South Africa, Sport

Op-Ed: Transformation must remain a key national question for all

By Chris Nenzani 14 May 2017

This past weekend, we celebrated some of the best cricketing talent in our country. But as we celebrate we must also recognise the pain and suffering that had characterised sport in South Africa. By CHRIS NENZANI.

The road to transformation is treacherous and while we celebrate the milestones reached so far, they are not enough.

This past weekend, we celebrated some of the best cricketing talent in our country.

But as we celebrate we must also recognise the pain and suffering that had characterised sport in South Africa. The unity that we enjoy today has been achieved on the back of unprecedented sacrifices made by many in our country.

Cricket must play its part in promoting unity and social cohesion. The success of our national teams should be understood in this particular context. Sport is about talent, opportunities, inclusivity, participation and excellence. These universal values must not be the preserve of a few but must be for all in the game we love.

The Proteas have given us much to celebrate as a nation, particularly over the last season.

Wins against Australia at home and away, against Sri Lanka at home and against New Zealand away have been the highlights of a successful season.

This is clearly a team that is imbued with tenacity and courage. This is a team in which every player dons the national colours with pride. This is a team where individual players are motivated by the desire to perform at their best. This team should strive to be the pride of a united South African nation.

Our Women’s Senior National Team has continued on its impressive trajectory. In this regard Momentum’s support of this team needs to be acknowledged and appreciated. CSA will spare no effort in ensuring that this team becomes a force to be reckoned with in international women’s cricket.

But, as we celebrated, we could not forget the political, economic and social realities of our country.

As we celebrated we could not ignore the inequalities that are entrenched in South Africa.

Cricket is part of this society of inequalities and cricket has a social and moral responsibility to eradicate all forms of inequality and injustice within its own area of responsibility. The legacy of racial discrimination and prejudice still finds expression in our country. A deliberate strategy and effort is required to address the imbalances of the past that still hold our country to ransom.

It is against this background and within this context that the CSA transformation agenda is located.

The milestones that our transformation programmes have achieved cannot be ignored and must be celebrated. But is it enough? No, it is not enough. The road ahead is still very long and treacherous.

Transformation addresses a key national question of the fundamental need for equal access and equal opportunity.

CSA remains committed to driving transformation aggressively and purposefully on and off the field of play. There can be no excuse for failing to drive an effective transformation agenda. If we fail to do so we are not worthy of the positions that we occupy.

It is in this context that we are encouraged by the decision of the Minister of Sports and Recreation, Honourable Thulas Nxesi, to lift the ban imposed on CSA with regard to hosting international events.

The previous EPG assessment had indicated that CSA had failed to achieve commendable results on its Barometer Scorecard. The current assessment is evidence of the kind of work that CSA put in to realise its own transformation projections and targets. The EPG processes have also helped us to drive focused transformation at all levels of our organisation. The successes are there to be recognised.

Last year I warned against celebrating the achievements of a few to the total disregard of the multitudes that are wallowing in a sea of prejudice and injustice.

The cardinal responsibility that lies ahead of us is to ensure that cricket is inclusive, representative of the demographics of our population and is a catalyst for national unity. DM

The above is an extract from CSA President Chris Nenzani’s address made at the annual CSA awards banquet on Saturday, 13 May 2017.

Photo: South Africa’s Temba Bavuma (left) and Kagiso Rabada celebrate the wicket of England’s Nick Compton (not in picture) during the second cricket test match in Cape Town, South Africa, January 2, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings


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