White players, coaches have a place within SA cricket, but Cricket SA’s U-turn is disappointing
CAPE TOWN – Under ordinary circumstances, the appointment of Dillon du Preez, 38, as the Proteas women’s assistant coach yesterday on a three-year contract would be a footnote.
But in the context of the race debate that has raged in South African cricket over the past two months, Du Preez’s promotion is significant due to the fact the former Free State/Knights allrounder is a white male.
The fact that Du Preez replaced Saliegh Nackerdien, an experienced black coach, will only add fuel to the fire.
Equally, the question will be posed to Cricket South Africa (CSA) how Du Preez was appointed a week after the organisation – who backtracked from this statement yesterday – gave government the assurances they will only employ white consultants in future if a suitable black consultant could not be found.
If the letter of the law is followed, then Du Preez is not a consultant but instead a contracted employee.
However, and more importantly, the reasons for Du Preez’s employment are the most significant. IOL Sport understands it was on the advisory of head coach Hilton Moreeng that Du Preez be hired ahead of Nackerdien.
Again, what is significant about a head coach wanting to source his own assistant?
Moreeng is black. He did not want Nackerdien, who is also black. Moreeng wanted Du Preez, who is white.
This does not automatically make Du Preez a better or more qualified coach than Nackerdien. Moreeng just feels more comfortable working with Du Preez. These are the complexities of trying to create a working relationship within the dressing room.
“We would like to welcome Dillon to the Proteas set-up,” Moreeng said. “He is a young coach with vast experience of playing the game and his all-round skill will no doubt benefit the girls.
“I am confident that alongside our staff and another recent appointment Dinesha Devnarain (the first full-time Women’s Under19 coach) our coaching set-up can help take the women’s game to a new level.”
1) #CSAnews Transformation, not exclusion the key pillar of CSA— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) September 8, 2020
CSA has noted with much sadness, the recent media reports about the organisation’s position on transformation and with specific reference to the use of consultants and particularly white consultants. pic.twitter.com/fn3eVDN8Nl
In contrast, it was disappointing to see CSA take a step back yesterday in regards to comments made by acting chief executive Kugandrie Govender last week related to the transformation.
“Our problems stem from the fact that we have not transformed enough and not fast enough. It’s a regulatory measure that we are saying we are holding ourselves accountable to because in the past we haven’t. And if there is a particular skill that only a white consultant can offer CSA, then we will still look to use them,” Govender said.
The understanding of this statement was that CSA are acting upon the employment directives and the moral obligation that all companies in South Africa are expected to adhere to.
CSA have now made a U-turn.
“While we respect the opinions currently doing the rounds in the public domain and including some media reports that continue to give coverage to this issue, we want to confirm that CSA has not taken and will not take a decision to work exclusively with black consultants,” the statement said.
“The media reports around the statements made by our acting Chief Executive are not a correct reflection of the sentiment that CSA had sought to convey. CSA therefore reiterates that it does not have a policy of excluding any racial grouping, in favour of the other.”
CSA should not feel the need to apologise for wanting to hire mainly black coaches. But, there remains a place for white players and coaches within SA cricket – as Du Preez’s appointment proves.
PROTEAS WOMEN’S MANAGEMENT
Hilton Moreeng (head coach), Dillon du Preez (assistant coach), Sedibu Mohlaba (manager), Zane Webster (strength & conditioning coach), Tshegofatso Gaetsewe (team doctor), Molebatsi Theletsane (physiotherapist)