CSA's Dumisa Ntsebeza on TRC-like hearings: 'Nobody will be harassed'

29 April 2021 - 17:33
Dumisa Ntsebeza says the hearings will not be a witch hunt and that people will be able to give their side of the story if there are adverse comments made about them.
Dumisa Ntsebeza says the hearings will not be a witch hunt and that people will be able to give their side of the story if there are adverse comments made about them.
Image: KEVIN SUTHERLAND

Cricket SA’s (CSA's) transformation ombudsman, advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, has said his enquiries can be effective only if there are public hearings — and that they will mirror the TRC commission.

Ntsebeza was the head of investigations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that was established to investigate gross human rights violations during apartheid.

He is an independent transformation ombudsman of CSA’s social justice and nation building (SJN) that seeks to redress the past and present injustices in cricket that are based on discrimination of any sort.

Ntsebeza‚ who has been inundated with submissions in the past few days from players‚ coaches and administrators — past and present — who were denied opportunities to prosper due to discrimination‚ said he sees his project taking the shape of the TRC.

“My approach was that what is needed in the office of the ombudsman is to imagine that what needs to be done is the TRC of cricket‚” Ntsebeza said in a wide-ranging interview over his transformation project.

“If you look at the definition of the ombudsman‚ it is a person who listens to complaints‚ and having done so‚ seeks to give solutions or remedial action for those complaints by way of mediation or by way of recommendations.

“I had made it very clear the affect of any enquiry into whether there has been discrimination in cricket can be effective if there are public hearings.

“The reason for this is‚ if it is an inquiry that is seeking to promote unity and reconciliation‚ one must determine the causes‚ the nature and the extent of racial discrimination as an issue in sport‚ whether it affected people at coaching level‚ at managerial level‚ at player level‚ or at selector level‚ my brief investigation and research showed that the malaise goes throughout the levels‚” said Ntsebeza.

The respected human and political rights advocate said the hearings will not be a witch hunt and that people will be given opportunities to give their side of the story if there are adverse comments made about them.

“The SJN is not a witch hunt. It is intended to make sure that my children‚ and my children’s children‚ are able to be appreciated for their talent and not for how the colour of their skin is.

“I was the head of the investigation unit of the TRC and I know that people should be treated with respect and dignity. Nobody is going to be harassed there. If there are people about whom adverse remarks have been made‚ we are going to tell whoever it is that has submitted that you are free to do this and that.

“For instance‚ if you make statements that are adverse to Mr Ntsebeza‚ then we will say Mr Ntsebeza so and so has written something about you as a coach and he said you really treated him badly.

“I will not want those statements to go public without them having had the benefit of a response.”

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