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Kaizer Chiefs hit back in 'slave wages' row

Kaizer Chiefs have argued that goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma agreed to a development contract at the club, in response to criticism in the local media for the player's monthly R5,000 (US$350) salary.

Chiefs did not deny the figures quoted in the media, which equate to just US$75 per week, prompting the South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) to call for a minimum wage in the South African Premier Soccer League.

However, they claim that the 22-year-old agreed to the deal when he signed a development contract and that it was only through injuries to their top two keepers that he was elevated to the first team.

"The club would like to place on record that Bvuma has been part of the Kaizer Chiefs development structures since 2013/14," Chiefs said in a statement on Monday.

"It was not anticipated that the player would be involved with the senior squad this season. However, after both first-team goalkeepers, Itumeleng Khune and Brilliant Khuzwayo, were sidelined through injury in March 2017, the club faced an emergency situation and, following a full assessment of the options available, elected to draft Bvuma into the senior squad after showing tremendous form in the MDC [MultiChoice Diski Challenge] league.

"Kaizer Chiefs operates within a graded structure that provides the framework for contracts with players at development, reserve team and first team level," the statement continued. "In so far as the details of players' contracts are concerned, the terms and conditions of such agreements are confidential between the club, the player and their representative/parents.

"As such, the salaries are subject to negotiations between the club, the players and their representatives/parents, and all contracts are finalised through the mutual agreement of all parties concerned."

The SAFPU have long called for a minimum wage in the country's football and have proposed a figure of R35,000 (US$2,700) to avoid what they have termed as "slave wages".

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