Cricket South Africa reported that the number of Black players at the different levels of cricket in South Africa was satisfactory. There was a special focus on developing Black African players, but caution was needed lest players be exposed at too high a level before they were ready. A performance monitoring system was in place.
Members were concerned with the development of the game in the rural areas. Cricket had always been popular in the Eastern Cape but not so much in other regions. Talent must be identified. Some Members felt the focus on the colour of players should no longer be an issue. Not enough was being done for the women's game. Disputes should be kept out of the media. Members asked what was done to ensure the future of players after their careers.
Members were assured that rural cricketers were being chances to display their talents, but resources were limited. Cricket South Africa was hoping to channel development efforts through the existing clubs where schools were not succeeding. Some academies were assisting with developing the game. Not all players would succeed at professional level and their expectations must be tempered. It was agreed that the current Board was unwieldy due to its size.
Disciplinary proceedings against the suspended Chief Executive Officer were continuing, as was the criminal case. Civil proceedings would be undertaken to recover bonuses paid to Board members. A steering committee had been put in place, and their preliminary report would be debated at an indaba later in the month. The recommendations should be accepted by the Annual General Meeting later in the year. Key areas to be addressed were the previous lack of leadership and the need for oversight and good governance.
Members welcomed the stand taken by Cricket South Africa to recognise and correct errors made in its governance. It was important that the players could feel proud of their administrators.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) briefing on Transformation in South African Cricket
Mr Jacques Faul, Cricket South Africa Acting CEO, said that there were six franchises at the professional level of domestic cricket. For the 2011/12 season, there had been a target of four black players per team, which had been met. A total of 125 players had appeared at this level during the season, of whom 33 (26%) were classified as Coloured, 15 (12%) as Black African, and 9 (7%) Indian. There was a special focus on Black African players. The aim of CSA was eventually to meet a 50/50 target. While six Black Africans were included in the High Performance (HP) group for the 2011/12 season, there had been 26 Black African players in the system over the previous three seasons.
Mr Faul said that cricket was a unique game due to the longevity of the players. For example, Mark Boucher had been the first choice wicket-keeper for fourteen years before injury had ended his career. The National Academy had a yearly intake, with a strong Black African focus. This was the first step on the ladder to the Proteas.
Mr Faul said that things started at club level. There was less influence which CSA could exert. It was, however, encouraging to see the number of Black clubs. CSA was looking to increase the base at school level. A large percentage of the board members was Black. At the National Weeks there were several black players and coaches. Mr Geoffrey Toyana had been appointed as a franchise coach for the new season.
Mr Faul said that he hoped the pipeline to the nationally contracted squad would deliver more players of colour. The T20 World Cup squad had not been finalised yet. Aaron Phangiso had been included in the preliminary squad while Lonwabo Tsotsobe was rated as one of the best seam bowlers in this form of the game. The Test squad currently playing against England had more players of colour than White players. The final mix depended on the requirements for each match. There were exciting developments such as the success of Vernon Philander.
Mr Faul said that the South Africa A team had recently played against their Sri Lankan counterparts. Themba Bavuma was a good prospect. Officials had to be mindful of pushing players into the deep end too quickly. Vernon Philander had struggled when introduced into the limited overs squad some years previously. The A team would soon be in Ireland, including a number of black players. These players represented the future.
Mr M Hlengwa (IFP) asked what was happening in the rural areas.
Ms G Sindani (ANC) said that players should be players. It was discriminatory to talk about the colour of players.
The Chairperson was not sure what Ms Sindani's question meant. The team could not be lily white. Other races had to be included.
Mr Chris Nenzani, CSA Board Member, said it was an unfortunate reference. The term “Black” was used generically. It was understood that it meant persons who were not White, but the focus was needed on African players. There were those in other racial groups who needed to be developed. The reference was unfortunate.
Mr D Lee (DA) was glad that the progress of players was being tracked. Makhaya Ntini had been discovered in the rural areas. He asked what was being done to get more Black players into the net.
Mr Faul said that the rural areas were a challenge. There was a competition for teams from these areas, and there was also a focus at schools level. More resources needed to be placed there. The Performax system was being used to track players. A scientific approach was needed, especially to monitor injuries. The system was not fully mature yet. They were benchmarking their performance systems against other countries.
