CSA’s Interim Board says “Exploring significance of taking the knee and raised fist”

The Interim Board (IB) of Cricket South Africa (CSA) met on Saturday to prioritise the issues it needs to act on in the remaining very short two-months of its term in order to fulfill the nine-point mandate given to it by Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Among the matters discussed were transformation, Black Lives Matter and the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) initiative launched by CSA in August this year. The Proteas men’s team had issued its statement on November 25 stating that it would not be taking the knee during the recent England series, but the CSA in an official statement said that “together, we are exploring [in a continuing way] the significance of taking the knee and a raised fist.”

The Interim Board chairperson Judge Zak Yacoob also expressed concern about the implications of this statement. The Interim Board further believes that the subsequent public and media criticism has justified these concerns.

“The chairperson noted in a letter to Director of Cricket Graeme Smith and coach Mark Boucher on the same day as the players’ statement that while the IB respected the constitutional right of individuals to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the constitution, the IB felt that we should embrace every aspect of our constitution fully as South Africans and show the world that all of us are together in opposing racism at every turn,” the CSA’s IB said in an official statement.

“The IB feels black lives matter has a particular meaning given South Africa’s apartheid past. Therefore, the IB has confirmed CSA’s support for BLM – first expressed on July 9 in the aftermath of the letter sent to CSA by 36 former national players and senior coaches,’ it added.

Judge Yacoob also explained that while the IB could not compel the national team to act, it would encourage the Proteas to continue with their stated intention of engaging with this issue.

He said it was in the national interest that South Africa’s sports representatives reflected the constitutional imperatives for South Africans to address lingering discrimination, indignities and exclusions.

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