New Cricket South Africa CEO Kugandrie Govender wants to bring back pride. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
New Cricket South Africa CEO Kugandrie Govender wants to bring back pride. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Can Kugandrie Govender avoid ’glass-cliff’, steer Cricket SA in right direction?

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Aug 20, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Often social media provides us with a reflection of the degenerative status of our society.

But sometimes, like in the good old days of early Twitter, it is also the platform best suited for the truth. And it is here where I stumbled upon a real gem yesterday from Sibongile Mafu, or rather @sboshmafu as she is known in the Twittersphere.

“Women CEOs being hired when organisations are already in flames is a South African love story,” Mafu tweeted to her close to 50 000 followers about Kugandrie Govender’s appointment as the first female acting chief executive of Cricket SA.

Mafu’s tweet made me question whether the CSA suits, who have bumbled along for so long, played their “glass cliff” card with Govender?

For those not familiar with the glass cliff global phenomenon, it is a twist on the “glass ceiling”, whereby women are elevated to positions of power within organisations when things are going poorly and thus face an uphill task to steady the ship. It’s a well-known fact that CSA is currently at its lowest ebb.

It’s a sign of Govender’s courage that she has accepted the post when many would dare not.

She is suitably qualified for the post. Certainly more qualified than Thabang Moroe ever was. Govender holds a National Diploma: Public Relations and Communication Science, ND: Marketing Management and a Honours Degree in Marketing Management from IMM Graduate School, which has allowed her to accumulate the experience of a decade spent at various media organisations.

It is also no secret that Cricket SA came under heavy criticism from parliament in June for lacking women in their top-level management structures and appearing before the sports portfolio committee with an all-male ensemble.

It was silly that Govender was not part of the original delegation and sports portfolio committee chair Beauty Dlulane will certainly appreciate the fact that Govender will now be at the head when Cricket SA appears again tomorrow

The magnitude of the task facing Govender is immense. Not only does she need to navigate the shark-infested waters that currently fill the corridors of CSA, but already her detractors fear the worst simply for her being a “Moroe appointment” and everything linked with that.

But right now the focus should be on her statement yesterday.

“CSA’s mandate is to ensure that cricket is an inclusive sporting code for all South Africans. It is important to improve our reputation both locally and internationally,” Govender said upon her appointment.

“This is a critical time for our organisation and crucial for key stakeholders to work together to improve the rating of cricket among those who love, support and follow the sport and those who have trust in the sport’s ability to unify all South Africans.

“We will work hard to improve the levels of pride amongst our stakeholders and I am humbled to be a part of the collective that commits itself to ensure that CSA is a federation of which South Africans are proud.”

Everything in her statement resonated about the collective and not the individual. And that is a refreshing change from the grandstanding of cricket officials in recent times. Govender is extremely passionate about the game and serving her country, even during these trying times.

She is equally passionate in the fight against Gender-Based violence in South Africa and was crestfallen when her brainchild, “Black Day”, which was to be a marquee match between the Proteas and Australian Women’s teams back in March had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.

Govender’s elevation to the top is already a game-changer in South African sport. If she manages to anyway haul Cricket SA out of this sorry mess, she might just have saved the game we all hold dear.

@ZaahierAdams

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