While South Africa’s cricket national teams continue breaking records and earning accolades on the international scene, within the structures that constitute domestic cricket, the atmosphere has not been perfect. Coming to the fore are claims of discrimination made by some players of colour and the slow process in implementing the mandate of transformation. Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza has vowed that he will take firm action to tackle these two pending issues as the new ombudsperson of Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Cricket for Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) project.
Acknowledging the burden of responsibility of his role as the nation is eager to see progress, Ntsebeza, said, “This is no time for PR messaging; we have to be accountable and implement realistic and sustainable measures.”
Ntsebeza’s tenure as Ombudsman is for 6 months. Cricket SA has tasked him with investigating how women can be brought into mainstream cricket at all levels, as well as the creation of avenues for communities historically excluded from opportunity to participate in cricket. In his role, he will engage with cricket stakeholders, including former players, current players, their representative body SACA, administrators, employees, educators, the media, sponsors and government.
Advocate Ntsebeza, who is highly regarded as a hands-on man in the legal fraternity and beyond, is expected to open a new chapter of transformation in cricket, which, thus far, has been viewed as a stillborn venture. Cricket South Africa’s interim Chairperson, Dr Stavros Nicolaou, has confidence that in advocate Ntsebeza, South African cricket has got the right man for the job. “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. It is not enough just to talk, action is required, and I think this is a step in that direction,” said Nicolaou.
Ntsebeza’s appointment has been long overdue. The general view amongst some of prominent cricket commentators has been that transformation in cricket, a project of national significance, needs someone charged with steering direction and taking stock of progress at the helm. And Ntsebeza could not come at the right time.