Cricket South Africa has gone through some real turmoil over the last two years. With the failed attempt at launching the vision of former CEO Haroon Lorgat of the World T20 Challenge, to the suspension of current CEO Thabang Moroe.
South Africa’s on-field performances over the last 12 months have left a lot to be desired as well, losing a two-match test series at home to Sri Lanka 2-0 before having a disastrous ICC World Cup in which they finished 7th.
The Proteas then failed to appoint a Director of Cricket along with a new coaching staff with former coach Ottis Gibson being dumped. Lions coach Enoch Nkwe was appointed as an interim head coach for the test tour to India, in which the team were thumped 3-0.
With the England series just around the corner, and no end in sight for the appointment of key staff, despite the assurances from Mr Moroe, the organisation hit rock bottom after the accreditation of five senior journalists were revoked on a Sunday during the second edition of the Mzansi Super League T20 tournament.
This was after CSA were embroiled in court battles with the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) and Western Province Cricket Association.
The accreditation of Neil Manthorp, Ken Borland, Firdose Moonda, Telford Vice and Stuart Hess was quickly reinstated after a massive uproar on social media had the CSA executives trying quickly to put out the fires.
Eventually, things were – seemingly – sorted, and Moroe was suspended pending an investigation into his, somewhat, dictatorial style of leadership.
Titans CEO Jacques Faul was appointed acting CEO with Mark Boucher, the head honcho at the Titans appointed as head coach. Charl Langeveldt was appointed as bowling coach with Jacques Kallis being brought in as a batting consultant. Paul Harris was also brought in to mentor Keshav Maharaj.
However, these appointments were not well received by the likes of the Black African Cricket Clubs who said that CSA were ignoring the transformation agenda and appointing a ‘cabal’ of ‘whiteness’ – people who did not care or understand how to nurture black Africans.
“The recent appointments do not represent a threat to transformation or the process of Africanisation of cricket in our country. We must all recognize that transformation is not an act of exclusion but one of inclusion informed by the desire to achieve the constitutional ideals of equity, fairness and a non-racial society. CSA remains committed to this vision,” said Nenzani of the appointments of the Proteas management team.
Temba Bavuma, who missed the first test through injury, was omitted from the second test and told to go and win his place back through ‘weight of runs’ in the domestic 4-day series. Bavuma has averaged just 19 over the last 18 months.
On the morning of the second test between England and South Africa, CSA were quick to put out a press release with comments from president Chris Nenzani to reiterate CSA’s commitment to transformation.
“It is very heartening to see from the general trend across traditional media and social media platforms that so many South Africans are seeking to defend the gains of our transformation agenda,” commented Nenzani.
“This is something that goes far beyond the game of cricket. CSA is fully cognizant of the fact that transformation is a very critical strategy in achieving equity in our country. Our commitment has been demonstrated in the policies adopted in respect of transformation since February 2013. This commitment remains as central to our governance and operations as it has been over the last few years. The transformation agenda at CSA is very clear and is fully understood by all our structures, in particular our members who have the critical responsibility of driving transformation at grassroots level,” added Nenzani.
“As far as our national representative teams are concerned the evaluation of the achievement of the targets over a year is meant to give team management the flexibility to select teams based on the unique match to match requirements and in line with obtaining objective realities.”
Nenzani also stressed the reality that sporting codes can’t undo the wrongs of the past without the support of government institutions.
“Transformation in sport cannot be viewed in isolation of the deepening inequalities within society and as the sole responsibility of sport federations. There is a critical role that the various levels of government must play to bring about equity and fair opportunity to all South Africans. The government, especially at provincial and local government level, has a fundamental responsibility of mitigating the impact of the apartheid geography that finds expression in the skewed spatial distribution of sport facilities areas of our country wherein the disadvantaged communities remain worse off.”
“In 2015 a tripartite agreement was signed by the then Department of Sport and Recreation, the Department of Basic Education and CSA. The full implementation of this agreement is yet to be experienced. The state has a critical role in rolling back the legacy of our divided past in sport. As the national federation for cricket, we are committed to our obligation to redress of the past patterns of inequality but we cannot do it alone.”
It seems these days that CSA cannot win.