CSA advances down the wicket to take on racialism with ‘Ombudsman’
JOHANNESBURG - Cricket South Africa will establish a ‘Transformation Ombudsman’ as part of broader plans to deal with the fallout from claims of racial discrimination made by a number of prominent former players.
In addition to the ombudsman - whose core function will include the management of the independent complaints system - Cricket SA will also establish a ‘Restoration Fund’ to deal with opportunities lost due to discrimination, conduct “a healing and uniting process of fans players, starting with former players and implement a diversity and inclusivity programme.”
The plans will be overseen by Independent Board member Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw. They are the first seemingly tangible steps taken by the federation following a harrowing fortnight, in which a number of prominent black ex players, including Ashwell Prince and Makhaya Ntini, outlined the difficulties they’d experienced in their playing days as they dealt with discrimination inside the sport.
What Cricket SA is calling the ‘Cricket for Social Justice and Nation building’ project comes just a couple of days after Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa met with former players from different sports, who all described racial discrimination at different points in their careers.
“It is now clear that this cancer is not just in one sporting code; it is a broader problem, internally and externally,” said Mthethwa. “Issues of discrimination are issues we are committed to and we will pursue this with all our might to ensure that we get to the bottom of it. It is our job as a Department to ensure that there is transformation in sport.”
Cricket SA’s president Chris Nenzani, said the federation’s project is meant “to rid cricket of apartheid racial discrimination.”
Many of the players, particularly ones who raised their voices recently in the wake of the attack on Lungi Ngidi, by Pat Symcox, Boeta Dippenaar and Rudi Steyn, will be watching closely to make sure there are better outcomes from this exercise. Cricket SA has over the years run many different programs and hosted indabas, which clearly have had little to no impact at playing level.
“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,” said Kula-Ameyaw.
“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.”