Cricket SA: Transformation, Financial performance, Governance and Development programmes

Sports, Arts and Culture

19 May 2015
Chairperson: Ms D Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by Cricket South Africa (CSA) on transformation, financial performance, governance and development programmes. CSA reported that according to its understanding, transformation at national level would happen when it focused on developing the talent from the bottom up. Members were told CSA had set transformation targets at provincial, franchise affiliate and district level, which were based on a resolution from the transformation Indaba. The incremental progressive targets were that at the provincial level, there had to be a minimum of six black players, with a specification of three black African players therein. As sensitive as the specification was, CSA wanted to be clear so as to ensure that the focus on black African representation was not lost in generic black representation. That would create a pool of black African players.

At the national level, CSA did not set targets but gave guidelines to the national team selection panel and coach. The entire development chain therefore was to ensure that once a player was selected, that would be purely on merit first, so that there could be consistency in position maintenance and not for purposes of representativity. CSA was doing all that to avoid the unfortunate public perception that transformation and performance were mutually exclusive, because they were not. To accelerate progress, CSA had introduced activity-based funding, with incentives and sanctions now in place, with a stronger focus on accountability.

What had been CSA’s targeted budget loss of about R106 million for 2014/15 would be mitigated by a profit in excess of R30 million in the 2015/16 financial year. This was a result of new sponsorships and the way CSA had managed its cost base, and would then translate into a turnaround of about R140 million. The way that the International Cricket Council (ICC) profits had been shared previously was that the ten full member countries, of which SA was one, had received an equal share. What had changed was that the bigger countries would get more and the smaller ones less. A differential example of what the biggest country (India) would get versus SA was 6:1. This meant that CSA currently would have to do more with less.

The Committee wanted to know:

  • What criteria were used for identifying youth with talent for the scholarship programme at CSA? Did CSA have hubs in all nine provinces, and how far in development where they?

  • Could CSA commit to a timeframe as to when gender representation would be achieved?

  • Did sponsorship negotiations have a transformation condition attached, since transformation was an important element in sports for Government?

  • What measures were there to deal with resistance from white players to transformation in the national and provincial teams?

  • What criteria did the ICC use to determine which countries were bigger and which were smaller in terms of cricket revenue distribution?

  • How would the banning of fast-food and alcohol advertising affect CSA sponsorship funding, and did it have contingency plans in place for that?

Members also asked CSA for insight into the events that went into ensuring that team representation was aligned to the transformation targets, and who in the hierarchy of the team was responsible for ensuring that the targets were compatible with the team. 

Meeting report

Opening remarks

The Chairperson said that because the Committee was serious about transformation in sport, Cricket SA need not feel intimidated, as the general perception about Committees was that they were offensive towards those who came to account in Parliament. She also acknowledged the small gifts that Cricket SA had sent ahead of the briefing.

Briefing by Cricket SA

Mr Chris Nenzani, President and Chairman, Cricket SA, said that the leadership of Cricket SA (CSA) understood that whatever they did had to be in keeping with the public interest. Accounting to the Committee would hopefully enable it and the public to understand the work of CSA and how decisions were made by the senior management.

CSA had seen an improvement in its offerings, in terms of how competitions were run and received by spectators. The entity was also satisfied with the level of stability in its management and efficiency. CSA had managed to sign agreements for international quality tours up to 2023, which in its eyes was a great achievement.

Mr Haroon Lorgat, Chief Executive Officer, CSA, made the presentation to the Committee.

In September 2015, CSA would be hosting its first ever Africa Cup – a T20 Competition for 13 affiliates and three African countries.

CSA understood that transformation at national level would happen when it focused on developing the talent from the bottom up. For example, it had player targets for achieving representativity in the professional cricket system.

Transformation and Development Progress

To accelerate progress, CSA had introduced activity-based funding with incentives and sanctions now in place, with a stronger focus on accountability.

In terms of the regional academies, CSA was in talks with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) as well as the University of the Western Cape (UWC) to be part of the Regional Performance Centres (RPCs) and Hubs programme.

2013/14 Financial Results

Mr Lorgat said that what had been CSA’s targeted budget loss of about R106 million for 2014/15 would be mitigated by a profit in excess of R30 million in the 2015/16 financial year. This was a result of new sponsorships and the way CSA had managed its cost base, and would then translate into a turnaround of about R140 million.

