Thu Oct 27 16:55:50 SAST 2016

Invest in the many rather than the one

By unknown | Jan 11, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

SO the great Makhaya Ntini's glorious cricket career is coming to an end. Such is life.

SO the great Makhaya Ntini's glorious cricket career is coming to an end. Such is life.

Time is no respecter of reputations. It catches up with us all, great and the not so great. The Mdingi Express has had a glorious innings - 101 tests - and he is a hero to those of us who love the game and never bought into the lie that cricket is a "white sport".

But this is not an Ntini's cricket career obituary.

Ntini's situation reflects how corporate South Africa tends to treat talented blacks.

As has happened in the case of Ntini - there are far too many instances where corporate South Africa finds its few black pearls, invests all its resources, including public relations, in them and then believes it has done its bit for the transformation of its organisation or the transfer of skills.

These companies are too lazy and willing to pay top dollar to the few blacks they circulate rather than develop black talent.

This is despite it being cheaper to train more, and thus create a bigger pool of skills because such people have become a much less scarce commodity.

They only wake up to their folly once another company has poached their prized asset or their protégé goes over the hill, gets injured or dies .

That is why Cricket South Africa now has its hand over its head wondering where it will find its next black African.

Surely in the 10 years Ntini has been a star, one or two other talented black Africans must have emerged and their talent has been nurtured. If they have not, whose fault is it?

We know that cricket is an expensive game and out of the purview of many ordinary black South African families so it will not always be awash with potential players.

But why is it that white talent can always be found but finding blacks is such a hassle? Why is it that talented young white cricketers are always honed to fulfil their potential while their black counterparts fall by the wayside as a result of being "too impatient" or lacking the "right" attitude.

Again, the story of impatience is a story that is normal in the workplace. Black folk who have seen their white counterparts develop and climb the ladder are accused of being impatient or having a chip on their shoulder when they ask what it is about them that keeps them from ascending.

In typical fashion, there will be some who will find in this argument my saying that blacks should be promoted regardless of their competence or temperament.

None of this could be further from the truth.

Just like Ntini deserved to be dropped for the third test, black people deserve no special favours simply because they are black or because having none of them in the team or in the boardroom will make an organisation look bad.

In the same way that Ntini earned his place in the team, I am certain black African players want to be in the team because of their ability.

The same applies to executives who want their qualifications, experience and knowhow to place them in that corner office or on that boardroom seat.

I will disassociate myself from any formation of black people who seek handouts from white-controlled organisations simply because of the colour of their skins.

All I expect from any organisation that claims to be interested in changing the racially distorted picture of our corporate world or sports teams is a bit of honesty and an investment in the many, rather than the one star.

That is not too much to ask, or is it?


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