Mr Nenzani said that the development system had been based on schools. There was a structure at this level. Many rural schools were becoming dysfunctional, leading to the neglect of cricket in these areas. There were clubs in deep rural areas of the Eastern Cape that had survived with minimal resources for more than a hundred years. These clubs needed funding. The future was to develop in the rural areas through the clubs, incorporating the schools.
Mr Lee was glad to see this focus. Schools had to help the development program. He asked if the schools were aware of this initiative, referring to the national schools' organising body.
Mr Faul replied that he was not sure if any federation could take its sport all around the country. It would be a good exercise to leverage capacity and the departments were keen to roll out the programme.
The Chairperson referred to the Gumbela Tournament. He asked if talent was being scouted at this event. He asked what was being done for women's cricket. In many federations the women were not taken seriously. There were serious injustices in some bodies. He asked what targets and time frames were being set. Parliament would like to monitor the further implementation of the programme. Academies had been set up. He asked what interaction was happening with these academies. They should not be working in isolation.
Mr Lee said that it was time to settle disputes in private rather than in the media. It was time to focus on the teams rather than on in-fighting in the media.
Mr Nenzani replied that he was from the Eastern Cape, and was familiar with the rural tournaments. He was also President of the Border federation. There was another tournament based in the King William's Town area. Cricket had been played there for years. The challenge was in the funding of these programmes. There was no doubt that there was a pool of talent waiting to be discovered. Three teams took part in national rural fixtures. One came from the Border area, one from the Gumbela tournament and the other from the rest of the country. The idea was to expose talent from these rural areas, and to give them a chance to perform. The Border semi-professional team was full of players from this area. It was a big challenge for such players to move to the next level. Funding was a problem. In the past, CSA had provided a discretionary grant of R60 000. Mr Gumbela used his own resources to finance the tournament. His efforts were appreciated.
Mr Nenzani said that the Mfuneko Ngam Academy at the University of Fort Hare was a joint programme between CSA and the University. It was designed to develop all cricketers, but in particular to fast-track Black players. Fort Hare now played in the Border Super League. Former Border player and coach Greg Hayes was mentoring the players. The Makhaya Ntini Academy was not yet operational due to a lack of funds. R17 million was needed to get it going. CSA had to consider if a building was needed or whether the goals would be achieved simply by presenting the programmes.
Mr Faul said that the men's team had a high profile and was able to attract big sponsorships. A full-time coach had now been appointed for the women's team. Some funding was now being released to bring the team up to a semi-professional level. A strong provincial competition was needed which was not yet the case. All premier league clubs now had to form a women's team. Sponsorship was being investigated. The sponsorship for the women's football team was a step forward.
Mr Faul said that transformation targets did need to be set. Sport was still a young professional industry. Measurements were still not being done scientifically. This needed to be remedied. A performance management system was needed to contract and track a certain group. This had not been done that well in the past.
Mr Faul said that negative exposure in the media had tarnished the image of the game. The corruption scandals had been a lesson. People saw the media as an ally to pursue their agenda. Cricket had been an easy target as information was being leaked to the media. In some cases the media had information from Board meetings which were still in session. The players should be in the news and not the administrators.
Mr M Rabotapi (DA) said that some codes had developed naturally in the Eastern Cape but not in other parts of the country. He asked if there was any special programme to drive this.
Mr Hlengwa asked what plans were in place for players after their playing days. Sport needed to be linked to education. He asked how young players were being mentored while their education was not neglected. Recently, only one official in a certain code had passed a test. He asked what the standard and training of umpiring was. Match officials should meet minimum requirements.
Mr Faul said that spreading the game to new areas was a priority. A transformation fund had been established and would allocate funds to such areas. Dr Willie Basson had developed this. Player management and exit was a good question. A successful player might end his career at the age of forty, with another twenty years of economic activity ahead of him. The Players' Association was addressing this question. When a player was placed in a high school, he had the perception that cricket would be his life. This did not happen for most of them. Only a few would succeed. Individuals who did not, might become bitter. Expectations had to be addressed. Young players needed to be schooled with alternative career options. There were exit programmes in place.
