Johannesburg: Cricket South Africa (CSA) has set up a project – Cricket for Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) to address the allegations of racial discrimination in the sport.
Former speedster Makhaya Ntini had recently alleged that he was feeling ‘forever lonely’ as a result of the racial discrimination within the national side during his playing days.
“The Cricket South Africa (CSA) Board of Directors has noted the latest developments in the country, with the Black Lives Matter (#BLM) campaign lead taken by Proteas fast bowler Lungisani Ngidi,” CSA said in a statement.
“This triggered many allegations of racial discrimination in cricket from former cricket players like Makhaya Ntini and others.
“The national outcry by cricket fans, the greater South African public and broad stakeholder groups could not be ignored. The Transformation Committee of the Board developed a sustainable response strategy, under its Project: Cricket for Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN),” it added.
The project will address the following
– The establishment the Office of the Transformation Ombudsman, whose core function will include the management of the independent complaints system, convene a National SJN Imbizo and provide assurance regarding the extent to which transformation programmes are impactful on society, amongst others.
– Engage in the healing, restoration and uniting process of cricket players, fans, and the nation, starting with the disgruntled former players.
– Formation of The Restoration Fund – to deal with opportunity cost due to discrimination
– Promote and intensify Diversity, Belonging and Inclusivity (DIBS) program implementation.
The ombudsman is expected to be appointed by the end of August. Independent Director and Transformation Chair, Dr Eugenia Kula-Ameyaw, will be heading the process.
CSA Board Chair Chris Nenzani said: “We are sorry that our cricket players had to endure the emotional hardships that they did; subjugated by their peers along racial lines under our new democracy that enjoined us to embrace reconciliation and inclusivity.”
“SJN is the first-of-its-kind project meant to rid cricket of apartheid racial discrimination. This is the very important project that all stakeholders must make sure it succeeds for the future sustainability of cricket.”
He went on to say, “the fortunes of cricket, its players, stakeholders, and fans are not going to be held to ransom by the wayward few who definitely have no place within our ranks. We are determined to pull out all stops to ensure that healing takes place for those who have been wronged, and that perpetrators are exposed, sanctioned, and isolated.”
CSA Acting CEO Dr Jacques Faul said: “It has been a very challenging time for Cricket South Africa, and we have to acknowledge that what we have heard was not easy to digest. However, I am also encouraged by our plan to address this. We will need the buy-in from all our stakeholders to ensure a racism free future at Cricket South Africa.
“We commit that never again shall we be found wanting and will consolidate our efforts to assure an inclusive cricket environment, free of any discrimination, racism or any other ill that negate the gains of the democracy that we fought so hard for,” he concluded.
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