters to report that because of the financial crisis the club is facing at the moment, our salaries for December would be taxed you know. And those that have a problem will speak to the lawyer of the club Mandla Tshabalala, and some would be retrenched, stuff like that you know.

"So now the problem is that when you sign a contract it's either a net pay or gross salary on your contract. So some of us are ... it was written our net pay understand? So now suddenly our net pay is being taxed you know. So we wondered how do you tax money that has already been taxed? Which is illegal you know. We were told that those who had a problem could leave the club, stuff like that. So from December, January salaries were taxed, others were getting paid, others were not getting paid ... it's just been like that you know. Come end of the season June, players, we were not being paid. No one got a salary at all you know. Now it's the new season, July, actually in October, we are in August, now the league starts like in a couple of days and this time we still haven't received a salary, you know.

"There's been stories about SARS, that SARS are blocking the club's accounts. Then there were stories about waiting for money that's gonna come from the sale of players to other clubs you know. So basically the club was relying on selling players to pay the players that were remaining at the club you know. And when we went to complain to try and find out what's going on, we are told that the club has got no money, and those who can't afford to go to training or have no money to come to training can stay at home. So basically if you don't have transport money to go to training you are allowed to stay at home, you don't have to bother yourself to go to training. This is a professional club that's got ambitions of going to the PSL ... it's ridiculous you know. Guys come to training complaining that they haven't eaten, their flats are locked, landlords are switching off electricity and denying them access. People are squatting in other people's houses because they can't afford to pay rent anymore you know. So it's really, really been tough you know.

"Unfortunately you know you try to talk to the boss, but when the boss is being arrogant about the whole situation and he makes you feel like he is doing you a favour, it gets to a point whereby you just can't be quiet about it anymore. Some have to come in and help. So we as players decided you know that let's rather engage the players' union [SAFPU] to take over this case. The players' union came last week to the ground to try and engage the boss of the club. They were locked out and some of the players that were with the players' union also were locked out. And training actually carried on inside the ground like normal while other guys were standing outside the gate. That's how bad it is. And in my situation and myself I ended up even going to the players' union to try and fight my case you know. Letters were sent to the club, emails were sent to the club, like letters of demand you know to engage the club on the situation. But all I'm told is if I want to leave I can go ask for my clearance. If I want to stay then I must take a pay cut. Now how do you ask someone to go and get his clearance when you owe him money? You don't even have the courtesy to just say okay this is a situation, we'll sort out the situation. It's really terrible. There are guys who have not been training for over a week now because they don't have money to get to training. People are sacrificing grocery money just to go to training.

"At the end of July we were told that the boss will give us R1500 each as an allowance, then he will pay us the salary the next day. So we asked 'how do you give me an allowance today when I must get paid tomorrow?' It doesn't make sense. Why I can't just wait until tomorrow to receive my salary? So we the players refused to take the R1500. So today it's 7th of August, we haven't paid rent for two months. I'm owed a lot of money. I'm owed like six months of salary. If he wants me out of the club he can give me my money and give me my clearance. With all due respect I will take that.

"It's impossible to be professional when you hungry. When people like me speak out we are accused of being troublemakers, of being drunkards and stuff like that ... but our contracts are being breached you know. Mr Jomo Sono and Cosmos must honour my contract. If it means that my career has to end now, so be it. "

Article by: Sipho Mlotha
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