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Dumisa Ntsebeza takes up duties as Ombudsman for SJN Project

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The significance of transformation in the future development of South African cricket and its role in redressing past wrongs was given a huge boost when Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza today took up his position as ombudsperson of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Cricket for Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) project.

His appointment is for a period of 6 months and key aspects of the mandate given to him by CSA include wide-ranging engagements with cricket stakeholders including former players, current players, their representative body SACA, administrators, employees, educators, the media, sponsors and government. These will start in May with a planned meeting with the large group of 40 plus former players who last year made their statement during the world-wide #BlackLivesMatter protests in sport.

Another key mandate from the CSA Interim Board is for the ombud to investigate how women can be brought into the cricket mainstream at all levels as soon as possible; also how CSA can work with different levels of government and the NGO and private sectors to create access in future for young people from communities historically excluded from opportunity. The process will reach its conclusion with the holding of a CSA National Transformation Conference to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Cricket South Africa, followed by the presentation of Advocate Ntsebeza’s report to the CSA Board in August.

“This is not only significant for cricket, but for the entire nation,” commented CSA Interim Board Chairperson Dr Stavros Nicolaou. “Advocate Ntsebeza is an outstanding South African and we trust this will be a national project, which helps those who have been hurt due to discrimination feel that they have been heard in cricket. What this means to all of us, to those affected, is that CSA is heading in the right direction. It is not enough just to talk, action is required, and I think this is a step in that direction.

Mr Rihan Richards, president of the Member’s Council, added his fulsome support, saying he was glad the details of the process announced last year had been finalised.

The ombud’s responsibilities and programme have been worked out in close discussions between him and CSA and this will allow the SJN process launched by CSA in August last year to take off in earnest, noted CSA Acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki.

Advocate Ntsebeza expressed his delight at taking up this important post, tasked with managing an independent complaints system that will look at the healing, restoration and uniting process of cricket players, fans, and the nation, starting with the former players.

He said, “CSA is committed to a new path anchored on transformation and the SJN project. We owe it to the former players, coaches and administrators and the general public to act decisively. We need to ensure the ills that may have been inflicted on them are not extended to the next generation.

“My first task is to engage with the former players, coaches and administrators, who last year provided heart-rending revelations about their personal experiences of racial discrimination in cricket since unity. They have indeed done the game a service in speaking out the way they did.

“This is no time for PR messaging; we have to be accountable and implement realistic and sustainable measures,” he concluded.

© Cricket World 2021