Proposed ICC Distribution Model for 2015 -2023

He said that the way that the International Cricket Council (ICC) profits had been shared previously was that the ten full member countries, of which SA was one, had received an equal share. What had changed was that the bigger countries would get more and the smaller ones less. A differential example of what the biggest country (India) would get versus SA was 6:1. This meant that CSA currently would have to do more with less.

Discussion

Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) applauded the differentiation by CSA in categorising players as African black and generic black. Moreover, the schools sport programme would assist CSA with its bottom up approach of developing cricket from school and club level.

Ms B Abrahams (ANC) asked what criteria were used for identifying youth with talent for the scholarship programme at CSA. Did CSA have hubs in all nine provinces, and how far in development where they?

Ms D Manana (ANC) commented that she was troubled by the gender imbalance in senior management at CSA. She had witnessed the work at the Malekutu rural academy, and it was progressing quite well. Had CSA worked on enabling access to the 12 stadiums for the disabled? Could CSA commit to a timeframe as to when gender representation would be achieved? Could it also give the actual income it had received in sponsorships? Was CSA convinced that Thami Tsolekile had received sufficient and equal opportunities in the wicket keeping position as his fellow wicket keepers?

Mr L Filtane (UDM) asked whether sponsorship negotiations had a transformation condition attached to them, since transformation was an important element in sports for the government. Why were the transformation targets hovering around 50% -- and even less for the Varsity Cup cricket teams? What measures were there to deal with the resistance from white players for transformation to occur in the national and provincial teams? He also reiterated Ms Manana’s concern that CSA had not committed to any timelines as to when it would achieve any of its transformation targets. How had local government been receiving CSAs approach towards getting municipalities to assist in maintaining cricket ovals over the years?

Mr L Ntshayisa (AIC) asked what criteria the ICC used to determine which countries were bigger and which were smaller for the cricket revenue distribution.

Mr M Malatsi (DA) commented that CSA had to speak to the extent transformation targets were being achieved and implemented, and at which levels they applied. It should especially address the likelihood of incompatibility from national teams through to franchises, and whether CSA had any recourse where targets where not met. Could it also give insight into the events that went into ensuring that team representation was aligned to transformation targets and who in the hierarchy of the team was responsible for ensuring that the targets were compatible with the team? That would also clear the mist, where talking about the achievement of targets could be weighed against merit selection. What could have been done better for the Proteas to win the Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2015?

Mr M Mabika (NFP) congratulated CSA for its stability in management and finances, and the strides that the Proteas had made at the CWC.

Mr S Mmusi (ANC) said that the previous Portfolio Committee had lamented the slow pace of transformation in cricket, where even when a player was substituted at national team level, players of colour substituted each other. He said that the political interference that had been alluded to during the CWC was acceptable if it had indeed happened, as long as the interference had been made in the name of transformation. His heart had gone out to Vernon Philander, when the media had said that he had cost SA the World Cup, so he wanted to know what kind of support CSA had given him.

He asked how CSA had convinced the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to partner with it in its roll-out of development cricket at schools, as the Committee struggled constantly to get a briefing from the DBE on its commitments to Sports and Recreation South Africa (SRSA). Could CSA also go into detail on the school cricket model it would be rolling out in September 2015? Would CSA say that the larger portion of its income came from sponsorships, or from revenue generated from tours? How would the banning of fast-food and alcohol advertising affect CSA’s sponsorship funding, and had it contingencies in place for that?

The Chairperson applauded the strides made by CSA in having contracted the entire national women’s team and supporting them to the reach number two position in the world in One Day Internationals (ODIs). She said that CSA had to also intervene by supporting initiatives like the Ngumbela Rural Sports Development tournament.

Mr Nenzani said that the Committee should rest assured that CSA was giving Mr Ngumbela support. Additionally, everyone that was present had to understand that CSA was not a rich federation, but this was the nature of how senior management managed the finances of CSA. He was available at any time to provide clarity for the Committee, through the Chairperson, on any issue in print media that affected cricket.

