Black Lives Matter next steps: 'We need answers from CSA about Boucher, Smith appointments'

Graeme Smith (Getty Images)
Graeme Smith (Getty Images)
  • Hussein Manack has called on Cricket SA to be transparent about Mark Boucher and Graeme Smith appointments.
  • CSA met the 40 black former cricketers and coaches, who expressed their support for Lungi Ngidi and Black Lives Matter.
  • CSA needs to address allegations of pay discrepancies in the Proteas men's coaching team, said Manack.

Former cricketer and national team selector Hussein Manack says Cricket South Africa (CSA) needs to be transparent with the 40 ex-players they met last Sunday and the public regarding how Proteas head coach Mark Boucher and director of cricket Graeme Smith were appointed.

CSA met with 40 black former cricketers and coaches, who added their voices in support of Lungi Ngidi and the Black Lives Matter movement, taking the worldwide protest into South African cricket, where some experienced racial discrimination in their careers.

On Wednesday, CSA released a joint statement with the 40 high-profile cricket personalities, saying: "The important objective of this meeting was to hear first-hand from the group of players about their experiences and opinions on how CSA should proceed in its efforts to address the substantive shortcomings in the cricket system."

Manack believes crucial to the conversation's next steps are answers about the manic December 2019 period, where Smith and Boucher were appointed to their posts. According to Manack, there are concerns from the group that proper corporate governance guidelines weren't followed.

"In my view, the meeting was a start," Manack told Sport24.

"The first thing that needs to happen next is Cricket South Africa giving us some answers about the questions raised in the meeting and by a few of us on public platforms regarding the appointment processes of key individuals.

"If CSA want to show that they are doing the right thing on a governance perspective, and they want the public to have faith in them, then we need answers on the head coach and director of cricket appointments that are still hanging in the air.

"The ex-players were disappointed that the Proteas head coach, director of cricket and even the acting CEO (Jacques Faul) were not present in the meeting. We've asked the questions, but there are no answers. Must we just carry on like everything is normal? No, I don't think so."

What's more, there are allegations that there are pay discrepancies between consultants and additional coaching staff in the flagship Proteas men's national team.

Head coach Boucher and assistant Enoch Nkwe make up the core coaching staff, while Charl Langeveldt (bowling), Justin Ontong (fielding), Jacques Kallis (batting) and Paul Harris (spin) operate as their technical support.

"One or two ex-players mentioned the possible pay discrepancy between the various [Proteas coaching] consultants," said Manack.

"For example, we're told there's a discrepancy between what a Jacques Kallis and Paul Harris would get compared to Charl Langeveldt and others. But this is just hearsay.

"The thing about good corporate governance is that you need to be transparent, and CSA needs to come out with either an inquiry into whether there's any truth to the [allegation] that the white consultants are being paid more than the black consultants.

"If there's no truth to it, then that's fine, they can be transparent with the facts. And this is the systematic racism we are talking about.

"These things used to happen in the past, but if they're still happening today, then you've got a real problem because they are going to keep happening."

Manack believes this moment presents all those in cricket, on the governing, public or playing end, to have honest conversations about what has taken place inside its pavilions.

He said black former cricketers needed to have a bigger say in the decision-making processes that governed the game and a literal seat at CSA's boardroom table.

"Black Lives Matter has given all of us an opportunity to confront these issues in a brutally honest way," he expressed.

"It remains to be seen now, from CSA's side, how soon we will engage again. I think we need to utilise this opportunity to keep pushing forward because that's what you've got to do to see genuine and real change.

"It will require a sustained effort. But I am yet to be convinced by CSA. There's an AGM in September, so you may have some new board members joining and I'd like to see some of ex-cricketers in their key board committees.

"It would be good to see two or three black ex-cricketers sitting on the board. There aren't enough ex-cricketers making cricketing decisions.

"Yes, we have independent board members, which is fantastic, but I also think you need those who've been in the changing room and who have experienced the transformation challenges and discrimination first-hand.

"If you've experienced it, you're gonna be more committed to dealing with these issues because you don't want the next generation to go through the same thing."

ALSO READ: CSA boss Nenzano defends Smith, Boucher appointments: Black Lives Matter cannot be a witch-hunt

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