Quotas on the way out?

Gerald Majola has denied saying that merit-based selections in cricket will replace the quota system by 2011 at the latest.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Majola was quoted in a reputable Australian newspaper that the transformation system was on it’s way out.

“The goal is to get merit-based selection at all levels of cricket,” Majola told The Sydney Morning Herald. “We have decided to continue with the target transformation policy for the next three years, with a review at the end of each year. At the end of the three years we hope we can then move to merit-based selection across the board.”

Majola has now gone back on this, stating transformation would continue.

“The South African Constitution and CSA’s own Transformation Policy [based on the Preamble of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights] has embraced affirmative action as a measure to advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by historical discrimination in South Africa,” said Majola.

“It is also acknowledged by the SA Constitution and CSA’s Transformation Policy that although apartheid laws are off the legislative books, South African society remains committed to redress the imbalances which still exist.”

Majola said the imbalances of the past, most notably in terms of facilities, had not yet been rectified.

“Both affect giving equal opportunity to all who wish to play the game. We are also committed to creating opportunities for those from previously disadvantaged communities to play at the highest levels,” said Majola.

“The targets, as well as the capacity building programmes around them, are reviewed constantly to see whether the imbalances are being addressed properly.

“CSA has a Transformation Review Committee which undertakes in-depth interrogations of the transformation system and makes recommendations to CSA on the success or otherwise of the implementation of this policy.”

Majola said the committee was scheduled to review recommendations within the next three years.

“The targets set by CSA for this coming season for the Proteas are a minimum of four Black players on the field and a minimum of seven Black players in a squad of 15,” he explained.

“It must be stressed that these are targets, and if they are not met then CSA attempts to rectify the capacity building programmes to ensure that the process is making progress.”

Majola said no date could be put on when quotas would be done away with.

“Nobody at this stage can forecast when this will take place, as the massive disparities in facilities alone still remain a legacy of the past,” he said.

A year ago South African Cricketers Association (SACA) chief executive Tony Irish confirmed that the best 25 cricketers in the country all wanted quotas to be scrapped and approached CSA to allow this to take place.

“The players feel that as soon as a racial number is set for selection of the team it leads to a divisive dynamic within the team,” said Irish. “It is also degrading to the players of colour who should be there on merit yet are labelled a quota/target player.”

The Proteas’ squad to tour Australia has seven players of colour out of 15. Ashwell Prince, Hashim Amla, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson, JP Duminy, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Monde Zondeki are all part of the touring party.