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CSA’s SJN hearings off to a rocky start

“Not everything that is confronted can be altered, but nothing can be altered until it is confronted.” James Baldwin isn’t commonly mentioned about cricket. However, the CSA’s approach, which began last year, does not devote nearly enough attention to cricket.

CSA Expecting Report

Dumisa Ntsebeza, the CSA’s Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) project’s senior advocate and ombudsman, used Baldwin’s remarks to outline what the project wants to achieve by July 23 when the hearings are set to end. By September 30, the CSA wants a report with recommendations.

Ntsebeza claimed he got 58 written contributions, including 11 from “scene setters,” 23 from “former and present players,” and 24 from “cricket unions and other interested organizations.” Those who have offered written testimony have been obliged to submit affidavits, while oral statements will be made under oath.

CSA chair Lawson Naidoo

In a speech delivered by CSA chair Lawson Naidoo, the possibility for confrontation was highlighted.

“It will no doubt be a painful process for those speaking openly and publicly about their experiences, and it may be an awkward and uncomfortable one for those against whom allegations are made. Despite this, it is a necessary process if we are to heal and maximize our future potential.

As the final terms of reference make clear, there is a need to ensure fairness for all participants – both those who make allegations and those against whom allegations are made. For this reason, those against whom allegations are made will be given notice by the ombudsman’s office and will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations made against them.”

CSA’s Anti Corruption Head

Some of this concern was visible in May when the hearings were scheduled to begin. Ntsebeza was busy at the African Human Rights Court in Tanzania, which caused them to be postponed. Another issue was that difficulties with the proposed method were raised by David Becker, a lawyer who represented Graeme Smith, and Louis Cole, the CSA’s anti-corruption chief.

Only one of the seven players penalized for their roles in a botched rigging conspiracy during the 2015 franchise T20 competition was white, thus Smith’s selection as CSA’s head of cricket is a source of concern in black and brown cricket circles. Some of the players have since appeared in the media, declaring their innocence, admitting their guilt, and expressing dissatisfaction with the way their cases were handled. Becker, who had previously led successful ICC fixing investigations, acted as an outside independent lawyer for the CSA.

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