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Proteas players see benefits in SJN hearings, says Temba Bavuma

FILE - Temba Bavuma takes a knee against Ireland. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO/Shutterstock

FILE - Temba Bavuma takes a knee against Ireland. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO/Shutterstock

Published Aug 23, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - The Proteas mens players have been happy to confront the issues raised at Cricket SA’s Social Justice and Nation Building hearings, which included being addressed by head coach Mark Boucher.

Boucher had been named by fellow former teammate, Paul Adams, as being among the group of players, who sang a derogatory song aimed at Adams during team celebrations in the late 1990s. “I’d be lying if I said (the SJN hearings) didn’t have an impact on us as a team,” South Africa’s limited overs captain, Temba Bavuma said on Monday.

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“It’s known that members of the team have been named in testimonies. Our coach Mark Boucher has addressed us as a team, speaking to the accusations against him. He provided clarity and context and I think it was more about keeping the guys within his confidence and comfort.”

Boucher has publicly stated that he will cooperate fully with the SJN, describing the testimony that was made involving him as “hurtful and factually incorrect.”

Bavuma outlined how the testimonies heard at the SJN, including from players he has shared a change-room with, have led to plenty of conversations within the Proteas side, while also underlining the importance for the current group of players to create an inclusive and welcoming environment.

“Conversations have been flowing around within the team and I think the large majority of guys welcome the initiative and understand its necessity in terms of allowing current and former guys to speak about their experiences in the past,” he said.

ALSO READ: Dumisa Ntsebeza considers extending deadline for SJN submissions

“As players now, in this era, we’ve got an opportunity to shape the team, to shape the environment, in the way that we’d like so that down the line we don’t look back, and say we could have done things in a different way. Most guys are following the SJN, with passion and we look forward to the good of it, that is happening.”

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Asked if there were players who didn’t agree with the process, Bavuma said he hadn’t encountered that. “I don’t think anyone in the team is shooting down the SJN initiative. I think everyone understands the significance of it. In the conversations that I’ve had, everyone has been positive about it.”

Bavuma said his own experiences since joining the national team in 2014 have been positive in terms of how he was welcomed into the team. “If I compare 2021 with the early 2000s, things are very, very different. I think when I joined the team in 2014, it wasn’t a big struggle. I’d really like to think that things are different now than they were in the past. In saying that there is always good in looking at the past, and seeing how best we can do things.”

ALSO READ: Trying to defend the indefensible: The silence after SJN testimony is deafening

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Since the revelations last year that led to the creation of the SJN, the Proteas have held a ‘culture camp,’ in which robust discussions occurred regarding the social dynamics in the country that create different individuals and their perspectives.

“We all come from different backgrounds, which shape our perspectives, and we must create an environment where we can express those beliefs. We are putting each other in uncomfortable positions, willing to be vulnerable, not to expose each other, but to help each other to grow,” said Bavuma.

The SJN hearings are set to resume Monday morning, with Transformation Ombudsman Adv. Dumisa Ntsebeza hearing from various parties, including Cricket SA, the SA Cricketers Association, which will be arguing for an extended period to file their written submissions to the hearings.

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Meanwhile Bavuma and the Proteas head to Sri Lanka on Tuesday, to play a three match One-Day International series, followed by a T20 International series, which will also comprise three matches.

@Shockerhess

IOL Sport

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