JOHANNESBURG - Nine months after its rather strange launch at Olympic House in Johannesburg, Cricket SA’s Social Justice and Nation building project will get down to some actual work at the start of May, with ombudsman Dumisa Ntsebeza stating that he would “act decisively” in dealing with racial discrimination within the sport.
The SJN, was the brainchild of former CSA director Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, and was the result of several heart-breaking instances of discrimination in the sport described by a number of former players, coaches and administrators last year.
The project didn’t get off the ground, because despite nine ambassadors - including Gary Kirsten, Lance Klusener and Geoffrey Toyana - being named, there was no clarity about what Ntsebeza would do or how the project would be funded. Kula-Ameyaw was then removed as a director amidst the administrative implosion at CSA, and Tuesday the organisation said it would provide further details about the project at a later date.
In the meanwhile, Ntsebeza has been given six months to get to grips with the initiative. A wide variety of people from players, to coaches, administrators and sponsors will engage with Ntsebeza, a renowned lawyer who served as a commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “My first task is to engage with the former players, coaches and administrators, who last year provided heart-rending revelations about their personal experiences of racial discrimination in cricket since unity,” said Ntsebeza.
“They have indeed done the game a service in speaking out the way they did. This is no time for PR messaging; we have to be accountable and implement realistic and sustainable measures,” he added.
Cricket SA Interim Board has also tasked the Ntsebeza with investigating how women “can be brought into the cricket mainstream at all levels as soon as possible,” and also how government, NGOs and the private sector can assist youngsters from historically disadvantaged communities to gain closer access to the sport.
Ntsebeza will submit a report to the CSA Board in August.
Meanwhile, the chairman of CSA’s Members Council, Rihan Richards confirmed on Tuesday, that Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa had agreed to an extension of the deadline concerning the organisation’s administrative restructuring.
Mthethwa last week demanded that CSA finalise by April 6, all the steps needed to ensure that more independent directors will serve on the new Board of Directors, thereby aligning CSA’s administration with the recommendations of the Nicholson Inquiry.
Richards said that the Members Council - CSA’s highest decision-making body, comprising the 14 provincial presidents - will inform Mthethwa by Thursday about their adherence to his mandate.
“It also gives us time to engage more with our affiliates. At the moment it is too early to tell if there has been a swing towards (what the Minister wants). It is still a delicate balance,” said Richards.