SA Cricketers’ Association president urges sports minister Mthethwa to enforce transformation in cricket

SA Cricketers Association (Saca) president Omphile Ramela.
SA Cricketers Association (Saca) president Omphile Ramela.
Image: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

SA Cricketers’ Association (Saca) president Omphile Ramela has written a letter to sports minister Nathi Mthethwa and urged the ministry to invoke every law at its disposal to enforce transformation in cricket.

Ramela wrote to Mthethwa in his personal capacity this week and said the executive management appointments at Cricket South Africa (CSA) and its affiliate provincial unions are going against the tide of transforming in the game.

“On the 19th of June during Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) appearance before the parliamentary portfolio committee on sports‚ arts and culture you expressed a great level of dissatisfaction and disrespect at the lack of transformation in the decision-making positions of the game of cricket‚” wrote Ramela.

“Minister your sentiments are correct‚ it is for this reason that I am now reaching out to you; the buck starts and stops with you.

“Minister I will not indulge you into the current mess that is in the cricket fraternity in South Africa on and off the field. As not only is it playing itself out in public or everybody talking about it‚ but you have expressed discontent about it. Let me get into the gist of why I am writing to you.

“Acting CEO Dr Jacques Faul of CSA released a compelling statement where CSA expressed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Before those words were cold in his mouth‚ Western Cape Cricket Chairman Mr Kock announced the appointment of interim CEO MR Kennedy.

“On that let me put it to you‚ that: in the last 6 (six) months all 8 (eight) new appointments within the executive management of cricket (CSA and its affiliates) have been white males.

“Honourable Minister‚ transformation is a legislated policy‚ it is a law in South Africa. Therefore‚ whether Black Lives Matter or not‚ in this country it is a legislated endeavour that rests with not how me‚ you or anybody in the leadership feels.

“So those who consistently choose to be ignorant about this law are to be reminded that ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. For they are breaking the law and must face consequences.

“Minister it is time that your office invoked every law at its disposal whether be it suspension of non-transformed sporting organisation(s)‚ or issuing fines‚ or choking funding. Whatever law is at your disposal it is time to invoke those laws.

“Honourable Minister‚ South Africa is a society with diverse values‚ culture‚ and belief. The law serves as a mechanism to guide every leader in executing his or her duty in a manner that is Equal‚ Fair and Just.

“It is through the implementation of the law that as a diverse society we can peacefully and prosperously co-exists.

“Therefore‚ leaders who abandon the law are directly contributing to the social ills that emerge within our society. Furthermore‚ perpetuating structural discrimination‚ exclusion‚ and racism.

“As I close‚ Minister‚ let me point to what I believe could be your departure point in decisively dealing with this conundrum.

“At the core of our problems is the business of sports model. Now the model does not allow the government to effectively execute its duties of providing governance and leadership.

“Therefore‚ the business of Sports model needs a revamp. In the sports fraternity unions/affiliates and the governing body need to regain their financial independence.

“The different entities must have their own sound and sustainable income generating model(s).

“Thus‚ making it part of the administration's core competence.

“Currently‚ you have the private sector controlling the financial livelihood of the unions/affiliates and the governing body either through sponsorship‚ directorship‚ and ownership.

“These structures exist to serve the interest of such private entities without financial independence. Therefore‚ rendering them captured by private interest.

“Inadvertently‚ making the government irrelevant within the sports and ineffective in fulfil its role. In a mixed economy like South Africa‚ the role of government especially within the sports fraternity stemming from the sentiments above consists of the following three core duties:

“1.) Government finances must first serve to capacitate government operations so it may provide effective human support into the sports fraternity.

“2.) To provide sustainability in the infrastructural finance.

“3.) To be an igniter of sports programs‚ especially towards developmental programs.

“The effective implementation of this strategy will allow the government to govern and hold structures accountable for the lack of performance in conjunction with the execution of law enforcement.

It was through the political will of our democratic government that the sports reshaped the economic trajectory of my life. And has the capacity to reshape the trajectory of our economy.

“As a professional athlete‚ I did not get to reach the peak of my potential therefore my career‚ up to the point where my career abruptly ended because of this lawlessness.

“I refuse to allow the same thing to happen as an administrative professional. If‚ as black professionals‚ we cannot be afforded a seat at the table then such tables must seize to exist in this country.

“Thus‚ such tables must be collapsed to give birth to the tables that are a true reflection of a South African society.

“Minister‚ I will leave it in your hands to name the date‚ time and venue‚ and I will show up because it is time we acted on these issues.

“I trust you will receive this message with the sincerity of its intention‚” Ramela concluded.

SowetanLIVE is reliably informed that Mthethwa’s office responded to the letter and talks are ongoing behind the scenes for a meeting.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson Masechaba Ndlovu told SowetanLIVE via a text message to email her when she was contacted for the minister’s reaction.

She did not reply to the emailed questions at the time of publishing.