United Cricket Board of South Africa on Scrapping of Quota System: briefing

Sports, Arts and Culture

03 September 2002
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


3 September 2002

Chairperson: Ms N R Bhengu

Documents handed out:
United Cricket Board Powerpoint Presentation

United Cricket Board of South Africa briefed the Committee on its decision to scrap the quota system in cricket. Issues covered included the history and background of the United Cricket Board; redressing imbalances of the past; the steps the United Cricket Board had taken in its first five years of admittance; pre-Conference preparations and the actual Consolidation Conference held in July 2002. It touched on the recommendations of the latter conference, one of which was to drop the quota system.

The Chairperson, Ms Bhengu welcomed the United Cricket Board (UCB) delegation, led by Mr Gerald Majola, the UCB Chief Executive Officer. Accompanying Mr Majola were Mr Rob Kurz, the UCB Vice president; Mr Ray Mali, the Chairperson of the UCB's Development Committee; and Mr Chris Day, a UCB transformation consultant.

She explained that the rationale for the meeting was mainly to look at the issue of scrapping the quota system as heard over the media news. The committee felt that it should not be informed through the media of such an important issue. She said the focus of the meeting would therefore be to get the rationale behind the UCB's scrapping of the quota system and the direction the UCB was taking in respect of transformation in the country. She explained that the meeting was intended to be an information giving session, after which the committee members would have an opportunity to closely analyse the information given on the basis of their experiences and knowledge.

Mr Gerald Majola, Chief Executive Officer of UCB briefed the Committee on the history and background of the UCB. He also informed the UCB's on the four thrusts one of which was to redress the imbalances of the past; the steps the UCB had taken in its first five years of admittance; the pre-Conference preparations and the actual Consolidation Conference held in July 2002.

Please refer to the UCB Powerpoint Presentation attached.

Mr T Lee (DP) agreed with Mr Majola's presentation as he had a similar experience as a former cricketer who had come through the lower ranks. He said that he was proud of what the UCB had achieved over the years. He was concerned about what he said was a lack of capacity to identify talented players who went through trials at school level. He suggested that UCB should appoint someone who was specifically appointed to identify talent rather than leaving it out to schools to do so.

Mr Ray Mali said that UCB had programmes in place to identify talent and ensure excellence in their programmes. He said UCB had also identified, among others, University of Fort Hare, Stellenbosch as centres of excellence which had top coaches, not only to identify but also to groom talent of the previously disadvantaged players. The problem of identifying talent could be effectively dealt with by providing proper facilities in the previously disadvantaged areas such as SOWETO, Mdantsane and Umlazi townships.

Mr CT Frolick (UDM) asked about the punitive and corrective measures that the UCB had at its disposal to use against the provincial union bodies who were unable to meet transformation targets. He was concerned that certain provinces were struggling to get players of colour. What was the UCB was doing about the provinces that, because they were unable to get players of colours in their provinces, were importing players of colour from other provinces? He suggested that the UCB should have in place programmes to engage the teaching fraternity to see how partnerships could be forged to ensure that the players of colour were identified and groomed.

Regarding the question on certain provinces importing players from other provinces, Mr Mali acceeded that this had always been a problem. UCB was monitoring those provinces to ensure that they produced their own black players. Mr Kurz added that the UCB would deal with those provinces not 'playing the game' as they expected of them.

Mr C M Morkel (NNP) was concerned about the issue of communication breakdown between the Ministry of Sport and the UCB. He wondered if the issues that were to be deliberated upon in the Consolidating Conference in July 2002 were not discussed between the Ministry of Sport and the UCB. He said if there was no proper communication between the two, the country would then suffer in its development initiatives.

On the issue of communication, Mr Majola said that prior to the Consolidating Conference held in July 2002, the Ministry of Sport was kept abreast on the preparations for the conference. Mr Chris Day added that the Ministry of Sport was invited to the conference. And that he thought that that was a true way of communicating with the Ministry. He said that the UCB's invitation list of the three sporting bodies indicated the seriousness and the hard work that the UCB had put in communicating with the Ministry of Sport.

Mr EJ Lucas (IFP) asked why there was no success in finding players of colour in KwaZulu Natal. How did KwaZulu Natal vote on the quota system issue during the Consolidating Conference? What was UCB's definition of a black player? He raised concern with the UCB's decision to highlight Mr Majola as the face of South African Cricket during the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003. He wondered if this was a plan by the UCB to create an impression that all was well in the UCB.

Mr Majola said that the UCB had picked up that it had failed to penetrate KwaZulu Natal for black players. It had however identified the culture of cricket playing and the enthusiasm that black people had about cricket in KwaZulu Natal.

