JOHANNESBURG: Cricket South Africa (CSA) has announced plans to address alleged racism in the game after Proteas fast bowler Lungi Ngidi showed his support to the global Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

In the wake of Ngidi’s support for BLM, 30 former players including Makhaya Ntini came out with allegations of racism during their playing days.

Batting great Hashim Amla, who retired last year also, backed Ngidi for taking the stance that he did.

“The national outcry by cricket fans, the greater South African public and broad stakeholder groups could not be ignored,” CSA said in a statement, according to a Press Trust of India report on The Hindu website, on Friday referring to the project named ‘Cricket for Social Justice and Nation Building’ (SJN).

CSA will set up a “Transformation Ombudsman”, whose core function will include the management of the independent complaints system as well as overseeing the healing, restoration and uniting process of cricket players, fans, and the nation, starting with the disgruntled former players.

“We are sorry that our cricket players had to endure the emotional hardships that they did; subjugated by their peers along racial lines under our new democracy that enjoined us to embrace reconciliation and inclusivity,” said CSA Board Chairman Chris Nenzani.

“SJN is the first-of-its-kind project meant to rid cricket of apartheid racial discrimination. This is a very important project that all stakeholders must make sure succeeds for the future sustainability of cricket.”

Nenzani came out strongly to condemn those opposed to fighting transformation in South African cricket, which under apartheid-era laws restricted national squads to white players only until the 1990’s.

“The fortunes of cricket, its players, stakeholders, and fans are not going to be held to ransom by the wayward few who definitely have no place within our ranks.”

“We are determined to pull out all stops to ensure that healing takes place for those who have been wronged, and that perpetrators are exposed, sanctioned, and isolated,” Nenzani said.

CSA Acting CEO Dr Jacques Faul said: “We commit that never again shall we be found wanting and will consolidate our efforts to assure an inclusive cricket environment, free of any discrimination, racism or any other ill that negate the gains of the democracy that we fought so hard for.”

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2020

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