Mr Lorgat said that he was often challenged to deal with the media, where the more one spoke the truth, the more it got slanted. Sadly some of South Africa’s best cricketers were those of colour, and the country struggled to boast about them. Mr Philander happened to be among the best bowlers in the world, yet some in SA had questioned his selection during the CWC. CSA had an independent panel that selected the best 11. If at any time it had to apply its mind to favour a player, the favoured selection would currently always fall towards a black player, if there was a 50/50 choice. The players all understood and knew that, black and white, and they supported that. This transparency was how CSA dealt with resistance from players in terms of transformation.

On the roll-out in rural areas, Mr Lorgat said that CSA would be visible in more areas if it had more resources. Moreover the entity had to be responsible, and was wary of being tripped up by its own growth, because it had prior experience of building facilities in certain areas and a year later, when CSA returned, the facilities had been destroyed.

Regarding the hubs, Mr Tsolekile was responsible for the hub at Langa, Cape Town, but overall there was a plan where over a period of time the hubs would enable access to the districts and to the roll-out of RPCs in all the provinces.

There were facilities for the disabled in some of CSA’s stadiums, but possibly they were not visibly demarcated as such. However, this was certainly part of the re-engineering process alluded to in the presentation.

Though timelines for the achievement of targets were absent from the day’s presentation, they would be part of the transformation targets in the Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) signed with SRSA, and were certainly in CSA’s operational plans.

Regarding punitive measures for non-compliance with transformation targets by affiliates, the President, the CEO, as well as the coach of an affiliate or franchise, would have to come before the Transformation Committee or the board of CSA to explain why targets were not being met.

As far as black representation in Varsity Cup teams was concerned, the Cup had been introduced only in February 2015 and as such since institutions of higher learning recruited talented students themselves, CSA accepted that it would be lenient in 2015. However, the entity had notified institutions that they would have to align with CSA’s transformation targets from 2016 onwards.

Mr Max Jordaan, Transformation Manager, CSA, said that it terms of rural cricket CSA, was in all nine provinces. The Eastern Cape and Western Cape had three regions, while KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) was visible in two regions. The University of Fort Hare (UFH) Rural Academy reached out to the nearby communities to provide cricket development. In Mpumalanga, Bushbuckridge had been identified as a central point for a hub, where Malekutu was a work in progress.

Over and above all that was normally spent on all those rural teams across the nine provinces, CSA had spent about R1.8 million on a rural league so that the top ten teams from there could attend a focus week, where a SA rural champion team would be selected. That focus week had cost CSA about R1.2 million.

Mr Nenzani said that rural cricket development was historically centred on schools, with the hope that talent from there could be channelled upwards. The challenge currently was that rural schools were dying, mainly because of urbanisation. Hubs therefore were CSA’s intervention aimed at aligning schools with local cricket clubs, so that talent would not need to be moved to focus schools.

He said that CSA was hoping that its interaction with the DBE and SRSA would in the long term address the issue of facilities in rural areas, but hubs were a short-term solution to giving opportunities to talented youngsters from rural areas whose talent needed nurturing.

The Chairperson said that the sports fraternity in the country needed to break the vicious cycle of moving talent from the rural areas to urban areas in the name of nurturing talent, by putting facilities and capacity development in rural areas.

Mr Lorgat said it was always difficult when one dealt with selection matters. Some people possibly would think Tsolekile had not been given enough opportunities, but as he had mentioned earlier, at national level, when there was a 50/50 choice of selection, the favour would follow the transformation policy CSA had in place. To that extent, he did not believe that transformation was antagonistic towards merit or performance, though a case could be made that Tsolekile should have received more opportunities. At the time, however, the panel’s decisions had been accepted as an independent process.

On sponsorship negotiations having a transformation condition, CSA tried to avoid conditional sponsorships, but where sponsors were keen to ensure that CSA was transforming, the entity’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) scorecard was there.

With regard to the historical reception which CSA had received from local government, Mr Lorgat said that since CSA’s concerted efforts to engage municipalities, he was pleased to announce that Tshwane and Bloemfontein had sponsored CSA’s stadiums by purchasing the naming rights thereof. The eThekwini municipality was also supporting CSA, though it was fair to say that the entity was not receiving the type of support it wanted overall in the country.

He said that most of CSA’s revenue was generated from media rights, followed by sponsorships and then ticketing revenue.

