Academy Crackdown

SA Jockey Academy enters new phase, says Headmaster

SAJA Headmaster Graham Bailey Dr Blade  Nzimande and Ntokozo Gumede on horse bac

SAJA Headmaster Graham Bailey with Dr Blade Nzimande and Ntokozo Gumede on horse back

One of the world’s leading jockey training institutions has embarked on a campaign to improve its facilities and offerings to young prospective jockeys.

The SA Jockey Academy has been racked by simmering controversy and untested allegations in recent months.

The institution was under the spotlight in June this year when an article appeared in the Daily News newspaper in Durban detailing allegations of assault by an 18-year-old Mauritian student.

The apprentice jockey alleged that he and two other students were assaulted by a teacher and that they were regularly called to a teacher’s office and forced to watch pornography.

This week, unconfirmed reports reached our offices of an apparent suicide attempt by an apprentice. The  young man’s name is known to the Sporting Post, and he has apparently returned home to his parents.

The action to remedy the allegations is to be welcomed.

In a press release issued today, Principal Graham Bailey has said that the South African Jockey Academy has embarked on a campaign to improve its facilities and its offerings to apprentice jockeys.  The campaign has included an independent commission of enquiry conducted by Advocate N. Hollis S.C. of the Durban Bar Council.

The campaign also involved the tackling of rumours pertaining to inappropriate behaviour by certain Academy employees and apprentice jockeys.  Following the commencement of the first phase of the campaign, the Academy has seen the resignations of two implicated members of staff (both of whom have accepted responsibility for their behaviour) and the instatement of a disciplinary enquiry in relation to another member of staff.  The Academy has also resolved to pursue a disciplinary enquiry into the activities of one of the apprentice jockeys.

The students pose with Dr Blade Nzimande

The students pose with Dr Blade Nzimande

The first phase of the campaign has in addition to the aforegoing, highlighted a number of areas for improvement, which will be implemented during the next phase.

These improvements include a complete re-writing of the Academy’s code of conduct to bring it up to date, the stream-lining and improving of channels of communication between apprentice jockeys and management, including anonymous reporting structures, the psychometric screening of all new staff members, in the future, the re-fitting and updating of the Academy kitchens, the management and monitoring of internet content available to apprentice jockeys through the Academy servers and the re-affirmation of the management of appropriate discipline in respect of apprentice jockeys.

The Academy is committed to maintaining a congenial environment which is conducive to learning and training and will root out any elements which negate this environment. The Academy is entering a new and exciting era where discipline and professionalism will prevail.

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