The Wanderers Cricket Stadium in Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The Wanderers Cricket Stadium in Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Transformation expert and veteran sport administrator Willie Basson has said Cricket SA’s management composition has “untransformed overnight”.

Basson is a former Cricket SA acting president who led the organisation during its strife-stricken restructuring process of 2012 after the bonus scandal involving former CEO Gerald Majola.

Basson was critical of the gains made to transform the game during a wide-ranging interview this week on transformation in SA cricket.

“If you look at the composition of the Cricket SA management at this stage‚ it just became untransformed overnight‚” Basson said.

Basson was referring to the sweeping changes at Cricket SA that saw Graeme Smith take over the new director of cricket role and Jacques Faul replacing suspended Thabang Moroe as CEO during a chaotic period in December.

“I don’t know‚” said Basson when asked to delve deeper into the changes at Cricket SA and the appointments of Smith and Faul in particular. “I’m a white man and I’ve been involved as an academic through sport and as administrator for more than 30 years.”

The transformation debate has divided sport administrators and politicians down  the middle.

Basson said he has been involved in conducting transformation surveys in 18 sporting codes in the country at national and provincial level. The surveys found sporting federations will run into sustainability problems if the focus is not on the black majority.

“To make matters worse the white population in the country is shrinking because the birth rate is declining rapidly. The under-18-year-old white group in the country is diminishing by more than 30% over the next 10 to 15 years.

“I don’t say I am right but I think I am logical as a scientist‚ and with a long experience as sport administrator‚ I think I see it in a proper light‚” said Basson. “If you read transformation reports from the past seven years‚ the future is not bright.”

Basson said the white population is ageing and  the black African population is the future of SA sports.

He warned that more resources and facilities should be channelled towards areas that were previously marginalised.

“Ninety percent of our population is black‚ we have to focus on the black population. So why do you perpetuate a system with a dying breed?‚” asked Basson.

“Why don’t you create opportunities wherever you are and see to it that people are well prepared and have the experience to be able to lead the country into the future?”

Basson‚ whose transformation credentials date back to 2002 when he first conducted a review of transformation in cricket‚ has played a big role in a ministerial structure — the eminent persons group (EPG) on transformation in sport — over the past six years.

The EPG’s mandate includes the establishment of a management system to monitor‚ evaluate‚ advise and report on the transformation status and the effectiveness of implementation of the sport transformation charter.

Basson’s contribution to transformation in sport over the years was underlined by then-minister of sport Tokozile Xasa in delivering her 2019 EPG report.

“We could not have done what we have if it was not for the selflessness of our patriots in the EPG on transformation in sport, who have worked hard in producing this sixth edition report‚ said minister Xasa.

“Let me also thank Dr Basson, who has worked tirelessly to ensure that every year we take stock and assess how far we have gone to transform sport as part of the broader agenda of creating a nonracial‚ nonsexist‚ united and prosperous society. We remain indebted to yourselves.”

Basson said that while there have been gains made on the transformation front‚ a lot more still needs to be done by those governing Cricket SA.