Mr Faul said that cricket umpires were different to other sports in that they stood still, but they still did need a certain fitness level. There was one South African umpire on the international panel but there were different levels in place at domestic level. Technology was being harnessed to assist with decisions.
The Chairperson said that the Department of Sport and Recreation (SRSA) should be engaged with. They maintained programmes for mass development and for club development. CSA could get valuable assistance in moving to other areas of the country. Development in cricket had to be considered seriously. African bowlers were making their mark, but there were not many batsmen emerging.
The Chairperson noted that in terms of the Judge Nicholson findings, some matters might not be for public consumption. He asked how big the Board of CSA was.
Mr Nenzani replied that there was a unique situation. There was supposed to be a members' forum, which would represent the affiliates. The Board should run matters at a higher level. At present these two bodies had collapsed into one. All twelve provincial presidents sat on the Board. There were ten other members responsible for various functions such as finances.
The Chairperson noted the explanation. Some lessons must have been learnt following the Majola affair. The Committee could only advise CSA, although it could intervene in serious issues.
Disciplinary Process with Mr Majola: briefing by Cricket South Africa
Mr Faul said that a process had been entered into regarding Mr Gerald Majola. CSA was trying to resolve the process as quickly as possible. A legal professional, Adv Redding, had been appointed to lead the enquiry. At the request of Mr Majola, the chairperson of the disciplinary board had recused himself. The criminal case was in the hands of SAPS. The former Board members had been asked to return their bonuses, but had refused. Civil action would follow.
After guidance from the Chairperson, Mr Nenzani said that the recommendations of the Nicholson Report were still a work in progress. They had been accepted by the Board. A public commitment had been made to fix the mess. To some extent the Board might have failed to exercise leadership. He believed that the desire to remedy the situation was present. The recommendations all came down to a lack of oversight. The Board had been accounting to itself only. A steering committee had been appointed, including four totally independent persons. A preliminary report had been adopted by the Board. Key issues were the need to reduce the size of the Board. It needed to act independently. It had to be the custodian in terms of governance. A governance model was being introduced. When the final report was prepared, all parties would have had the chance to make an input. A meeting was planned for the weekend where the steering committee would submit a draft report. A national indaba would be held late in August, which would lead to the second draft. The steering committee would then prepare a second final draft. A Special General Meeting would be held before the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which had been postponed form September to October to allow the process to be finalised.
Mr Nenzani said that some of the issues would impact on the Articles of Association. A constitutional framework would be provided for progress. There was a commitment to the Minister to deliver on the provinces.
Mr Lee said it took a big man to cry. The fact that CSA had admitted their mistake showed that they accepted responsibility. It was now possible to move on. He applauded this stand.
Ms Sindani shared Mr Lee's sentiments on the acceptance of the Nicholson Report. She wanted clarity on the national indaba on 24 and 25 August. She asked if this would produce an action plan based on earlier resolutions. She asked if the internal management of CSA would be included in the agenda.
Mr Nenzani said that the situation was special. Annual conferences were normally held during August. The focus of the indaba would be to deal with the findings of the steering committee. All structures would be welcome to attend and participate. The key focus would be to deal with the report, and to formulate a response to the Nicholson recommendations. This would guide CSA at its AGM. The oversight function had to be strengthened.
The Chairperson said that the CEO would be called again to report on progress. The size of the Board had to be reduced. There were too many possible conflicts of interest arising from such a large body. He wished CSA well for their indaba and future endeavours. Getting things right might make CSA unpopular. Calling people to order might lead to hostility. The players should be proud of their administrators.
Mr Nenzani thanked the Committee for their time. South Africa was still in a very good space on the playing field.
The Committee Secretary said that Members were invited to attend a function hosted by the Argentinian ambassador on 17 August. The function was in honour of the Argentinian rugby team. There would also be a match between the Argentinian Parliamentary rugby team against their South African counterparts. The Germans also wanted to know if any further information was required. The next meeting would be with Tennis South Africa the following week. The date for the sports awards had been finalised, but he could not confirm if Beyonce would be performing. The meeting was adjourned.
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