The ICC used a scorecard to determine the distribution of profit revenue to its main and associate members, and CSA was still trying to access it. Speculatively, the ICC was saying country X had contributed G amount of international revenue, and therefore would get Z amount.

Mr Nenzani said that the distribution of profit revenue by the ICC would be in place until 2023, when a new rights cycle model would start again. CSA had registered a lot of concerns with the ICC regarding the scorecard it was using, so that after seeing it CSA could be prepared for a new rights cycle.

Dr Peter Cyster, Vice-President, CSA, said that in terms of gender representativity in senior management at CSA, the entity had introduced a new governance model in 2013. Moreover there were a few independent directors on its board, where there was female representation in the person of Ms Dawn Mokhobo. In the affiliates, Mrs Zola Thamae was the first female president of a cricket union.

Mr Lorgat commented on the Protea’s performance in the semi-final of the WCC, saying both teams had made mistakes but the team with the fewest mistakes had gone through.

Referring to the impact of a possible future ban on fast-food and alcohol advertising, he said CSA had made submissions where it was confident that it would get alternative sponsorships should a ban be enacted. There was loyalty in CSA’s partners though, which the Committee would recognise if it were to see the kind of work that KFC was doing with junior cricket development. There was an excess of 100 000 children playing cricket every Saturday across the country.

Mr Jordaan said though it might sound very bullish, that CSA was rolling out a schools cricket model in September 2015, the entity had had a series of meetings with the DBE and SRSA, and when the departments had realised that the hubs were not only a concept, but that infrastructure was on the ground, the DBE had agreed to the roll-out. The DBE wanted to link that model with its early childhood development (ECD) programme. It was also going to use its partnership with Mindset (Channel 119 on DSTV) to enable CSA to capacitate coaches and its match officials.

Mr Nenzani said that when the new senior management had come into office in 2013, CSA had held a transformation Indaba. Historically, there had been an unfortunate culture in cricket where CSA and its affiliates would take decisions without really implementing them. The new board had since 2013 resolved that decisions taken would all be implemented, monitored and evaluated. Seeing that transformation was an imperative in all spheres of life in SA, the only black African player in the Proteas in the new government dispensation had been Makhaya Ntini, after which there had never been a full time replacement for him. CSA had then resolved to develop a system that would have a pipeline feeder for black African players who would be ready for selection by the national team coach, since that was the entity’s responsibility.

CSA had then set transformation targets at provincial, franchise affiliate and district level, which were based on a resolution from the transformation Indaba. The incremental progressive targets were that at the provincial level, there had to be a minimum of six black players, with a specification of three black African players therein. As sensitive as the specification was, CSA wanted to be clear so as to ensure that the focus on black African representation was not lost in generic black representation. That would create a pool of black African players.

At the national level, CSA did not set targets but gave guidelines to the national team selection panel and coach. The entire development chain therefore was to ensure that once a player was selected, that would be purely on merit first, so that there could be consistency in position maintenance and not for purposes of representativity. CSA was doing all that to avoid the unfortunate public perception that transformation and performance were mutually exclusive, because they were not. Over and above all that, CSA made sure that it monitored and evaluated the system to ensure that the Proteas’ squad was truly representative and was transforming.

Mr D Bergman (DA) appreciated Mr Jordaan’s last comments, as they spoke to his concerns. As well managed as CSA was currently, there had been players like Mfuneko Ngam who had had the potential to go places, but because of the pressure of quotas at the time, he had been over-exerted by being given too many matches without rest, and that had cost him his cricket playing career. Similarly the tragedy of the CWC was exactly that, because Vernon Philander had proudly represented SA and the country had failed him. Whether there was a little element of doubt in players of colour wanting to play for the national team, an example was Omphile Ramela, an up and coming opening batsman whose published biggest fear was that he possibly could be perceived as a quota player. Currently there was a possibility that the country was creating two categories of world class players -- a regular and a quota player respectively. Transformation in cricket had to guard against that, for the protection of the players.

Transformation therefore came down to how CSA accessed schools, because to play cricket, equipment was needed. Not being a cheap sport, it almost became classist in distinction. Therefore the issue was how opportunities reached disadvantaged urban and rural children, because transformation could not start at the Proteas’ level -- that level was an acid test of whether what had been done from the junior levels had worked or not.

