Tue Sep 26 07:43:19 SAST 2017

'Pay or face curse' - Widow threatens Chiefs

2012-11-05 07:23:17.0 | KHETHIWE CHELEMU |

THE wife of a long-serving Kaizer Chiefs kit manager has dared the Premier Soccer League giants to pay her late hubby's pension owed to her or else she will unleash bad luck on the team - in the form of two tortoises kept at her Naturena home.

Thandi, widow of the late Chiefs kit manager Jackson Mokoena, accuses the club of being off-side for failing to pay her and her children benefits amounting to thousands of rands owed to them following his death last year.

And in a startling disclosure, Thandi claims her husband left behind two tortoises that "belong to the club" which were used as juju during pre-match rituals to garner good luck for the team.

"I'll use them to cast a bad spell on the team," she warns.

Kaizer Chiefs denies all the allegations made against the club, maintaining they have made the pension payout.

Thandi says Mokoena was not only a club employee but also Motaung's nephew.

The club didn't want to discuss this, but a source close to the club confirms Motaung is indeed the deceased's uncle.

Thandi says when her husband died in December last year after serving Chiefs for 28 years, club supremo Kaizer Motaung promised "us heaven and earth" during his eulogy at the funeral.

Mokoena's funeral was also attended by, among others, Motaung's wife Juleka, their children Kaizer Jnr, Kemiso and Jessica, as well as players.

Among those promises, according to the bitter widow, were a commitment by the club that they'd take care of Mokoena's three children's education fees. Mokoena's children are aged 14, 12 and five.

But now, claims Thandi, the club is applying different tactics and the lack of assistance as promised has led to one of her children dropping out of school.

"What hurts me the most is that his own relatives, his own uncle, has turned his back on us," she says.

Unemployed Mokoena says the club has been sending her from pillar to post with regards to her husband's pension money.

"My husband lived and died for Chiefs but today when they see me they run as if they are seeing a ghost. Nobody has any time for me," she says with a heavy heart during a chat at her home, a few blocks away from the glamour club's head offices in the south of Joburg

"My heart is so sore, I am so bitter. My husband never wanted us to starve. He always wanted the best for me and the children but look at us today," she says with a grimace.

She says her man always put the team before her and the kids. She says in the 16 years she was married to him "he spent less than a thousand days with me. I sacrificed a lot for this club".

"Today it is sad for us to see the team buying players for millions yet they fail to pay me for my husband's services."

The club honoured the late Mokoena with a Chairman's Special Award.


Chief's response

The club would like to express its disappointment at the allegations levelled by Mrs Mokoena.

In response, the club would like to acknowledge the fact that Mr Jackson Mokoena was employed by Kaizer Chiefs for the years as mentioned in your questionnaire and legally so.

As for the benefits due to the family after the death of Mr Mokoena, the Club obliged according to the policies and regulations that govern pension schemes, including cover for the education needs of his children for a specified time.

We are also surprised that she alleges that she has been ignored by the club, whereas she knows very well she is welcome at the village (Chiefs head office) and in fact she has been given assistance on numerous occasions.


On the tortoise

With regard to other allegations, the club does not advocate animal cruelty.

The tortoise allegation, we are not involved in that.


These animals keep Chiefs afloat - Widow

WHILE it is generally known and accepted that African football and the use of traditional medicine go together like tongue and saliva, not many individuals, clubs or organisations have publicly admitted to the practice.

The practice remains shrouded in mystery while the trade is worth several thousands, if not millions.

In his book Has Anybody Got a Whistle: A Football Reporter In Africa, author Peter Auf der Heyde made a credible attempt to lift the lid on this centuries old practice. The names of these lucky charms also differ from country to country, with juju being the common one in west Africa.

Locally, there are dozens of code names for muthi, ranging from sgalagala to primus stove and ngoma or sfutho.

Now Thandi Mokoena, widow of late Kaizer Chiefs kitman Jackson (53), says the club's fortunes on the field are dependent on two tortoises her husband left behind. Sunday World saw the two creatures during a lengthy interview with Mokoena's widow at her home in Naturena. She says her husband of 16 years looked after the animals she alleges were used as tools of the trade to make Amakhosi sail smoothly through turbulent seas.

Big Jack, as Mokoena was affectionately known, died of liver cancer in December last year and was cremated three days later. His ashes were scattered in a section of the garden at a spot he cherished and had named "Rock of Ages".

"My husband spent a lot of time here (Rock of Ages). I do not know what the secret was but he asked me to take care of the tortoises when he dies. He said they belonged to Chiefs," says the widow.

Mokoena says at her hubby's funeral, speaker after speaker hailed him, calling him "the real submarine" of the team.

Thandi, in compliance with her husband's wishes, continues to find money to buy rose petals to feed the tortoises.

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