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- Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa says racism will “not be tolerated by government”.
- The Black Lives Matter movement has gained massive traction in South African cricket.
- Mthethwa says he will give Cricket South Africa “two weeks” to see if steps are taken to eradicate racial discrimination.
Sports minister Nathi Mthethwa has expressed his concern over the ongoing administrative crisis at Cricket South Africa (CSA).
Earlier this week, both president Chris Nenzani and acting CEO Jacques Faul resigned from their respective CSA roles, leaving the organisation in dire straits.
Apart from governance and Covid-19 issues, CSA has also had to deal with the issues related to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
The movement was brought to prominence by fast bowler Lungi Ngidi, who after winning a CSA Award, stated that he was in support of BLM.
Ngidi’s stance saw him receive backlash from ex-South African cricketers Rudi Steyn, Pat Symcox and Boeta Dippenaar, who argued that “all lives matter”.
It prompted former players to come forward, who claimed there was mistreatment and racial inequality witin the Proteas set-up.
South Africa’s first black African cricketer, Makhaya Ntini, appeared on SABC’s Morning Live where he revealed he often felt lonely throughout his international career.
Ntini made the startling revelation where he detailed how he would run – instead of using the team bus – to commute between hotels and stadiums as he felt his team-mates would avoid sitting with him.
Speaking at a Covid-19 press conference in Pretoria, Mthethwa was adamant that any forms of racism would not be tolerated.
“I had asked to meet them particularly on the issues which had been raised by ex-cricket players (highlighting) systemic racism in cricket,” said Mthethwa.
“I explained to them that, first and foremost, racism, if it’s proven to be true, is not going to be tolerated by government. We are not going to be friendly to that kind of a situation. We want to go deeper into these issues.”
Mthethwa revealed that government had met with some former players.
“I explained to them (CSA)… I did meet with the ex-players themselves, who expressed how this covert racism manifests itself at cricket,” he said.
“Some of them expressed how their dreams were shattered as young athletes at the hands of some of the administrators, and [there are] others who are still around with allegations and counter-allegations.
“We’ve said to Cricket South Africa that we want [action] on these key issues… whether it’s unequal pay for the players, whether it’s the failure to bridge the gap on the basis of culture of race and so on… for us, we want to get a clear indication of how they are going to deal with that.”
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Mthethwa on Monday called on for CSA to appoint people of colour in high administration roles, which the company has done this week.
On Tuesday, CSA’s members’ council appointed Beresford Williams as acting president, while on Wednesday, Kugandrie Govender took over from Faul as acting CEO, becoming the first female to serve in the role.
Faul, who took up the interim CEO role in December 2019 following the suspension of Thabang Moroe, was set to remain in the post until early September.
Mthethwa added he would be giving the CSA board “two weeks” to get its affairs in order.
“At the core of sport and cricket, where you have five key people there and these five people are, all of them bar one, white males,” added Mthethwa.
“I said to them clearly that has to change, and change fast, because it cannot be argued that it’s only white men who would be having a monopoly of talent, capability and skills to lead cricket.
“These were some of the things we put to them and we did say that we would be watching. For us, two weeks from now would be a clear indication as to whether it is just lip service.”
– Compiled by Sport24 staff