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Cricket SA: Article on Pink Day ODI initiative tries to create a scandal where none exists

Cricket SA: Article on Pink Day ODI initiative tries to create a scandal where none exists
A South African cricketer in pink at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on 5 December 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: Duif du Toit / Gallo Images / Getty Images) | Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo: iStock) | Adobe Stock

Cricket South Africa (CSA) objects to the contents of an amaBhungane article on CSA’s Pink Day one-day international (ODI) breast cancer fundraising initiative.

I refer to an article authored by amaBhungane journalist Njabulo Ngidi which was published by Daily Maverick on Wednesday, 27 September 2023, with the headline: “The many ‘grey areas’ of Cricket South Africa’s Pink Day”.

In this article, one of South Africa’s most high-profile and respected charitable events, the Pink ODI, has come under scrutiny.

The investigation seems to be directed at exposing financial mismanagement within CSA and the Central Gauteng Lions (CGL). However, the conclusion, begrudgingly conceded by the journalist himself, was that no such misappropriation existed.

The Pink ODI is more than just a game; it is a symbol of hope and awareness and a collective fight against breast cancer. To attempt to mar its reputation based on flimsy and unsubstantiated assumptions is not just unfair and damaging to the organisers, but to the beneficiaries and supporters who have seen the tangible impact of this initiative.

A close scrutiny of the article reveals a strategy driven by sensationalism rather than seeking the truth. 

The author is quick to point out the disparities in amounts raised and donated but neglects to acknowledge the essential costs that go into organising and promoting such a massive event.

The argument that the Pink ODI is overselling its contribution due to the division of funds between match day operations, marketing and direct donations misses the broader picture.

Without the necessary promotional activities, the event wouldn’t garner the attention, participation or donations it currently enjoys. In essence, marketing is a means to an end; a vehicle that drives greater awareness and support for the cause.

Moreover, the article seems to have ignored the standard practices of fundraising campaigns around the globe.

The approach of leveraging or using a portion of funds raised for promotional and operational purposes is common. By making this sound like an anomaly, the report highlights a lack of understanding or perhaps a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the facts.

The proceeds raised from the Pink ODI over the years are in the fund’s bank account and will be disbursed as and when the fund’s governing body approves requests from Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital based on the needs of the hospital’s Breast Cancer Unit.

The contention around the symbolic “dummy cheque” reveals a desperate attempt to sensationalise the narrative.

It is common knowledge that such gestures are symbolic and meant to represent pledges, not actualised amounts.

CSA and CGL’s efforts to ensure transparency and proper governance, especially in their dealings with the Pink ODI Fund, have been consistent. The fact that they have shared every piece of information requested by amaBhungane demonstrates this commitment.

One cannot help but wonder if the actual intention behind the investigative piece was to shed light on the operations of the Pink ODI and its affiliates or to create a scandal where none exists. The latter seems more plausible, given the framing of the narrative.

By casting a shadow over the integrity of the Pink ODI initiative, there’s a risk of eroding public trust. 

It’s vital to consider the larger picture – the beneficiaries who rely on the funds and support generated by this event, as part of cricket’s commitment to social solidarity.

In a world filled with actual scandals and genuine malfeasance, it is disheartening to see energies diverted towards discrediting well-intentioned and well-executed initiatives like the Pink ODI.

I trust that you will appreciate the genuine good that Pink ODI brings to countless lives every year. DM

Refentse Shinners is Public Affairs Executive at Cricket South Africa.

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  • Middle aged Mike says:

    “The approach of leveraging or using *a portion* of funds raised for promotional and operational purposes is common. By making this sound like an anomaly, the report highlights a lack of understanding or perhaps a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the facts.”

    When the ‘portion’ constitutes the majority of the funds collected it looks dodgy as hell. That CSA will have to wear and no amount of bluster and spin will make it go away.

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