FILE - Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza. Photo: Leon Nicholas
FILE - Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza. Photo: Leon Nicholas

SJN hears of divisions and mistrust at provincial level in SA cricket

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Jul 28, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG – Divisions and mistrust at provincial level were placed under the spotlight at Cricket SA’s Social Justice and Nation Building hearings on Wednesday, with charges of racism and sexism made during testimony.

Palesa Kadi, who served on the Eastern Province Cricket Board from 2005 to 2007, said she dealt with the racism when inquiring about the salary of that union’s then CEO, Dave Emslie. She also faced sexism that included one incident which necessitated her laying charges against an official.

Kadi told the SJN hearings, that she was put on the Eastern Province Board as a representative of black clubs in the region, but was made to feel that her role on the board was only ceremonial. When she made enquiries about Emslie’s salary, Kadi said she was shot down.

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“In my time on the board, it was painful to see that there was no time dedicated to the item called development, on the agenda. And no type of accountability that seeks provision for this development.”

“I saw how issues of transparency, governance and accountability were not in place.”

Kadi pointed out that in her time on the board, she pressed for more information on development, specifically data about the number of balls that were being sent to schools, pitches at each school and what “systems networks” were in place.

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“We had quite a lot of disagreements as a board; one was to account for the financial management aspect, but also, development.”

“Each time there would be a disagreement... we would be reminded by the CEO, Mr. Emslie, that, ‘your existence (on the board), still needs to go through the Annual General Meeting.’”

Kadi told the SJN that when she inquired about development initiatives at one meeting it led to a confrontation with Emslie.

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“I asked ‘why are we looking at this issue in a cosmetic way?’ Funds are distributed, salaries are paid, players are playing, everyone was doing their bit. I said this is not sufficient. What is the CEO supposed to do? How much is the CEO paid? How do we as the Board manage his performance?”

“We had an altercation, because the CEO refused to tell us what he earned, he refused to tell us what he was supposed to do in terms of his contract. We almost staged a walkout.”

Kadi raised another incident in which she was chairing a sub-committee meeting on development. “The meeting was to discuss development in the Nelson Mandela Bay region. One of the local representatives just felt that I didn’t know what I was talking about. He was doing development in Jeffreys Bay... he started raising his voice when speaking, I was chairing the meeting, I said ‘please don’t raise your voice when speaking to me.’ He continued, using gestures with his hands, he stood up, you could see he was angry as he came towards me,” said Kadi, who did not state when the meeting took place.

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The meeting dissolved into disarray, with Kadi saying she felt under attack. She pressed charges at the local police station, but was told that if she spotted the man at a match at St George’s Park, she should call the police. When the man didn’t come to matches, the police made no further inquiries.

In later testimony by the former president of the North West Cricket Union, Dr. Oupa Nkagiseng, he told the hearings how he’d been constantly undermined by the fellow administrators at the union.

“At my very first board meeting, moments after I was voted as president, some of these white guys gathered in a group by the door and said ’leave him to hang himself’.”

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North West has been the scene of bitter in-fighting in the last few years – something that was prevalent at a number of provincial unions – as leadership at CSA level showed little interest because of its own administrative problems – with Nkagiseng eventually suspended as president.

He said he’d become so disillusioned with the sport that he hadn’t been to a cricket ground in three years.

The hearings continue on Thursday.


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