The Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) report compiled by ombudsman Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza has been received by Cricket SA and is available to the public.
The report follows the ombudsman’s important hearings into the causes, nature and extent of racial discrimination and lack of transformation in all cricket structures since unification 30 years ago.
The ombudsman’s process was initially due to last four months but was later extended to over six months at his request. CSA made available extensive legal and other resources to the ombudsman for this process, including spending more than R7.5 million on the process, despite an initial budget of R5m.
While the ombudsman’s report commends CSA’s efforts to address the injustices of the past, it highlights that much still needs to be done. It recommends improved internal and confidential grievance procedures and for mediation procedures to be put in place as a means of giving aggrieved players the platform to air their frustrations.
The ombudsman makes it clear that CSA’s efforts to provide cricketing facilities in remote areas and create opportunities for the disadvantaged to enjoy the game of cricket can only succeed if CSA, the government and other relevant stakeholders “start from scratch” in achieving the goal of making cricket a truly transformed sport in disadvantaged areas.
He also raises concerns over an “exclusionary culture” in certain past incidents when it came to the selection of black players.
He has called on CSA to revisit the match-fee system, while a lack of sensitivity and understanding of the racist undertones of comments made by former players was also highlighted.
Furthermore, it was found that work has to be done in rolling out recreational projects that educate players on the diverse cultures and languages that exist within the team and that will give the team an opportunity to come up with strategies on how the team is going to socially integrate.
The report found that race played no part in the match-fixing investigation and the ombudsman could not find any evidence supporting the allegation that black players were targeted during the investigation.
The ombudsman finds that the appointments of CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith and Proteas head coach Mark Boucher were flawed from a procedural perspective.
CSA’s board agrees wholeheartedly that the issues facing cricket “are a complex interaction of multiple factors stemming from the history of this country and consequent socio-economic factors that prevail today”.
CSA confirms that although the report is titled an “interim report”, the ombudsman has now discharged his mandate and no further report is expected.
As CSA chairman, Lawson Naidoo said in his closing remarks to the SJN hearings: “We look forward to the report and will engage with it and its recommendations in order to assist in ensuring that we do indeed move the game of cricket onto a new and different trajectory. We are thus committed to considering the findings and recommendations with an open mind. We will look at the report objectively, having regard to our social justice obligations, and our duties as guardians of the game in the Republic of South Africa.”
Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
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