SJN Hearings: Development money meant for black cricket clubs went missing
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JOHANNESBURG – Testimonies from two provincial officials on Thursday highlighted how Cricket SA’s recent administrative turmoil saw transformation used as a political football, leading to critical issues regarding development being ignored.
Nash Degambur and Tshoko Moloko from the Easterns Cricket Union, told the Social Justice and Nation Building network, that development initiatives were used as political tools which distracted from the very important work that needed to be done in a region, where divisions along racial lines remain.
The provincial unions and clubs have been under the spotlight this week at the hearings, with testimonies from various officials, at the lower rungs of the South African cricket ladder, providing an insight into how the administrative shenanigans at the top led to critical issues being ignored below, which directly impacts the people playing the game.
The ECU had been subject to an investigation by retired high court judge Bernard Ngoepe regarding governance with the suspension of former president Xolani Vonya, a central issue in how the province’s administrative affairs became stuck in limbo.
Degambur, who served briefly on the board, cited interference from former senior executives at CSA, as reasons behind the provincial union’s administrative derailment.
“Through Welsh Gwaza, (CSA) took a very keen interest in specific aspects of this business. Kugandrie Govender was the same... generally not assisting the union in any way or form, but interfering in the union’s affairs,” said Degambur.
Gwaza was recently dismissed as company secretary by CSA following a disciplinary hearing, while the outcome of former acting CEO, Govender’s disciplinary inquiry is still to be completed.
Testifying after Degambur, Moloko, who serves on Easterns’ Members Council said he was still awaiting confirmation about where money that was supposedly aside for upgrading facilities at black clubs in the regions had disappeared to.
Moloko, reading from Ngoepe’s report, stated that the retired judge had found that black clubs in the province had been neglected.
The ECU had set aside R2-million for upgrades at facilities, but Moloko told the SJN that only R500 000 could be accounted for, all of which was spent in May 2019. Moloko said he’d also found out that R1.3 million was given to ECU, sourced from the Lottery, also for upgrades. “However, as a council member for Easterns, I do not know where these funds are,” said Moloko.
Aside from the administrative problems which had placed a hurdle in terms of the ECU’s development initiatives, Moloko highlighted the social divide that remains within the region.
He described integration at Easterns as “almost forced”. “Little regard is given to the fact that some of the club presidents are from poor areas, they don’t have cars, they must use public transport, but they are expected to attend meetings on a Wednesday night at seven o’clock. Board meetings take place in English, and because people fear how they speak the language, they would rather keep quiet. The people sitting at meetings (representing black clubs), don’t necessarily have a voice, because of the background they come from.”
Asked by the SJN Ombudsman, Adv, Dumisa Ntsebeza if there was any hope, Moloko replied: “It’s why we are here. The challenges of racism are far less than in the past. The club chairmen are good gentlemen, predominantly. What sets us apart is perspective. Having not come from these communities, they don’t have the perspective to address these issues.”
Ntsebeza highlighted the language issue as being a unique barrier in terms of achieving transformation. “The problem is much more complex than just racial discrimination that is unfair or gender discrimination that is unfair, it is a multi-layered problem.”
The hearings continue on Friday.