KwaZulu-Natal cricket was in mourning on Sunday with news of the passing of union president Ben Dladla.
"Ben Dladla left a proud legacy of Ubuntu, empathy, selflessness, humility and industry. Many will remember him for his love of people and his deep sense of empathy. He lived his life to the full and touched so many," said a statement from the union released to the media.
Dladla served as president of the union from 2018 after he was vice-president from 2013 onwards.
"Over the years, Dladla had in many ways demonstrated his sincere interest in the importance of transformation in cricket and youth development in sport. The cricket fraternity, in turn, had recognised his administrative abilities and the high quality of his leadership. His zeal and devotion to the sport had neither failed nor faltered. As a consequence, Dladla was appointed vice-president of KZN Cricket from 2013 and president of KZN cricket from 2018", the statement added.
“Mr Dladla distinguished himself by his dedication and contribution to the welfare of the game. He assisted greatly in making KZN Cricket Union the organisation it has now become - well organised and highly professional. He was passionate in his role as president,” said CEO of the KZN Cricket Union, Heinrich Strydom.
"He lived a principled life underpinned by a strong sense of right and wrong. He was never a man to step back from a challenge; to let something wrong stand unchallenged. He cared enough to act in order to take a stand. Dladla touched many of us in a large variety of ways. There can only be memories of goodness and decency," added Strydom.
Cricket South Africa's (CSA) Members’ Council acting president, Rihan Richards led CSA's tributes to Dladla.
“Mr Dladla’s sad and untimely passing is without a doubt, a loss to cricket development as well as the goal and the efforts to reignite cricket and put cricket’s reputation back on the mends. He was a true gentleman who stood for truth and honesty. His passing has indeed shocked the cricketing community and it is particularly a great loss to Cricket South Africa. The many contributions he has made will be sorely missed,” said Richards.
During Dladla’s tenure the KZNCU franchise – the Dolphins, won the Momentum One Day Cup and the list of accolades included the KZN Coastal team’s becoming the joint winners of the Provincial 3-Day Cup and thus sharing the honours with Easterns Cricket.
Dladla was one of the early pioneers of change and transformation in the KZNCU and his presidency did not only bring about the transformation of cricket but it also saw the growth in grassroots cricket development in KwaZulu-Natal. These milestones also coincided with a conscious decision to ensure that there was proper representation of the previously excluded groupings in cricket and including the drive to diversify cricket and to make cricket a sport of choice for many diverse young people in KwaZulu-Natal.
- Compiled by Sport24