At least three EP Kings players have been given food vouchers by the South African Rugby Players' Association. SIMON BORCHARDT reports.
Sarpa has also offered players assistance with fuel and accommodation, according to an email in SARugbymag.co.za's possession.
In the email, players were told that, due to the non-payment of salaries for October, they were 'not obliged to render services' from midnight on 11 November until they had been paid.
Attached to the email was a termination letter, which players were told to complete, sign and send to Kings CEO Charl Crous if they wished to leave the union.
Centre Tim Whitehead became the first player to publicly state that he would be leaving the Kings. Prop Lizo Gqoboka has since signed with the Vodacom Bulls, who are reportedly also interested in acquiring the services of loose forwards Tim Agaba and Thembelani Bholi, as well as wing Luther Obi.
Players were also told in the email to contact Sarpa if they wished to 'talk to a professional person to assist with the emotional anxiety as a result of this stressful experience'.
On Thursday, the Kings said the payment problems were attributed to significant delays in the release of funds from a sponsorship deal that was originally announced by EP president Cheeky Watson, who is currently in Australia to meet with sponsors to try and expedite the release of these funds.
The cash crisis has thrown the Kings' Super Rugby preparations into disarray ahead of their return to the competition next year. The Kings kick off their campaign with a match against the Sharks in PE on 27 February.
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