Transformation therefore was a multi-faceted thing, where the DBE, sponsors, local government and SRSA had to come together to create pockets of cricket in rural and township communities. It was saddening that though national government allocated funds to local government, in return they were giving the national government challenges. Most sporting federations were lamenting the challenges with municipalities in terms of assisting with facilities. The Portfolio Committee should therefore back the process from a school, community, district and provincial level, since it would be voting for the budget to allocate funding.

Mr Malatsi asked CSA to tell the Committee what the sanctions were for non-compliance with the transformation targets for franchises and provinces. What happened when the composition of a team, both at provincial and national level, was inconsistent with the transformation targets or guidelines? Was the CSA leadership satisfied with the opportunities for African black players to play for the Proteas in terms of creating a large pool of players for the selection panel and the coach, especially considering the case of Aaron Phangiso and the CWC?

Mr Filtane said that CSA had deliberately withheld its development programmes from the Committee. Those would have been the tools it would have used to scrutinise what was happening in the cricketing world in SA. He had no idea of the transition a 19-year-old would have to make from rural academy cricket to the mainstream, and what support there was for him. It was not enough to say the information on the transformation targets’ timelines of CSA were somewhere in the possession of SRSA. What games was CSA playing with the Committee? He requested that CSA should return to present its annual performance plan and strategic plan.

Mr Filtane then apologised, saying that if it sounded like he was infuriated, that was not the case.

The Chairperson repeated what she had said at the beginning of the briefing -- that she did not want those accounting before the Committee to leave with the impression that Parliament was there to antagonise and lambast entities. She then reprimanded Mr Filtane for his sentiments, noting that they were unwarranted, even if he had been dissatisfied with a possible shortage of information from CSA’s presentation.

Mr Mmusi said he had not received a response as to what support had been offered to Vernon Philander after the Proteas’ loss in the CWC. He then proposed that if a particular group of stakeholders interested in sport could come together, they certainly could build two or three stadia. This would deal decisively with the phobia of establishing facilities. However, that could be established only if those stakeholders knew how much it cost to install a standard sized cricket oval in a rural area.

The Chairperson asked CSA what cricket development funding meant.

Mr Ralegoma said that he recalled that the Committee had received the findings of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on the progress of achieving the transformation targets in all the federations, together with the Transformation Charter. The signing of MoUs with Minister Fikile Mbalula on timelines for the achievement of transformation targets by the big five federations was an outstanding process that would be concluded very soon. Moreover, the Committee had to remember that quotas were still there, so that if transformation was either going too slowly or sporting bodies were not moving quickly enough, the government would impose them. He therefore disagreed that the classist categorisation in post-apartheid SA was a new phenomenon, because that had been an apartheid creation anyhow.

Quotas were unfortunately the one tool that the State had, over and above the Transformation Charter and scorecard, so that there was recourse after enough time had been given to the federations.

The Chairperson commented that to register dissatisfaction was acceptable, but lambasting was different from the former, and she was not going to allow it again.

Mr Nenzani replied that the only game that CSA was playing was cricket, but at the level of administration the entity was quite serious about its work. The targets alluded to in the presentation were those approved by the CSA board in March 2015, and would be in effect in the 2015/16 cricket season. The only level that CSA had not committed to was at the national level, and that was because of the reasons he had given above.

In terms of transformation guidelines not being met at the national level in the compilation of the team, CSA was very clear, since cricket was a specialist game. For example, it could happen that because of weather conditions the team would need to field two spinners instead of one, and four seamers. Therefore the coach and the selection panel were allowed that discretion, provided that that was explained to the CEO. For those reasons, and though the team would fall below the national target for transformation and because winning was also paramount, selection would have gone that way. That situation had occurred repeatedly in the past, and would possibly occur in the future.

Mr Lorgat said that CSA had supported both Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott. The management had spoken to the captain of the team, and he was in personal contact with all those individuals and he was certain they were comfortable.

The Chairperson thanked CSA for availing themselves for scrutiny of its programmes and development by the Committee.

Adoption of Minutes

The Committee adopted the minutes of its meetings on 28 April and 12 May 2015 with amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.

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