CSA unveils plans to tackle racism, discrimination in cricket

Cricket SA president Chris Nenzani during a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on 7 December 2019.
Cricket SA president Chris Nenzani during a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on 7 December 2019.
Johan Rynners/Gallo Images)
  • Cricket South Africa (CSA) has unveiled a plan of action in response to the "national outcry" over the Black Lives Matter campaign, which has gained massive traction in South Africa.
  • The CSA board has revealed a Transformation Committee of the Board and a sustainable response strategy in order to deal with the issue.
  • CSA will engage with the major stakeholders, starting with former players in the upcoming days.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) have responded to the latest developments in the country regarding the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Earlier this month, Proteas fast bowler Lungi Ngidi stated that he would educate and address the Black Lives Matter movement in Proteas the dressing room.

This led to highly-criticised social media posts written by former South African cricketers Rudi Steyn, Pat Symcox and Boeta Dippenaar and, since then, 30 former Proteas - all players of colour - and five coaches signed and expressed their support for Ngidi and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Last week, former Proteas fast bowler Makhaya Ntini appeared on SABC's Morning Live and revealed that he often felt lonely throughout his international career.

On Friday evening, CSA stated in a press release that the "national outcry by cricket fans, the greater South African public and broad stakeholder groups could not be ignored".

CSA confirmed that the Transformation Committee of the Board developed a sustainable response strategy.

It will address the following: 

  • The establishment the Office of the Transformation Ombudsman, whose core function will include the management of the independent complaints system, convene a National SJN Imbizo and provide assurance regarding the extent to which transformation programmes are impactful on society, amongst others.
  • Engage in the healing, restoration and uniting process of cricket players, fans, and the nation, starting with the disgruntled former players.
  • Formation of The Restoration Fund - to deal with opportunity cost due to discrimination
  • Promote and intensify Diversity, Belonging and Inclusivity (DIBS) programme implementation

According to the press release, the CSA board has written to Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa and the Portfolio Committee Chair about the board response strategy.

"The plan is that the Ombudsman will be appointed by the end of August 2020. Independent Director and Transformation Chair, Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, will lead the process of ensuring that the SJN process maintains integrity," read the statement.

CSA revealed that in the "forthcoming days, engagements will commence with the major stakeholders, starting with the former players".

CSA Board Chair, Chris Nenzani commented: "We are sorry that our cricket players had to endure the emotional hardships that they did; subjugated by their peers along racial lines under our new democracy that enjoined us to embrace reconciliation and inclusivity. SJN is the first-of-its-kind project meant to rid cricket of apartheid racial discrimination. This is the very important project that all stakeholders must make sure it succeeds for the future sustainability of cricket."

He went on to say, "the fortunes of cricket, its players, stakeholders, and fans are not going to be held to ransom by the wayward few who definitely have no place within our ranks. We are determined to pull out all stops to ensure that healing takes place for those who have been wronged, and that perpetrators are exposed, sanctioned, and isolated."

Dr Kula-Ameyaw added her voice and said: "Transformation needs to happen in our lifetime and as the Board we need to fully deliver on that mandate. Having heard what our ex-players shared, my focus as the Transformation Chair was to come up with a solution, hence the Cricket SJN concept. I am grateful that the Board supports this initiative. The office of the Transformation Ombudsman is a solid brick that we can use as a foundation to deal with racism and discrimination in Cricket." 

"It has been a very challenging time for Cricket South Africa, and we have to acknowledge that what we have heard was not easy to digest. However, I am also encouraged by our plan to address this. We will need the buy-in from all our stakeholders to ensure a racism free future at Cricket South Africa," said CSA Acting CEO, Jacques Faul.

"We commit that never again shall we be found wanting and will consolidate our efforts to assure an inclusive cricket environment, free of any discrimination, racism or any other ill that negate the gains of the democracy that we fought so hard for," he concluded.

- Compiled by Sport24 staff

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