FILE - Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko
FILE - Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza has key role in further transforming cricket in South Africa

By Stuart Hess Time of article published May 6, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - The South African cricket season is over but it’s still a very busy period for the sport.

Cricket SA have ensured that through dragging their feet over the administrative restructure, they brought the federation to the brink of collapse. Thankfully, that is behind us now. The mechanisms for choosing a new board are in place and a date for the AGM has been set.

And then the work begins. In and among an overflowing in-box later this year will be feedback in the shape of a report or otherwise from advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, the Transformation Ombudsman, heading up the Social Justice and National (SJN) building project.

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The project started inauspiciously. Perhaps the attachment of former CSA director Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, whose brainchild the SJN product was, made many sceptical. Kula-Ameyaw’s time as a director was largely calamitous and she famously claimed she couldn’t watch cricket because it took too long.

But the project was her proposal; she launched it last July, naming Ntsebeza as the ombudsman, and if carried out in the manner that Ntsebeza wants, the SJN will leave a lasting legacy. Strange as it would have seemed in the middle of last year, SA cricket may yet benefit from Kula Ameyaw’s time as a director.

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For that to happen there will have to be brutal honesty from all quarters, like there was last year, when ex-players outlined their heartbreaking tales about discrimination in the sport.

Those perspectives, many of which will hopefully reach Ntsebeza’s desk by the end of the week when the deadline for submissions expires, provide a view of a sport that had adopted transformation, rather than genuinely embraced it and made it a living part of its existence.

Cricket remains a sport of the privileged in this country, despite a handful of players who’ve “broken” into its elite circle. Ntsebeza, relying on the experience he gained as a commissioner of the TRC, wants this to be a comprehensive process, including hearing from those who may have been accused of discrimination.

ALSO READ: Dumisa Ntsebeza wants to ’act decisively’ in dealing with racial discrimination within cricket

The project, should it really reach its end point with recommendations from Ntsebeza that the new board of directors can implement, will provide an opportunity for the sport to be a more inclusive one. Broadly speaking, SA cricket shouldn’t be so reliant on a few private schools to provide such a large proportion of its player base, as is currently the case.

It needs to branch out properly into new areas and attract new supporters. The SJN shouldn’t only challenge just the CSA, but the government too, with local government and education, among others, needing to play more active roles in assisting cricket’s growth and sustainability.

“Changes come about because people who failed in the first experiments went back and tried to achieve a different result,” said Ntsebeza. “That is what I hope to achieve.”

And if he does, the benefits for South African cricket could be long-lasting.


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