Time to bury the hatchet and move on

LET'S walk this road together, hand in hand, in pursuit of excellence in sport. Let's go.

Sport is a national asset, a tool to unite our country. We know where we came from as a country, to form a nation in 1994. Many of our forebears died for us to live life and protect the gains of democracy. The youth of this country want to see sport achieving the goal of a united free society where they can play sport in a conducive environment, from dusty streets to well-maintained pitches.

The father of the nation, the late OR Tambo, once taught us that "a nation that does not care for its youth is doomed". For us in sport, if we don't learn from these prophetic spiritual words of wisdom from the stalwart of our struggle, we will never prosper.

South Africa is a blessed nation. We have guardian angels moving with us to defend this beautiful country of ours. As part of building a cadreship of youth development in this country and ensuring we motivate our youth, we reintroduced the South African Sports Awards.

These awards have been positioned with a purpose and impact taking shape over three months; June (media launch), July (nominees' unveiling) and August (the razzmatazz, the grand finale). This is a process to celebrate excellence and inspire the youthful faces that we need to work for in building a better country.

We owe this to them. That is why we also introduced, not the red carpet, yes, not the yellow carpet, but the swag and the sway - the Legends Carpet, where only the champions can walk with pride.

Now, gentle people, with that said and understood, we walked and now you can see clearly the classical view in relation to sport and recreation in this country, and we are pleased, therefore, that you can understand the vision too as set out under the six-point plan to rescue our sport.

The board of Cricket South Africa is meeting in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The purpose of the meeting is to receive and discuss the auditors' report. At an extraordinary meeting of Cricket SA held on May 4, which was also attended by a ministerial representative and representatives of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, the board resolved to appoint Advocate Ishmael Semenya to set up an independent investigation, inclusive of an audit, into the financial state of Cricket SA, taking into account matters raised in the "Khan Commission" and any other matter related to the IPL tournament.

We are delighted that the investigation has been conducted by a credible audit company over the past few months. All stakeholders now stand on the threshold of receiving and discussing contents of the report this coming weekend.

We look forward to this important meeting as it presents Cricket South Africa with an opportunity to demonstrate to sport-loving people and the rest of South Africa that the interest of the code comes first.

It is also a rare opportunity to put the ghost of the allegation behind and chart a new way forward for this glorious sporting code.

As we have said before and continue to stress, our involvement and intervention is predicated on a position of principle, whose underpinnings are good corporate governance, openness, fairness and transparency.

The time has now come for all concerned to close this matter that has become an albatross around the neck of the governing body.

In the interests of the game, for the sake of development and transformation, we plead with all involved to bury the hatchet and move on. The country, the players and sponsors are yearning to hear a positive message from Cricket SA and we must not fail in our pursuit of excellence, quality, strong leadership and management.

Our teams need the leadership of cricket to demonstrate unity of purpose, the focus on development and proper preparations for world tournaments and global championships so that we can succeed and achieve better results.

I say to CSA: Let's walk together, defending and protecting the sport of cricket for our youth. Let's give them what they deserve - well-run administration of the code in this country.

Let's build our cricketers from the ground up and when they reach the stage of international stardom we can help them raise the trophies high.

We are doing it for Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Lilian Ngoyi and all those who suffered and sacrificed their lives for the good of this glorious nation. That includes building good corporate governance in cricket and all other sporting codes.

  • Fikile Mbalula is the Minister of Sports and Recreation