Regarding the question for clarity on the UCB's definition of a black player, Mr Majola's answer was that black referred to anyone who was non-white.

Mr Kurz said on the suggestion that Majola being the face of Cricket South Africa during the World Cup 2003 was window dressing, would, on the contrary, be a huge responsibility for Majola.

Mr Mali said that there was a perception among black people that South Africa had veered away from its style of playing and had instead adopted other styles. He said that South Africa needed to make sure that the diversity in cricket culture reflected in the country was moulded together and not killed.

Mr Z Ncinane (ANC) referred to the R154 million that Mr Majola said was allocated to the different provinces. Was the UCB monitoring the use of that money in the provinces? He asked if the UCB was making any effort to distinguish between quota players and the black players. He asked how the UCB was following players identified through development initiatives like the one by Bakers Biscuit in the past, through to the provincial level.

Miss R Southgate (ACDP) asked about the criteria that the UCB was using to allocate the R154 million to the provinces. She also referred to what she said was a public outcry for and against the quota system and threats by the ANC Youth League as a result of the scrapping of the quota system to destabilise the Cricket World Cup in 2003. She asked if UCB had any discussions with the ANC Youth League to avoid destabilisation of the Cricket World Cup.

On the distribution of the R154 million, Mr Mali said that the money was not being distributed evenly on all provinces. He said there was a score-card system used to allocate it. Provinces had to motivate why they needed the money and where it was going. He said the money was, among other things, allocated according to the number of facilities and the nature of programmes a province had. And that it varied from province to province. He said that its allocation was properly monitored.

Mr Mali, on the question on quotas, explained that we were living in an era where people were becoming proud of themselves and did not want to be labelled in the same old direction. He said he had regarded the issue of quota as a way of propelling South Africa forward and that it had served the intended purpose. He said that there was now, a need to ensure that previously disadvantaged areas were provided with quality and top coaches to make up for the dropping of the quota system.

Advocate PS Swart (DP) referred to the variations in the setting of transformation target by different provinces and asked for clarity on the matter.

Mr Majola said that all provinces had increased their benchmarks and that the benchmark would be what was there last year and more not less.

Mr R Pieterse (ANC) enquired about what was termed quality black players, something he thought was implying that there were unqualified players. He also asked the UCB to give a report covering the disabled people and women as well.

Mr Mali said that the issue of quality players could be interpreted in many ways. He said a quality player was someone who would dominate the game, someone who stood in there despite challenges and insults he received on the field of play. Rob Kurz said that there was no differentiation between groups in respect of quality players. He said 'a quality player was a quality player irrespective of racial affiliation'.

Regarding the question on disabled people and women, Mr Majola said the UCB had decided, in future, to have joint meetings with them.

The chairperson said according to her understanding, there was no such a thing as a quota player in South Africa, it was only a quota system.. She said the confusion on quota player and quota system would lead to a situation where people were dealing with the labelling of people instead of the real problem. How was the UCB conscientizing the players about the past they were emerging from? She said there was a problem of players who did not know where they were coming from who, when they became rich did not look back to see if what was the problem was addressed. How did UCB's criteria of distributing the R154 million relate to the national programme of poverty eradication?

Mr Mali said the UCB was contracting a lot of black players from the previously disadvantaged groups to ensure representivity. It was giving opportunities to previously disadvantaged players. It had gone to areas like where cricket developers are employed to ensure cricket development takes place in those areas

Chris Day, in reply to the discussion on quota players and the quota system explained that the word quota was a media invention. Instead of quotas, he said the UCB used targets. He acceeded that the word quota had now become part of the South African vocabulary.

Ms N Lamani (ANC) commended the UCB for what she thought was a good report. She then asked for an explanation as to why, with the previously disadvantaged players, there was always a shortage of batsmen as opposed to the numbers of bowlers. She was concerned that most cricket commentators were still the same people from the 1970s. With regard to the R154 million to the provinces, Ms Lamani urged the UCB to ensure a fair distribution to all local governments.

On the issue of batsmen, Majola's answer was that UCB shared the same concerns as Miss Lamani's. He, however, said that there were black batsmen coming up. In respect of the issue of the commentators, Mr Majola said the issue was not in the UCB's hands but the broadcasters'. Mr Chris Day said that, in the UCB's evaluation of cricket transformation, one of the biggest weaknesses it identified was the media. He said that there was little forward movement of journalists from the previously disadvantaged background. He urged the committee to look also into the issue media transformation.

The Chairperson said the committee was inundated with questions on sport issues by parliament, and ought to be informed on decisions taken by sporting bodies. The UCB should respect the role of the committee as an important player in sport.

Meeting was adjourned.


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