Mark Keohane.
Mark Keohane.

Cricket South Africa is rotten and it has to be cleaned up

By Mark Keohane, Opinion Time of article published Sep 12, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Cricket South Africa in the last few weeks has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Ditto Western Province rugby. To say both entities currently represent a shamble is not an understatement.

Cricket South Africa’s race-related comments from acting CEO Kugandrie Govender, a week ago, that employment would be exclusive to black consultants only added fuel to an out of control racial fire in South Africa.

Cricket South Africa, through an interim CEO, did not need to make an emphatic statement about inclusiveness and exclusiveness. I’d like to think that since 1991’s unification of cricket in South Africa, an emphasis naturally would have been on black employment.

The fact that nearly 30 years after unification, Cricket South Africa released a statement clarifying black employment contradicting the CEO's comments in an attempt to defend the CEO simply sums up the chaos within South African cricket.

SA Cricket Magazine editor Ryan Vrede wrote a powerful column in the week about his confusion with it all.

Vrede is not the only one confused.

Kugandrie a week ago said that if ‘there is a particular skill that only a white consultant can offer CSA, then we will use them.’ She continued: ‘We need to ask ourselves: Could we have employed a black person in this position? We are not saying we don’t want any white people.’

In effect, she was speaking about affirmative action and a transformed view of the organization, something that was said in the early 1990s and should have been front of mind from the moment cricket in this country unified.

When the media reported Kugandrie’s comments, Cricket South Africa took the moral high ground, when at a time the words 'Cricket South Africa and morality' certainly aren't bedmates.

Given the lack of integrity within Cricket South Africa, the use of words and contradictions in the statement should not have been surprising. But still it was significant because it spoke of ‘sadness’ in the leadership’s reaction to the reporting of the comments.

What the statement should have reflected was the accuracy in the reporting and an acknowledgement that if, 30 years after unification, this kind of statement has to be made public then something has been awfully rotten for the last three decades.

The statement also sold affirmative action in the guise of transformation, which it said was one of the five pillars on which Cricket South Africa is built. It read like a CV or a PowerPoint presentation.

Quite frankly, it read like absolute BS.

It was nonsense because if transformation was one of the five pillars, we’d not be having this discussion and I wouldn’t be writing this type of column in 2020.

The statement spoke of a ‘business model, BBBEE Act and Affirmative Action policy, moral and legal obligations …’

Did those who scripted the words look in the rearview mirror to see who and what they were spinning a yarn for?

Clearly not.

Cricket South Africa is rotten and it has to be cleaned up.

Personal agendas have been serviced and continue to be serviced in the guise of transformation and affirmative action.

Transformation and affirmative action, particularly in South Africa, should be a way of life and not something that gets measured per event or occasion.

It should also not be something conveniently paraded as pillars of strength in Cricket South Africa.

If Cricket South Africa has work to do, then the same is true of Western Province Rugby.

There simply is no justification for the appointment of Ebrahim Rasool as the new Chairman of Western Province.

The province, in terms of professionalism, desperately needs the acumen of a business individual who can provide leadership.

What those who govern the sport in Western Province have given their supporters is a man whose tenure as the province’s premier was tarnished by allegations of corruption and bribing journalists to write flattering stories about himself and harmful ones about his rivals.

The decision explains the angst among players, coaches and supporters of WP and the Stormers, just as Cricket South Africa’s leadership stumbles continue to scare the cricketing community.

IOL Sport

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