Northerns Cricket have never had any complaints of racism - Union president Siko
JOHANNESBURG – The Northerns Cricket Union president Tebogo Siko said Tuesday that the alarming revelations of racism in the region’s cricket structures, made by ex-player Ethy Mbhalati, were the first the union had encountered.
“We have never had any complaints of racism in the past or in the present,” Siko, who has also served on Cricket SA’s Members Council and Board of Directors, said in a statement.
Speaking to timeslive.co.za this week, Mbhalati, whose first class career started in 2002 and spanned another 14 years, the majority of that with Northerns and the Titans, said he was called a monkey while playing club cricket. He said he also got paid less than some younger white players and was a victim of cultural bias.
In Tuesday’s statement, Siko said Mbhalati had never informed the union of the racism he endured.
“There was never a formal complaint laid by Mr Mbhalati and this makes it difficult for us to deal with such a matter,” said Siko. “We can also go on record and say Mr Mbhalati was among the top earners at the franchise towards the end of his career.”
Siko highlighted all the mechanisms the NCU have put in place for employees or players to follow if they believe they’ve been discriminated against. “Our board has a Transformation and Ethics Committee, which is responsible for dealing with such matters should they arise.
The structure through the committee was set up to ensure that we have a progressive transition as we diversify and address any cricket related inequalities within the franchise, promote diversity as we continuously drive awareness.”
The NCU was amongst the first of CSA’s affiliates to throw its weight behind, Lungi Ngidi - who plays for them domestically - after he called on current Proteas to take a stand on the Black Lives Matter initiative.
Ngidi was later chastised by some former Proteas players for speaking out.
“We know only too well as a country how important the Black Lives Matter movement is. We bat vehemently against discrimination of any kind, and we will always strive to provide opportunities within our Titans family for all the colours and cultures within our rainbow nation,” said the Titans’ head coach, Mandla Mashimbyi.@shockerhess