CAPE TOWN – Cricket SA took the next step this week in its bid to create a culture of inclusion, effective promotion of diversity and belonging to the sport of cricket, with transformation committee head Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw steering the ship.
Led by President Chris Nenzani, a virtual meeting was held on Sunday with 40 black former Proteas and senior coaches. This was in response to the much publicised recent revelations, where former players detailed their personal experiences of racial discrimination in cricket since unity.
This was, of course, all set in motion when Proteas fast bowler Lungi Ngidi was castigated for wanting to support the Black Lives Matter movement by a group of former white Proteas.
The outburst prompted a response from 30 black former Proteas who issued a signed letter stating stance of solidarity with Ngidi.
Cricket SA have since reiterated their full support for Ngidi and the BLM movement, with all the players and coaches involved in the recent 3TC match at SuperSport Park taking a knee before the game and wearing BLM armbands on their sleeves.
Furthermore, Cricket SA has since launched its Cricket for Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) project, which includes the establishment of an Independent Transformation Ombudsman.
This person’s core function will include the independent management of the complaints system, convening a national SJN Imbizo (‘gathering) and providing a success measurement instrument on the extent of the success of the CSA transformation programmes.
In a statement released on Wednesday, CSA stressed that Sunday’s meeting saw an acknowledgement that certain wrongs were committed in South African cricket and that a process to correct them was necessary and urgent.
The consensus was that, collectively, CSA and the players will drive a process of redress.
CSA’s renewal, restoration and transformation process will be led by the chairperson of the transformation committee, Dr Kula-Ameyaw, who pledged “the critical success factor of the SJN project is for the players and stakeholders to hold the CSA Board accountable for delivery.”
Nenzani also said that this is a deliberate effort to continue the difficult conversations with all stakeholders with the goal of ultimately achieving a broad consensus.
“We would like to thank CSA for hearing our cry, reaching out and have an initial engagement,” the players and coaches said in a joint statement.
However, they cautioned that this was only a first step in the process, noting that they had not been included in the planning for the SJN framework.
“We don’t feel any new projects should be unilaterally embarked upon until honest and thorough robust conversations have taken place,” they said.
The group also expressed their disappointment that some of CSA’s operational staff, especially the Director of Cricket Graeme Smith, who would eventually be responsible for the implementation of the ‘new way’, were not part of the discussion.
They requested that these individuals form part of all future engagements so that clarity and broad agreement would be ensured on future strategies, driven by value and culture.
“This process going forward will draft in representatives from the former players, such that it is an inclusive and result-oriented process. When we embarked on this journey, we knew it was an emotive process and that it would elicit a difficult conversation,” Nenzani added.
Meanwhile, Nenzani also refuted media reports that acting chief executive Jacques Faul has resigned and will return to his post as head of the Titans on September 15.
Faul, who is performing his second stint as acting chief after previously standing in for Gerald Majola in 2012, was appointed by Cricket SA’s board last December following the suspension of Thabang Moroe.
His initial contract was meant to run until June, but Cricket SA have yet conclude their case with the suspended Moroe.